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    The Truth About Body Composition: Healthy Body Fat Percentage

    Most of us have been taught to believe that health is determined by visible body fat and weight. Actually, “looking fat” and the number on the scale are poor determinants of health. This blog post tells you the truth about body fat, body mass index (BMI), body composition, and how to find your body fat percentage. Remember:Only you can determine what health means to you! Educate yourself so that you can be your best self, naturally.Table of contentsWhat does Body Composition mean?In short, body composition measures body fat to lean tissue in the body.More thoroughly, body composition refers to the proportion of fat you have relative to the lean tissue in your body (muscles, bones, water stored in the body, organs, etcetera).(1)Not The Same As Body Mass IndexFor decades, Body Mass Index, or BMI, was THE go-to health analysis. But today’s scientists recognize BMI as a flawed system for determining well-being. According to the Center for Disease Control, BMI mislabels people as “overweight” because they have a high BMI when they’re relatively healthy. That’s because BMI analyzes only one’s weight and height. Someone short or very muscular is likely to be considered “fat” (muscle weighs more than fat). Being short or strong does NOT mean you’re unhealthy! Quite the contrary. Body mass composition was created to rectify BMI by measuring fat-free mass and body fat mass separately from BMI.(2)The Truth About Body FatBody fat and the macronutrient of fat are NOT the same! The clinical term for body fat is adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is imperative to the body’s metabolism, safety, and general functioning. Fat protects organs and bones, provides energy, balances appetite, and serves a vital role in overall cellular metabolization. Without fat, our body would never find homeostasis (physical equilibrium).(3, 4)Scientists recognize two kinds of adipose tissue: white cells and brown cells. White cells store energy for use in other organs. Brown tissue accumulates over time and regulates internal heat (called cold-induced adaptive thermogenesis). White cells store energy while brown cells dissipate it!(5)Fat Doesn’t Always Look FatMeasuring one’s body composition also hints at where fat is stored in the body. Have you ever heard the term “skinny fat?” It refers to how someone can have lots of body fat and still have a thin frame. “Skinny fat” can occur for a few reasons. The person has few muscles, so visible mass and measurable weight are composed of fat, connective tissues, organs, and bones. The person may be genetically predisposed to store fat deeper in the body, closer to bones and muscles. The person’s lifestyle may not promote healthy organs, so the fat in the body moves toward organs to assist with metabolization at the site and to support the organs. For instance, alcoholics have a great deal of fat around the liver. Or people with kyphosis (upper back curvature) whose thoracic spine is coated with protective fat.Watch Your WordsIt is rarely appropriate or necessary to comment about someone’s body! Instead, focus on their character and your relationship.Fat deep in the body and near the organs is called visceral adiposity and is the most dangerous kind of fat because it threatens the movement of fluids around organs and through veins(6). In this way, someone who “looks fat” because they naturally store fat nearer to the skin may be healthier than someone who “looks skinny” but has visceral adiposity.(7)Below The SurfaceHealth and fitness are so much more than the way you look. Genetics plays a significant role in the form the body assumes. Health happens below the surface of the skin. Only science and your sensations can tell you how to be healthy and when you’re there. Stop comparing yourself to others on Instagram! Education and self-awareness are the tickets to health.Is Fat Bad?Fat is not bad. On the contrary, it is necessary for our body’s basic functions. And the “low-fat” diets of the 1990’s ruined popular culture’s perception of the value of fat. They made people believe that being skinnier is better. Being low body fat composition and/or very low body density carries risks, just as being overweight or obese. Data shows that underweight children are more susceptible to infection than overweight children. In adults, being overweight and underweight presents an equal risk of infection. And the mortality rate for critically ill patients is higher in obese adults than in underweight adults.(8)The bottom line:Being underweight and being overweight is dangerous. Seek a healthy middle!Furthermore, having a high body fat percentage isn’t intrinsically dangerous. It’s fat storage and insulin regulation that matters. Obesity and being overweight are an enlargement of adipose tissue to store excess energy intake(9). Simply having extra fatty tissue is not dangerous, as long as it’s stored in healthy fat cells responsive to insulin. It’s when cells stop becoming responsive to insulin that problems arise. Obesity can lead to diabetes because excess adipose tissue affects insulin sensitivity.(10, 11) The thing is, it’s not the fat itself that affects insulin responsiveness, but genetics, nutrition, and lifestyle.Having a low body fat percentage reaps many physical and emotional problems. For women, Amenorrhea can occur (loss of a period and subsequent hormonal issues). Men and women can both suffer from lower cognitive function. The brain is 60% fat, so when the body is malnourished, the body will start using fat from the brain to fuel its daily activities.