Tag Archives: fitness

To lose weight is simple: eat 2000 calories daily and walk 10000 steps


It seems ridiculous to say that, but it really is simple (but not easy): eat 2000 calories daily and walk 10000 steps. To see what I mean, read these two articles:

  1. ‘The Good News About What’s Bad for You’ Junk Food Diet – Bon Appétit | Bon Appetit
  2. How Fit Can You Get From Just Walking? | GQ

In both of them, the people who lost weight ate about 2000 calories a day. I mean the guy in the first one literally lived on junk food and still lost 11 pounds in a month.In the second one, the people participating walked 10000 steps as well as ate around 2000 calories. The combination will get you fit and keep you in a calorie deficit mode that will cause your body to lose weight.

For more examples of that, see this (Fixing His Diet Helped This Guy Lose 100 Pounds and Get Shredded at 50) and this (Walking For Weight Loss – How to Lose Weight by Walking) and this (Apple Watch, New Year’s resolutions, and losing 50 pounds – 9to5Mac).

Is it easy? For most people, no. Do you have to be disciplined? Yes. Is there ways to go about it that are smarter than others? Certainly.

If you need motivation, read this: You’re ‘Prediabetic’? Join the Club – The New York Times. Why? You might think: I am fine with being overweight. And that’s ok: not everyone looks like a model. But you don’t want to be diabetic if you can help it.

P.S. 2000 calories is a guide. If you are a much smaller person, you might need a smaller number of calories. If you aren’t sure, consult your doctor.

(Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash )

There is no perfect body for an athlete, and anyone can be fit

It can be a problem: people who are fat or whose bodies don’t fit a stereotype of an athlete don’t think they can be fit without changing their body. So they give up or focus on losing weight rather than trying to get fit. That’s too bad. Fitness leads to a better life, regardless of your age or sex or body size.

What I love about this piece is that it clearly shows there is no perfect body shape for an athlete and you can be fit and athletic regardless: The Body Shapes Of The World’s Best Athletes Compared Side By Side | Bored Panda

For more on this, I recommend you read this: In Obesity Research, Fatphobia Is Always the X Factor – Scientific American.

(Image from the Bored Panda site. I recommend you go through it. It is amazing to see just how different are the bodies of athletes in different sports.)

Fitbit for kids: good or bad?

I am of two minds on this Fitbit Ace3 Kids Fitness Tracker featured on Uncrate.

The pros are it encourages kids to get fit. It’s designed with kids in mind, unlike other fitness trackers. And it provides them with a watch to track time too.  All good things.

The main con is that all this data for your kid is going somewhere in Google’s cloud. You may not want that to happen. Another con is that these things could take the fun out of fitness. I think it would be a bad thing if kids associated fitness with one more thing they are being graded on.

For some kids this device will be great and it would be a good thing for them to have. You know your kid better than anyone and can make that call.

It’s a new week. Perhaps you need a new goal for the week. Consider working out in the middle of the day.

Person doing yoga

I was skeptical of the idea of working out every day, but after I read this, I thought it was a good and achievable goal for a week: Midday Workout Habit — I Tried It: Working Out in the Middle of the Day. The key is to be open to change and not go hard every day. But if you can go harder, try it.

If you are thinking, “exercise? I can barely walk”, then choose walking to be your new fitness routine. If you need advice on that, read this: How to Keep a Fitness Streak — Turn Daily Walks into a Habit.

If you were walking before as exercise and you found it boring (confession, I did), here’s some advice on how to make it more interesting: The Joy of Steps: 20 Ways to Give Purpose to Your Daily Walk

If walking still isn’t your thing, then here’s a guide to finding something good to do: Keeping Fit: How to Do the Right Exercise for Your Age

Remember, you don’t normally have to exercise a lot. Indeed, this article encourages you to take a bit more than 10 minutes to get some benefits: Exercise 11 Minutes a Day for a Longer Life.

While 11 minutes is good to extend your life, if you want to lose weight, then read this: Exercise for Weight Loss: Aim for 300 Minutes a Week

Finally, whatever you do, remember this: Exercise Shouldn’t Feel Horrible

Good luck!
(Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash)

The Fitbit Aria scale is the honest friend you need if you are worried about your weight. Here’s why.

