Workout Rest Days • 5 Mistakes to Avoid for Recovery

Workout Rest Days • 5 Mistakes to Avoid for Recovery


You just completed a tough workout, and you’re so motivated that you want to do the next one right away? It may be tempting, but you won’t be doing your body or your progress any favors. You need to rest and recover from the hard work. That’s what workout rest days are for.

So what should you do on rest days? We’ll tell you which mistakes you should avoid and how to get the most out of your recovery days. 

Mistake # 1: You don’t schedule workout rest days 

Workout rest days should be a regular part of your training plan. This is when your body has the chance to recover and process the progress you’ve made. When you work out, your muscles are pushed to the limit, which stimulates growth. The muscles have to adapt to the increased effort, and your performance level improves. 

…but muscle stimulation is just the beginning

Hypertrophy (an increase in the size of muscle cells in reaction to stimuli) only happens on rest days. That’s why it’s so important to schedule time for recovery between your workouts.

Mistake # 2: You don’t listen to your body 

The more experience you have with exercise, the more aware you become of what your body needs. Fatigue, lethargy, and muscle weakness are signs that you have overdone it and you’re already in the overtraining zone. This can be caused by working out too much without taking a break to give your body time for muscle recovery. At this point, your body can’t process the muscle stimulation anymore, and your performance drops. Your motivation to continue working out also starts to dissipate. Your body is crying out for a well-deserved break. If you want to keep making progress, you really need to tune in. This is true for both endurance and strength training. 

Recovery phases are just as important as your workout! 


Mistake #3: You squeeze in a workout just because 

Sometimes it’s hard to resist squeezing in a training session instead of taking a workout rest day or time for muscle recovery, but remember, you’re just putting the brakes on your progress. Your body needs a chance to recover to get stronger. Not taking the time to rest will only slow muscle growth, and over time, you’ll start wondering why you’re not seeing results. Another risk of spontaneous workouts is that you don’t do the exercises carefully enough or you overload certain muscle groups, which increases your risk of injury. That’s why it’s smart to follow a training plan with a goal.

Mistake #4: You don’t eat enough on rest days 

Obviously, you burn fewer calories on your recovery days than on the days you work out. But don’t start eating less because you’re afraid of putting on weight. You have to fuel your body with energy and nutrients on rest days so that your muscles have what they need to grow. Keep in mind: a balanced diet can boost your athletic performance

Mistake #5: You’re a couch potato 

Doing nothing at all for a day can definitely be relaxing and something you need from time to time. However, try using your rest day for active recovery by focussing on low-intensity activities like brisk walks, yoga, cycling, or swimming. 

Our Tip:

Since people usually don’t stretch enough, we recommend that you take more time to develop flexibility on recovery days. You’ll relax your deep muscles in the process. Yoga, massage, relaxation baths, and a foam roller are great ways to loosen up tight muscles.

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Running for Weight Loss ᐅ How Christian Made it Happen

Running for Weight Loss ᐅ How Christian Made it Happen


Seven years ago Christian never could have imagined that he would soon run a marathon or be seen by those around him as a motivated athlete. The road to becoming a fit, healthier version of himself was not always easy – but Christian succeeded and tells us here how he reinvented himself. 

“I feel much better in my body now.” 

I was a chubby kid, and over the years, I just kept putting on weight. In 2015 I got on the scale and had hit 180 kg. My son was four years old at the time. He was actually the one who inspired me. I didn’t want him to be ashamed of me. Plus, I wanted to be a good role model. 

“I was out of breath after climbing just three stairs.” 

When I decided to lose weight, I started with walks that gradually got longer and faster. That’s how I eventually started running. I liked this kind of exercise and the positive effect on my health so much that I focused more and more on jogging and regularly set my goals higher: 

“Getting in shape is not a goal – it’s an attitude.” 

When I decided to lose weight, I started with walks that gradually got longer and faster. That’s how I eventually started running. I liked this kind of exercise so much and the positive effect on my health that I focused more and more on jogging and regularly set my goals higher: 

  • In 2016 I finally managed to run 10 km at once.
  • One year later I was celebrating my first half marathon. 
  • With an ambitious training plan I made another dream come true in September 2019: I ran the BMW Berlin-Marathon.

Christian before & after

“Nothing changes until you change yourself. Then suddenly everything changes.” 

A lot depends on your environment when you decide to lose weight. I was lucky that my lifestyle change was welcomed with enthusiasm. Some people may have secretly thought that I couldn’t really change. But I am proving to these people that change is possible and worth the effort. Exercise is not a necessary evil anymore – I love to work out and it is contagious. Many of my friends and colleagues started running too and come to me for advice. 

“Anyone can achieve great things if they believe in themselves and don’t give up!” 

Running changed my life. Today – after losing 80 kg around my middle – I work out every day and alternate between strength and endurance training. Instructions and tips from blog posts combined with workouts and training plans in the adidas Training app and adidas Running app helped me stick with it and stay motivated. 

Seeing and feeling the progress in my daily life is an incredible feeling that I wouldn’t want to give up. In this process, I also learned that you can’t only listen to your ambition. You also have to pay attention to your body. All of my motivation and enthusiasm led me to an overuse injury, which forced me to skip a planned marathon in 2018. It was a small setback that taught me to always listen to my body and never give up.  