(12, 13) The same goes for muscles: without enough body fat, the body will take nutrients from muscles. When muscles become smaller, they stop releasing necessary hormones, resulting in depression and fatigue. Plus, low muscle mass leads to low bone mass, meaning a higher risk of osteoporosis and injury.Ultimately, body composition is not intended to reveal body fat. It describes the ratio of fat to other parts of the body and helps one understand what’s happening below the surface of their health. It’s an educational tool.  Why Muscles MatterStrong muscle helps to reduce the risk of injury, support a healthy lifestyle, and promote longevity. However, muscles naturally become less tough with aging. The National Institute of Health concluded in a study that muscle strength declines in people aged 40 years between 16.6% and 40.9%. The risk of falling and breaking bones increases as a result of reduced muscle strength and bone loss over the age of 40. A sedentary lifestyle accelerates this process. The body fat percentage also rises due to a redistribution of stored body fat, which heightens the risk of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. How Is Body Composition Calculated?Body composition is used less frequently than body mass index or body fat percentage because only trained professionals can provide a reliable assessment. They do so in one of two ways.1. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)Bioelectrical impedance (BIA) is one of the most precise and reliable methods to determine body composition. This method measures the opposition to the flow of electrical current through body tissue. A weak electrical field is created through two electrodes on a hand and foot. Don’t worry – it doesn’t hurt! BIA is the preferred measurement method in medicine and sports medicine because it is so fast and easy to do. If you want to find out whether your body fat percentage is healthy, ask a dietician.The following parameters can be determined with BIA:Body fatLean body massTotal body waterMuscle mass2. Hydrostatic weighingHydrostatic weighing makes its calculation based on water displacement. Weight is compared outside of water and in water to calculate density and thus the body composition. If you’re interested in this method, you’ll need to find a location in your area that provides this method — usually a medical facility.Finding Your Body Fat PercentageIf you’re unable to learn your body composition, you can use body fat percentage to start making educated decisions about nutrition and exercise. The easiest way to calculate your body fat percentage is with our online calculator: There are two other ways to find your body fat percentage.How to Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage at HomeThere are also ways to calculate your body fat percentage at home. These are less accurate than the methods above. But, they can give you a general idea of your current levels.1. Skin CalipersThis is done by pinching 3 different skin folds in the body — the measurements of your body fat percentage can be read directly on the tool. It’s the easiest to do at home with a friend or with your trainer. However, this method isn’t generally efficient for obese people and can have a large margin of error if being done by different professionals. If you are using this method, be sure to have the same person do it for you to ensure a more accurate comparison. It’s not the most precise of all the methods but doesn’t take much time at all. The advantage is that it’s a quick way to measure. 2. US Navy MethodIf you want to calculate your body fat percentage using the US Navy Method, all you need is a measuring tape to measure different parts of your body. The points at which you measure are different for men and women. How to measure correctly:Waist circumference: wrap the measuring tape around your waist at the height of your navel. Measure when you are relaxed after exhaling.Neck circumference: measure your neck just below the Adam’s apple. Hip circumference (only for women): measure at the widest part of your hips.What Is A Healthy Body Composition?It’s one thing to know the number. It’s another to understand it. Most major medical practitioners recognize the following percentage ranges.Women’s Body Fat PercentageMen’s Body Fat PercentageNote:Women can, and should, have a higher body fat percentage than men!Body Composition As A Measure of HealthInstead of focusing on what’s to be cut or lost, focus on what you can add and gain. Muscle is so much more important to health than fat. Having more muscle will naturally lead to a higher metabolism and lower body fat percentage. Instead of cutting calories to lose weight, focus on adding strength training to gain muscle. Instead of trying to become less, try to become more! Body recomposition is the process of changing the ratio of fat, lean muscle, and other tissue mass in the body. It refers to increasing muscle and skeletal mass while decreasing fat mass.(14) Read on for “body recomp” tips.How To Change Your Body CompositionIf you determine that your body fat percentage is outside the healthy range and you don’t feel as energized as you’d like, you can change your nutrition and exercise to build more muscle and reduce fat.Begin by calculating baseline data about yourself. After learning your starting body composition, use the following calculator to find out your natural energy expenditures (i.e., calories burned):Since relaxation and sleep are an essential part of muscle protein synthesis, use this sleep calculator, too:Then, you’ll be ready to make some profound changes!Monitor Calorie and Nutritional IntakeMonitoring one’s caloric intake is NOT dieting. It IS knowing that eating excess calories will cause the body to convert nutrition into fat, which can eventually lead to disease over time.