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    These Biowellness Tests Give You Health and Fitness Insights at Home

    By this stage you’ve probably seen athletes of all walks running around with a big black dot on the back of their arm. It’s a wearable—a sensor, actually—called Levels ethat helps you understand how your body utilizes carbs (more on this below).

    It used to be that you could only get specialized health tests on a doctor’s orders—now, you can mail in blood, saliva and urine tests without ever putting pants on. This shift from outpatient to at-home testing is thanks to advances in sample collection. Whether you’re sending in your samples or going to Quest Diagnostics, the science is basically the same, says Kamal Obbad, co-founder and CEO of Nebula Genomics.
    The issue is in interpreting the results. When your doc orders a lab test, they know your history and review your data with that in mind. But when an algorithm spits out recommendations in an app (with oversight from a physician you’ve never engaged with), “be carefeeul about considering that information diagnostic.” Translation: Don’t make any medical decisions based on an at-home test. “Talk to an expert about your results whenever possible.”

    What you can use these at-home tests for is optimizing diet and fitness so you feel and perform better.
    Courtesy Image1. Levels: Best for Optimizing Diet
    Glucose—which comes from carbs—is your body’s fastest, most accessible form of fuel. Head into a workout without enough in your system and you’re likely to bonk. This biowearable uses a small sensor (stuck on your upper arm) to monitor blood sugar levels 24/7 for two weeks at a time. Manually log workouts and meals via its app, and you’ll see live feedback as to how those impact your glucose so you can tweak habits to feel and perform your best.
    [$399 for one month; levelshealth.com]
    Get it

    Inside Tracker Courtesy Image2. Inside Tracker: Best for Fitness and Performance Insights
    This blood test (go to a lab or have a technician come to your home) analyzes up to 43 biomarkers involved with energy, metabolism, strength and endurance. Tack on the DNA test to see how 261 genetic markers influence your athletic potential. From there, the app flags problem areas and delivers custom interventions—“have one serving of probiotics each day” or “aim for three 20-minute HIIT workouts per week”—that can help you level up.
    [From $179; insidetracker.com]
    Get it

    Everlywell testosterone test Courtesy Image3. Everlywell: Best for Testosterone
    The right amount of testosterone coursing through you can mean the difference between feeling like a stallion versus a mopey zoo lion. High or low T can lead to symptoms like fatigue, depression and decreased muscle mass because it influences metabolism, sex drive, muscle production and fat loss. Spit in a tube, mail your sample to the certified lab, and an independent, board-certified physician in your state will weigh in on whether your level is normal. If it’s not, see your own doc about next steps.
    [$49; everlywell.com]
    Get it

    Rootine Courtesy Image4. Rootine: Best for Nutrient Deficiency
    Fill out a 10-minute online quiz about your health and fitness habits, then take an at-home DNA or blood test (or upload data from ancestry.com or 23andMe). Rootine’s medical-grade genetics lab will analyze 52 genetic markers that have been shown in studies to impact how your body processes nutrients. Based on your genetic needs, the company will whip up a custom micronutrient formula with up to 18 vitamins and minerals. Just remember, supplements shouldn’t be used in place of healthy eating.
    [$69 per month for 3 months; rootine.co]
    Get it

    5. Thorne: Best for Fertility
    Out-of-whack reproductive hormones can cause unexplained weight gain, sleep issues, mood changes, fatigue, and more—issues that affect people beyond those trying to conceive. Mail in your saliva swab and blood test, and certified labs will analyze hormone levels, thyroid function, and stress responses to provide you with a personalized health plan based on your results (think tips like “focus on resistance training in the morning” or “choose a Mediterranean diet”). Be wary of supplement recommendations; since those aren’t federally regulated, you should always discuss them with your doctor.
    [$300; thorne.com]
    Get it

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    Ab Workouts are a Waste of Time. Core Muscle Exercises are Better for Your Overall Health.

