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    Running with Allergies: 4 Tips to Treat Seasonal Allergies

    By Pouria Taheri,Head of Medical for adidas Runners and RUNBASE BerlinSpring draws us outdoors and may even spark the start of marathon training, but anyone with hay fever or other seasonal allergies has major limitations to deal with. Spring fever? I don’t think so. Early blooming trees, grasses, and pollen make life hard for those who suffer from allergies. “A training schedule that works can become a real challenge for athletes,” says Pouria Taheri, orthopedic specialist and trauma surgeon, sports physician and adidas Runners medical coach. The body resists any personal ambition. “Even in regular daily activities there is no end to the itchy nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. Breathing becomes harder and the general performance level drops; exercising makes it even worse.”  Here are 4 tips on how to work out despite seasonal allergies: 1. Don’t give upThe fun in sports quickly evaporates when allergies prevent you from lacing up your running shoes. Frustration and the exhausting symptoms often make you want to take a break. “It’s understandable, but that’s exactly what I try to avoid as the attending physician. I encourage people to deal with the annoying problem,” says Pouria Taheri. Fortunately there are several approaches to running with allergies. Most people can hardly believe the most important tip: don’t give up! “Often the reason for the complaints is a lack of fresh air and exercise,” explains the sports physician. You have to gradually give your immune system the chance to adapt.2. Strengthen your immune systemDid you know that regular exercise outdoors is almost as effective as allergen immunotherapy? Carefully building up resilience actually stabilizes the immune system. There are a lot of ways to strengthen your immune system, and many of them involve food. Take a look at what you’re eating and see if you can make some healthy changes. 3. Use first aid for acute problemsIn the alternative above, however, a subjective evaluation of your limits is decisive. You should have medical support such as an inhaler within reach so that your drive doesn’t get you into trouble. “Taking allergy medicine like an antihistamine before your workout is advisable to treat constant problems.” Antihistamines prevent the allergies from causing difficulty breathing or serious reactions like shortness of breath. Alternating your workouts between outdoors and indoors is a smart way to gradually strengthen your immune system and create a smooth transition to resilience.4. Allergen immunotherapyYou should seek medical treatment for ongoing afflictions or tough problems that recur over the years. “Many people try to address the problem with allergen immunotherapy, in which regular exposure to allergens teaches your immune system to adapt. However, this requires patience; the therapy usually takes one to two years.”Good to know:This treatment is not right for everyone. Possible interactions with other substances or medications can lead to adverse reactions. It should be noted that medical supervision is critical in this process for recreational athletes as well as competitive athletes with conditions such as reactive airway disease or asthma.TakeawayAt the end of the day, the annoying sneezing and the many little obstacles of seasonal allergies shouldn’t keep you from reaching your goals. The benefits of combining endurance and strength training are immeasurable and can improve your health long term, so that you don’t have to sacrifice quality of life in old age. Perseverance and smart decisions are essential to reach this higher goal. *** More

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    How Important is Magnesium for Athletes?

