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    Get Those Trainers on for a Spot of Healthy Competition

    Get Those Trainers on for a Spot of Healthy Competition
    Join thousands of South African runners on a 10km virtual run. Who knows, you could even win a prize!
    This post is sponsored by Nedbank | 5 September 2020


    If you haven’t yet joined the #NedbankRunified series, there is still time! There’s no denying the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on all our lives. For many of us, running is what kept us sane (even if it was around our own yards during stage five) and that’s why the guys at Nedbank created the #NedbankRunified series – a unique platform designed to bring South Africans together through our shared love for running.
    More than 92 000 runners took part in the first two instalments of the #NedbankRunified virtual running series in July (5km) and August (8km), the former having the largest number of participants in a South African virtual race to date.
    Round 3 of #NedbankRunified
    The third and penultimate challenge of the #NedbankRunified series is currently underway and will be live from 12-26 September 2020 – this time around, runners are expected to complete a 10km run.
    Runners who successfully complete each monthly challenge will stand a chance to win up to R50 000 in Greenbacks, plus exclusive Nedbank Running Club hampers courtesy of the club’s sponsors: Futurelife, Nike, Bavaria, and Biogen. What’s more, there are also cash prizes up for grabs for Nedbank Running Club members who finish in the top 10 of their respective categories.
    The overall series winner will walk away with the chance to compete in a major international marathon and an all-expenses-paid trip for two to get there. Because we all know there’s a good cheerleader behind every great runner.
    Stay in the loop and follow Nedbank Sport on Twitter and Facebook.
    Need a little more encouragement? Get inspired by the runners in this clip on YouTube.
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    Participate in the series by simply downloading the Strava app and then joining the verified Nedbank Running Club:


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    Here’s The Challenge You Need To Ace Those Running Goals

    The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world and turned the way we do things on its head. We’ve had to adjust to a new way of living. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up on our passions – we just need to find different ways to pursue them. That’s why Nedbank has created the #NedbankRunified series – a unique platform designed to bring us together through our shared love for running.
    – Whether you’re a pro runner, an amateur, or someone who just indulges in an after-work pavement pounding therapy sesh, #NedbankRunified is for you…
    The first challenge in July saw more than 50 000 participants and the numbers have just kept growing! If this doesn’t activate a healthy competitive spirit in you, then a few prizes (including cash) will…
    Win with #NedbankRunified
    Runners who successfully complete each monthly challenge stand a chance to win up to R50 000 in Greenbacks, plus exclusive Nedbank Running Club hampers courtesy of the club’s sponsors: Futurelife, Nike, Bavaria and Biogen.
    There are also cash prizes up for grabs for Nedbank Running Club members who finish in the top 10 of their respective categories.
    Plus, the overall series winner walks away with the chance to compete in a major international marathon – including an all-expenses-paid trip for two so they can bring someone along to cheer them on.
    [embedded content]
    To join the series, simply download the Strava app and join the verified Nedbank Running Club…

    Stay on top of all announcements, news and events relating to the #NedbankRunified series by following Nedbank Sport on Twitter and Facebook.

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    A Trainer Explains What Cardio Actually Is And What Workouts Rev Your Heart Enough To Count