    Core muscles are better than just abs. Why? Your core is one of the most important muscle groups in your entire body. Strong core muscles make everyday movements easier. Even though core muscles are so important, many people don’t know what they are. Worse, people think flat stomachs and chiseled abs are indicators of a strong core, but are actually unrealistic body images.This post will educate you on what your core really is, why core exercises are essential and which ones really work, and why standalone ab workouts aren’t really what you should do.What are Core Muscles?Your core is the muscle group found in the midsection of your body. Your core includes your stomach or belly area, mid and lower back, hips, and glutes (butt muscles). The major muscles of the core are your transverse abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles, obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, and diaphragm. Given how many muscles make up your core, it’s no wonder why this muscle group is so important not just for sports performance but even for everyday health. Why are Strong Core Muscles Important?You use your core muscles in almost every activity you do. Core muscles help you pick things up, maintain proper posture and generate power during running and other activities. Strong core muscles also decrease the likelihood of back pain, especially lower back pain. Everything you do uses core muscles, so make sure you do your core exercises!Best Core ExercisesThe five best exercises for your core are:Plank Try these plank variations.Bridge[embedded content]V-Ups[embedded content]Russian Twist[embedded content]Leg Raises[embedded content]Check out the 10 Best Core Exercises to see how to do the exercises plus five more amazing core exercises! Follow along with this 16-minute core workout![embedded content]Why Ab Workouts are a Waste Of TimeYou may have noticed that this post hasn’t mentioned building washboard abs or flat stomachs yet. Many people believe that core muscles are the same as abs. While having that mythological set of abs can be a sign of strong core muscles, you may not get abs even when you focus on building core muscles.We are bombarded by images of super fit people and celebrities with chiseled abs. It’s no wonder so many people think having abs will mean they are instantly attractive and healthy. But being able to actually see your abs is mostly a function of low body fat, ab toning exercises that don’t build functional muscle, and even dangerous practices like intentional dehydration.Ab workouts like sit-ups, crunches and others only tone the abdominal muscles. Furthermore, these workouts don’t actually build functional muscle—the kind of muscle you need to live pain-free and do the things you want to do like picking up stuff (or kids) or setting a PR in your next half-marathon. What ab workouts actually do is strain underdeveloped back muscles, which can lead to severe back pain or even injury.Check out these plank variations that also develop strong and healthy back muscles:[embedded content]Don’t waste your time with vanity ab workouts and exercises. Build functional core strength you can actually use by doing the above exercises instead.How to Really get a Flat StomachSo, you really want to get a flat stomach even though you should really be focusing on building core muscles? Here’s how you can do it in the least amount of time:Do any of those things seem realistic, sustainable, healthy or fun? Don’t mistake vanity for health. Just because you can see your abs and they look defined doesn’t mean you have strong core muscles or are healthy. Instagram abs are a waste of time: build strong core muscles, butt muscles or even chest muscles instead!Get the truth about abs!Why You Don’t Need Rock-Hard Abs or a Flat StomachAbs and flat stomachs are unrealistic body images we all fall victim to. The images of wildly fit people many of us see in the media are not what we should strive towards. Focus on building functional core muscles that will actually make your life better and not just vanity muscles that you think will make your life better.Treat yourself: strive for health.*** More

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    Running Off-Road: These 5 Trail Running Tips Will Get You Started