    Magnesium is probably one of the first minerals that comes to mind when you think of fitness. But, hardly anyone knows how essential magnesium truly is and how it can improve your physical performance. We have the facts for you!Magnesium performs numerous functionsMagnesium is a vital mineral: it is present in nearly every cell of your body. Approximately 30% of the magnesium in your body is stored in the muscles. The mineral performs numerous functions: it is needed for aerobic (= with oxygen) and anaerobic (= without oxygen) energy production. Magnesium is also required to form endogenous protein (protein of body origin, rather than dietary origin) and plays an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation. The mineral is also essential to the formation of bone and teeth. In addition, it is involved in the activation of hundreds of enzymes.How important is magnesium for athletes?Studies show that the more active you are, the more magnesium you need.(1) Scientists have linked a high level of magnesium in blood to improved muscle performance, such as greater leg strength. This means that you can improve your performance by ensuring an adequate supply of this important mineral. What happens in your body? According to studies, magnesium appears to lower lactate levels in your blood.(2) Lactate (lactic acid) is a metabolite that is primarily produced by intense physical exercise. If it builds up, it can limit muscle performance and you will fatigue faster. Plus, exercising without sufficient magnesium will lead to increased oxygen consumption and heart rate. The mineral also plays a major role in strengthening your immune system. It works similar to an antioxidant by strengthening your defenses and protecting you from diseases.Increased magnesium intake can be helpfulAccording to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), healthy adult females should get 310-320 mg per day and healthy adult males 400-420 mg per day.(3) A balanced diet is usually enough to satisfy this daily requirement. But, if you like to exercise or work a physically demanding job, your diet probably won’t cover your daily needs because you can lose a lot of magnesium through sweat. This loss has to be replaced, but the amount of magnesium required varies depending on the individual and should be discussed with a sports physician.You also need to consume more magnesium in the case of stress.(4)How can I tell if I’m getting enough magnesium?Pay attention to Magnesium Deficiency SymptomsLeg crampsDizzinessDigestive problemsFatigueAbnormal heart rhythmHeadachesConsult your doctor if you experience the magnesium deficiency symptoms listed above.Top 9 Magnesium Rich FoodsThe general rule is that getting nutrients through your food is the healthier option – as opposed to taking dietary supplements. The same holds true when it comes to magnesium for athletes. A balanced diet gives us (almost) all the nutrients we need. So which foods are highest in magnesium? Here are the 11 best sources of magnesium:Sunflower seeds (395 mg/100 g)Pumpkin seeds (402 mg/100 g)Sesame (347 mg/100 g)Flax seeds (350 mg/100 g)Cashews (270 mg/100 g)White kidney beans (140 mg/100 g)Chickpeas (115 mg/100 g)Oats (139 mg/100 g)Swiss chard (81 mg/100 g)Good to know:Mineral water also contains varying amounts of magnesium. You can find the nutrition facts on the label of the bottle.Magnesium Supplements – Good or Bad?If your doctor recommends magnesium supplements to treat a magnesium deficiency, it’s important to be careful about the dosage. You shouldn’t take more than 250 mg of supplemental magnesium per day.(5) Magnesium can act as a natural laxative; if you take too much, it may cause diarrhea.Takeaway:The more you workout, the more magnesium you need in your diet. Don’t underestimate the importance of magnesium for athletes and focus on meeting your daily requirements with a balanced healthy diet including magnesium rich foods. If you do experience magnesium deficiency symptoms, consult your doctor. Supplements could be a helpful solution. Keep in mind: if you are preparing for a race or competition, make sure to start integrating the supplements into your diet several weeks beforehand to give your body time to adjust. *** More

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    From Running on the Beach to a Running Track: What are the Best Surfaces to Run On?