    By now, you probably know that cardio training is something you should be doing on the regular. Experts recommend getting in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio exercise (or 75 minutes of more vigorous cardio). But if you find yourself wondering: What is cardio, exactly? As in, which workouts will get your blood pumping enough to count toward your goals, you’ve come to the right place.
    Here’s the short answer: Cardio — short for cardiorespiratory training — refers to any exercise that creates such an energy demand on your system that it elevates your heart rate and gets your blood pumping faster.
    The result? “Cardio makes your body, specifically your heart, able to deliver more oxygen to your muscles,” says Austin Martin, an exercise physiologist. Your bod’s capacity to consume oxygen is called its VO2 Max, and cardio training can increase this number and your overall cardio fitness level.
    Danielle Keita-Taguchi, a certified trainer, says that a good way to figure out your cardio fitness baseline is by comparing your resting heart rate to the average resting heart rate for adults, which is 60 to 100 beats per minute.
    How to find your resting heart rate: First, find your pulse, then count how many times your heart beats in 15 second, and multiply that number by four, according to the Mayo Clinic.
    The lower your resting heart rate, the higher your cardio fitness level is — FYI, athletes can have resting heart rates that dip into 40 bpm territory. Your resting heart rate depends on a lot of factors like your age, medical history, and physical activity level. “A nurse, who is running around a hospital for a 12 hour shift, is burning way more energy than someone who has a desk job,” Keita-Taguchi explains. “She likely needs less weekly cardio than the person who is mostly sedentary.”
    To learn more about what qualifies as cardio and just how it helps your body stay healthy read on.
    What are the benefits of cardio?
    In terms of long-term benefits, Martin says that cardiovascular exercise reduces your overall risk of death and disease. “It makes you effectively younger,” he says. “Many people who have exercised [throughout] their lifetime will have a physiologic age way less than their actual age.” In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that marathon training, which requires you to regularly run, can reduce four years’ worth of blood pressure and stiffness to your arteries.
    It’s especially beneficial to people on a weight loss journey. “It’s a great way to supplement strength training to help reduce body fat,” says Keita-Taguchi. When you combine cardio training with strength training, you create an opportunity for your body to burn calories and an elevated rate even after you’re done exercising as your body works to recover and repair its muscles. This fitness phenomenon is formally known as EPOC.
    Not only does cardio have physical benefits, but it can also have an effect on your mental health. There are studies linking cardio training specifically to a lower risk of depression. A study published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal found that even modest levels of exercise can contribute to the improvement of symptoms in people with depression.
    Aside from improving your mental health, cardiovascular training also has a positive effect on cognitive function, since it increases overall blood flow to the brain, says Keita-Taguchi. Aerobic exercise improves the brain’s ability to reason, plan, and problem-solve, according to a study by Columbia University”s Irving Medical Center.
    What are the best types of cardio exercises?
    While cardio may instantly make you think of running, Keita-Taguchi says that really any exercise which stimulates an increased heart rate can really be considered cardio, though your workouts should fall in line with your goals.
    If you’re looking for moderate cardio, stick to workouts that feel like a six or seven out of 10 in terms of effort, if 10 is your all-out max. Anything that feels like an eight or above is considered vigorous exercise.
    Swimming: This is perfect for people who don’t want to put too much pressure on their joints. “Swimming is great because it’s low-impact and builds great cardiorespiratory health. If you have knee issues or jumping is not for you, swimming can be a great alternative,” says Keita-TaGuchi.
    Hiking: Not only does hiking promote physical activity, but spending time in nature is restorative for mental and emotional health, too. It actually quiets the part of the brain associated with overthinking, according to research published by PNAS.
    Running: Steady-state jogging is arguably the form of exercises most people think of when it comes to cardio. If you’re looking for ways to become a runner, here’s where to start.
    Bodyweight HIIT Exercises: Working on explosive, high-intensity exercises for about 30-45 seconds bursts is an easy way to create a challenging and sweaty exercise, says Keita-TaGuchi. Here are five HIIT workouts for women who want to get fit fast.
    Kickboxing: With kickboxing, you may just be able to burn between 582 and 864 calories an hour. Spar for 90 seconds at a time and then rest for 30 to create a serious burn.
    Stairs: Martin says climbing stairs is a demanding exercise that also builds leg strength. This can be a steady state workout, or you can do it in interval format, where you alternate between one minute of low and moderate-to high-intensity climbing, playing with the length of your intervals and rests.
    Rowing Machine: Though it’s a low-impact exercise, rowing workouts are really high-intensity. What’s more, they activate all the major muscles in your legs, arms, back, and core.
    Kettlebell Circuit: Adding kettlebells to your circuit training can keep you burning calories for up to 36 hours after you’re done working out, according to Noam Tamir. In just one hour, you can burn between 554 and 822 calories.
    Biking: “Cycling is an awesome steady-state and HIIT option that is also low impact,” Martin says. “With an indoor bike, you can try 30 seconds on hard, followed by 30 seconds easy for an amazing burn.” He also says it’s a great option for people who want to achieve a sprint, but aren’t necessarily in the best physical condition to run.
    Jump rope: Not only is jumping rope one of Halle Berry’s fav forms of cardio, but it’s super effective at burning major calories too.
    Bottom line: Cardiovascular training is a great way to burn calories, improve your heart’s ability to pump blood, and a complement to any weight loss journey. Its benefits include better cognitive function and mental health in addition to maintaining physical health and strength. A ton of exercises including skipping rope, swimming and biking all qualify as cardiovascular training.
    This article was originally published on

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    5 Workout Shoes That Are Perfect For Training At Home

