Workout Trends Debunked!
We’ve been wondering about a lot of things lately. For instance, why do our fingernails turn black when we make basil pesto? Where did all those ants in the kitchen come from? Why does it rain as soon as we get our car washed?
These are all timeless questions, of course. But today, we’d like to talk about a few exercise-related topics that have had us scratching our heads for some time. So settle down with a plate of cookies, put your feet up and watch us knock these babies down one by one.
Should I get a foam roller?
Foam rollers are these long tubes that are supposed to help you recover after a workout. The ladies above are using them after a race.
As someone who likes to push myself, but then always limps around moaning for days afterward, this sounded attractive to me.
But then I found out that the rolling part is also painful. Really painful. If you don’t dig in there, it doesn’t work.
So is it better to feel a lot of pain up front or spread out a moderate amount of pain over a few days?
That can be answered by another question:
Did you write all your term papers weeks before they were due?
If so, you should get a foam roller.
Click here for some rolling tips.
Compression gear. Should I squeeze my body into that?
Sure. Some studies say it does work, a bit.
But then others say it’s possible that it’s all in your head.
But if it’s all in your head, that’s OK. If you BELIEVE it works, it works.
Do I need that $200 sneaker?
If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s a shoe that fits. (Still waiting for that, hiking boot makers.) So I have been running in Asics for years. They cost a bit, but they make my feet happy.
And some feel that in running, a comfortable shoe is more important that wearing an expensive shoe.
If you’re new to running, get yourself over to a running shop and talk to the employees about the right shoe for you. You will be shown shoes in a range of prices, which may go up to $200. You could buy that shoe. But you don’t have to.
Find something that is comfortable and works for you, and if they do, it doesn’t matter if they are twenty quid or a hundred and twenty quid. — Roger Kerry, Associate Professor in the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham
Will you get ripped on the paleo diet?
Yes, but you’ll lose your will to live.
Does Crossfit work?
See above.Read more
How to be a bike commuting genius
Last week, we told you about how one of the keys to staying fit as we get older is to just keep moving.
Today, we’re going to tell you about one of the best ways to integrate fitness into your daily life:
There’s so many benefits that we know you’ve already heard about. We almost feel we don’t need to tell you all of them again.
But we will anyway:
- Get your sweat on. It makes you a multitasking genius, getting to work and getting in your workout at the same time. Gmap’s handy homepage calculator can tell you how many calories you’ve burned on your ride.
- Save money. Less cash spent on gas and car maintenance.
- Save the environment. Bikes are pollution-free.
- Coolness factor: Car drivers envy you as you zip by them. You carry your bike up steps.
We have a few bike commuters in the Gmap Pedometer family. And it hasn’t all been roses cycling through the wilds of Maine, New York and Bangkok.
We’ve learned the hard way (by falling) about crossing railroad tracks perpendicularly and (also by falling) about how many bags of groceries we can carry at once. (None is your hands is a good idea).
During his daily 8KM commute through Bangkok’s streets, Leon has to keep an eye on pushcarts, motorbikes and tuk-tuks in addition to the cars. His serpentine route to work clocks in at about 35 minutes, faster than almost any other method for getting to the office.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned:
- Pick routes where the cars go slowly. Heavy traffic can be your friend.
- Be ever mindful. Of said cars.
- Minimize turns against traffic.
- Be visible. Phrases like “Christmas tree” or “alien spaceship landing” should come to mind when people see you blinking and flashing along. In the daytime, wear a neon safety vest for visibility.
And for tips on staying cool in hot weather, check out this previous post.
Safe riding!Read more
Staying Fit North of 40
Let Michelle Obama show you how it’s done at 51.
I called them the Grannies in Keds.
They were the women who would power past me up the trail in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I used to live. I’d be puffing along and they’d stride right by, heads up, arms pumping, white hair and sneakers gleaming.
“Great day, isn’t it?” they’d chirp, as I tried to grunt a reply without passing out. (It took me a long time to get used to living at 6,000 feet.)
Whatever sense of victory they felt passing an unacclimated twentysomething on the trail, they earned it.
More likely, though, they weren’t concerned about lapping me. They were doing something that made them happy… and that, it turns out, is one of the keys to fitness as we age.
Many of us are lifelong exercise buffs, runners or bicyclists who wouldn’t dream of letting more than a day or two go by without getting our cardio on. We love that feeling of the burn and we like the results when we compete or look in the mirror.
But as we get older, our paces may slack off. Injuries may pile up. It doesn’t feel as good to get out there.
Our workouts become just one more thing on the to-do list, and because it’s for us rather than our families or jobs, we let it slide.
Word of advice: Stay selfish.
“Masters athletes are proving that as much as 50 percent of age-related decline, maybe even 70 percent, is due not to aging but to deconditioning – losing physical fitness by doing very little,” Margaret Webb wrote in “Older Faster Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer.”
That means that age-related decline may be a myth. Yes, there are some bodily changes with which we must cope. Our cardiac output, lung capacity, dexterity and flexibility all drop off as we age.
But if we stay active, we can still stay in shape.
What to Do
- Strength training. Bicycling magazine says it can conserve lean muscle mass and reduce the effects of aging on VO2 max — the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use. Try this workout from Prevention magazine.