I am a huge fan of the Fitbit Aria scale, even when it is brutally honest about my weight situation. It prevents me from deceiving myself about how I am doing. And it encourages me if I’m making even a bit of progress.

The Aria scale measures both your weight and your body fat percentage to the fraction of a pound.  (It also gives you your BMI, but I don’t care about that). That little bit of accuracy helps. I found when I was dieting, sometimes knowing that my weight went down by a fraction of a percentage helped me get through the day. (Motivation often turns on small points like this.) Likewise, right now with the pandemic I see my weight going up by a fraction of a pound every week. So I am trying to get it to go down by a fraction of a pound every week. A half pound every week adds up to 25 pounds in a year.

Having both those numbers prevent you from fooling yourself. If you go on a low carb diet, your weight may drop suddenly, but your body fat percentage may go up alot. (In the past mine did). That tells me that I am not really losing fat or even muscle that quickly. It’s likely water. Over time I did lose weight, but that initial weight loss isn’t what I thought.

The flip side of that is I have noticed my body fat percentage has gone up during the pandemic even though my body weight has stabilized. Makes sense: my physical effort has really gone down hill during the pandemic, and so my muscles have decreased. Sadly. That’s very different from situations I have had in the pre pandemic times when I was working out and my weight was staying the same but my body fat was decreasing. That was good: I was replacing fat with muscle.

Since I also have a fitbit for tracking my activity, all of those numbers sync up in the Fitbit app, which makes it easier for me to track the relationship between my activity and my weight.

I can also use it to track my mental state too. I can tell when I have had stressful times in my life because I either stop eating and suddenly lose weight fast, or I start eating a lot and gain weight fast. I might think I am doing fine, but the numbers say otherwise.

It’s not perfect (what is?).  I tend to weigh myself the first thing every morning. If  eat a carb heavy meal the night before, my weight will be up. If I stop eating early in the evening, my weight will go down. I don’t worry about it though: I am mostly focused on the trends.

I have gone through two of these scales now and if this one dies, I will certainly get another one. I find it too easy to deceive myself about my weight: the Aria scale is the brutally honest friend I need to stay on track.

 

How to go skating in Toronto in the pandemic

Liisa Ladouceur (shown above) has written a thorough guide for anyone who wants to go skating in Toronto during the pandemic. No, you cannot just show up with your blades and start skating. You need to do more. And you should do more, because skating is a great way to enjoy winter in the pandemic era. So read this: Where to go skating in Toronto in 2020 by Liisa Wanders. Then get out there! Maybe I will see you at a socially safe distance with a fun mask on too.

Just how short a workout can you do and gain benefits? Would you believe 4 seconds?


You might find that ridiculous, but if you read this, you might change your mind.

I have been doing what is known as “greasing the groove” while working at home during the pandemic. I have noticed getting stronger. As well, I stretch at least once a day, and I have found I have become more flexible too.

You will not get in the same shape as someone who works out 30-60 minutes every day. Get yourself some weights or even some heavy objects. Or go over to a site like darebee and get a 1 minute workout. After doing it for a few weeks, you will achieve more than you imagined.

Give it a shot.

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

In a Hurry? Try Express Weight Training

Weight training has many benefits. If you have been considering it but balking, you likely have multiple reasons for not getting started. One reason might be: you have no time. Well, if you have thirteen minutes, you can do a weight workout. As noted here, In a Hurry? Try Express Weight Training – The New York Times, you can get stronger no matter what. Of three groups tested for strength gain: 

One group was asked to complete five sets of each exercise, with about 90 seconds of rest between sets. Their total time for a session at the gym was almost 70 minutes. A second group was asked to complete three sets of each exercise, requiring they work out for about 40 minutes. The third group had to finish only one set of each exercise, meaning that they were done after a brisk 13 minutes. Each volunteer performed his given workout three times a week for eight weeks and then returned to the lab to repeat the muscle measurements. After the two months, all of the young men were stronger, a finding that, by itself, is beguiling, since it suggests that people can continue to gain strength even if they already are experienced at resistance training. But more interesting and surprising, the strength improvements were essentially the same, no matter how many — or few — sets the men completed. The men who had stopped after one set gained as much strength as those who had done five sets or three.

As with anything, your results may vary. But if you want to get stronger with the least amount of time put in, consider this.

Three links to help you get back into some kind of fitness routine.