    Here’s the thing about working out at home. When you’re at the gym, you’re in a controlled environment. The flooring has been specifically selected with exercise in mind. The only obstacles in your path are the weights you didn’t pack away (tsk, tsk). But at home you may find the terrain less than ideal. Were you thinking of broad jumps when you laid down those shiny porcelain tiles in your dining room? And does your dog / cat / toddler keep a respectable distance during your weekly Zoom Zumba class? Didn’t think so. That’s why your choice of workout shoes matters more than ever now that you’re training at home. Here are the WH team’s tried-and-tested staff picks.
    Reebok NanoX

    The latest iteration of Reebok’s Nano trainer has the same great stability that previous versions were known for, but with even more support, thanks to extra reinforcement around the heel and a wider base at the back. These cool-looking workout shoes hold up well in lateral movements (speed skaters; avoiding the dog), jumping and one-legged moves like lunges and “Oh, sh-, Gemma, get out the way!” The woven upper allows your toes to flex freely but seems more durable than regular mesh. Rubber reinforcement in the front further reduces the chances of a toe breaking free during repetitive skipping or jumping.
    READ MORE: 7 Best Trail Running Shoes For Women In 2020, According To Athletes And Experts 
    Deputy editor Wanita Nicol says: “What makes these really great workout shoes for home is the seriously grippy outsole. I jumped around freely and never felt like I was in danger of slipping, even on parquet flooring. It’s roomy enough for broader feet — if yours are narrow, like mine, I’d recommend a thicker sock. The forefoot is springy, which is great for shuttle sprints, but I wouldn’t wear these to go for a run. For functional training, they’re awesome! And they look so hot with dark jeans.”

    Puma Provoke XT

    The WH team have worn many a Puma cross trainer into the ground, but the Provoke has to be the hottest one yet. We’re all a little obsessed with the geometric styling and hot pink details. Although the Provokes have more going for them than their flashy good looks. These are great home workout shoes if your house has hard floors or you’re training outside on, say, paving, as the soft, bouncy PROFOAM midsole offers excellent cushioning. They’re also super grippy and stable.
    READ MORE: 6 Exercise-Friendly Face Masks And What To Look For When Buying Them
    Digital editor Gina Beretta says: “First off, I really like the look of these ones! You can easily go from workout mat to coffee date in these — they have major street style vibes. I did a HIIT workout in them and I felt that they were really supportive and flexible. My foot didn’t move around inside the shoe at all and it didn’t feel like I was wearing a ‘sock’.”
    Senior copy editor Leigh Champanis-King says: “These shoes are so great for working out in. They give lots of support and are really stable during a high-intensity workout. My feet don’t slide around inside, but they’re roomy (no squished toes!), and the PROFOAM midsole is light and bouncy and so comfortable to jump around on.”
    Nike Metcon 5

    Nike has always made great workout shoes, but, dayumn, they’ve upped their game with the Metcon 5. If you’re familiar with the Metcon 4, the 5 has more cushioning, but doesn’t sacrifice grip. You can jump, sprint and change direction quickly without losing your footing. You could even do a short run, but not more than 5 kays max. They’re nice and pliable, so they move with your foot, but are still stable enough to prevent rolling an ankle. They also have a few bonus features: For starters, they’re available in UK size 2.5. through 9. Non-sample size women, rejoice! They also come with 6mm inner soles that you can slip into the shoes for an extra lift in workouts comprising moves like wall balls, snatches and thrusters.

    Key account manager Jeanine Kruger says: “The Metcon 5 is comfort in every way. They fitted like a glove from the moment I tried them on. I have had shoes which I had to replace in a month as the material is too soft for the hardcore exercises CrossFit demands, but the Metcons have a durable material which keeps all toes and feet well cushioned inside the shoe (no holes coming up or any material tearing loose from the soles). And if you hit your feet with a skipping rope doing double-unders, you will not feel a thing. Another great feature: The added 6mm inner soles. Definitely a money-saving technique, as I don’ t have to worry about buying extra lifting shoes for weightlifting activities. Doing single-leg squats has never felt better! The shoes are also easy to clean; you can literally just wipe off dust or any marks. It’s versatile, durable, and on top of its game.”

    Under Armour HOVR Apex

    The HOVR Apex features Under Armour’s Tribase technology in the sole, designed for extra stability, especially in workouts where you need to change direction very quickly. And stability should certainly be its middle name. It almost feels like you’re wearing a brace. If you struggle with ankle instability and are prone to twisting or spraining ligaments, this is a really good option. Because it’s not quite as grippy as some of the other shoes we’ve tested, it performs really well on carpets. There’s no chance of getting stuck as you jump around. Keep it in the workout space though – it’s a little heavy for running.