(15)The most important intake to monitor is protein. Studies suggest that eating more protein every day can lead to natural body recomposition.(16) Make the most of your protein intake by eating higher protein within three hours of sport (or sooner).(17) Whey protein has been shown to increase body recomposition when eaten alongside aerobic training(18). Low carbohydrate diets help women lower their body fat and sleep better.(19)When attempting body recomposition, it’s imperative to find a balance between undereating and overeating. If you undereat, the stress hormone leptin will increase. Leptin is very sensitive to intake. If stimulated over long periods, it can cause neurological disorders and higher energy storage.(20) Furthermore, if you eat too few calories or cut out carbohydrates, any weight you lose will likely be muscle and water weight. You will lose weight, but your body fat percentage will be higher. And that’s not healthy!(21)Tip:Once you get your initial calculations, stop weighing yourself! Body composition is not about weight but muscle-to-fat ratio. Weight is a poor health marker; it’s just one data point!In fact, you might find that you need to GAIN body fat and weight. That’s perfectly normal (especially in today’s weight-obsessed society). Gaining weight is equally as important as losing weight. Gaining weight should be done just as carefully as losing it. Bulking and RefeedingMany professional athletes purposefully “bulk” before the competition. Bulking adds more calories than one’s average daily expenditure to load the body with extra nutrition. Then, the athlete focuses on strength training, thereby directing excess nutrition into the muscles. Bulking is a great way to build muscle mass for a short time, after which a regular calorie intake resumes. Refeeding refers to gaining weight after being underweight or malnourished. It can be dangerous, as getting too many calories too fast can result in refeeding syndrome.(22) If you’re mildly underweight, it is safe to add more calories into your diet over time gently. Like weight loss, a good rule of thumb for weight gain is ~1 pound per week. Check out our blog post for fun recipes for eating inspiration!1 For The WinWhether gaining or losing weight, changing your weight by 1 pound per week is a generally safe and effective goal!Exercise for Body RecompositionIn addition to dietary alterations, certain types of exercise promote body recomposition. When trying to gain muscle and lose fat, there are three workouts that are proven to benefit most people. HIIT: high-intensity interval training is proven to recompose muscles and fat with 12 weeks of regular workouts.(23) The thing about HIIT is that you must push yourself to your limits. Since your limits aren’t the same as other people’s, you’ve got to be honest with yourself, hold yourself accountable, and choose appropriate exercises. Here are some HIIT exercise ideas!Resistance Training: resistance training refers to lifting weights and using resistance bands. But, it can also apply bodyweight exercises, especially if you’re new to working out. These workouts can be done slowly with many repetitions and movements. You can also target specific muscle groups for easy-to-see gains!Low-intensity cardio: long walks, casual hikes, bike rides with friends, and swimming are all examples. These types of exercises cleanse, regenerate, and oxygenate new muscles. And these lower-intensity cardio movements are less likely to make you very hungry, helping to maintain your nutritional intake goals. If you’re brand-new to exercise, team sports in groups help people stick with a new fitness plan.(24) Frankly, when you’re new to fitness, ANY kind of exercise helps!(25)Try to mix in every one of these exercise styles in a week. Plan to exercise 3-5 times a week with adequate rest. Add variety, but focus on building muscle. Here’s an example of a training split that will help with body recomposition when paired with a high-protein diet:Monday: short and intense HIIT workoutTuesday: strength training (with or without weights)Wednesday: rest dayThursday: easy jogFriday: sports game with friendsSaturday: rest daySunday: strength training (with or without weights)Are you looking for more ways to train at home and outdoors? Download the adidas Training app!Aim For a Healthy MiddleBody fat is essential for our health. It provides energy, protects and insulates our organs, and regulates the production of hormones. Too much body fat is associated with higher cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which can lead to cardiovascular problems and strokes. The risk of Type 2 diabetes is also higher. However, if your body fat is too low, you lack energy, are more likely to get sick, and get cold faster. You may suffer from digestive problems, and low body fat can have a negative impact on your bone density and hormone level. The healthiest route is to aim for the middle of the range.Ultimately, if you feel healthy, you’re probably healthy. And if your blood tests come back positive, regardless of your weight, you’re probably healthy. There are many ways to determine “good” health. Because body composition is the most multi-faceted, it is generally regarded as the best.(26)Before starting a new exercise routine or diet, you might first ask yourself: do I feel good? Do I enjoy my workouts? Does my doctor deem me healthy? And if these questions are YES, but you still feel unsure of yourself, you might consider working on your body image. This blog post can help!Related posts: More