- Allow extra recovery time after a workout.
- Stay happy. If your usual workout feels more like work and less like fun, think about retooling it. Webb’s book recommends a regimen of mostly long, slow training runs, for example.
“I ride to live and I live to ride, as the motorcycle people say,” says 77-year-old bicycling fanatic Terry Taylor. “I find that if I go for a 100-mile bike ride, I can solve all the world’s problems, after mine.”
Taylor has kept going even after a crash broke his hip and collarbone and bruised his brain. Check out this video created by his nephew.
“I’ve had some problems, but I’ve always gotten back on … I listen to my heart.”
Be like Taylor. Don’t give up.Read more
Fully Clothed Showers, Frozen Hands and Other Pro Tips for Hot-Weather Workouts
Expert advice from the people who live and train in the tropics.
Hello, beloved users of Gmaps Pedometer.
We have to admit something to you. Not everyone on our team suffered through winter. In fact, one of us spent the months of November through February perfecting the art of floating around on a pool raft.
I confess: That’s me, and I live in Bangkok.
All that floating and daydreaming ate away at my workout mojo, though. Now that it’s insanely hot and humid here, it’s even harder to make myself run outdoors. So I did what anyone would do: Signed up for a race.
My husband and I managed to complete this 3K in about 21 minutes and were delighted we didn’t collapse. The temperature at the 6 a.m. starting time was 81 degrees, and the humidity was 65 percent.
By the end, I was as sopping as if I’d gone for a dip in the nearby Mae Klong River. Which I wouldn’t because they have stingrays the size of submarines.
We were two of the only Westerners there, but even the locals were suffering from the heat, especially the brave souls who ran the 12.8K. So that got me wondering: How do the die-hards who run here make it?
I turned to the Facebook page of Bangkok Runners, a group of craaazy and awesome people who run here all the time. Someone asked this very question recently, and they had a ton of great responses.
Here’s some of their tips for training in the Land of Smiles.
- Avoid the midday heat. Train at dawn or dusk.
- Hydrate from the moment you wake up.
- Jump into the shower fully clothed before you head out.
- Carry a frozen bottle of water. Keeping your hands cool helps.
- Take breaks every 2 km or so. Grab drinks at convenience stores. Nip into park bathrooms and splash water on your head.
- Bring a hydration pack for longer sessions.
- Avoid rice and fried food. Eat fruit and drink coconut water.
- Get used to the heat. Train in it as much as you can stand. Keep your air conditioning low.
Maybe most importantly:
Forget about your time until you adjust.
Some gear we can’t live without
We here at Gmaps Pedometer are just like all of you. We have lives.
First of all, we run this website. Second of all, we do everything else: Work at our day jobs, raise children, shop for groceries and celebrate anniversaries. So, like you, we’ve had to get pretty creative over the years about ways to squeeze in our training.
This has led to some strange scheduling, with workouts happening after children are asleep or in the nasty predawn hours before a commute. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Body isn’t gonna train itself. We know you’ve all been there, staring down a marathon date or competing with an office buddy over who can lose the most weight.
So we’ve decided to share with you some of our favorite items of gear. The stuff that’s there for us when we blearily reach for it on a 22-degree morning. The stuff that keeps us warm and safe.
The stuff that gets the job done.
LL Bean Fleece
One of our favorite basic cool-weather layers. Our site mastermind Paul wears it when the weather is in the 40s up to about 55.
This family and Bean go way back, ever since one of our clan decided to go to college in Maine, and we are no less delighted with its flagship store than we were when we first visited back in the early ‘90s.
Now, we’re lucky enough to be able to swing through Freeport at least once a year for a marathon (ha!) shopping session on our way to our annual family retreat on Mount Desert Island.
LightSpur LED heel clip
Gmaps wants you to shine bright like a diamond, especially so that you don’t get hit by a car.
The handy little LightSpur clips to your heel so that your moving foot is visible. Up. Down. Up. Down. Drivers may be so mesmerized by it that they accidentally go off the road and into a ditch. Well, we hope not, but we really want them to see us. Which is why we also wear this …
Ultimate Survival Technologies Headlamp
A powerful little lamp and essential for those 5 a.m. workouts (see above; real people training before commutes etc.).
Expert runner’s hack: Wear this on your wrist!
It has a little clip that pivots to attach to the band, so instead of wearing it on your head (super annoying), clip it to your …
Lets emergency responders know who you are. One of those great inventions that makes you wonder why no one thought of it sooner. A terrific way to soothe anxious spouses who may not be tickled about your planned solo century or 10K run down a remote road. There’s wrist models, shoe models, dog-tag models.
If you haven’t already been sucked in by the tales of horror on the RoadID website, proceed over there immediately and scan the story at the top of the page. You’ll be clicking “buy” before you know it.
Don’t leave home without one!
Some places where you DON’T need to spend a lot of money:
Headphones. We’ve tried a lot of different types, but in the end, it comes down to just a pair with a clip that goes over the ear.
Armbands. At this point, we’ll take any old band that will fit our increasingly huge phones.
What’s your favorite gear? Tell us below!Read more