    Deputy editor Wanita Nicol says: “These are among the most stable workout shoes I’ve ever trained in. Thanks to clever lacing design and a reinforcement around the midfoot, my narrow feet felt supported, even wearing a thin sock. They are a little snug when you pull them on, but UA seems to have thought of that — there’s a loop on the heel that makes it easier. They also have good ventilation so my feet don’t get hot and sweaty when I train.”
    adidas Primeblue Ultraboost 20

    adidas Primeblue Ultraboost 20
    R 2999

    A recent worldwide study of internet search results across 40 countries by revealed that the Ultraboost is the most popular running shoe in both South Africa and the world: 32 out of 40 countries search it more than any other running shoe and it averages 327 000 searches a month! To be honest, we weren’t really surprised. It’s an awesome running shoe for any distance and a firm favourite of many of us here in the WH office. And despite technically being a running shoe, it can also handle a home workout. The upper hugs your foot snugly, but the Primeknit material prevents your feet from feeling squashed. The signature Boost foam in the midsole propels you forward with every step.

    Content creator Cally Silberbauer says: “I’ve used these shoes for road runs as well as HIIT workouts and they’ve delivered in every way. There’s a great ankle support system which is a winner for me as I do tend to roll my ankles when running (weak ankles!). The Ultraboost range always has a great energy return or bounce factor and the 20s are no exception. All-in-all, my feet are always happy working out in these beauts!”  

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    7 Reasons The New Fitbit Charge 4 Is The Perfect Tracker For Lockdown

    Remember the beginning of lockdown, when we were all posting #homeworkout selfies with dogs and kids providing raucous comic relief? Or that first weekend of Level 4, when we donned masks and hit the streets in a glorious celebration of freedom? Personally, I thought I was going to emerge from lockdown like an action hero from a montage, all snatched and svelte and ready for the beach. Shame. Truth is, with each message from Uncle Cyril, my enthusiasm for exercise waned. The first winter cold front finished it off. And load shedding drove a nail through the coffin, making it sure it was dead. Then, one day, as I was shovelling down another spoonful of my feelings, a package arrived: the Fitbit Charge 4. And with it, renewed motivation. Because this nifty little tracker really is perfect for lockdown.
    Value For Money
    For most of us, 2020 is not going down as a year of balling. So if we’re going to splash out on something, it needs to be worthwhile. The main difference between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker is that a tracker’s main purpose is to gather data about your activity and feed it into an app for your viewing pleasure. A smartwatch, on the other hand, has a lot more functionality at the wrist and is more geared towards managing your life — receiving emails and notifications and so on. Smartwatches also tend to have more features. And you pay for all of these privileges. Coming in at R2 999, the Charge 4 has an impressive list of capabilities. You get a lot of the functionality of a smartwatch but at a fraction of the price.