    Most runs take us over a variety of surfaces. This adds variety to your training and makes it more effective by forcing your body to adjust to the changing terrain.But do you know how the different running surfaces affect your body? Learn about the most common surfaces and how to use them as an effective training tool.Top 7 Surfaces to Run On1. SandPros:When the sand is hard, running on the beach is easy on your joints. When it is soft, you have to pick up your knees, push off harder and apply more strength, which helps you improve your running technique and stamina.Cons: Running on the soft surface is very exhausting – therefore, you should incorporate regular breaks to avoid overuse injuries. On long runs, the slant of the beach can lead to pelvic obliquity. To avoid this, you should change directions regularly.Watch out for Achilles tendon problems:The rebound effect of the synthetic track puts a lot of stress on your calves and Achilles tendons. Switching to a cinder track can help with this problem.2. Synthetic trackPros:A running track is good for structured tempo and interval training. The springy surface of a synthetic track is also perfect for beginners or runners coming back from an injury.Cons:Runners are taught to run counterclockwise on the track. Over time, this can lead to muscle imbalances. Therefore, it is a good idea to change direction once in a while.3. TreadmillPros:Running on the treadmill is easy on your tendons and ligaments. It is a good, low-impact way to start training again after an injury or a break from running. Plus, you can select the pace and the incline of the surface.Cons:Treadmill running is not the same as running outdoors. The ground is literally being pulled underneath your feet, so you achieve a much smaller training effect. Plus, most of the stress during the push-off is on your calves and Achilles tendons. This can lead to overuse injuries.4. AsphaltPros:Asphalt provides perfect conditions for tempo workouts because you don’t have to pay attention to the surface. Nearly every step is identical, and you can achieve maximum propulsion. Road running allows you to run at a fast pace.Cons:The hard surface means more orthopedic stress (so be careful if you have joint issues). Your choice of shoe is crucial here: make sure to choose a well-cushioned model.5. Forest TrailsPros:Soft woodland or nature trails have the best cushioning and are excellent for joint-friendly training. Plus, they are ideal for a flexible and reactive running technique.Cons:The soft surface can sap your strength and slow your pace. Therefore, trails are not well-suited for running at a specific pace – the intensity is high even at slower speeds.6. GrassPros:Grass is ideal for barefoot running. It strengthens your foot muscles and improves your running technique. Plus, well-maintained grass provides the best cushioning.Cons:You have to be careful when training barefoot to run on well-groomed grass free of rocks and broken glass.7. Mountain trailsPros:The constantly changing conditions make mountain trails challenging and lots of fun. Thus, they are good for training your foot strike and running technique to match the terrain. Plus, the effort of compensating for the uneven surfaces and the regular changes in direction work your supporting and stabilizing deep muscles.Cons:Be careful – it’s easy to turn an ankle. Therefore, you should only run on mountain trails when you are well rested.TakeawayEach surface has pros and cons for your running training. You should choose the surface that is best for you based on your training goal and try to switch things up from time to time to keep your training fresh and exciting.*** More

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    Boost Cycling Fitness with Base Training and More

    Did you know that your leg muscles aren’t the only ones in play during cycling? Your gluteal, back, shoulder, arm and neck muscles are all activated by this versatile activity — so you really need to focus on total-body training. And don’t forget, base training is just as important if you want to improve your cycling fitness and performance. Set the wheels in motion with comprehensive training and get yourself ready for cycling season so you can enjoy the many benefits of this sport.Important for Beginners:You’re usually full of motivation right at the start. Ready to hit the road pedaling, you begin biking under the motto “the more the better”. Put the brakes on that mentality to avoid excessive strain on your back and your joints. Ease into a training routine, gradually increasing the intensity and frequency of your rides.Total-Body Toning with Strength Training If you want to boost your cycling fitness, the first thing you’ll think of is probably leg training. “Basically, you’re not wrong to think that. But make sure to remember that you’re going to do more than enough leg training while actually cycling,” explains extreme sports athlete Gerhard Gulewicz. “This means you should devote your prep time to total-body training. Try to dedicate only ¼ of your training time to leg strength and focus on your other muscles the rest of the time.Focus on FlexibilityIf you really want to be in good shape for cycling season, make sure to mix flexibility training into your routine. Our cycling expert recommends: “Take at least 10 minutes to stretch properly before every ride to actively support your recovery. Don’t forget: you’ll only see the benefits if you’re consistent and dedicated in your efforts.Train Your Coordination SkillsIf you want to venture into wide open spaces, your coordination skills will come into play. They will ensure you can master most tricky situations safely. “There are lots of different ways to train your coordination skills. You can take a class at your local fitness center or try these exercises to improve balance and stability.” Again, consistency is key is here.Note!Coordination training should always be done before strength or endurance training, and after you’ve completed a warm-up.  You can only train your coordination properly if your muscles aren’t already exhausted. Last, but not least: make time for endurance and base trainingDon’t underestimate the importance of endurance training during your cycling season prep. Be sure that you don’t overdo it in the beginning — no high-intensity training with unfamiliar levels of muscle strain! “Increase the intensity and volume of your training gradually over time to see slow, but steady improvement. And never forget to include sufficient recovery time – avoid making these mistakes on your rest days!”, says Gerhard Gulewicz.This approach has two major advantages:You reduce the risk of injury if you don’t overwork your musclesYou continuously improve, which keeps you motivated.Tips for Endurance Training:You should spend more than 80% of your total training time in Zone 1 or Zone 2 — this will help you boost your performance.  What are these zones? They are used to measure training intensity based on your max heart rate. Zone 1 is 60-70% of your max heart rate and Zone 2 is 70 – 80%. Let’s look even closer at the difference.How can you tell if you’re training in Zone 1 or Zone 2? Check your breathing:You’re training in Zone 1, if you are breathing easily. For example, if you can breath for 5 minutes only through your nose, you’re definitely training in Zone 1. You’re training in Zone 2, if you can easily hold a conversation with a training partner despite light to moderate exertion. Zone 1 Training InfoZone 2 Training Info:This is how you can really improve your carbohydrate metabolism. Simply, this means that your body will be able to more easily convert carbs into energy. During more intense training, your body will be better able to use carbs from your glycogen stores as fuel. This means you definitely need to replenish those stores after your training session.How long should an endurance training session last for beginners?Zone 1: 60 minutes or longer, but no longer than 2 hours in the initial training stages.    Zone 2: 30–60 minutes. For slightly more experienced cyclists, no more than 90 min.Don’t forget to do at least a 10-minute warm-up before your base training session, and follow up with 10–minute cool-down riding at a relaxed tempo.Summary:If you want to take up cycling in the future, make sure you don’t take on too much at once. Base training is an important part of cycling fitness, as well as strength training. Don’t forget coordination skills and recovery. “Even if you firmly believe that more is better when it comes to training, that definitely not the case with cycling. While you’re riding, your muscles are being stimulated, but the real improvement to your performance ability comes while your muscles are resting afterward,” concludes biking expert Gerhard Gulewicz.*** More