I lost the first 75 kg between the spring of 2015 and the summer of 2016. After that, I plateaued until the spring of 2020. That was followed by a phase of weight gain to 125 kilograms until just before Christmas of 2020. I had fallen victim to the famous yo-yo effect, triggered by a stress-related burnout. I had gained another 20 kilos. I was able to climb out of this hole by spring 2021, shedding not just the 20 kgs from 2020 but an additional 5 kilos. I had lost a total of 80 kilos, bringing me down to my magic number: 100 kilograms. 

Now I weigh 100 kg and feel much healthier and more confident. I would never have managed it if I hadn’t been persistent and disciplined. 

If you are at the beginning of changing your life like I did, start slowly, and don’t get discouraged! “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” The first step is always the hardest, but it’s also the most important. Only those who dare to take this first step will reach the finish line.

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How to Stop Stress Eating (3 Strategies)

How to Stop Stress Eating (3 Strategies)


This LEGO looks worried, probably because he doesn't know what to eat.

All of us have plenty of stress in our lives.

In the modern world, it’s almost a given.

If you find yourself responding by “stress eating,” know that you are not alone.

One of the top issues faced by clients in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program is emotional or stress eating. It actually seems to increase in occurrence year over year.




Today, we’re going to show you exactly how we address emotional eating with our clients, including when it’s – GASP – actually okay to stress eat. 

Here’s what we’ll cover in today’s guide:

Let’s jump right in.

What Is Stress Eating? (A Video from NF Kitchen)

The above video from Coach Justin comes from the Nerd Fitness Prime “Mindset” video series

Justin covers three important lessons I want to highlight, but before we do that, we should ask ourselves a question: 

“What exactly is stress eating?”

Stress eating is consuming food in response to negative emotions like fear, anger, or sadness.

When we stress eat, food is being used to solve a problem. Now, unless we’re actually hungry, it’s likely a problem that food itself isn’t meant to solve.

That’s stress or emotional eating.

Here’s what compounds the whole problem: stress eating itself can make us feel guilty. We often feel terrible once our spoon hits the bottom of the pint of ice cream.

This can drive more negative emotions, which can trigger even MORE stress eating.

And the pattern continues.

A gif of Tina saying "I'm out of control."

We’ll talk about ways to break this cycle in a moment, but before we do, we need to create some tools to identify it in the first place. 

What Causes Stress Eating? (Lesson #1: Playing Detective)

a picture of Detective Pikachu

You may have been surprised in our video above when Coach Justin gives permission to stress eat.

Counterintuitive and seemingly counterproductive, I know. But this is going to be important for two reasons.

How to Approach Stress Eating:

Step #1: we need to curb the guilty feelings about stress or emotional eating. 

I started this guide off by highlighting the frequency of stress eating amongst our Online Coaching clients

You are not the only one struggling with this.

Most humans do.

And robots with human-like emotions and taste buds

A gif of Eva, who might be craving some food because of stress.

We’ll come back to this idea again, because ending the shame of emotional eating will be critical for moving forward. 

Step #2: allowing ourselves to stress eat will help us learn why we do it.

We’re going to be playing detective here, to see if we can piece apart your actions and routines.

This man's book says "how to be a detective" so you know it's legit

At the end of the day, our lives are a cumulation of habits. Stress eating is one such habit.

So let’s learn about it!

To do so, we’re gonna record some Emotional Eating Notes

During an episode of stress eating, it’s important to ask:

  • What am I doing?
  • What am I feeling? (Both physically and emotionally)
  • What am I thinking about?
  • What time is it?
  • Where am I?
  • Who am I with?

Also, gauging these at different times can be helpful too.

How is your stress looking:

  • An hour or two before the eating episode?
  • Right before it?
  • During it?
  • Right after it?

The purpose of these Emotional Eating Notes?

Look for patterns!

Detective Pikachu is holding up a magnifying glass in this gif.

Perhaps you’ll notice some of the following:

  • “After my recent Tuesday morning conference call, when I got grilled by my company’s leadership, I grabbed some chocolate chip cookies. This happened the week before too.”
  • “Around 2pm, when I get the ‘afternoon slumps,’ I normally grab a Coca-Cola. This little boost gets me through the end of the day. This is almost a daily practice.”
  • “Last Sunday evening, when thinking about the start of the work week, I had a couple of glasses of wine. When looking back at my notes, this takes place at the end of most weekends.”

We’re looking for patterns to help us understand what drives our stress eating. 

The most important thing about this process: withholding judgment.

We’re looking at our notes for clues into our psyche. Whatever we captured is okay.

If you order pizza every Thursday after talking with your overbearing mom (of course, she means well), step one is to recognize it.

Oftentimes, this awareness step alone can help shift behavior. “Oh, I’m reaching for a beer like I normally do after ending my workday. Typical Me.”

After creating some notes on what spurs our emotional eating, it’s time to think about some alternatives for coping with stress.

How Do I Stop Mindless Eating? (Lesson #2: The Stress Response Menu)

This photo has two LEGO characters in it, with one holding their stress response menu.

After documenting what sets off our stress eating, we need to formulate a plan on what to do when our anxiety rises.

That means it’s time to build…a Stress Response Menu!