    There’s a walking mode.
    Even at peak fitness, I’m no triathlete. No marathon runner, either. I like to lift heavy things, run the odd 10-kay and torture myself in HIIT classes. Often the smartwatches I test seem geared towards serious endurance athletes. I feel a tad loserish when I set the watch for a Parkrun, knowing it was built to traverse deserts on a single charge. The Charge 4, however, is a great match for someone like me. There are 20 exercise modes available and you can programme six of them into the tracker at a time through the Fitbit app. I felt a twinge of sadness as I scrolled past gym-based options like swimming (it’s waterproof), spinning, treadmill (sob), elliptical and circuit training. But it was convenient to have lockdown-specific activities to choose from, such as yoga, Pilates and hiking. I added running; there was a time, four months ago, when I called myself a runner. But I also added walking; a more accurate reflection of my current reality.
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    You can leave your phone behind.
    If all of this is sounding so far, so mundane, here’s where the Charge 4 gets properly impressive: It has built-in GPS and integrated Fitbit Pay. That means, for the first time in a Fitbit tracker, you can leave your phone at home when you head out for a walk and still use GPS tracking. The battery will last five hours in full-GPS mode — that’s plenty of time to complete a 10-kay or even a 21, if you’re so inclined. And if you activate Fitbit Pay, you can stop for a coffee and pay with the device. So no need to carry a wallet, either.
    It helps you sleep.
    Anyone else struggling with really messed-up sleep schedules since lockdown started? You’d think that spending more time at home would be conducive to getting more sleep, but apparently you’d be wrong. Fitbit has always been a leader in sleep hygiene and the Charge 4 has a number of features designed to help you get more and better-quality shut-eye. If you set your preferred bedtime, it’ll prompt you to start winding down half an hour before. Set a Smart Wake alarm and it’ll monitor your sleep patterns and buzz you awake during a light sleep cycle for a gentler wake-up. In sleep mode you don’t get alerts and it doesn’t light up when you move your wrist — something that irritated me with previous Fitbits. You can also dim the screen.
    READ MORE: This Is The Effect Lockdown Is Having On Your Sleep, According to New Studies
    Charge 4 says, “Move your ass.”
    OK, not in so many words. But I’d forgotten how that little buzz on your wrist prompting you to move every hour gets you off your butt. Now there’s an added incentive: Active minutes are a new goal Fitbit has created to get your lazy lockdown self moving. It’s not necessarily structured exercise, but rather based on non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) i.e. you being active while just living your life (say, vacuuming the house; walking the dog; chasing the fleeing toddler). The tracker registers the activity automatically and it counts towards your daily goal of 150 minutes.
    READ MORE: What Is NEAT And How Can It Help Me Shed Lockdown Weight?
    It’s user-friendly.
    I’ve tested a few smartwatches that were so difficult to get the hang of, I would have thrown them on the ground in frustration had I not had to give them back a few weeks later. The Charge 4 is refreshingly simple. There’s one concealed button on the side that you need to find. Once you’ve made that discovery, it’s pretty straightforward to navigate using the touch screen and the app. As a small-boned woman, I also like that it’s light and discreet and not clunky on my little twig-wrist.
    [embedded content]
    More cool stuff
    The Charge 4 has heart-rate tracking at the wrist, menstrual cycle tracking, integrated Spotify, you get call, text, calendar and other app notifications of your choosing and you can even send quick text replies on android.
    So is there anything not to love?
    Honestly, not much. The battery life is not what you’d get with a decent smartwatch. You’ll need to plug in your Charge 4 every four or five days, maybe sooner, depending on how much time it’s spent in GPS mode. If you haven’t used GPS much at all, it can last a week. But it charges fast, which is a bonus. Like previous Charge models, the 4 has the option of interchangeable wristbands, which is awesome for #fashun, but I found my previous model eventually came loose where the bands attach. Of course, this is something you’d probably only become aware of a couple years down the line. And by then, who knows what fun new toy you might have you eye on?

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    How To Boost Your Fitness By Tailoring Your Exercise Routine To Your Menstrual Cycle

    Before the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) revealed that they planned their 2019 World Cup training (they won, btw!) around players’ periods, the topic of how fluctuating hormones could potentially impact workouts wasn’t talked about much, er, at all.
    But when you think about it, the idea makes so much sense that it’s shocking it’s not commonplace. “The way you move and breathe, how your heart beats, and your body’s reaction to exercise varies throughout your menstrual cycle,” says Dr. Georgie Bruinvels,  co-​creator of FitrWoman, the app the USWNT used.

    Any woman can maximise her workouts by learning to go with her flow.

