Top Fitness Trends of 2015

B2lCRhvCEAEI-BO.jpg largeThis week we see the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. Here is a roundup of this year’s top fitness trends for 2015. Did you follow any of them?

Wearable tech. From activity trackers to GPS systems on your watch, people loved uploading their daily totals online and sharing them with others. It kept people motivated and seems to be doing what wearable set out to do: get everyone more active and engaged in their physical activity levels.

Essential oils. Did you get invited to some kind of essential oil party? Even hospitals are touting the benefits of oils. You can ingest some of them or rub them on various parts or your body. Runners love their healing benefits and how it relaxes the muscles. The oils are fairly inexpensive and provide more of an Easter medicine approach to healing–no prescriptions needed.

Listening to podcasts. We all love our iPods and cell phones while we run. Runners are changing it up from listening to standard music to more of an educational approach while running. From popular podcasts such as Serial to something comedic like Marc Maron’s WTF, people aren’t only downloading the Top 40 hits anymore. They are using their running time to learn something instead.

Interval training. HIIT, which stands for high intensity interval training, is the newest craze and started to take off in the endurance world as well. Instead of going long and steady, runners are now adding in sprints to their long runs. They are also interspersing their run training with elements of CrossFit and bootcamps.

Rucking. Lately I’ve done races in which I see people with weighted backpacks. Turns out, it’s the newest thing: adding a weighted pack to your back. It helps to burn calories faster, helps you stand upright (especially for those with desk jobs or students who sit all day) and builds up your hip muscles–which is great for running.

We’ll see what 2016 brings!


Consider a Vegetarian Diet

 Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Considering a plant-based diet? Turns out, it’s okay. Many runners already tout the benefits of following a vegetarian, or stricter vegan, diet. It keeps them healthy, strong and not as weighed down by heavier proteins.

But for the skeptics, you can feel rest assured that following a plant-based diet  will give you the same quality of fuel.

In a presentation at the  Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Expo, Dr. Debasis Bagchi, Ph.D., director of innovation and clinical affairs at Iovate Health Sciences International Inc. in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, provided research that supported vegetarian athletes can stay competitive. They just need to seek out other sources of certain nutrients that are more commonly found in animal products.

This research was compiled by Dr. Dilip Ghosh, Ph.D., director of Nutriconnect in Sydney, Australia. His research noted that vegetarian athletes are found throughout history dating back to the Roman Gladiators–whose bones have indicated they most likely were vegetarians.

If you are thinking of switching to a vegetarian diet, Dr. Ghosh provides a key to success: Find ways within the diet to reach acceptable macronutrient distribution. This breaks down to the following:

Carbohydrates: 45-65 percent of diet
Fat: 20-35 percent of diet
Protein: 10-35 percent of diet

Vegetarians should find non-meat sources of iron, creatine, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium. In vegetarians who do not follow proper diets, these vitamins are often missing. But Dr. Ghosh believes that as long as energy level is steady and a variety of foods are ingested, vegetarian athletes can remain competitive with their animal-eating competitors.

He does stress that women are at risk for non-anemic iron deficiency. And both men and women are at risk of low creatine levels, which may affect high exercise performance, such as marathons.

You can counter this imbalance by adding food products such as orange/yellow and green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and soy.


What to Add to Your Recovery Drink

cornstockWe are all told what happens after you run is as important as the preparation you do before it. You should always take in nutrition within an hour of exercise and add in protein to replenish your beat-up muscles.

I like to drink protein shakes approximately 30-60 minutes after I run because it’s easier on the stomach than solid foods. Now I’m thinking of adding in HMB, which stands for beta-hydroxybeta-methylbutyrate, due to a new study.

Few studies until now examined effects of adding supplements to your whey protein. Until now.

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows a sports nutrition drink adding HMB to whey protein and carbohydrates provides a better recovery from intense exercise.

In this study, healthy and fit men consumed whey protein alone or whey and HMB twice a day for 14 days. They also performed three days of intense exercise followed by several days of recovery.


Researchers discovered that muscle damage, inflammation and muscle soreness were decreased with the whey plus HMB supplement compared to only consuming whey.

On the fourth and fifth day of recovery, whey and HMB together provided 11 percent greater power output as measured by an explosive vertical jump.

HMB is a supplement and can also be produced naturally in the body in foods like avocados and grapefruit.

For better recovery, try adding in this supplement if you mix together a whey protein drink. Also, if you like to eat solid foods after exercise instead, eat some baked or boiled chicken with avocados or some yogurt with grapefruit.

Happy recovery!

Reference: Kraemer WJ, Hooper DR, Szivak TK, Kupchak BR, Dunn-Lewis C, Comstock BA, Flanagan SD, Looney DP, Sterczala AJ, DuPont WH, Pryor JL, Luk HY, Maladoungdock J, McDermott D, Volek JS, Maresh CM. The Addition of Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate and Isomaltulose to Whey Protein Improves Recovery from Highly Demanding Resistance Exercise. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015 Mar-Apr;34(2):91-9.

Gifts to Put on Your Wish List

runThese are some things I like to put on my wish list for the holidays and products I like to give to others. I found these to be the most helpful with my running. I wish you happy shopping! Be sure to click around for your track and field needs.

Compression socks: I didn’t realize the significant difference compression socks made on my running until I completed a marathon in New Zealand. I forgot to pack one of my socks, so had to run without a complete pair. My right leg was compressed tight, while the left leg was left completely bare. I looked ridiculous, but on top of that, I found my left leg swelling and building up lactic acid at a much faster pace than my right. I even almost stopped at the halfway point to switch the compression sock to the other leg. Needless to say, it was an interesting experiment in how well that product assists with running.

Knit tops: As a woman, it’s nice to feel a slight bit feminine while running. When you’re sweaty, dirty and spend more time in workout clothes than ones that require actual ironing, it’s nice to add an element of “girlishness” to your workout.

Colorful shoes: The newest trend in shoes is neon. I guess the 80s are back and I’ll take it. It certainly makes me more visible when I run at night.

Velcro holders on my shoes: Because running skirts don’t often have pockets, it’s important to have somewhere to hold my keys. Luckily, this works and leaves my hands free.

Capri running pants: They stay tight on the body and keep away the chafing I get from short running pants.

Socks: Although we typically overlook socks, you can find colorful ones and even match them to your shoes.

Happy shopping!