Our Stress Response Menu will be a list of actions or activities you can do to de-stress outside of eating.

Ideally, you’ll do them before an eating episode, but they can be done during or after the fact too.

In other words, if you only realized you were stress eating when your hand reaches the bottom of the Doritos bag, no problem, you can do your stress response activity right then. 

The purpose of the Stress Response Menu is to reward yourself with a small moment of self-love, whenever your anxiety levels are too much.

Examples for a Stress Response Menu:

A gif of Grandpa Simpson shouting at a cloud.

The more the activity from your Stress Response Menu can match your personal goals, the better. 

In other words, if you’re trying to build muscle, some push-ups might be the perfect de-stressor. 

Just make sure it’s something you won’t dread doing. 

A combination of a “de-stressor” and a “reward.”

This is important, as Coach Justin mentions that many of his clients only reward themselves with food. The self-love they practice only takes place in the kitchen. 

Our menu above will help us develop some more options, not solely based on food.

To make the most of your Stress Response Menu:

#1) Make the activities short and easy. 

You should feel confident that you can do every item on your list. So avoid activities that will take longer than 10 minutes to complete. 

Also, set yourself up for success by hacking your Batcave:

  • If you’re going to journal when stressed, keep your diary open on your work desk.
  • If you’re going to drink water before any emotional eating, keep your full glass near you. 
  • If you’re going to take a short walk, keep your kicks near the door.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by picking overly complicated or burdensome activities.

#2) Place your Stress Response Menu somewhere visible. 

Once you make your list, print it out and place it in your kitchen or pantry (or wherever you typically stress eat). 

You could also write out a couple of your favorite activities and attach them to your refrigerator. 

If it’s right in front of you, it’ll be harder to ignore (however, it’s okay to ignore it from time to time, as we aren’t striving for perfection).

Just please don’t write it and then stick the list in the junk drawer that opens to another dimension.

Yeah, don't put your stress response menu in a portal like this.

You never can find anything in that drawer.

#3)Track your usage of the Stress Response Menu. 

This will help us in two ways:

  • First, by tracking your usage, you’ll start to feel better about using the SRM. You’ll see an accumulation of all the times you successfully deployed a stress response, helping you visualize the momentum you’re building. 
  • Second, the data will help you understand your patterns of emotional eating. Maybe five deep breaths steered you away from ice cream but the large glass of water did not. You can then use this information to update and revise your response plan.

For the first point, Coach Justin has his clients keep a “Jar of Awesome.”

Every time they have a small win in the day, like taking five deep breaths instead of chugging soda, they place a marble or small token in a jar. After a while, the jar will have a decent amount of marbles or “small wins” in it.

This will then stand as a visual reminder of all the progress being made, proof of their ongoing wins.




How Common Is Stress Eating? (Lesson #3: Learning Self-Compassion)

This photo shows a sad clown on a psychiatrist couch.

The American Psychological Association has found that about a third of Americans respond to stress with food.[1] 

This research was done BEFORE the global pandemic.

If you find yourself binging in response to stress, know that you are not alone here.

Heck, both clients and NF Coaches turn to food and alcohol for comfort every now and again.

Personally, somewhat recently I mindlessly devoured an entire tub of Animal Crackers after a stressful week. It was only when the bag was gone did I understand what just happened.

A gif of "the next day" from the film the Hangover

So yep, many of us (even fitness “experts”) are prone to stress eating.

Now, don’t take this as a free pass to stress eat. 

If the behavior goes against your goals, it’s something we want to work towards improving.

But there’s a reason they call it “comfort food.” Food can often be used to make us happier.

At the end of the day, we’re all emotional bags of meat on this floating hunk of space rock, and we’re doing the best we can. 

Give yourself a bit of a break, my friend.

You’re here, you’re reading, and you’re trying. That’s great!

This will bring me to my last point with our handy guide:

Is It Okay to Stress Eat? (Next Steps)

A LEGO pushing around a hot dog stand (with ice cream)

There are times when food is the perfect response to stress.

It’s something Coach Justin mentions in his video.

“Stress eating” might be appropriate if: 

  • After a long workday, a glass of wine with cheese helps you unwind.
  • To celebrate the coming of the weekend, you have an ice cream party on Friday night.
  • The week already seems long, and it just started, “Taco Tuesday” might help you survive until Friday.

The important thing here? 

“We are making a choice.” 

We are choosing to deal with stress or anxiety with food. By making it an intentional activity, we can remove the guilt around emotional eating.

Food can be fine as a reward, as long as it’s us controlling the behavior, and not the food itself.

In addition, if we can recognize the action (or plan for it), we can then adjust our calories before and after and not go off the rails. 

(You can calculate your recommended total daily calorie intake here, by the way!)

If it seems like you aren’t quite there yet, start with your Emotional Eating Notes and your Stress Response Menu.

Even just the process of taking notes on specific episodes of stress eating may be enough to slow down the behavior.

Remember, no matter what happens:

  • You are not a bad person if you stress eat.
  • You are not a bad person if you forget to take notes.
  • You are not a bad person if you ignore your Stress Response Menu.

You are not a bad person (unless you’re a Death Eater, but come on, you know what side you’re on). 

A gif of Voldermort looking mad and evil like

If you need any help along the way, we are here for you.