    Turns out, tailoring your routine to your cycle, a technique known as phase-based training, empowers you to take advantage of your physiology to look and feel your best and to perform at your fullest potential, according to Women’s Health advisory board member Dr. Stacy T. Sims, who’s been researching female athletes for 20 years.
    And it’s not just for fitness pros either. Any woman can maximize her workouts by learning to go with her flow. No matter your goals, the right training during specific times of the month will optimise outcomes, says Sims.
    The first step? Get to know — like, really know — your cycle. A period-tracking app (there are many; you’ll see) can help you understand each part of it—and how it impacts the body.
    From there, use this guide to tweak your get-sweaty routine. You’ll be amazed by how good you feel once things are truly, totally simpatico.
    Menstruation: Days 1–5
    Right about now (the start of your period), low levels of estrogen and progesterone (plus extra inflammation) may have you feeling pretty unmotivated to get moving, says Bruinvels (womp womp). But it’s actually prime time to build strength and muscle, thanks to relatively high testosterone, Sims notes.
    Do whatever workouts feel good.
    If you’re craving easy, restorative movement, focus on low-intensity workouts like yoga, Pilates, and stretching during your period, says Bruinvels.
    But…if you feel energised, hit the weights and lift heavy, says Sims. In fact, go for loads you can manage for only six reps, tops. (Try five sets of five reps at 80 percent of your one-rep max — i.e., the most weight you can lift for one rep.)
    Follicular Phase: Days 6–14
    Between the end of your period and about three days before ovulation, estrogen levels spike, which means you’ll have more energy to work out and recover faster. Woo! “Estrogen is associated with feeling happy, engaged, and strong,” says Bruinvels.
    Now’s the time to up your training intensity.
    If you feel next-level amazing, make the most of it by continuing to lean in to strength training, plus sprints and intense workouts. Now’s the time to bust out that jump rope or join a boot camp class and really push!
    READ MORE: “I Worked Out In Reusable Period Panties — Here’s What Happened”
    Ovulation: Days 15–23
    Things get a little wonky in this part of your cycle. Around ovulation, estrogen briefly drops while progesterone increases. FYI: Higher levels of progesterone can contribute to muscle breakdown, making proper recovery even more important than usual, says Bruinvels.
    Stick to steady-state cardio and strength training.
    Help your body bounce back by switching to moderate-intensity exercise, Sims says. Swap sprints for easy runs and stick to weights you can lift for eight to 10 reps. If you feel super sore, give yourself an extra day between workouts, Bruinvels adds.
    Luteal Phase: Days 24–28
    At this point, both estrogen and progesterone levels fall. As a result, PMS symptoms — like irritability and anxiety — start to creep up, while fluctuating blood-sugar levels and inflammation sap precious motivation.
    READ MORE: This Is Exactly How Your Period Affects Your Workout
    Start winding down your fitness routine.
    Since your body isn’t in peak performance condition right now (and you probs don’t have World Cup glory on the line to fire you up), use exercise to reduce stress. Opt for Pilates, yoga, or slow runs.
    When strength training, focus on form. Nailing it now will prepare you to load more weight when a new cycle starts, says Sims.
    The Best Cycle-Tracking Apps
    To create the best routine for your body, you gotta become BFFs with your cycle. These apps can help you log (and decode!) each phase.

    Complete with a cycle analysis tool and the ability to predict oncoming symptoms (like cramps), Clue offers an easy-to-digest but science-based view into your period.

    One of the most popular period trackers in the game, this app helps you understand and predict your menstrual cycle, PMS symptoms, and even potential fertility.

    This unique app pairs detailed cycle logging with expert-backed training, recovery, and nutrition advice for ultimate peak performance all month long.

    This first-of-its-kind app uses artificial intelligence to generate a personalised plan (exercise and eats included!) based on the sweat goals and cycle info you track.

    This article was originally published on 

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    What Is The IT Band And How Can You Tell If Yours Is Injured?

    While feeling sore after a challenging (or new) workout is totally normal, it’s important to note that not all types of aches and pains are just byproducts of your bod’s natural healing process. One common place this comes into play is with an IT band injury. What is the IT band, exactly? Here’s everything you need to know.
    The IT band (a.k.a. iliotibial tract band) is a thick piece of fascia, or connective tissue, that runs from the side of the hip down to the side of the knee, says Bianca Spicer, exercise physiologist and owner of Spicer Fitness and Wellness in Atlanta, Georgia. You can think of it kind of like a rubber band, as it functions inside your body in a similar way.
    Whenever your leg moves forwards or backwards from under your hips, like during a stride, elastic energy is stored and then released when the movement is reversed. The IT band ultimately helps your system save energy, especially during a run, according to research from scientists at Harvard University.
    Given their starring role in keeping you moving, maintaining healthy IT bands is super important. So is knowing when you’re just achy from a hardcore sprint workout and need to do some extra recovery — or when you’re actually hurt.
    Signs And Symptoms Of An IT Band Injury
    Because your IT band is such a workhorse, it’s got a higher rate of injury than tissue or muscles you don’t utilize so frequently. That technical term for this is IT band syndrome, and it’s the second most common running injury, according to research from the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. Symptoms of IT band syndrome include:
    Pain on the outside of your knee
    Pain when bending your knee
    Common Causes Of IT Band Syndrome
    Your glute muscles, hips, and hamstrings all run along your IT bands and work in tandem with it to help stabilise your knee. Because of this, after intense lower-body workouts, runs, jump training (a.k.a. plyometrics), or even a lot of brisk walking, the IT band may become inflamed.
    In general, there are three usual suspects that cause IT band injuries:
    sitting too much
    What To Do If You Think You Have An IT Band Injury
    If you’re not sure whether your pain is IT band syndrome, Spicer recommends getting a formal diagnosis from a physical therapist. For mild pain, changes like better form, more rest, and rehab exercises (e.g. strengthening your hips, butt muscles, and outside of your thighs) should help.
    One treatment Spicer doesn’t recommend? Foam rolling along your IT band. “You want to make sure you’re foam rolling the muscle,” she says. “The biggest mistake we see with adjusting the IT band is people mistaking the IT band for [muscle].” Since it’s tissue, it doesn’t benefit from this type of tension release. So stick to hitting your quads, hammies, glutes, and inner thighs instead.
    This article was originally published on