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    10 Benefits of Walking and Low-Impact Exercise

    Walking is often overlooked as an effective form of exercise. Sure, it’s not as intense as running. And no, it doesn’t have the same bragging rights as doing a 6 a.m. hot yoga class.But walking has plenty of full-body benefits. It burns calories, improves heart health, and being outdoors can give you much-needed hits of vitamin D and mood-boosting endorphins in equal measure.Here are ten reasons you should consider making walking part of your fitness routine.1. Walking is a form of cardioWalking is a free, low-impact exercise to improve your cardiovascular health. If you want to lose weight and start walking for weight loss, it’s OK to begin slowly. Once you’ve gotten comfortable walking longer distances, try to complete a mile or kilometer faster than the previous week and then faster than the average walker (15-20 minutes per mile and 10-12 minutes per km).As you pick up the pace, you’ll get aerobic exercise. You can also alternate periods of brisk walking with slower walking, called intervals. These are great for cardiovascular fitness and burn more calories than regular walking.2. Strengthens leg muscles – and moreWalking can be an excellent way to mix up your routine for those at risk of plateauing. Walking works various lower body muscle groups: your quadriceps, glutes, calves, and ankles. Adding resistance is even better. Walking uphill or increasing the incline during your treadmill workout – particularly at a 3-degree incline or higher – increases the activation of these muscle groups, especially the glutes.You may be surprised to learn that your back muscles are getting in on the action, as they support your torso and stabilize your pelvis to help you stay upright. As a bonus, you can also activate, or engage, your core muscles while you walk by drawing the navel inwards.3. Boosts your immune systemIf recent times have taught us anything, it’s that our health is paramount. Now that the pace of life is picking up again and we’re socializing more, it’s essential to keep our immune systems iron-clad all year round.Did you know walking for exercise could help beat the common cold? One study showed that men and women who walked 20 minutes a day, at least five days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who only exercised once a week or not at all.(1)Regular exercise allows older people to develop more T-cells than people their age who are more sedentary.(2) It’s important to remember that you don’t have to power-walk your way to peak health. Being consistent and moderate with exercise allows your body to recover from illness and build immunity quicker than over-exercising, and walking is a great way to achieve this.4. It’s perfect for goal-settingWhether you are walking for weight loss, to cover 8,000 steps a day, or aim to progress into running, walking is a great way to stay on top of your goals.Saying you plan to “walk every day” or “walk to lose weight” isn’t always enough. The best way to achieve better health through walking is to be SMART: have specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound goals.For example, if your goal is to walk daily, then set a SMART goal plan:Specific: Walk every dayMeasurable: Use the goal feature on adidas Running and use the app to track your sessionsAchievable/Attainable: Walk 30 minutes a day after workRealistic: To start, walk for 10-15 minutes each day when you get home from work. Aim to increase your duration after one month.Time-bound: Reach 30 minutes per session by the fourth week. Walk every evening from 6-7 pm.As you gain confidence in your progress, reconfigure your goals over time to add a longer duration, do a certain number of steps or run a 5k. Baby steps!5. Makes you feel goodWalking in nature helps boost your mood by increasing blood flow and blood circulation to the brain and body. When you exercise, you’re reducing levels of the body’s stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol.(3)Walking is a natural stress reliever and positively affects a group of hormone-producing glands called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is responsible for the body’s response to stress and regulates processes like digestion, your immune system, and emotions.Studies have shown that people who take regular walks or other forms of physical exercise have better emotional health than those who do not exercise regularly.