We have three specific paths to continue with Nerd Fitness:

#1) Our Online Coaching program: a coaching program for busy people to help them make better food choices, stay accountable, and get healthier, permanently.

As I said before, “stress eating” is the number one issue faced by our coaching clients, so we know exactly how to help recognize and address the habit.

You can schedule a free call with our team so we can get to know you and see if our coaching program is right for you:




#2) If you want an exact blueprint for leveling up your nutrition, check out Nerd Fitness Journey! Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

If you follow our Mindset missions, you’ll learn to de-stress while earning XP! Sah-weeeet.

Try your free trial right here:

#3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our Rebel Starter Kit, which includes all of our “work out at home” guides, the Nerd Fitness Diet Cheat Sheet, and much more!

Alright, I want to hear from you:

Have you been stress eating more over the last year?

Do you have any tips or tricks to interrupt the pattern?

What’s your favorite way to de-stress?

Let me know in the comments!

-Steve

P.S. Make sure you check out A Nerd’s Introduction to Mental Health for more.

###

Photo Source: Plant LEGO, beer5020 © 123RF.com, Programmer, On the couch, LEGO hot dog stand



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Should You Eat More Often for a Better Metabolism?

Should You Eat More Often for a Better Metabolism?


Can you trust your hunger or should you schedule your meals?

You may have heard that eating 6 small meals per day will boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. Or maybe the exact opposite – that fasting is great for weight loss.  

There is a lot of confusion about meal frequency in the health and fitness industry.

But don’t worry – there’s one rule to rule them all.

The number one rule of meal frequency

The best number of meals a day for you is whatever it takes to meet your nutritional needs. Here’s what that means…

What you eat –  which macronutrients –  and how much you eat matters more than how often you eat. 

Some people find it easier to eat  three  times. Others are able to better adjust the amount of food they eat if it is spread out in smaller meals so they never get hungry. That’s why the right number of meals for you is whatever is the easiest to meet your nutritional needs throughout the day. Simple as that.

Why?

The fact is:

If you want to lose fat or gain weight the most important thing is to adjust your calorie intake accordingly.

Remember, eating smaller meals won’t speed up your weight loss if the calories stay the same. And here’s why…

Your meal timing and metabolism questions answered

Will eating small meals often speed up your weight loss?

It is a fact that meal digestion increases your metabolic rate. But, it depends on the amount of calories and not how often you eat. Eating 900 calories in three small meals or just one big meal doesn’t make a difference.(1) As long as calories stay the same, eating more often won’t make a significant difference for weight loss, according to research.

Does skipping meals cause “starvation mode” that stops you from losing weight?

When you eat less, your metabolism has less to digest. So, restricting your calories will slow down your metabolic rate, whether you skip meals or not. But – a slower metabolic rate is most likely not the reason why your weight loss stalled. . Actually, your weight loss will naturally slow down once you have less to lose. It doesn’t mean you are in “starvation mode” and have to eat more often.

This common myth causes people to eat more and sabotage their diets. (Exceptions include conditions like anorexia and rare diseases such as marasmus.)

“Starving yourself” with a severe caloric restriction is not advised for health reasons beyond weight management, such as malnutrition that could lead to other serious health issues.

Should you eat right after your workout if you want to gain muscle?

If your goal is to build muscle, there are a couple of scientifically proven tips to increase muscle protein synthesis.(3) Consuming high-quality protein up to 2 hours after your workout can help muscle recovery and gain. For optimal gains, you should consider eating 20-40g of protein (0.25–0.40 g/kg body mass/dose) approximately every 4 hours. If you are not exercising, the timing is not crucial and you should care most about the total protein intake per day to build more muscle.

Still, you might be left wondering – are there any reasons why you should eat more or less often?

Should you eat more or less often?

Consider eating less often if…

  • The “smaller meals approach” is complicated for you
  • You want to think less about food but still stick to your planned calories
  • You can’t lose weight even by restricting calories
  • You have digestive problems – a longer break between meals gives your body a chance to digest food completely

Looking for a change? Intermittent fasting can be a great way to lose weight and/or spend less time on food planning.

Is it safe to experiment with intermittent fasting?

In general, yes. But it’s not advised if you are younger than 18, pregnant, diabetic, underweight, or have had an eating disorder.

Consider eating more often (4 or more meals a day) if…

  • You want to gain weight but can’t eat so many calories in one meal
  • You have a very active job and high calorie demands
  • You are an athlete and need specific nutrient timing around your workouts
  • You feel “hangry” (hungry + angry) all the time (maybe you should try foods that keep you full longer?)

Key takeaways

  • There is no magical number of meals a day that will work for everyone. Trust your hunger – if you like to eat smaller meals more frequently, then go for it. If not, feel free to eat less often.
  • You don’t have to force yourself to eat on a schedule, but it would be good to create a habit of eating the same number of meals each day. Why? According to research, meal irregularity can have negative effects on your health. Whether it’s 2 meals, 3 meals, 6 meals a day – try to choose a number of meals that you can stick to most days of the week.
  • Don’t forget the number one rule: the best number of meals for you depends on what your body needs to meet your goals.

Not sure how much macronutrients you need? Use the protein intake calculator and carb calculator to find out what is the optimal amount for your goals!