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    Your Guide To Intuitive Eating: The 10 Principles You Need To Know About

    Whether you want to lose weight or eat better, there are a lot of diets out there vying for your attention. Keto? Whole30? Plant-based?
    If all of the options have your head spinning (same), I’ve got just the thing for you. This diet actually isn’t a ~diet~ at all — but it can still help you with your eating goals. It’s called intuitive eating, and it’s a movement that’s gaining major followers.
    On a basic level, intuitive eating is all about getting in touch with body cues (like hunger and fullness) and learning to trust your body when it comes to food, explains nutritionist Keri Gans. There are no restrictions or forbidden foods; just an effort for you to eat well, feel healthier, and enjoy food more.
    “For many people, the traditional diet approach leads to nothing more than years and years of weight loss and weight gain and a negative relationship with food and their body image,” Gans says. Intuitive eating is here to put that crap to bed.
    Clearly, there’s something to it. Instagram is filled with comments from people who rave about how intuitive eating has helped them stop obsessing over their weight, quit binge-eating, and end feelings of guilt around food.
    Of course, there’s a little more to making this whole intuitive eating thing work. Here’s what you need to know about the eating approach — and how to make it work for you.
    What Is Intuitive Eating And Will It Help With Weight Loss?
    As the name suggests, intuitive eating is all about following your own innate intuition.
    “The biggest difference between intuitive eating and diets — or ‘lifestyle changes’ —i s the focus on internal signals and cues rather than external rules,” says nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counsellor Alissa Rumsey, owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness. “Intuitive eating uses feelings of hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and body knowledge to dictate eating choices in the moment. Traditional diets, meanwhile, use external factors like nutrient counts, calories, or food groups to plan food ahead of time without room for flexibility.”
    While you can lose weight by following an intuitive eating approach, it’s not necessarily the goal. Instead, the goal with intuitive eating is to foster a healthier, happier approach to food.
    Yes, it sounds suuuuper simple — but it definitely takes work to achieve. “We’re all born knowing how to listen to our body’s hunger and satiety signals but, as we go through life, our natural intuition is blunted on so many levels,” says nutritionist Karen Ansel. “As children, adults are constantly feeding us snacks, whether we’re hungry or not; we’re told to finish our meals even though our bodies may be perfectly well-nourished; we’re rewarded with food for good behaviour. At the same time, we’re told that hunger is an emergency, even though it’s a completely natural sensation, just like being tired.”
    Though intuitive eating offers the alluring promise of no food being off-limits, the process of reestablishing (and following) your natural cues is a tricky one.
    “It’s long and time-consuming, and sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed,” Ansel says. “The upside is that once you learn to eat intuitively, weight control often becomes infinitely easier, as your body naturally possesses all the tools to guide you.” At this point, you can easily eat only when truly hungry and stop when satisfied. No stress.
    How Intuitive Eating Got Started
    The intuitive eating movement has been around in some form since the 1970s, but the term “intuitive eating” was coined in 1995 by nutritionists Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, authors of Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works.
    In their book, Tribole and Resch encourage people to reject diet culture, find satisfaction in eating, and listen to their body cues around food. They also ID three different eating personalities that help define the eating difficulties you might have:
    The careful eater: This person spends a lot of time thinking about what they eat — reading labels, asking restaurant servers about details, and meticulously planning out each meal.
    The professional dieter: This person, meanwhile, is always on some kind of diet. They carefully count calories and monitor portions, all with the goal of weight loss.
    The unconscious eater: Unconscious eaters can be broken down further into different camps but, as a whole, they are not as meticulous about what they eat as careful eaters and professional dieters. Unconscious eaters tend to eat what’s available, whether it’s inexpensive, whatever is lying around, or stuff they just don’t want to go to waste.
    The ultimate goal, according to Tribole and Resch, is to become an intuitive eater, someone who listens to their internal hunger cues. When they’re hungry, intuitive eaters pick something to eat without debating about it or feeling guilty.
    The 10 Principles Of Intuitive Eating
    So, how does one become an intuitive eater, exactly? To help you get there, Tribole and Resch came up with the 10 principles of intuitive eating, which all focus on creating a healthier relationship with food.