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    Inside adidas Runners: How Rituals Help Runners Meet Their Goals

    From what we wear to what we eat, the mantras we repeat to ourselves, or how we tie our shoelaces on race day, running rituals give us a sense of control in a world filled with uncertainties. Studies show that practicing rituals before doing sports regulates the brain’s response to performance failure, which thereby reduces stress and anxiety, and improves mental toughness. (1) Rituals can help athletes focus their minds and calm their nerves, while also building trust within a running community when practiced in a group.What are running rituals and why do we use them? “A ritual is a predefined sequence of symbolic actions often characterized by formality and repetition that lacks direct instrumental purpose.”(2)What does this mean for runners? The knot in your stomach on race day loosens a bit if you lay out your race kit the night before. Worried about getting stomach cramps during a run? Always eat the same pre-run snack to prevent any surprises. For some, these are habits or traditions; often these actions have a ritual-like pattern to them. Since the dawn of our existence, human beings have used rituals to improve performance in many different areas. Today these can be competitive sports, public speaking, taking exams, or even first dates. Although rituals do not have a “direct instrumental purpose”, any situation that creates anxiety or stress can be managed better by using them.In a 2016 study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, researchers found that rituals consistently decreased anxiety across different performance tasks as assessed by subjective reporting from those participating in the study as well as physiological evidence: heart rate. Rituals are coping strategies that can have a powerful effect on performance. Using a common saying or action or a lucky charm has been shown to improve athletic performance and motor dexterity. (3) It’s not surprising that many runners use rituals to give themselves structure, boost their performance, and relieve pre-race anxiety.  What are your rituals?We asked adidas Runners (AR) members around the world to share their running rituals with us. Here are some of the highlights:Race Day Rituals in adidas RunnersCurious about how adidas Runners members handle race day jitters and how rituals help them reach their goal? Here’s what they said: Running Mantras for Mental ToughnessIf you’ve never tried adopting a mantra to help you achieve your goals, take a lesson from running legend Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967. Her mantra? “Be fearless, be free, be grateful.” AR runners know the power of mantras to help them maintain mental toughness when the pressure is on. Running CommunitiesThe examples above show how rituals can help individuals reach their goals. adidas Runners communities also find them helpful for groups, particularly if the running community is virtual. Reeti Sahai, Captain of AR Delhi, told us how thinking about her post-race Instagram pic is something that motivates her to keep going during a marathon. And she’s not the only one who gets motivated. Sharing achievements on social media networks inspires other runners to set new goals and strengthens the bond within the running community. Join an adidas Runners digital accountability group from March 29 on to keep you committed to your goals. Find everything you need to know about how to join on the AR Instagram account. Ready for a new challenge in April? Check out the Run with AR: Go for 30! challenge in the adidas Running app.Interested in more information about running rituals in the adidas Runners community? Listen to episode 1 of the adidas Runners mini-podcast series on mindset and movement here. TakeawayThere are many different ways to improve your running. Muscle growth and endurance training are only part of the equation. Focusing your mind and quelling any doubts you may have about achieving your goals is critical to success. What you wear, what you eat, how you talk to yourself – these are all examples of how rituals are used to give you the extra edge you need to set that PR or cross the finish line. The AR community is an empowering environment in which you can find motivation, inspiration, and support. The trust that is built within a running community like adidas Runners can carry you through when you doubt yourself. *** More