    If you think trail running only happens in the mountains, you’re mistaken.Running off-road is about leaving the streets and running on a natural surface. We’ll give you 5 tips to make it easier to ditch tar for off-road running. 1. Look for the right trail running routeYou don’t necessarily have to go into the wild for your next trail run. Look for a route that takes you through parks, on gravel paths, or across fields. You’ll find new areas away from where you usually run and get an introduction to running off-road. If you’re not that familiar with your surroundings, take a look at the map and get an idea of where you might find some trails. Expert Tip:Be free and run without a plan. Decide where you want to go according to how you feel; be spontaneous and try different running surfaces. Trail running is not necessarily about setting a PR; it’s also about experiencing your environment. 2. Train for new conditions The biggest challenge you have in trail running is the different terrain you run on. It’s a good idea to develop your leg muscles if you want to run trails. Exercises to improve stability and balance help prevent injuries. You should also strengthen your ankles so you don’t end up twisting or spraining them.  Where does trail running happen? In trail running, only 20% of the route should be on paved surfaces like asphalt and cobblestones. The rest is run on rougher terrain. The different parts of the route can be on gravel paths, trails in the woods, and single-track trails. Are you ready for a bit of competition? Lace up your trail running shoes and compete against Gaia, a wild mountain lion, in this year’s Run Wild challenge!3. Prepare for off-road running with bodyweight exercisesWhen you’re ready to prepare for your first trail run, try the following bodyweight exercises:Stability and balance exercises: Plank: This full-body workout is a great way to strengthen your core. Single-Leg Stand: Stand on one leg and slowly come up onto your toes. As soon as you feel confident enough, you can try this exercise on an uneven surface.Single-Leg Deadlift: Stand on one leg and bend forward at the hips. Lift your other leg and stretch it out behind you until it’s at a 90° angle to the leg you are standing on.  Exercises to increase jump strength:Jump Lunges: Switch sides as you jump into these lunges. Single-Leg Jump: Stand on one leg and jump up and down or move forward as you jump. Speed Skater: Jump sideways from one leg to the other quickly like a speed skater. Box Jumps: Jump up onto a raised surface with both legs. (Want to become a box jump pro? Check out our box jump blog post.)4. Start slowly Since trail running usually involves a lot of uneven surfaces, your legs will get stronger than running on the road. Your body has to burn more energy to deal with the constant changes in conditions and surfaces. Take it easy on your first trail runs and keep it slow, so you aren’t gasping for breath right away. Over time you can start playing with different speeds on a variety of terrain (like fartlek). 5. Choose the right trail running shoesThe running shoes you wear for the road are fine for flat surfaces. But as soon as you start running steeper trails, you should think about getting shoes with good grip. Remember:Don’t tie your shoes too tight but snug enough so that you don’t slide around in them. Tuck the big loops of your laces into the lacing, so they don’t catch on branches. There is a variety of trail running gear available to make your experience more enjoyable. You can store drinks or energy bars in special running packs, in case you are out for a longer run. Caution — eyes on the ground! Unlike when you run on the road, trails are full of hazards: roots, loose stones, or the wet, slippery forest floor make it essential to watch where you’re going when you run.Would you like to learn more about trail running? We have the Top 3 Beginner Tips from the Pros for you.*** More

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    Tonal Launches Live, a New Interactive Workout Feature

    If you’re not familiar with the magic workout machine that is Tonal, let this announcement of its new interactive feature be your overdue intro. The home gym marvel—which uses a digital weight management system as opposed to bulky steel weights to get you jacked— also boasts personalized strength training workouts managed through A.I. Able to bring forth 200 pounds of resistance, the machine uses its silicon brain and advanced software to  “dynamically adjust the weights for each exercise in real-time for your most effective workout.”

    Now though, the workout wizards have added in the must-have home gym feature of the pandemic—a live studio component—with its aptly named Tonal Live feature. Launching October 20, this new workout format will build on the existing personalized coaching experience with real-time classes adjusted specifically for each member, helping to bridge the gap between the social element of working out in a class with the solitude of a home gym.
    Stand out features include a reworked Tonal Homescreen and mobile app that helps users find and schedule Live workouts, access to an on-demand library of former Live workouts, and the ability to check out the movements in a workout before you get started. There’s also a Social Zone where you can interact with other members and check out their PRs and milestones, and real-time coaching that includes pacing cues, form feedback, and encouragement from the coaches.

    “Tonal has always been unique in the way that we’ve approached our workout content with adaptive weights, individualized pacing, and form feedback that are customized to our members in real-time,” says Aly Orady, founder and CEO of Tonal. “As our community has grown over the past few years, we’ve been encouraged by the organic social engagement, the craving for more interaction with our coaches, and the excitement that comes from reaching new milestones; Tonal Live will allow us to connect these elements through a studio experience while retaining the foundation of what differentiates our workouts: personalization, guidance, and feedback.”
    Courtesy ImageTo ramp up the new feature, Tonal has brought on four new coaches: Brendon, Nikki, Trace, and Woody. Once Tonal Live debuts in October, Live classes will be added to their on-demand library (24 hours later), which includes thousands of workouts ranging from strength training to HIIT, yoga to barre.