I keep searching for information on fitness, trying to motivate myself to get there. These seemed good to me. If you are in the same slump, check them out:

  1. Just try anything, 3x a week.
  2. Some new fitness routines to try.
  3. Some fitness myths that may be stopping you from exercising.
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Lighten your mental load by lifting a physical one: lift weights to lift depression

You may hate lifting weights, but if you struggle with depression, even from time to time, then you should consider it.

More details, here: Resistance Training May Help Relieve Depression (Time)

What are you looking at in terms of exercise? It says:

He recommends following the guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine: doing strength training at least two days per week by performing eight to 12 repetitions of eight to 10 different strength-building exercises each time.

Sounds hard, but it isn’t. And if you need some exercise routes, go to Darebee and find some routines you need.

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Darebee has great meal plans too (if you feel the need to get off the all you can eat pandemic merry go round)

 

The pandemic working from home has been hard, and for some of us, eating has been a source of joy. However, I am feeling the need to eat better and maybe even shed a few pounds. For help, I am turning to one of my favorite sites for this: Darebee.

I love DareBee.com for it’s fitness routines and the great posters they provide.  They have made getting in some exercise a breeze. But they have other things to help you get fit and live better too. One section of the site is dedicated to Meal Planning. You can find lots of great items there, including ones to help you transition to a vegetarian meal routine

If you feel like eating better, consider checking this out.

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How to hack your workout routine so you do it more


Ok, fine, your workout routine right now might consist of opening the fridge thirty times a day. That’s fair. It’s hard to get motivated to exercise during a pandemic.

But you might be trapped in thinking that a) I am feeling crappy because I am not exercising but b) exercising makes me feel crappy. It’s a dilemma.

I think this article can help you out of the dilemma: Maybe You’d Exercise More If It Didn’t Feel So Crappy in FiveThirtyEight

I’d rather you read it then summarize it. I will say that one way to get out of the rut you are in is to reconsider what you are exercising for. You may have high goals, and if so, great. But if your goals are: “feel better” then there are plenty of ways to exert yourself (i.e. exercise) that are not crappy. A good long walk (preferably with a destination, at least for me), a bicycle ride, or running around the park with your dog (don’t just stand there) can all work. Stretching daily as a way to break from work is useful. Go to the dollar store and get a jump rope and get outside and skip again. Grab a garbage bag and go pick up some litter (I saw someone on twitter doing this). Do some woodworking or do a lot of batch baking (if you haven’t been exercising, you will find this tiring). Plenty of ways of being active. Or do things like the article says: start off hard into your exercise routine but gradually make it easier and easier.

Most importantly, find an easy way to track it so you stick with it. You will likely find yourself feeling better, or at least less crappy.

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Eight easy workouts while staying at home during the pandemic

I am guessing that

  • your exercise routine has died (if not, kudos!)
  • you feel like you should do some form of exercise
  • you are feeling worried about doing workouts outdoors

If this is true, you need some workouts to do at home. Now you might be thinking that you don’t have room or equipment or even the energy to workout at home. Think again: these eight workouts below can be done by most people. There’s a combination of things to make yourself more active during the day, from stretching to exercising:

  1. Morning Stretching
  2. Morning Workout
  3. Energy Boost
  4. Reset Stretch
  5. Mini workout while watching TV
  6. Or while playing video games
  7. Office Yoga
  8. Simple workout before bed

All these workout comes from the DAREBEE website, which has an impressive and excellent database of exercises. You can find all the workouts here, and they are all easily searchable. You can find a workout for pretty much anything.

These days of staying at home during the pandemic are hard days. Being inactive can make it harder. Try lightening things up with a bit of physical activity.

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How should you exercise as you get older?

Like nutrition advice, exercise advice seems to change as often as clothing fashion changes. It can be hard to keep up, and easy to get skeptical that any advice is solid. However, if you want to keep up and are not skeptical, read this: How Smart Exercise Keeps You Younger for Longer.

My take, which is a variation of this, is simple: do a range of exercises, from cardio, to strength, to stretching to balancing. A fitness routine that includes all this is better than a fitness routine that just focuses on one or two areas. And any fitness routine is better than no fitness routine.

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Is warning people about how much exercise it takes to work off a meal a good idea?

According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…

Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.

That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.

I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.

No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.

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An alternative way to get stronger that is both counter-intuitive and something you could use

The alternative is explained here: How to ‘Grease the Groove’ and Exercise Easy – The Atlantic.