(4) 6. Improves your attention span and memoryYou might ask yourself: “If walking is so great for our legs and heart, then I can just do this on a treadmill, right?” Well, you can. But you’d be missing out on a whole lot of other benefits.Walking outdoors for 30 minutes has a more significant influence on your cognitive functions than walking in an urban environment.Looking at a pretty landscape, hearing the birds chirp, and breathing in the fresh air can improve our attention and memory. The attention restoration theory states that the effortless act of taking in our beautiful surroundings, and the aesthetically-pleasing stimuli within them, can help restore our attention capacities.One study found that memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour walking in nature.(5)So, the next time you find yourself with mental fatigue from too much time spent looking at a computer screen or scrolling through Instagram, head outside and enjoy the stillness.7. Walking is good for your heartThe older we get, the more conscious we are of what makes our body tick: our heart.Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death amongst adults worldwide, and we know that our diet and lifestyle affect heart health.(6) If heart disease runs in the family or is a worry for you, consider regular walking as a form of exercise.A study looking at men and women found that just 20 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, including walking, could help ward off heart disease and heart failure later in life, particularly in men.(7)Another study followed women aged 50-70 over 17 years. It found that women who walked at a faster pace of 3 miles per hour (4.8 km) than women who walked under 2 miles per hour (3.2 km) had a 34% less chance of developing heart disease.(8)8. Helps extend your lifeMany factors determine our life expectancy: genetics, environment, lifestyle choices, and health care access are just some examples.The consensus is that active adults live longer than those who do little to no activity.One 2020 study found that if every American adult (excluding those with disabilities) walked briskly or exercised for an additional 10 minutes a day, 7% of deaths annually across the country might be avoided. For adults that walked 30 minutes a day, this number rose to 17%.(9)Even walking at a leisurely pace can produce results. A 2019 study showed that women who walked at least 4,500 steps, either intensively or just strolling, had 40% less chance of dying than those who walked around 2,700 steps during the five-year follow-up period.(10)While it’s worth noting that COVID-19 has skewed mortality rates around the world, the bottom line is still important. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking or exercise a day can significantly impact your or a loved one’s health and prevent premature death. Since walking is a low-impact exercise, it is a healthy, safe option for older people who may suffer from joint pain.9. Improves your coordination and balanceOver time, your balance and coordination can improve with stronger lower body muscles. For older people, this is especially important for preventing falls.Try these balance exercises the next time you head out:Tight-rope walkStretch your arms out to the sideKeep your gaze forward and your chin parallel to the groundStep forward and place the heel of your foot right in front of the toe of your other footRepeat with the other foot and walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe each timeContinue for 10 to 20 stepsHeel and toe walksWalk for at least five minutes to warm upTake 10 steps with your weight mainly on your heels and your toes slightly off the groundThen, walk on your toes only for 10 steps, with your heels off the groundWalk for 10 stepsRepeat 2-3 times – use a stick or hold onto a wall for balance if you need it!CariocasDo these in an open area where you can walk side-to-side with no obstaclesStand with your legs apart and knees slightly bent (position 1)Cross the left foot behind the right foot and plant it on the groundMove the right foot to the side, so you return to the first positionKeeping your balance, cross the left foot in front of the right foot and plant it on the groundMove the right foot again and return to position 1Reverse the steps by moving to the left to repeat this drill10. When you walk, you’re being kind to the environmentWhile there are many benefits of walking for you, it also lets our trees breathe a sigh of oxygen-rich relief.Instead of hopping in the car to make a 2 or even 5 km journey, leave your house earlier and walk.Here are just some of the reasons why you should choose walking over driving when possible:Transport contributes approximately one-quarter of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissionsThe emissions from cars seep into our seas: an estimated 5% to 10% of the plastics found in the ocean come from tire dust(10)When you walk, you reduce noise pollution in any area and congestion on the roadsPedestrians, on average, are less exposed to air pollutants compared to persons traveling by car, bus, or bike(11)*** More