    “The team has done a tremendous job of creating a product and content experience that is unparalleled in the market, especially with the launch of Tonal Live,” said Werner Brell, chief experience officer. “I’m excited to expand upon what’s already been built while creating a new vision of the many ways the Tonal product and content experience can excite new audiences and bring added value and increased motivation into our member’s lives.”

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    The Smart Way to Top Form: Tips for Your Training Plan

    Training plans help athletes set goals and achieve them. Creating training plans from scratch can be difficult and potentially dangerous if you don’t have the proper background or athletic knowledge. Our fitness experts put together their top training plan tips so you can decide what training plan is best for you.What is a training plan?A training plan is a useful companion and guide on your journey to get fitness results. Are you looking for exercises to build a bigger butt or shape your abs? Whatever your goal is, your training plan should always be tailored to you and your expectations. When setting a goal, make sure that it is challenging, but still realistic. A goal you think you can achieve helps to keep you motivated.Do you already have a fitness goal in mind? A workout routine is nothing more than a means to an end. It is geared towards your goal and is based on your current (physical) condition. Your 12-week training plan already has a clear picture of where you are going. It keeps presenting you with new challenges. But a good plan not only consists of a mix of exercises: It also includes useful tips on rest periods and intensity.Practical Training Plan tipsThere are a number of training principles that can help you reach your goals. Increase the effectiveness of your training with the following tips:The workout should push you – but not over the edgeEvery training session should push you to your limits, but without overdoing it. If the intensity of your exercises is too low, you won’t see any results. But if the training stimulus is too high, it can even be harmful for your body. If you want to improve your performance, the training stimulus must be adjusted to your (current) physical condition.Think long-termProgress doesn’t come overnight. Your muscles are not the only body parts that have to get used to regular training. Other body systems have to adjust to the increased activity, which takes time. In short, change doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient!Push yourselfTo be successful in your training, you have to keep challenging your body. This doesn’t always mean doing more reps. You can add more weight, do an extra set or just simply be more focused and aware during your workout. The mind-muscle connection in itself can make a big difference.Listen to your bodyThe more personalized the plan, the better. Don’t keep overdoing it, and remember that nobody knows you better than yourself. Does your resting heart rate increase significantly after you get up in the morning? Do you lack appetite and feel completely exhausted and unmotivated? Or does your heart rate barely decrease during the breaks between exercises? All of these can be signs that you are overtraining and that it is time for a rest day. So pay attention and don’t ignore the signs your body is giving you. A training plan is not set in stone. It can be modified and adjusted to fit your condition. Don’t get frustrated if once in a while you have to take it a little slower. The next time you’ll be able to achieve even more.Set realistic goalsNo goals, no success: Clear goals help you keep up your motivation and enable you to monitor your progress.Mix it upSooner or later, doing the same thing over and over again will lead your performance to level off and you will cease to improve. You can break up this monotony by constantly mixing up your workouts. This doesn’t just mean including different exercises, but varying the intensity and rest periods between sets.Stick with itOnce doesn’t count: One training session is not going to produce any noticeable improvements. If you want to get the most out of your training, you need to keep repeating the exercises. Your body won’t start to adapt until you push it to and beyond its limits. This overload causes your body to adapt and helps you to reach the next level.Get the most out of each exerciseThere’s a big difference between giving 50% or 100%. The more you throw yourself into your workout, the more you will get out of it.Give your body time to recoverScheduling recovery time into your training program ensures a perfect balance of effort and recovery. Try to spread your training sessions throughout the week and plan your off days in advance. If the last training session was very intense and tiring, the next one should be more moderate, or you might even want to consider taking the day off.Training is just one piece of the puzzleTraining isn’t the only thing you need to reach your fitness goals. You also need a proper diet, as well as a mix of cool-down exercises, baths, massages, a good water and electrolyte balance, stretching and relaxation exercises and recovery periods. Until you put all the pieces together, you will never really see any major results.How to plan a sessionEvery training plan consists of a number of elements put into a systematic order. Imagine that each training session is a piece of a puzzle: Like a jigsaw puzzle, all of the elements have to fit together, so in the end you can celebrate your success. There are times when it is tougher, and sometimes you have to try something new. But when everything is said and done, you’ll have reached your goal. Each training session should include the following three parts:Warm-up: Warming up helps you prepare mentally and physically for the workout. Plus, it reduces the risk of injury. Use simple exercises that you have done before and know well.Main activity: The main activity is the actual workout part of your training session. The goal is to increase or maintain your physical performance.Cool-down: The cool-down initiates and speeds up the recovery process.If that all sounds too complicated, try one of the training plans in adidas Running or Training. They will help you set realistic goals and guide your training, tailored to your schedule, from start to finish.*** More