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    4 Common Causes of Headaches after Workouts

    Piercing pain at your temples, a throbbing ache in your forehead – we’ve all suffered the agony of headaches, and there are plenty of causes. Some of us are more likely to get them during or after exercise. Good to know:Headaches are divided into two types: primary and secondary. Primary headaches are triggered by exertion, tension, or not enough sleep. Secondary headaches, however, are a symptom of another more serious underlying condition like high blood pressure, an infection, substance withdrawal, or a stroke. In this article we’ll identify 4 common causes of headaches after exercise and tell you how to treat them and prevent them. We’ll also tell you whether exercise can trigger migraines.#1: Poor postureBad posture, stress, and poor form when you work out can cause tension, which can lead to headaches. Tension headaches are described as a constant ache that is usually felt on both sides of the head.(1)Headache preventionCheck your form during workouts and your posture throughout the day. Review these tips on proper running form and be aware of the most common mistakes made during bodyweight exercises. Try using heat, massage, or doing exercises to relieve neck pain to relax your muscles if you get a headache after workouts. #2: DehydrationWhether it’s from exercise or just not drinking enough fluids, dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches. Calculate exactly how much water you should drink each day with our liquid requirement calculator. Headache preventionMake sure you are drinking enough throughout the day. To add variety, you can include special sports drinks that keep you hydrated and provide your body with important micronutrients. #3: Low blood sugarIt’s not just the headaches after exercise; you also feel weak, shaky, dizzy, and sometimes even nauseous? These symptoms indicate low blood sugar and depleted energy stores. Always ensure that your body has enough energy to work out.  Headache preventionIf you notice the symptoms listed above when you’re exercising, you should take a break. You can refill your energy and increase your blood sugar by eating more carbohydrates. There are also a few foods that can trigger headaches and migraines or make them worse – usually in combination with other causes. Avoid these potential headache triggers (2): alcohol (especially wine or beer) chocolatecaffeinaged cheesefoods high inmonosodium glutamateartificial sweetenersand preservatives like nitrates or nitrites #4: Exercise headachesPrimary headaches caused by strenuous physical activity are called exertional or exercise headaches. These are described as throbbing, migraine-like pain across the whole head (bilateral headaches) and last between 5 minutes and 48 hours. (3, 4) An extreme exercise headache can also cause vomiting and vision problems. It’s important to take exercise-induced headaches seriously. Headache preventionExercise headaches often develop if you skip your warm up, your workout is too strenuous, or it’s too hot. These might also occur when you are at high altitudes, like on a tough hike in the mountains. One way to prevent exercise headaches is to reduce the intensity of your workouts. These tips for running in the summer can help you cope with the heat and avoid dehydration. Important:If headaches last for days or if there are more days in a month with headaches than without, you should consult a specialist. A medical professional can check whether you are suffering from primary or secondary headaches, which may be caused by an underlying condition. Can exercise trigger migraines?First of all, research on the connection between migraines and exercise is not yet as extensive as it could be. However, there are studies which show that migraineurs (people who frequently suffer from migraines) can experience exercise-triggered migraines. It is believed that the exertional headaches and tension headaches mentioned above are more likely to lead to a migraine.(5) If you are at risk of migraines, it is even more important that you prevent the 4 causes of headaches after exercise. The good news: studies also show that regular exercise can help prevent migraines or at least reduce the intensity of the pain. This is thanks to the endorphins produced during sports. (6, 7)TakeawayBefore you start working out, make sure you are hydrated and your energy stores are full. Pay attention to your form and good posture while exercising. If you have a bad headache combined with dizziness, nausea, shakiness and/or vomiting, take a break immediately and consult your physician. The same applies for headaches that last several days.*** More