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    How to Use Cold-Water Immersion to Burn Fat Faster

    Running stark naked into the ocean in winter might seem loopy. But a new Scandinavian study (where else?) found that cold-water immersion followed by hot sauna recovery can give you an advantage when it comes to losing weight.

    In the study, researchers monitored the vitals of a group of young men who had spent at least two years swimming twice a week in cold water and compared them with a non-swimming control group.

    They found those who regularly swam then sat in a sauna burned more calories via brown fat (the type that keeps you warm). In short: Cold-water immersion followed by hot sauna bouts can increase energy expenditure and promote weight loss.

    If you’re thinking of taking the polar bear plunge this year, consider these tips:
    Get naked: Less is more when it comes to clothing. It may keep you toasty on land, but as soon as garments become wet, they cling to skin, making water feel even colder. 
    Plug your ears: If you’re prone to “ice cream headaches,” use earplugs to keep freezing water from entering your ear canal.
    Skip the shot of whiskey: Booze lowers your body temperature, making cold water tougher to handle.
    Practice: Sit in ice baths or take a cold shower for 2-3 minutes in the weeks leading up to the plunge.
    See your doc: If you have heart issues, check with your physician first, as cold water can cause a spike in heart rate and blood pressure.

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    When to Run Before or After a Workout Based on Goals

    Running before or after workouts has a drastic effect on training effectiveness. Running before a strength workout can compromise strength training gains or cause injury. On the other hand, doing a strength workout before running could cause running form to deteriorate, which can also lead to injury or compromise strength training gains.Athletes only have so much time. Sometimes that means doing cardio workouts (like running) and strength workouts (like lifting weights or bodyweight workouts) on the same day. Find out if it’s better to run before or after workouts and how to maximize same-day training benefits.The Interference EffectThe interference effect is a physiological phenomenon that states that cardio or endurance exercise (like running and cycling) interferes with the cellular adaptions elicited via strength training (namely, muscle size and overall strength).[1, 2] However, it also states that strength training does not appear to necessarily adversely affect endurance adaptations.[3]The keyword here is: necessarily. More on that later on.Running Before or After Workouts Depends on Workout GoalsAthletes engaging in concurrent strength training and running need to prioritize goals[4]. This should happen on an individual workout basis as well as overall athletic goals. For example, someone looking to build muscle mass and overall strength must concede that cardio training will–to some extent–inhibit strength gains. On the other hand, a runner is unlikely to be a very successful bodybuilder.Good to rememberAt some level maximum strength and endurance are on opposite ends of the physiological spectrum.Athletes considering strength training and cardio training need to decide which is more important for their athletic development: muscle mass or endurance. This is not to say that strength-based athletes should stop all cardio. Likewise, endurance athletes like runners should do some strength training.The careful blending of strength and endurance training is what is known as concurrent training. Strength training–such as with weights or bodyweight–is an important component of endurance performance. Sports like running and cycling do not stress all the necessary muscles in the body. For example, simply running or cycling can leave one with hip, lower back pain and upper body issues due to underdeveloped muscles. In short, most athletes should do a bit of strength training and a bit of cardio. The ideal blend of each will depend on the athlete’s goals: muscle mass or endurance.Run Before or After Workout as a Strength-Focused AthletesAthletes whose primary goal is to build muscle and overall strength should try to avoid doing cardio and strength training on the same day. If this cannot be avoided, strength-focused athletes should do their cardio workouts after strength training. This will help minimize the interference effect (i.e., the body will prioritize strength adaptations over endurance adaptations).How long should cardio workouts take place after strength workouts? The longer the better. At least six to nine hours is ideal. Spacing strength and cardio workouts as far apart as possible will help maximize strength adaptations. Again, if pure strength is the primary goal, strongly consider doing cardio and strength workouts on entirely different days. Don’t do a hard strength workout and a hard (e.g., HIIT) running workout on the same day. Alternating Lower-Body and Upper-Body Same Day WorkoutsCardio exercises like running and cycling are lower-body dominant. Performing upper-body workouts on the same day as running will have no meaningful effect on the strength workout. However, performing lower-body strength workouts shortly after a running workout will likely lead to diminished strength gains.It follows that doing lower-body strength workouts should then only take place on non-running days.Alternating workouts