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    Get Healthy by Walking for Weight Loss

    Walking for weight loss is one of the best ways to start losing weight. Walking isn’t just good for weight loss; it has incredible mental health benefits as well.If you haven’t tried walking for weight loss before, give it a try this year and realize all the fantastic benefits walking for weight loss has to offer!Benefits of Walking for Weight LossEveryone can walk for weight loss! It’s a great way to lose weight and keep it off because it’s not a fad diet or an unsustainable exercise plan. In terms of equipment, you only need a comfortable pair of running or walking shoes and clothes.Physical benefitsWalking is a low-impact activity. That makes it a safe activity for people that struggle to run, get injured easily, or are overweight. Walking mostly burns fat when performed for durations longer than 30-minutes. Walking for weight loss can even improve your cholesterol levels!Check out this calorie burn calculator to see how many calories you burn in an activity.Mental health benefitsWalking for weight loss has proven mental health benefits[1]. Had a stressful day at work? Go for a 30-minute walk and feel the stress melt away. Kids and partner on your nerves? Go for a walk and reset your mind while taking care of your body. Put on a podcast, listen to music, listen to an audiobook and take the mental health benefits even further!How to Walk for Weight LossWalking for weight loss is easier than you think. You could start by estimating how much you currently walk or do other physical activities and then aim to add a half-hour more per day most days of the week. Here are some considerations if you’re considering running if you’re overweight.Where to Walk for Weight LossWalking in parks and other green spaces has tremendous mental health benefits[2]. People who walk in green spaces report having more self-esteem and better overall mood. People also report “feelings of anger, depression, tension and confusion all significantly reduced and vigor increased[3].” Try to walk in green spaces like parks, hiking trails, mountains and beaches for an extra mental health boost.Even walking in a shopping center has proven to have benefits for older people[4]!Still have questions about walking for weight loss? Check the frequently asked questions below:Walking for Weight Loss: FAQ1. Can You Lose Weight by Walking for Weight Loss?Yes, walking for weight loss works! Walking for extended periods at a conversational pace will mostly burn fat. The key to walking for weight loss is to increase how many calories you burn and how many calories you consume per day. For example, you could maintain your current diet and simply add 30 minutes more walking per day than you are currently doing. You would eventually lose weight this way. However, if you are trying to lose weight, you probably also need to look at your current diet. Chances are you are consuming too many calories, which has led to the need to lose weight. The good news is that by trimming some calories and walking for weight loss, you will increase the rate at which you lose weight! You burn more calories from walking, and you consume fewer calories overall. Get the facts on healthy weight loss.It’s hard, and it might be uncomfortable for a little while, but stick with it and believe that you will do it!Check out our best diet and weight loss tips!2. How Many Steps a Day to Lose Weight Walking for Weight Loss?The short answer is more than you are currently doing. 10,000 steps are roughly equal to 2,000 – 3,500 calories (about a quarter kilogram to half a kilogram of body weight). If you add an extra 10,000 steps per day (about a half-hour of walking), then you will likely lose about a quarter kilogram of body weight per week just by walking a little bit more each day.If you’re new to fitness, 10,000 steps (half-hour) may seem like too much. That’s okay. Start with just 1,000 steps more each day. Add more steps each day as you get fitter and your body can handle it. Go slow and be patient: being overweight doesn’t happen in a day, and it won’t be fixed in a day. 3. How Much Walking for Weight Loss?The short answer is more walking than you are currently doing. Try for at least 30-minutes of walking for weight loss per day. If you can’t start there, start with just 10 minutes and work your way up. There is no upper limit other than what your schedule allows and what your body can safely handle. If your schedule gets in the way of walking for weight loss, break up your walks. Instead of going for an hour-long walk, try 2 30-minute walks. Sneak in walks by parking further away, walking to places you might otherwise drive, or walking with friends, family or pets.Don’t sweat the details—just start walking!4. Does Walking for Weight Loss Burn Fat?Yes, walking for weight loss burns fat. It also burns the other two macronutrients, carbohydrates and protein. The first few minutes of walking will burn primarily carbohydrates. However, your body will prioritize burning fat after around 30 minutes. 5. Running Vs. Walking: What Burns More Calories?It’s a little complicated, but running burns more calories than walking. However, you can walk longer than you can run, leading to more total calories burned. If running hurts your joints, try walking for weight loss. Walking for weight loss is also a great way to build up your body to try eventually running.6. Is Walking for Weight Loss the Quickest Way to Lose Weight?No. But it is one of the more sustainable and achievable ways to lose weight. If you’re serious about losing weight and being healthy it’s going to take time and commitment. Shortcut the shortcuts and commit to getting healthy this year by walking for weight loss.*** More