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A Running Program for Beginners (Free PDF!)

A Running Program for Beginners (Free PDF!)


Running is one of the easier sports to get into. All you need is a good pair of shoes, some fitness clothes, and music – if you’re into working out with a soundtrack. But to make it a habit you’ll be sure to keep, you need to follow a running program that challenges you without overwhelming you.

This beginner running plan is designed to help you start slowly, preparing your body to get into the sport while preventing injuries. Download the PDF below to get started on your journey toward becoming a runner.

Before You Start: Learn How the Beginner Running Plan Is Structured

This running for beginners training plan takes a holistic approach to health and fitness based on four pillars:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Mindset
  3. Movement
  4. Recovery

The running plan is separated into two phases:

  • Phase 1 helps you get used to your new routine
  • Phase 2 helps you amp up the effort 

Each phase lasts three weeks and includes the following:

  • Strength training sessions
  • Running sessions
  • Adequate time for recovery

Every workout you do will start with a warm-up to prep your body for exercise and end with a recovery session.

How to Prepare for Your Run 

When you’re just starting to runit’s essential to ease your body into the experience. It’s learning to work in a whole new way, after all. Starting with a quick warm-up will help get your muscles ready to work. Follow the video to prepare for your run:

Cool Down to Keep the Benefits of Your Run

We can’t stress it enough – don’t skip your cool down! After a run, your muscles are warm and pliable. Stretching after a run is one of the most important steps to preventing injury. It will also help make you less sore the next day. Follow the foam roll exercise video below to cool down:

Start to Run: Download The Beginner Running Plan

Download this running program to become a runner in no time!

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How To Train For A 10K Run >> With Running Pace Chart

How To Train For A 10K Run >> With Running Pace Chart


 

A 10K race is one of the harder races on your body. Typical times for non-professional runners range from 30 to 60 minutes and are close to your individual anaerobic threshold, or the pace at which you can run for 60 minutes without a loss in performance.

Since you will be putting a lot of stress on your body by running at the limit of your capabilities, it can be helpful to know what running pace you can sustain for 10K.

New to longer runs?

Preparing for a 10K doesn’t need to be hard or take a long time. In fact, it’s possible to prepare for it in as little as two weeks! Get all the info in our article >> How to Prepare for a 10K Run <<.

Running at the Limit of Your Capabilities? A Lactate Test Helps

One way of determining this limit is to do a lactate test in a lab. This not only defines your training zones but also includes a sports medical exam. Unfortunately, the values achieved on the treadmill don’t always transfer to running outdoors. Plus, the test – if performed regularly – is rather expensive.

All you need to estimate your individual anaerobic threshold is a stopwatch, a flat place to run, and some motivation.

Here’s How to Estimate Your Anaerobic Threshold:

  • Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. Start slow and finish at a faster pace.
  • Begin jogging in 5 X 100-m strides –  jog back to where you started as a break between strides.
  • Graduate by running 1,000 meters as fast as possible and jot down the time. This step should get your body up to speed and your legs ready to run fast.
  • Rest for 10 minutes but don’t stand or sit while you wait. Move around and stay loose.
  • Now it’s time to run 5,000 meters as fast as you can – and don’t forget to jot down the time.
  • Finally, jog for 10 minutes to cool down. Depending on the weather and the ground, you can also run barefoot on the grass for five minutes.

Good to know:

If you divide your 5K time by five, you will find your individual anaerobic threshold pace. And your 10K race pace, too!

Of course, you can also wear a heart rate monitor during the test to determine your working heart rate on that day. But remember that your heart rate can fluctuate significantly for the same activity based on the time of day. Therefore, it should only be used as a training tool when there is no other option for monitoring your performance (e.g., for running hills).

This test does not require much time; you can do it almost anywhere, and it provides you with all the information you need for your next race. But, generally, getting a medical checkup before you start training for a race is a good idea. That way, you can rule out any risk factors. A 10K race – as well as the test described above – is only suitable for healthy runners.

The table below (for download and printing!) shows you that your test results can tell you a lot more than just your 10K pace.

10K Run: Download the Running Pace Chart

Get Helpful Tips and Training Plans to Work on Your Running Performance

Now you know the running pace for your 10K.

But if you want to bring your performance to the next level, you should actively work on it. 

The following blog posts will support you in reaching your fitness goals:

And if you want to go even further, this training plan in the adidas Training app is for you:

“Running Strong”: Did you know that strength training is a great way to take your running performance to the next level, prevent injuries, and add variety to your fitness routine? Get your >> 4-week training in the adidas Training app << today!

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The Top 12 Foods in a Heart Healthy Diet

The Top 12 Foods in a Heart Healthy Diet


People with high blood pressure or atherosclerosis rarely have any symptoms. They can go for a long time thinking their heart is fine. Then suddenly, they feel a sharp pain in their chest. If their doctor tells them that there’s a problem with their heart or cholesterol level, they’re likely to change their lifestyle. Unfortunately, a lifestyle change is usually not enough, and they’ll have to take medication. If only they had started paying attention to their cardiovascular health earlier…

In fact, if you make healthy changes early enough, you can improve your heart health. Start including the right foods in a heart-healthy diet now. We’ll tell you the top 12 foods that are good for your heart. 