If you don’t know anything about getting stronger, you should read this. You should also read it if you are someone who knows about sets, reps, leg day, and other such things. It may not be the way to reach peak bodybuilding, but it could be just the thing for people who can’t seem to find a good way to get stronger.

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Even weekend exercisers get to live longer

Image of person running

Hard to believe, but according to this:

Working out only on the weekends or otherwise compressing your total physical activity into one or two prolonged runs or a single vigorous basketball or soccer game each week could lessen your risks of dying prematurely almost as effectively as more frequent, shorter workouts spread throughout the week, according to an interesting new study of the so-called weekend warrior phenomenon.

So you had a bad week and never hit the gym once. Don’t despair: sneak a weekend workout in and do yourself a favour.

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The World’s Fastest Senior


This is a remarkable story of literally The World’s Fastest (Old) Man, via The New York Times.

It’s almost inconceivable someone in their 70s can be that fast, let alone setting records. Well worth reading for inspiration.

(Photo link: CreditKristian Thacker for The New York Times)

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How to get unstuck from your fitness routine (25 ideas)


If you fitness routine is stuck or worse, then I highly recommend you read this:  How to Stay Fit Forever: 25 Tips When Life Gets in the Way.

You should find something in that piece to help get you unstuck and get going again. So grab a towel and a water bottle and get moving!

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Six links for minimalists


There’s a little bit of everything here for those who aspire to a minimalist lifestyle, from fitness to decor to cooking. Enjoy.

  1. The Minimalist’s Strength Workout – Outside – Pocket
  2. Y Home Minimalist Apartment by Office ZHU – Design Milk
  3. Colorful Minimalistic Photography By Collin Pollard – Fubiz Media
  4. Budget-Friendly Amazon Minimalist Home Decor | Apartment Therapy
  5. minimalist barbecue sauce – smitten kitchen
  6. Cacio e Pepe Recipe | Bon Appetit

Ten good wellness links


Because we all could use some good advice as to how to be healthier and happier:

  1. The Health Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation: The Science Behind The Practice | SELF
  2. The Little Handbook for Getting Stuff Done : zen habits
  3. Give Up Comfort : zen habits
  4. When Negative Thoughts Keep You Down: How to Break the Addiction
  5. In a Hurry? Try Express Weight Training – The New York Times
  6. Two psychologists have a surprising theory on how to get motivated — Quartz at Work
  7. How to Cope with a Toxic and Estranged Family Relationship
  8. If You’re Too Busy For These 5 Things: Your Life Is More Off-Course Than You Think
  9. What I Learned Doing Push-Ups Every Day for a Month
  10. Surprisingly simple tips from 20 experts about how to lose weight and keep it off – Vox
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If you need a workout or a change in your routine, you need DAREBEE

Seriously. They have a workout for everyone. Short, long, general, focused…all kinds. Even the supervillian workout, show above!

Find them here: DAREBEE – Fitness On Your Terms.

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If you need to toughen up mentally

Toughness is good and bad. When it is prioritized over other qualities, it is bad. When it seen as a reservoir to get through tough times, it is good. Regardless of your situation, if you want to improve your mental toughness, here are some books you might want to consider: The 5 Best Books for Increasing Your Mental Toughness | Inc.com

Be as tough as you need to be, not just tough for toughness sake.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson at age 60 and what that means

This piece is a must read for anyone trying to maintain their fitness later in life. It’s not easy, even for legends like JBS. Take solace in seeing how even the greats adjust as they get older, and read this:  How a great marathoner — Joan Benoit Samuelson — keeps going at age 60 – The Washington Post

 

4 behaviors that may cut the risk of cancer by 30 percent

Everyone wants to lower their risk of cancer. This piece can help with this: 4 behaviors that may cut the risk of cancer by 30 percent – Vox. The main point of the piece was that:

… people who never smoked or smoked for only a few years and people who drank no or only small amounts of alcohol (one or fewer drinks per day for women and two or fewer for men). It also included people with a BMI between 18.5 and 27.5, and people who exercised vigorously for at least 75 minutes per week or moderately for 150 minutes…

…were at a lower risk of getting cancer than people who did not do these things.