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    How Can a Running Warm-Up Help Optimize Performance?

    It’s no secret that a running warm-up[1] is important if it’s a race or the usual weekly run. But many runners don’t know why (or what to watch out for).We’ve compiled a short list of the benefits of running warm-ups, tips on how to warm up properly and go-to running warm-up routines.Find out below how running warm-ups improve your running performance. Check out the go-to warm-up routines at the bottom of the article!1. Running warm-ups raise your body temperatureDynamic warm-up exercises raise your body temperature by heating up your muscles. They also boost your metabolism and accelerate the supply of energy to your muscles.2. Running warm-ups enhance muscle performance [2] As your muscle temperature rises, your muscle viscosity (or resistance) decreases. This results in faster muscle contraction and relaxation, which enhances your performance.3. Running warm-ups boost heart functionYour heart also benefits from warming up. The exercises increase your cardiac output and respiratory minute volume (RMV), thus expanding your VO2 max.4. Running warm-ups improve the load distribution in your jointsContrary to previous belief, new research has shown that even short-term exercise like warming up can help build joint cartilage. The thicker layer of cartilage increases the load-bearing surface and distributes loads more evenly.5. Running warm-ups help prevent injuriesWarming up properly has been proven to minimize the risk of injury. It increases tissue and muscle flexibility and prepares your body to perform fast and explosive movements. Plus, you are less likely to pull or tear a muscle.As an added advantage, warming up improves your mental focus and speeds up your reaction time.Useful Running warm-up tips:Focus on those muscles that will do most of the work.The warm-up effect is short-lived, so keep warming up until the beginning of your race/run. Research has shown that your body temperature remains elevated for only about 10 minutes after you warm up and that after 45 minutes, all traces of your warm-up are gone.It may seem counterintuitive, but if you are warming up for a race, the shorter the race is, the longer your warm-up should be.Never start off with sprints or explosive movements. You should gradually increase the intensity of your warm-up. Your warm-up should never cross your anaerobic threshold.In addition, there are several factors to consider when deciding on how long and how hard to warm up: the distance of the race/run, the time of day, the weather, your age and your physical fitness. Most warm-up routines last somewhere between 10 and 45 minutes (for a race). Unfortunately, there is no one-plan-fits-all approach to warming up. Try the suggested running warm-up routines below and see if they work for you:[embedded content]*** More