Which Foods are Good for Your Heart?

1. Fatty fish

Fatty fish (e.g., mackerel, herring, trout, or sardines) are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These vital fatty acids have immense benefits for your cardiovascular system. They can even help prevent heart disease.(1) Including these types of fish in your diet regularly can also reduce your cholesterol by increasing the “good” cholesterol (HDL). 

2. Kale

Kale (and other green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard) is packed with vitamins and minerals. One of those is vitamin K, which is important for your heart health.(2) A meta-analysis including eight studies showed that the regular consumption of green leafy vegetables could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by almost 16%.(3

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes produce a secondary metabolite called lycopene. This is an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in the body.(4) Antioxidants have a powerful effect on reducing LDL cholesterol, which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Lycopene-rich foods lower LDL levels and increase beneficial HDL cholesterol in the blood.  

4. Avocado

Studies show that eating avocados regularly can have a positive effect on your HDL cholesterol.(5) This is due to their high monounsaturated fat content. 

5. Legumes

Legumes are the real deal. These superfoods not only regulate your blood sugar and keep your digestion working smoothly, but they are also an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Lentils, beans, chickpeas, and other legumes reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol and also help decrease inflammation in your body.(6) Try to include legumes in your diet at least four times a week. 

6. Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These are considered some of the healthiest foods you can eat; plus, they can help prevent cardiovascular disease.(7)

7. Whole Grain Foods

Fiber is a very important component in a heart-healthy diet. Whole grain products are high in fiber and, as a result, lower your LDL cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.(8) Try to include whole grain foods in your diet on a daily basis, such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole grain pasta, or whole grain bread.

8. Nuts

Walnuts are an excellent source of healthy micronutrients for your heart and brain.(9) However, don’t forget about other kinds of nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews, which also have a protective effect. Eat a handful of nuts each day for a healthy heart.

9. Seeds

Like nuts, many types of seeds are great for your heart. These include flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds. High in antioxidants, these seeds improve your circulation while also reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.(10)

10. Olive oil

Olive oil is a staple food in the Mediterranean diet. There are plenty of reasons this is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. The antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil protect your heart (look for extra virgin and cold-pressed).(11)

Important!

Olive oil should not be heated, which means don’t use it for sautéeing or frying. Drizzle it over tomatoes with mozzarella and basil or a crisp salad instead.

11. Garlic 

Garlic is another important part of a heart-healthy diet. The compound allicin lowers cholesterol and blood pressure; plus it has positive results in the treatment of atherosclerosis.(12)

12. Dark chocolate

No, you’re not dreaming. Chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70%) can protect your heart. Studies show that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of hardening of the arteries.(13) It’s all about the amount here; try to keep your intake moderate (~ 15g), considering the high fat and sugar content. 

Takeaway

One of the best things you can do for your cardiovascular health is to eat a balanced diet loaded with a wide variety of healthy foods. Keep your heart strong by staying physically active and limiting alcohol consumption, animal fats and salt, and quitting smoking. 

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Earn Rewards When You Work Out

Earn Rewards When You Work Out


Did you know that you can get more than just a great workout by using adidas Training and adidas Running? Our motivating challenges, races, and workouts reward you beyond your fitness and health.

Enter adidas adiClub: you can earn customer loyalty program points when you use our apps, which you can use to unlock four levels of exclusive adidas goodies.

Millions of our members around the world are discovering the benefits of adiClub every day. Download or open the adidas app to get started!

Don’t see adiClub in your app? Don’t worry: we’re most likely working hard to make it available in your country!

What is adiClub?

adiClub is adidas’ customer loyalty program where members can earn points by using adidas apps.

Signing up is easy! Everyone with an account on our apps in adiClub countries is automatically a member of adiClub.

With four different levels offering exclusive members-only benefits and the chance to convert points into cool products, you’ll feel motivated to keep moving.

Earn points when you track activities, follow in-app workouts, or complete challenges. Points unlock different levels with incentives you can redeem at any time.

See Your adiClub Points

You can find your current point balance and membership level in your adiClub profile in the adidas Training and Running apps, in the adidas app, or by logging in and checking the ‘My Account’ section at adidas.com.

What do I get with adiClub?

Each level of adiClub offers unique experiences. Every time you move up a level, you get to keep your previously-unlocked rewards.

When you sign up for our apps, you will start at Level 1.

Level 1 gives you:

  • Your adiClub ID, which connects all adidas apps, websites, and communities (like adidas Runners)
  • Hyper access – the chance to shop exclusive, limited-edition adidas apparel
  • Personalized content to your inbox
  • Access to members-only products

At Level 2 (Unlocks at 1,000 points):

  • A birthday gift straight to your inbox
  • Three months of Premium membership for both apps 
  • Special offers

Level 3 (Unlocks at 3,000 points):

  • Early access to products
  • Personalization on selected adidas shoes and apparel

Level 4 (unlocks at 9,000 points):

  • Hype priority access
  • 1 year of Premium membership on us
  • Special event invites

How to earn adiClub points

There are plenty of ways to level up across the adidas Training and adidas Running apps. It’s simple: the more active you are, the more points you’ll collect. 

Use adidas Training to do a variety of workouts: Try a beginner’s workout inspired by Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” or relax with a calming yoga flow. On adidas Running, earn points when you track your next run, walk, or another eligible sport!