with upper-body strength days during running days and lower-body strength workouts on non-running days will help minimize or even eliminate the interference effect. The only caveat to this is if the athlete can handle the higher training load. This means having an optimized nutrition plan (here’s the 9 best foods for runners and the 9 best foods to build muscle), resting and being sensitive to their body’s injury or overtraining signals. Follow along with this stretching workout to kickstart the recovery process: Running Before or After Workout as a RunnerStrength training could be a key component to unlocking running performance. It may be the only way advanced runners can even achieve further progress. Beginner runners benefit from strength training by working muscles that help promote running economy and efficiency, which will ward off injury and promote total body fitness. If running (or any endurance activity, such as cycling) is a primary goal, do cardio after strength training. However, if the cardio session will be shorter and low intensity (like a simple endurance run of 30-90 minutes), doing high-repetition, low-weight or bodyweight strength training  AFTER running can help build muscular endurance and improve running stamina.Muscular endurance is different than absolute strength. Whereas pure strength is about how much force one can produce quickly (e.g., during a squat), muscular endurance is about training muscles to resist fatigue over long periods of time. One can easily see how muscular endurance is beneficial to runners: running longer distances like half-marathons, marathons and even ultramarathons. Muscular endurance will allow runners to retain their running form longer, which means not only maintaining running economy for longer but also decreasing the risk of running-related injuries.Sound worth it? Here’s how to do it:Do an easy run. Try to avoid running hills. Don’t do intervals. Just do a basic endurance-paced run anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes. It should feel almost boring.After the run and while the body is still warmed up, do a strength training session that focuses on high repetitions and low (if any) weight. Repetition ranges should be 20 to 30 per set. Cool down with light jogging.Combining running and strength training back to back is a serious session. Make sure to fuel properly before, during and after (like with a hot cocoa recovery drink). Don’t finish the workout starving. The recovery demands from this type of training are huge–but so are the benefits. Don’t do these big sessions every day–twice a week is plenty and should likely be followed by a full recovery day or an easy run (for advanced athletes).Running Before or After a Workout if the goal is to Lose WeightIt is often recommended to do strength training before running to empty carbohydrate stores. The idea is to force the body to get its energy primarily from fat rather than carbs during the run. However, the problem with this strategy is that it is very difficult to finish a long-distance run on empty carbohydrate stores. While it is true that a much higher percentage of fat is burned for energy, the calorie burn, on the other hand, is relatively low because of the low intensity or low duration of the workout. On top of that, perceived exertion of the workout will be much greater when continuing to workout with depleted glycogen stores. This can cause athletes to prematurely quit the workout; therefore, reducing maximal calorie expenditure. Additionally, athletes who choose to work out this way will finish workouts extremely hungry. This can lead athletes to massively overeat after a very tough workout, which will likely result in weight gain and developing unhealthy nutrition habits.If weight loss is a goal, a negative energy balance is key: If one burns more calories than they consume, they will lose weight. In the end, what matters is how many calories are burned in total through the workout. Spread your workouts out over several days. That way one can train at a high intensity and burn a lot of calories, and at the same time give the body the time it needs to recover properly before the next workout.Running Before or After a Workout if the Goal is to Improve Overall FitnessIn this case, basically do cardio and strength training in whichever order. Still define a specific training goal for each session. Just be careful about doing too much and getting injured. Start slow, add a little bit of training each week, take a day off if aches and pains start to creep up. Once the gains stop coming, consider reexamining training structure to focus on more specific goals. Try this workout after a run for a great cardio and strength session This workout focuses on neglected leg muscles and glute strength (i.e., a firmer butt). It’ll also help improve posture. Learn and do the following movements: Curtsy lunge, kneel & stand, side lunges, single-leg deadlift and wall sits.In general, avoid doing two workouts back-to-back. Spacing running and strength workouts far apart will allow the body sufficient time to adapt and recover before the next session. If running before or after a workout is the only option, follow the training schedule recommendations above to elicit maximal adaptations. If all of that is too complicated and the goal is to just get fit, do whatever is most convenient.Check out the following video for a detailed explanation of setting up a your own training schedule for best results: *** More