Smoking and drinking are easy for you to monitor. If you want to track your BMI and fitness level, consider getting a digital scale and a fitness tracker. I use the Fitbit Aria scale to track my BMI and my Apple Watch to monitor my exercise. Of course you can monitor those things just as well with a simple scale, a watch, a pencil and a notepad. Regardless of how you do it, I encourage you to take action in the New Year to lower your risk of cancer.

How to get in shape, in two steps

There are only two steps to get in shape: 1) lose weight 2) exercise. Of course, those can be big steps. You need help to take both. These 15 links can provide you with some of the help you need.

1. Lose Weight

  1. Intermittent Fasting 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
  2. The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting
  3. Michael Pollan’s Simple Rules for Eating
  4. Scarsdale Diet – Moms Who Think
  5. Becoming Strong & Healthy as a Vegan : zen habits
  6. How Chef Nate Appleman Lost 85 Pounds with Really Good Food | Healthyish | Bon Appetit
  7. How I Lost 75 Pounds in 120 Days – Medium
  8. My Personal Fat-Loss Plan : zen habits

2. Exercise

  1. What Keeps Me Running | Runner’s World
  2. How Running and Meditation Help the Depressed — Science of Us
  3. The Beginners Guide to Orangetheory Fitness | MyFitnessPal
  4. How to Build Your Own Workout Routine | Nerd Fitness
  5. Total Body Training With Only A Pair Of Dumbbells.
  6. The 14 best beginner’s exercises to do at home – Men’s Health
  7. Beginner Body Weight Workout – Build Muscle, Burn Fat | Nerd Fitness

Two simple ways to get fitter, easier

Stairs
Getting fit can seem like a big production, and for people who haven’t been exercising, that can be all it takes to prevent them from getting fitter. Speaking from experience, I know this to be the case.

What I think you need is something that will a) get you in the habit b) be so low key you have no real excuse to get started.

If you agree then I think these two pieces are just what you need to get started on your way to being fitter.

  1. 10 Minutes And Some Stairs Are All You Need To Get More Fit — Science of Us
  2. Yoga for Everyone: A Beginners Guide – Well Guides – The New York Times

As for the yoga, if you don’t want to do all 10, then pick a few just to get started. Even doing 2-3 at first should get you started.

Good luck!

P.S. For more on simplifying exercise, check out this piece in Vox.

If Ruth Bader Ginsburg can workout like this, so can you

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 2016 portrait

An interesting article: Ben Schreckinger from Politico Did Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Workout. It Nearly Broke Him. If you want to see what the 80+ year old judge does to keep in shape, or be inspired to keep in shape yourself, I’d recommend reading it.

It can get too easy to forgo exercising when you get older. One reason people stop is because they think they are too old and cannot do it. Or if they do exercise, they will harm themselves.  Her trainer cautions against that, and says:

“Do something. If you’re not doing anything then I advise you do something. It doesn’t matter what you do. You find out what is your niche and do something. Your body is made to move.”

Good advice. Maybe your fitness routine is long walks. Or cycling. Or yoga. Or benchpressing hundreds of pounds. Whatever you do, do something. And read the article. I hope it will  inspire you to get fit. Whatever your age.

(Image linked to on Wikipedia)

Two thoughts on the Pro Hijab for Muslim female athletes that Nike is launching

First thought: it seems like Nike has done their homework on this. They consulted athletes such as Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad in their development of the product and they:

…worked with Amna and a variety of other athletes to see what they needed and wanted in a performance hijab. What we heard was that women were looking for a lightweight and breathable solution that would stay in place without concern of shifting.

Makes sense: these are the qualities that athletes look for in high performance garments in a variety of sports. That said, gaining the feedback from professional athletes that would actually wear it counts for much more than common sense.

Second thought: I hope professional female athletes that train and compete train in their hijab go on to adopt this product, whether it comes from Nike or other makers of sports apparel. More importantly, I hope that this further results in girls and women adopting such a product and — more importantly — participating more in sports and gaining all that can be gained as a result of such participation (I think those gains are considerable.)

Kudos to Nike on this. And kudos to all the women athletes who train and compete, at all levels.

For more on this, see: Nike Launches the Pro Hijab for Muslim Female Athletes | HYPEBAE

Looking to run a marathon or half-marathon? Then you need my race schedule spreadsheets to plan out your training runs

If you are planning to run a marathon or half-marathon this year, then one of the first questions you will ask yourself is: do I have enough time to train for it? Two things that can help you answer this question are here: blm849/Bernie-s-Race-Scheduling-Spreadsheets: My Race Schedule Spreadsheets to plan out my training runs.