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    Returning to Exercise: Coronavirus Recovery

    The pandemic we are experiencing around the world has challenged us in ways we never could have imagined. When it hit in the winter of 2019/20, many thought that their health, youth, or fitness level might protect them. At this point it has become clear that we are all vulnerable and no one knows how a Covid-19 infection will affect their body. New research is focusing on better understanding the long-term effects of the virus, often called Long Covid or Long-Haul Covid. This often appears with symptoms including fatigue, loss of the sense of smell/taste, dizziness, cognitive impairment, headaches, shortness of breath and can last months. (1) We talked to two of our users about their experience with Coronavirus recovery and they shared their fitness journey with us. Both are healthy women in their 30s, recreational athletes based in Europe, who had mild-to-moderate cases. What was your fitness level before COVID-19?Amélie: I used to run at least twice a week, 5 to 10 km, and also worked out at home with the adidas Training app twice a week. Barbara: I was finally getting back on track with my running after problems with my knee. I wasn’t at my best, but getting there again.What were your preferred sports/types of exercise?Amélie: I really like running. It is always hard for me to get motivated, especially when it’s cold and grey outside but once I manage and run with the right music, it gives me a great sense of freedom and helps me cope with the stress of daily life.Barbara: Running and yoga were my favorites, but I also did strength training & biking.How did you feel physically while you were infected?Amélie: It started with a light headache and serious fatigue for a few days. Then I started to have this strange feeling in my lungs like someone was pressing on my chest. One day I was cooking breakfast for my son and I realized that I couldn’t smell or taste my coffee anymore, then I knew it was Covid.Barbara: My energy level was very low. I had muscle pain, headaches, fever, and lost my sense of smell & taste.How long did you experience symptoms?Amélie: The first 4 days of quarantine were not easy. I was out of breath just from talking on the phone and was very scared it would get worse and I would end up in the hospital. After 5 days the breathing got better but I was very very tired and couldn’t do much.Barbara: I was sick for around 2 weeks, but it took me way longer to get my energy and ability to focus back – for sure a few months. The first days back at work, I worked fewer hours and needed lots of breaks.How long did it take you to start working out again? Amélie: I tried to go running around a month later, I managed to do 5 km but I was completely out of breath during the run and my lungs hurt. I switched to walking and did some short home strength workouts but without cardio.Barbara: I went for a walk again right after quarantine ended, which was roughly a week after my sick leave. I did my first slow & easy yoga session about 2 weeks after my sick leave. My first run after being sick was around 1 month later, and it felt like the first run of my life.How did you restart your exercise program?Amélie:  I started running and training again but after 5 months, I still have this strange feeling in my lungs from time to time. I had them checked and the doctor said everything looks good. Nevertheless, I am still tired, my motivation is low, and I get out of breath very fast. I ran 5 km recently and it felt a bit better.Barbara: Slowly. Super, super slowly. With lots of gratitude that I can move again. Just leaving the apartment and being outdoors was a true highlight. Walking felt like a workout.Did you know?An otherwise healthy patient recovering from Covid-19 without treatment who has been asymptomatic for 7 days may begin resuming physical activity at 50% the intensity and volume. (2) Did your performance change?Amélie: Before having Covid, I could run 10 km without any difficulties. Now, the most I’ve done so far is 5 km. My lungs hurt and I have trouble finding a regular breathing rhythm. I used to run at a pace from 5:40 min/km, now I run 6:45.Barbara: Yes, and that was very hard to accept for me. It felt like starting over at zero.Did your goals change after your Coronavirus recovery?Amélie: Definitely. Now my goal is to manage to find the motivation to go running. I just have to listen to my body and not push it too much.Barbara: Definitely. My goal right now is to stay healthy and support my body and mind with whatever type of exercise it needs at the moment. Do you have any words of advice for other people who are infected with COVID-19?Amélie: Be patient and don’t panic. I try to see the positive side of it: I am most probably immune for a little while and I was lucky to have a relatively mild version of it. (3)Barbara: Talk to someone about how you are feeling and what you’re going through, also emotionally  – be it your partner, a friend, a family member, or a therapist.Recovering and Moving OnAs much as we’d like to think we are invincible, there are a lot of things that can knock us down for a while. If you’ve had to deal with Coronavirus, illness, or injuries, it can be hard to get back on track and motivate yourself to continue your fitness journey. It’s important to listen to your body. Make sure you take care of your body by building rest days into your training routine. At times like this, it’s always a good idea to boost your immune system and try to manage your stress with regular exercise. Remember, if you are experiencing any symptoms or are recovering from an illness and are concerned about how long it’s taking, talk to your doctor about it. *** More