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    Everything You Need to Know About What to Eat After a Run at Night

    Many runners wonder if they should eat carbs after a run at night. On one hand, carbs help your muscles recover so you can consistently hit your workout goals. On the other hand, eating after a run at night could disrupt your sleep, which compromises recovery. On top of this, sugar is carbohydrate, which can keep you from feeling sleepy despite having just gone for a run at night. To answer the question of what to eat after a run at night, keep reading to understand how your body processes the macronutrients (macros for short) of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins is necessary.Your body requires carbs to provide it with energy and it is good at using them efficiently. Fat, on the other hand, always requires plenty of oxygen. Plus, it takes twice as long for fat to provide the same amount of energy as carbohydrates. That is why we have to reduce our pace to burn fat while running, so that our body can keep up with the oxidation process and doesn’t get exhausted. You’ll notice that you’re in the fat-burning zone when your breathing slows down. If your breathing is fast and shallow, you’re body is not burning the fat it could. This is also when it starts to hurt. You might catch yourself thinking that the couch looks awful comfy right now. Or the question “What the hell am I doing?” keeps popping into your head. But once you have conquered these mental hurdles, things will start to get easier.Your body stores carbs in the form of glycogen in your liver and muscles. They are important energy reserves — especially for ambitious runners. The more glycogen you have stored in your muscles, the better and longer they can perform.In general, the following nutrient ratio is recommended for endurance athletes:Carbohydrates: 55-65%Protein: 10-15%Fat: 25-30% The Role of Carbs After A RunCarbs are your muscles’ fuel. The macronutrient is very important for runners looking to enhance their performance (for instance, for a marathon) – not only before workouts, but also after you finish running. If you refill your glycogen stores right after a run, your body will recover faster. This helps your body adapt better to a new or harder workout and builds up your immune system faster again after your training. The more often or intensely you train, the more important a diet rich in carbohydrates is for your recovery.ActivityCarb intakeLight< 1 hour/day3-5 g kg/dayModerate  > 1 hour/day5-7 g kg/dayHigh1-3 hour/day7-10 g kg/dayVery high > 4-5 hour/day10-12 g kg/dayWhen and How Many Carbs to Eat After a RunThe best time for your body to replenish its glycogen stores is within the first 30 minutes after your workout. Consume about 0.5 g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight. For a 65 kg woman this should be about 30 g of carbohydrates.30 g of carbohydrates can be in the form of: one medium banana5 dates1 slice of bread with jam40 g of granola with 200 ml of cow’s milkThese carbohydrates (simple carbs) are easy to digest, and the body absorbs them quickly. After 30 minutes, the window starts to gradually close, and your body is no longer able to absorb carbs as efficiently and quickly.Keep in mind:You don’t need to eat carbohydrates after a short run (5 to 10 km), because the glycogen stores have not been depleted.What to Eat After a Run at NightAn hour after your run, you should eat a full meal with carbs, protein and fat. To be more exact, your meal should contain a 3:1 carbs to protein ratio. Carbs are still important at this point, but your body also needs protein to build muscles. Too much of this macronutrient, however, can interfere with efficient absorption of carbohydrates and disturb your body’s fluid balance.A good post-run meal is loaded sweet potato skins.What to Eat After a Run at Night if You Want to Lose WeightRunners whose top priority is to lose weight should try to avoid eating too many carbs. This applies particularly to simple carbohydrates. Complex carbs are necessary as part of a balanced diet, as we shall see below. Short endurance runs (like 5K runs) do not deplete our glycogen stores – so you don’t need to replenish them during your run (for example, with isotonic sports drinks) or right after the run. The best thing to drink after short runs is water. Eat a mix of complex carbohydrates and protein, as described above one to two hours after your run. But at the end of the day, if you are looking to lose weight, what matters is a negative energy balance (approx. 500 calories/day). This means you should burn more calories than you consume.Eat Complex Carbs After a Run at NightRunners looking to lose weight need to pay attention to what they eat, as well as their training. The best thing for you to eat is complex carbohydrates (along with high quality protein and healthy fats). These not only keep you feeling full longer, but they provide you with plenty of additional important minerals and vitamins for your metabolism and immune system. Complex carbohydrates are found, for instance, in whole-grain products (like pasta and bread) and brown rice. Whole-grain foods include all the original parts (bran, germ, and endosperm) as well as all their nutrients. Simple carbohydrates are obtained by removing the outside and only keeping the endosperm. Other foods containing complex carbohydrates are potatoes with the skin on them, legumes, and vegetables.Where are different types of carbohydrates found?Complex Carbs to Refuel After a Run at NightComplex Carbs take longer to digest and provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and fiber that boost your metabolism and strengthen your immune system:Whole grains and products incl. pasta, bread, and rollsPotatoes with the skin on themBrown riceBeans, lentils and peasVegetables, 100% vegetable juiceFruitAvoid Simple Carbs After a Run at Nightare a quick source of energy because they are digested rapidly. They cause your blood sugar and your insulin levels to rise:pastry flour and products, cakes, cookies, bread, and rollswhite pastasoft drinkssugar and sweetsalcoholDo You Need Carbs After a Run at Night?Yes and no. A high-carb snack will refill empty glycogen stores within the first 30 minutes after a long run (over 10 km). The ideal ratio of carbs to protein in a post-run meal is 3:1 for optimal recovery.The bottom line: eat carbs after night runs to prioritize recovery. Minimize eating carbs after runs at night if that is part of your weight loss strategy.*** More

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    The 6 Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises with Videos

    You don’t need any equipment or expensive gym membership to get the body you’ve always wanted. Your own body weight is all it takes to whip your body into shape. Would you like to tone your legs and strengthen your muscles? Then give these six effective bodyweight exercises a try. They are guaranteed to make you sweat.Leg exercises are important for building total body strength. The exercises below don’t just work your legs, they also work your glutes (butt muscles), strengthen your core, and promote a healthy back. Plus, these exercises are also great for runners!Curtsy Lunges[embedded content]Kneel & StandSide Lunges[embedded content]Single Leg Deadlift[embedded content]Jump Lunges[embedded content]Wall SitYou can also find all these and many more exercises in the adidas Training app.*** More

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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