You can earn adiClub points when you sign up for challenges, like doing 120 minutes of workouts or running 30 km in one month.

Across the adidas universe, in-store and online, you can also collect points by shopping and reviewing products.

Can’t see points or levels on your adiClub profile? Not all countries have full adiClub features yet!

A new way to spend points

We’re giving members from some countries the chance to go even further with the points they earn! 

Not only can you use points to access different levels of rewards, but you can now spend your points directly in the US and UK.

You can spend points on vouchers that give you discounts on select adidas products.

Spending your points won’t affect your current level, so you can keep levelling up with adiClub.

Celebrate him, her, them, US during Members Week

Members Week takes place from September 30 to October 6. This 7-day digital festival is where adidas’ diverse fitness community comes together and gets the chance to earn even more adiClub points.

This year, Members Week will combine our community’s love of sport with a passion for progressive change. 

Discover the next generation of athletes, artists, and body-positive activists who are leaving their creative mark on adidas.

Celebrate adidas Members Week, Wakanda-style

Need some inspiration for your next workout? Get pumped with our Wakanda Forever Workouta full-body warrior workout inspired by the upcoming film from Marvel Studios, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

This workout is part of our adidas Members Week challenge: your chance to get fit and earn 100 adiClub points.

We’re aiming for 300k collective hours of activity from September 30 to October 6.

Get started on adidas Training now!

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Lift & Tone Your Booty in 4 Weeks

Lift & Tone Your Booty in 4 Weeks


grow your booty

Get ready to wake up your glutes! The 2022 Booty Challenge is going to help you lift, tone, and build your best butt in 3 weeks. We start September 26th!

We’ll be working out daily together using my 3:1 method in my training app MOVE by Love Sweat Fitness and I’ll be giving you a FREE eBook with brand new booty building recipes + pre & post workout nutrition tips just for signing up! Not only that, there’s a chance to win some amazing prizes! I can’t wait for you to join us!

I know getting and staying motivated can be tough, so I’ll also be sending you weekly emails and texts sharing tips and lots of inspiration to help you reach your goals!

Your Daily Sweat

On September 26th you will find your Booty Challenge workouts in the challenge section of MOVE

Your Workouts

You will see you three-part challenge designed to strengthen and tone your glutes.

Here’s the breakdown of what to expect each day to help grow your booty in 3 weeks!

1: Sweat Sesh

This is your main workout that is personalized for you, based on your fitness level (beginner, intermediate or advanced)

2: Daily 10

10 min workout that is great as a dynamic warm-up or a quick workout anytime, anywhere!

3: Bonus Move

This is the Booty Bonus Move that will target your glutes every day!

The Grand Prize

As if that new booty wasn’t enough, you could win a grand prize package valued at over $400 just for committing to yourself for the next 3 weeks!

How do I win?

  • Take your “before” photos on day 1, so you’ll have an amazing transformation story to share with us at the end! Find all the pro tips here.
  • Create an LSF Instagram account to engage with the #TeamLSF community and help support other amazing women—we’re in it together!
  • Follow @LoveSweatFitness + @TeamLSF on Instagram and make sure you’re tagging us in your daily #LSFRollCall! Don’t forget to use #LSFbooty as well.
  • Submit a testimonial at the end of the challenge so we can hear all about your incredible journey!

Can’t wait to start with you on September 26th!





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Balance and Stability Exercises: Tips for Core Workouts

Balance and Stability Exercises: Tips for Core Workouts


Many people, when starting their fitness journey, are drawn to the machines at the gym that only isolate a single muscle at a time. This is really common, and the truth is, we oftentimes don’t really know any better. We think that by going to the gym to better our health we should be using those machines for our fitness training workouts. But that’s not the most effective way to work out.

The truth is, the foundation of your fitness routine should be stability and balance exercises to…

  • activate and strengthen the core and the many stabilizing muscles
  • improve coordination
  • decrease the risk of injury
  • work to eliminate overcompensations that probably have developed over time

And, there are so many effective bodyweight exercises you can do to build this foundation without ever even stepping foot into a gym. Hooray for time and money saved, right?

In this article, you will find basic information on stability and balance training, plus 12 core stability exercises for your next workout:

What Is Stability and Balance Training?

This kind of training is performing an exercise in what we call in the fitness industry a proprioceptively enriched environment. To put it in layman’s terms: an unstable environment.

This can be performing an exercise…

  • while balancing on one leg
  • standing on a pillow
  • BOSU ball
  • or even a rolled-up yoga mat

Stability and balance training demands a lot of core activation and attention (it’s impossible to be on your phone or have a conversation while doing this type of training – so you’ll have to save your selfies until after you’re done) you can take a selfie after). If you want to get a feel for stability and balance training, you can try balancing on one leg while brushing your teeth!

Think like a kid

As a kid, most of us were running, jumping, climbing, landing on one foot, balancing on a balance beam or on the edge of a sandbox…are you getting the mental picture here? We were doing balance and stability exercises without even realizing it. As adults, we’re not climbing all over the place anymore (unfortunately!), balancing and activating our core as we should.