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    Tony Horton's New Supplement Line Might Be the Secret to Building Muscle Over 60

    Unless you were a hardcore convert, you probably know Tony Horton from the frenetic commercials that came out in the late aughts. The ones where he’s hawking his workout series in a dark room full of sweaty, shredded people. His 90-day “extreme” workouts presaged the era of high-intensity exercise programs (think: CrossFit and F45 Training) and helped thousands of people experience what a truly grueling workout can do for you, mentally and physically.

    Now, a bit older and a little humbled by recent illnesses, he’s back with a new line of supplements called Power Life. These heavily researched formulations helped him bounce back into almost-P90X shape, and he hopes they can help you achieve your fitness goals too, no matter your age. The line-up includes protein powders, wellness supplements, digestive aids, endurance and performance boosters, and a lean-muscle builder.
    We recently talked to Horton about his new line and what he has in store for the future of his fitness empire.

    Men’s Journal: After over a decade of success with your P90X workout program, you recently went through some pretty bad health issues. What was that like for you?
    Tony Horton: I got Ramsay Hunt [syndrome] about three years ago, in October 2017. I got really sick, lost about 25 pounds, then it took about six months for me to come out of that. I got shingles in my ear. One out of 100,000 people who get shingles, get it in their ear—and those people usually get Ramsay Hunt syndrome. [It] just describes the inability to walk and it affects smell, taste, vision, hearing, and balance. There are a lot of nerves that go into my brain that got fried—the fifth, sixth, and seventh facial nerves—so I had Bell’s palsy for about a month. I had terrible balance issues, nausea, vomiting, couldn’t eat, couldn’t drive, couldn’t work out, couldn’t get out of bed. It was just horrible.
    Courtesy ImageThat sounds like a nightmare—especially for someone so fit and active like yourself.
    It’s not fun… It goes on for weeks and weeks and weeks. And a lot of people who aren’t physically fit become recluse because the after-effects of Ramsay Hunt syndrome include something called bilateral vestibular hypofunction, which is vertigo that lasts forever for a lot of people who get it.
    Aside from overcoming this illness, what spurred you to create a supplement line?
    When I left Beachbody [who helped develop P90X with Horton], I was looking for new ventures. I always wanted my own supplement line for some of the things I thought I was missing. And as somebody who was getting older, it was [starting to get] really difficult to maintain my muscle mass. So I met with a great team of scientists and I explained my situation—that I still struggle with bouts of vestibular hypofunction that will probably never go away. I said, ‘What can you guys formulate for me to get me feeling better?’ There are a lot of boomers, which is what I am at 62 years old, that all suffer from sarcopenia—age-related muscle loss. It’s very hard to find a 75-year-old body builder because muscle mass is hard to maintain.