With my spreadsheets, you enter a date, and it will give you a 16-20 week schedule you need to follow to get ready for a marathon or a half-marathon (or a 21K, as I like to call it).

Since they are spreadsheets, you can adjust them in any way you see fit. Add weeks, change the mileage, etc. If you have any other changes you would like to see, let me know.

Is it possible to run a sub two hour marathon?

Nike seems to think so, based on this: Nike Wants Athletes to Run a Marathon in Under Two Hours, So It’s Rebuilding the Race. And the Runners | WIRED

While it’s a bad idea to say it can’t happen, Runner’s World has a long list of reasons why it will be a difficult thing to accomplish: What Will It Take to Run A 2-Hour Marathon

Perhaps the two hour marathon will be like the four minute mile: once insurmountable, then broken, then broken often.  If and when that happens, I think it will not be a near term event.

In the meantime, read the articles, especially the one from Runner’s World: it’s a fascinating study into biomechanics and running, as well as some fine infographics.

In praise of the 5K and other (non-marathon) races

The marathon is great race, and if you are aiming to run your first in the new year, it is a great thing to accomplish.

That said, you can also get a great sense of accomplishment out of running races less than 42.2 kilometers. To see what I mean, I highly recommend these two articles that praise the 5K:

  1. The 5K, Not The Marathon, Is The Ideal Race | FiveThirtyEight
  2. 10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome | Runner’s World

After reading them, I had a much greater appreciation of that race. (I think the same argument could be made for the 10K.)

As for me, I am a fan of the half-marathon. The only thing I don’t like about it is the name: it implies you haven’t done something great, when you have. Perhaps it needs to get rebranded as a 20K: not half a marathon, but twice a 10K!

Regardless of the distance you run, and how often you run it, enjoy your athleticism and take pride in it.

(Chart is a link to the image from the FiveThirtyEight article)

Should you take St John’s wort for depression, and other advice on supplements

This is a wonderful interactive chart that shows you how worthwhile (or worthless) certain supplements are, based on evidence (as opposed to anecdote or worse): Snake Oil Supplements from Information is Beautiful.

If you are a fan of a certain supplement, you can use this chart to discover what it is good for. And if you have a certain health concern, you can use the chart to determine what may work and what’s a waste of money.

If you like this, check out more of the charts on the information is beautiful site. They have lots of good charts.

Are you in terrible shape? Not so terrible but bad enough shape? Do you need help? Here you go

Like most people — for instance, me — , you may need to get in better shape. In doing some research on it, I came across the following links that I found interesting, inspiring, and useful. I hope you do too:

Some links to support your new year’s resolutions

If you’ve decided to become more fit, work better, or be better generally, then consider these resources to support you as advance towards achieving your goals:

Good luck!

Thinking of getting fit this summer? You need my fitness link pack

Are you thinking of getting fit this summer? Or do you like to read about people getting fit while you drink your favorite cocktail and sit under the shade? Either way, here’s a bunch of interesting links you’ll want to read

Runner’s World | What Will It Take to Run A 2-Hour Marathon: fascinating. Right now men are closing in on this number, but this article shows how hard it will be to achieve that time. Even people who don’t run marathons will find this worth a look.
Weight loss and habit forming — Let’s not pretend we have it all figured out — Medium. For those of you struggling with their weight, this will be of some comfort.
Your Body is All You Need: The World’s Oldest Training Method (and a 1% Workout) | Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do you think you need fancy equipment to get fit? Think again and listen to Arnold.
Take off that Fitbit. Exercise alone won’t make you lose weight. – The Washington Post. Not just for fitbit users, but anyone trying to lose weight. You need to cut back on eating to make gains (though with enough exercise over time, you can lose that way too).
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Eats About 821 Pounds Of Cod Per Year | FiveThirtyEight. On the other hand, here is an extreme example of what massive amounts of exercise can do to your diet. The Rock eats alot. ALOT. See for yourself.
The Rise of the Spornosexual. Finally, this post is a good one on anyone who wants to go from blah to fit. (The image above is from this piece.) It’s a spartan life to get that way, but it is within the range of the possible for anyone dedicated. Like you, perhaps?  (And yes, they use a bunch of tricks to make the After photo look fitter than the Before photo, but still, the dude is fitter.)