As a result, many of us have a weak core and distressed lower back, and have adopted many movement compensations (favoring one side while walking, standing, sitting, and even while training). Have you adopted any of these bad habits? Not sure? Don’t worry – there are ways to fix it with core stability exercises.

How Often Should You Incorporate This Type of Training?

Aim for one to two workouts per week. This goes for beginners all the way up to advanced athletes. It’s very important that pros improve stability as well.

The 12 Best Balance and Stability Exercises 

1. Single-Leg Deadlift

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Start the single-leg deadlift in a standing position. Keep your core engaged. Now slowly move one leg back by keeping it straight. Simultaneously, move your torso forward until it’s parallel to the floor, with your arms straight and at shoulder height, perpendicular to the floor. To come up, pull your back leg forward, and lift your torso until you are back in a standing position. Switch sides and repeat.

2. Speed Skaters

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Train your balance and stability with speed skaters! Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Now shift your weight to your right leg and move your left leg off the floor. Engage your standing leg as you balance with your left leg slightly behind you. Then jump back to the left foot, in the opposite direction. While doing this, your arms are swinging from side to side like a speed skater.

3. Single Leg Squats (SL Squats)

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Stand straight on one foot if you want to do single leg squats. Bend the opposite leg by bringing it up in front of you, slightly bent at the knee. Now slowly bend your standing leg into a squat position keeping your knee stable and in line with your ankle. After you’ve completed all reps on one leg, switch sides and repeat.

4. Lunge & Twist

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Start in a standing position with your feet together. Keep your core engaged and your chest up. Step your right foot forward into a lunge position. The front knee is perpendicular to the floor, keeping it in line with the ankle and behind the toes. Hold the lunge position, keeping your hips, knees, and legs still while twisting your upper body towards the right from your midsection. Step back into the starting position and repeat the lunge and twist on the opposite side.

Tip:

For more intensity, you can hold a weight.

5. Single Leg Jump Squats (SL Jump Squats)

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Single leg jump squats made easy! Standing on one foot, slightly bend the opposite leg, keeping your foot slightly elevated, lifting at the knee. Keep your core engaged while pushing your bent leg back behind you, slightly squatting with your standing leg. Swing your leg forward, lifting your knee up as you jump off of your standing leg, your arms slightly bent and swinging with the movement. Switch sides and repeat.

6. Lunge to Front Kick

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Start in a standing position with your core engaged. Step one leg back into a lunge position. Swing the back leg forward in front of you, pushing through the front heel to power a kicking motion. Be sure to engage the glute muscle of your standing leg. Switch sides and repeat the lunge to front kick. 

7. Side Plank Oblique Crunch

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For the side plank oblique crunch, lie on the floor on one side, stacking your elbow directly under your shoulder. Lift your bottom hip up as high as you can while tucking your hips under to stay as straight as possible. Lower your hip back towards the floor, making sure not to touch the ground, and lift back up. Repeat the set on the other side.

8. Limb Raise Push-ups

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Limb raise push-ups can improve your balance and stability. For this exercise, perform a push-up while keeping your hips square to the ground at all times. At the top of the push-up, lift your opposite leg and arm while engaging your core. Your hips and shoulders should move at the same rate, controlling the movement as you raise your arm to shoulder height and lift your leg above hip-level. Be sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise. 

9. Low Plank Crunches

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Low plank crunches are another great stability exercise. When performing these crunches, it is important to find a steady pace, not moving too fast.   Starting in a plank position, make sure only to elevate your hips slightly, placing your elbows directly under your shoulders. Your core, glutes, and legs are engaged when bringing your opposite knee and elbow together, slightly touching underneath your midsection. 

Tip:

You can modify this exercise with a bodyweight exercise that’s called quadruped knee to elbow:

 

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10. One-Legged 4 Count Burpees

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The one-legged 4 count burpee is an advanced bodyweight exercise, so make sure to execute it correctly. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders in a plank position, and your core is engaged. Keeping one leg lifted off the ground for the entire movement, bring your grounded foot forward under your midsection and stand up straight, jumping upwards. Bring your body back into a plank position by lowering back to the floor on one leg, kicking one leg behind you, landing in a single-leg plank. 

11. Single Leg Crab Bridge

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Ever heard about the single leg crab bridge? This intermediate exercise can help you improve your balance and stability. Start by sitting on the floor with your hands slightly behind you, feet on the floor with your knees pointed up at the ceiling. Using one leg, lift your hips off of the floor to shoulder level, lifting your other leg in the air. With your wrists stacked under your shoulders and fingers pointing forward,  push through the heel of your supporting leg. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the bridge position, making sure that the ankle is directly under your knee on the supporting leg. Repeat on the other side.

12. Squat Knee to Elbow Twist

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For the squat knee to elbow twist, start in a standing position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lower your hips into a squat, keeping your elbows up, interlocking your hands in front of you at shoulder height. When you come back up to the standing position, twist at your midsection while lifting up one knee to touch your opposite elbow. Follow your hands with your head, looking forward and keeping your back straight. Alternate sides after each squat.

So, did you try out these stability and balance exercises? If so, you probably noticed that one side is much stronger and more coordinated than the other. That’s normal – just keep practicing to build more strength and balance!

All of these bodyweight exercises can be found in the adidas Training app! Download it today and start improving your balance, stability, and core control!  

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