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    Did they create a solution?
    It was really a combination of looking at the research, seeing where the issues were, then looking at the formulations out there. [Most supplements] are subpar and don’t really do what they say. We started out with just whey and plant-based protein powders first. Studies were showing people weren’t getting enough decent protein. And this one formula they put in both the whey and plant-based proteins—with HMB [hydroxymethylbutyrate], vitamin D, and chromium—had made a huge difference in studies for people coming out of surgery and struggling with maintaining their muscle mass and strength. HMB and vitamin D help boost something called leucine. Leucine is one of the branched-chain amino acids, which is an important part of muscle building. These studies were done in older folks—older than me—who were coming out of surgery—and their recovery times were shortened by a ton. I remember when I first met with them, I was like, ‘Come on, is this for real?’ These were studies from very reputable places, so I thought, what happens if I actually started to really exercise hard too? I said, ‘Hey, I’ll be your guinea pig. Before we do anything, let me just try this stuff out.’ And it made a huge difference for me, especially after my illness. I was getting strong again.

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    Did you start to see and feel a difference?
    After a ski day in Jackson Hole, I was looking in the mirror going, holy crap, man—this was after taking it for two months. And I posted a picture, and I just was amazed. I definitely looked more jacked. I had gone up and stayed up in weight, and it was obviously some muscle weight. I noticed a difference in the gym and on the slopes. I’m not going to lie to you, I was in the gym working out three days a week, and I was skiing four or five days a week. I was also at altitude and running around town, but when I usually do that, I have to take days off of skiing. I get tired and I can’t perform as well in the gym. But I had this protein powder with me, going back and forth between the whey and the plant-based.
    Do you still take the protein powder regularly?
    Every day, without fail. Sometimes before and after exercising because my workout schedule changes. If I have an early 7 or 7:30 a.m. workout, I’ll just do the pre-workout formula and maybe a little creatine. If I’m doing cardio—I don’t do the creatine of course—I’ll have it immediately after the workout. And then days where I have a workout scheduled later, I’ll start those days with a bigger protein smoothie with blueberry, strawberries, pecans, walnuts, ice cubes, unsweetened flax seed milk, and protein powder.

    What other supplements did you develop to specifically address your problems?
    Based on some blood work, I found out I had a leaky gut. I didn’t even know what that was until I found out I had it. So we made Foundation Four, which is a great formula to help me deal with that. It’s a combination of prebiotics, probiotics, magnesium, fiber, and two servings of vegetables. From there we just keep on growing and got a great pre-workout formula called Performance, which has low amounts of caffeine—it doesn’t make you feel jittery and jacked up, which a lot of pre-workout formulas do.
    What else is in store for an aging-but-dedicated-to-fitness Tony Horton?
    Power Nation, a streaming fitness platform based on 90-day programs. We went through the first beta group with about 1,500 people from around the world, which was cool. We got really great feedback from different people and we completed Beta One. Now we’re in the middle of Beta Two. This is the start. There are four components, called the Power of Four. So it’s food, fitness, mindfulness, and supplementation—these are the four things I try to emphasize. We have mastermind groups, coaching offers, cooking videos, and live workouts. Those focus around dumbbells, bands, and a pullup bar. If you don’t have a pullup bar, which I know a lot of people don’t, we come up with alternatives. I also shot my first five workouts with Tonal back in October of last year. And now I’m in rehearsals this week and shooting next week for six more, which is really a blast. That’s keeping me pretty busy right now. I got rid of a bunch of [home gym] stuff I don’t need any more because Tonal does everything. The arms go every possible direction imaginable. So you can do goblet squats, biceps curls, military press, and triceps kickbacks…it’s just an amazing piece of technology. It’s something you think would have come out in 2050, and it’s already here.

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