 

The pros and cons of FitBits and other wearable fitness devices (plus my own thoughts)

Here’s two recent pieces on the pros and cons of wearable fitness devices.

Pro: Wearables and Self-Awareness (Personal) – NYTimes.com.

Con: Science Says FitBit Is a Joke | Mother Jones

I tend to agree with Krugman’s pro views in the NYTimes.  In a nutshell, Krugman’s view is that having a tracker like a FitBit makes it harder to lie to yourself about your fitness. A FitBit will let you know and help you track when you are active or sedentary, just like a scale will tell you when you are eating too much or too little.

The Mother Jones article has good points, too. FitBits have limits. They aren’t for all kinds or exercise, they may not be precise, and some apps on a smartphone can do just as good a job. That said, their title is a joke and their article is misleading. For example, trackers start at much lower than $100. As well, for people walking or running, carrying a smartphone is not always a good option. FitBits are more accurate than the article let’s on, and the readings that they provide is a reasonably close measure of your activity. The limits to wearable fitness devices are real, but Mother Jones overstate their case.

Do you or I need any of these devices? No. Based on my fitbit, I can walk a mile in about 2000 steps. If I were to sit down with a free service like Google maps, I could easily plot out a 5 mile walking route that, if I walked daily, would mean I would  hit at least 10,000 steps a day. (10,000 steps is my daily goal). Or I could just go for an hour walk and not worry about a route at all. (It takes me around that time to walk 5 miles if I walk it at a good pace.) Either way, a map or a watch can easily replace a wearable device. If you can’t afford or don’t want a wearable device, just use a map, a watch, and a log book, and you will get similar benefits.

Why I like my FitBit is that it does the work for me. I can walk anywhere I want, for as long as I want, and it will keep track of all that for me. Plus it keeps a ongoing record I can look up when I want. Finally, like Krugman noted, it prevents me from lying to myself about how active I am.

A wearable device is an aid, and like any aid, it helps you achieve your desired outcome. If you don’t need such an aid, don’t use it. As for me, the fitbit helps me meet my fitness goals and I am glad I have it.

Forget Barefoot; New Trendsetter in Running Shoes Is Cushioning – NYTimes.com

Oy. First we had the minimalist running shoe. Now comes this: Forget Barefoot; New Trendsetter in Running Shoes Is Cushioning in the NYTimes.com. Yep, we are swinging from minimalist shoes to maximalist shoes. Should you get them? I agree with Lauren here:

Lauren Fleshman, a national champion in the 5,000 meters, likened the maximalist upswing to past footwear phenomena, now rejected as passé.

“To me, maximalist shoes fall right in the line of every other shoe trend,” she said. “There’s some good reasoning, but we don’t know enough about how it affects the body longer term, and we won’t know until everyone has been using it a while and all the other research comes out about how it destroys your body or whatever, and then there’s a lawsuit, and then there’s a campaign about how to use the technology properly, and then in the midst of all this confusion the next trend takes off. There is no shoe savior coming for us.”

If you are running outside, you need to warm up in more ways than one

If you are going to be running in cold weather, having a warm up to get you started will help. Here’s a good one to try: Winter Prep Workout from Runner’s World.

It typically takes 5-10 minutes to warm up when you go running. (Some people can take much longer). During those few minutes, I found I am cold and sometimes miserable. This warm up can help reduce the misery of winter running and also help you from getting injured.

Anything that makes winter running easier is worthwhile.

Are you a couch potato? Do you want to get in better shape? Then read what former couch potatoes did

I don’t think highly of lists that supposedly help you to get in shape. I am happy to make an exception for this one: 15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Their Best Tips For Getting In Shape.

It’s not so much a list as it is 15 different stories. Each person has a different approach to getting in shape. What worked for one person may not work for you, but there is a good chance that out of the 15 stories, there will be more than a few new ideas that you can steal and use.

I also liked that it is not a list of advice from people who were athletes or people who were in good shape already. The people on this list were out of shape, and they lost weight and became fit using the sensible approaches they took.

I don’t usually recommend Buzzfeed articles, but this one is a very good exception.

If getting in shape was one of your resolutions for the New Year, this is a good thing for you to read now.