Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Snack Well - Every calorie counts.

By Sally Wadyka from Runner's World

Snacking is part of everyday life, especially for runners who need to keep themselves well fueled. But when you're trying to lose weight, every calorie counts. "You need to find calorie bargains and decide what you don't mind substituting," says Charles Stuart Platkin, author of The Diet Detective's Count Down (Fireside, 2007). For example, both tortilla chips and pretzels would satisfy a salty-snack craving, and on a one-to-one basis they are close in calories (one tortilla chip is 13.5 calories, compared with 12 calories for one pretzel). But the extra 1.5 calories per chip add up fast when you eat a couple of handfuls. Here are some more snack comparisons to consider:

One McDonald's french fry: 5 calories VS. One Pringles potato chip: 10 calories
A handful of chips over a handful of the fries equals 100 extra calories.

One M&M: 4.3 calories VS. One bite of a Hershey's bar with almonds: 37 calories
Okay, so you won't eat one, but each M&M candy is relatively low in calories and easier to portion control.

One tablespoon of cream cheese: 50 calories VS. One tablespoon of peanut butter: 90 calories
The peanut butter has nearly double the calories of the cream cheese, but it also has more protein and healthy fats.

One grape tomato: 1 calorie VS. One green seedless grape: 4 calories
Both are healthy choices, but if you're trying to lose weight, grape tomatoes have fewer calories and more fiber.

One peppermint Altoid: 3.5 calories VS. One jelly bean: 4 calories
Even the mints you use to freshen your breath must be factored into your daily calories. When you pop one, it's equivalent to eating a jelly bean.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Next Best Thing

Boost your weekly mileage with intense cross-training.
By Ed Eyestone

A coaching colleague of mine has a basic formula for cross-training: 60 minutes at or above 70 percent of your maximum heart rate equals a five-mile run. He uses this formula with his athletes in the summer to allow them to augment their base miles. He also uses it during the cross-country and track season when a runner becomes injured, and during the winter when inclement conditions make it difficult to keep actual running mileage high.

Is a cross-training mile exactly the same physiologically as a running mile? Nope. But intense cross-training for an hour can elicit the same aerobic benefits as a five-mile training run. And because of the low-impact nature of most cross-training activities, injury-prone runners can beef up their "mileage" using this formula without increasing their risk of injury. In the following two case studies, both Lisa and Dave used cross-training miles to become better runners.

Cross-training through injury. Lisa, a good college cross-country runner, had been injured in a car accident. When her injury had mostly healed, she was able to run but could maintain only about half of her preaccident mileage. Working out on either an elliptical trainer or a stationary bike for an hour a day, Lisa increased her cross-training mileage quickly. More importantly, the supplemental workouts enhanced her aerobic fitness, which allowed her to increase her actual running mileage. And even though her total mileage skyrocketed to 115 per week (50 cross-training miles plus 65 running miles), Lisa's morning resting heart rate remained the same, which indicated she was not overtraining. By the end of the summer, Lisa had the strength and energy to lead her college to a top 10 NCAA performance in cross-country and garnered all-American honors.

Cross-training to lose weight and boost fitness. After four years of competing for his college cross-country team, Dave took a two-year break from running to live and work in Spain. When he returned from Europe 30 pounds heavier, he tried to run again and found that the extra weight made his knees and hips hurt. That joint pain, coupled with his lack of aerobic fitness, made it difficult for Dave to run long enough to lose the weight. Over a three-week period, Dave gradually added up to an hour of cross-training per day (elliptical, stationary bike, and pool running) to his 30- to 45-minute daily runs. As his weight dropped and his fitness increased, Dave could run farther and faster with no pain. After several 50-mile weeks (25 cross-training miles plus 25 running miles), Dave dropped the extra weight, then continued to cross-train twice a week for enjoyment and additional weight maintenance.

From the Runner's World web site.