    “The principles of intuitive eating are guideposts that help you unlearn the dieting behaviours and diet mentality you’ve been taught and instead learn to tune back into your own body,” Rumsey explains. “While it’s not always a linear experience, rejecting the diet mentality and learning to honour your body’s hunger cues are some of the foundational experiences.”
    Live by these principles, she says, and you’ll not only find a happier relationship with food, but more positive self-care and coping behaviours, body respect, and more intuitive, joyful movement, too.
    The 10 principles of intuitive eating, according to Tribole and Resch, are:
    1. Reject The Diet Mentality
    This means ditching diet books and avoiding articles that tell you how to lose weight quickly.
    2. Honour Your Hunger
    Learning to listen to your hunger cues is crucial, Tribole and Resch argue. Focusing on keeping your body nourished with the right foods can help prevent overeating.
    3. Make Peace With Food
    This means giving yourself permission to eat what you want, when you want it.
    4. Challenge The Food Police
    Tribole and Resch urge people to remove “good” and “bad” thinking from eating. Have a bowl of ice cream? Don’t feel guilty about it; it’s just food, and it’s part of your overall healthy diet.
    5. Discover The Satisfaction Factor
    Eating should be a pleasurable experience and, if you enjoy what you’re eating, should help you feel satisfied and content. Identifying this satisfaction can help you learn when you’ve had enough of a food you enjoy.
    6. Feel Your Fullness
    Trust your body to lead you to the right foods and listen for the signals that you’re not hungry anymore. Tribole and Resch also recommend pausing in the middle of eating to ask yourself how the food tastes, and how hungry you are at that moment.
    7. Cope With Your Emotions With Kindness
    Learn to recognize that food restriction can trigger loss of control and emotional eating. Learn to ID your emotions and find ways to deal with them that don’t involve food.
    8. Respect Your Body
    Embrace your body, so you can feel better about who you are.
    9. Movement — Feel The Difference
    Be active for the sake of moving your body, instead of tracking how many calories you burn during exercise. Focusing on the energy you get from working out can help keep you motivated.
    10. Honour Your Health With Gentle Nutrition
    Make food choices that are good for your health — and taste great — while making you feel good. Know that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. That one snack, meal, or day of less-healthy eating won’t torpedo your goals.
    How To Get Started With Intuitive Eating
    If you want to rethink your relationship with food, Ansel recommends picking up the Intuitive Eating book to get the full view of what it’s all about.
    It’s also a good idea to really immerse yourself in the concept. “You have likely been absorbing years and years of diet culture messages, so surrounding yourself with alternative messaging will be helpful,” says Rumsey, who recommends checking out different podcasts, books, and blogs created by registered dietitians and therapists certified in intuitive eating. “These will help you weed through a lot of your long-held beliefs about food and your body to start developing a new relationship,” she says.
    Some of her recommendations:
    Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison
    The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner
    This Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
    Food Psych podcast
    RD Real Talk podcast
    Nourishing Women podcast
    Love, Food podcast
    Another question to consider: What do you really want to eat right now? “Allow yourself to have whatever the answer is,” Rumsey says. “By allowing yourself to eat whatever you want, you stop the diet cycle in its tracks.”
    It can take time, but your mind and body will eventually learn that you have access to all foods and, with time, cravings and overeating should decrease. “If you’re unsatisfied, you’ll probably keep looking for that one thing that is going to make you feel satisfied and content, and you’re more likely to overeat,” Rumsey explains. “When you eat what you really want, the feelings of satisfaction and pleasure you feel will help you be content.”
    You’ll also want to start tuning in to your hunger signals, Rumsey says. Start noting when you tend to feel hungry during the day — and what you tend to do in those moments. “Honouring your hunger — eating each time you are hungry — is an important step in building back body trust,” she explains.
    If you’re looking for extra support, a registered dietitian can help guide you through the first few months of intuitive eating. “Each person is different and an intuitive eating registered dietitian can help you work through your unique challenges and questions,” says Rumsey.
    The bottom line: Intuitive eating is a great way to feel healthier in your body and create a happier, easier relationship with food. Experts say that it’s never too late to work on intuitive eating — and that it really does work for most people.
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