Curb your sweet tooth
Got a late-night sugar craving that just won’t quit? “To satisfy your sweet tooth without pushing yourself over the calorie edge, even in the late night hours, think ‘fruit first,'” says Jackie Newgent, RD, author of The Big Green Cookbook. So resist that chocolate cake siren, and instead enjoy a sliced apple with a tablespoon of nut butter (like peanut or almond) or fresh fig halves spread with ricotta. Then sleep sweet, knowing you’re still on the right, healthy track.
Find the best fitness friend
A workout buddy is hugely helpful for keeping motivated, but it’s important to find someone who will inspire—not discourage. So make a list of all your exercise-loving friends, then see who fits this criteria, says Andrew Kastor, an ASICS running coach: Can your pal meet to exercise on a regular basis? Is she supportive (not disparaging) of your goals? And last, will your bud be able to keep up with you or even push your limits in key workouts? If you’ve got someone that fits all three, make that phone call.
Stock up on these
While there are heaps of good-for-you foods out there, some key ingredients make it a lot easier to meet your weight-loss goals. Next grocery store run, be sure to place Newgent’s top three diet-friendly items in your cart: balsamic vinegar (it adds a pop of low-cal flavor to veggies and salads), in-shell nuts (their protein and fiber keep you satiated), and fat-free plain yogurt (a creamy, comforting source of protein). “Plus, Greek yogurt also works wonders as a natural low-calorie base for dressings and dips—or as a tangier alternative to sour cream,” says Newgent. Talk about a multitasker!
Relieve those achy muscles
After a grueling workout, there’s a good chance you’re going to be feeling it (we’re talking sore thighs, tight calves). Relieve post-fitness aches by submerging your lower body in a cold bath (50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit; you may have to throw some ice cubes in to get it cold enough) for 10 to 15 minutes. “Many top athletes use this trick to help reduce soreness after training sessions,” says Andrew Kastor. And advice we love: “An athlete training for an important race should consider getting one to two massages per month to help aid in training recovery,” adds Kastor. Now that’s speaking our language!
Buy comfy sneaks
You shouldn’t buy kicks that hurt, bottom line! “Your shoes should feel comfortable from the first step,” says Andrew Kastor. So shop in the evening—your feet swell during the day and stop in the late afternoon, so you want to shop when they’re at their biggest. Also make sure the sneaks are a little roomy—enough so that you can wiggle your toes, but no more than that. They should be comfy from the get-go, but Kastor says they’ll be even more so once you have a good 20 to 40 miles on ’em.
Pick your perfect tunes
Running with music is a great way to get in a groove (just make sure it’s not blasting too loudly, or you won’t hear those cars!). To pick the ultimate iPod playlist, think about what gets you going. “I know several elite athletes that listen to what we’d consider ‘relaxing’ music, such as symphony music, while they do a hard workout,” says Andrew Kastor. So don’t feel like you have to download Lady Gaga because her tunes are supposed to pump you up—go with any music that you find uplifting.
When to weigh
You’ve been following your diet for a whole week. Weigh to go! Now it’s time to start tracking your progress (and make sure pesky pounds don’t find their way back on). “It’s best to step on the scale in the morning before eating or drinking—and prior to plunging into your daily activities,” says Newgent. For the most reliable number, be sure to check your poundage at a consistent time, whether daily or weekly.
Police your portions
Does your steak take up more than half your plate? Think about cutting your serving of beef in half. That’s because it’s best to try and fill half your plate with veggies or a mixture of veggies and fresh fruit, says Newgent, so that it’s harder to overdo it on the more caloric dishes (like cheesy potatoes or barbecue sauce–slathered ribs—yum!).
Combat cocktail hour
Is it ladies’ night? If you know you’ll be imbibing more than one drink, feel (and sip!) right by always ordering water between cocktails, says Newgent. That way, you won’t rack up sneaky liquid calories (and ruin your inhibition to resist those mozzarella sticks!). But your H20 doesn’t have to be ho-hum. “Make it festive by ordering the sparkling variety with plenty of fruit, like a lime, lemon, and orange wedge in a martini or highball glass,” adds Newgent.
Eat this, run that
When you have a 5- or 10K (you get to eat more with a half or full marathon) on your calendar, it’s important to plan out what you’re going to eat the morning of the big day—something that will keep you fueled and also go down easy. While everyone is different, “We always have good luck with a high-carbohydrate breakfast such as a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit or a couple of pieces of toast with peanut butter or cream cheese,” says Andrew Kastor, who also advises eating around 200 to 250 (primarily carb) calories about 90 minutes before you warm up for your run . And don’t worry about nixing your a.m. caffeine fix on race day. “Coffee is great for athletic performances,” Kastor adds, because it makes you sharper and may even give you extended energy. Talk about buzz-worthy!
Turn your cheat day around
Feeling guilty about that giant ice cream sundae you enjoyed at your niece’s birthday party? Don’t beat yourself up! It takes a lot of calories—3,500—to gain a pound of body fat. “So really, that one off day doesn’t usually result in any significant weight gain,” says Newgent. It’s about what you do the next day and the day after that’s really important—so don’t stay off-track. So be sure to whittle away at those extra calories over the next day or two, preferably by boosting exercise rather than eating too little. Starvation is not the healthy answer!
The 2-month-old baby looks exceptional. She’s crawling forward at an age when most infants cannot even roll over. Another tiny infant sits straight up when her foot is tickled.
Sometimes the parents are pleased, and see these behaviors as a sign that Zika may not have damaged their babies as badly as they feared.
Mario Tama / Getty Images
But in fact, these reflexes are a sign of the profound mess the virus has made in their developing brains, said Dr. Vanessa Van der Linden, the pediatric neurologist in Recife, Brazil, who sounded the first public alert about Zika.
“That is not usual. That is not normal,” Van der Linden told a meeting on Zika virus in babies sponsored by the (NICHD) National institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
The reflexes making these young infants seem so developmentally accelerated come from the brain stem, and they are supposed to stop a few weeks after birth. They’re the same reflexes that cause a newborn to grasp her father’s finger or root for her mother’s breast.
The pediatricians, neurologists, and child development specialists in the small meeting room gasp and murmur as Van der Linden shows videos of some of the babies she’s treated at her clinic.
They squall and stiffen their limbs in a way familiar to pediatricians who deliberately startle young infants to check their reflexes.
But these babies aren’t startled, and they don’t relax as they should after a few seconds. They stay stiff — the medical term is hypertonic. And they cry.
“They cry a lot,” Van der Linden told the meeting. “Sometimes they cry 24 hours a day.”
Zika virus continues to spread in many parts of the world, explosively in the warmer parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s caused at least two outbreaks in Florida, which now counts more than 100 homegrown Zika virus infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s tracking at least 749 pregnant women with Zika infections in the United States and another 1,348 in territories such as Puerto Rico.
The CDC says 20 babies have been born in the U.S. with Zika-related birth defects and five were miscarried, stillborn or aborted because of catastrophic defects.
What’s becoming clear is that Zika’s hallmark birth defect — microcephaly — is only the most obvious symptom. As babies damaged by Zika infection get to four months, six months, a year old, more problems are showing up.
“I think it is likely that the kinds of findings we are seeing now are the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To Van der Linden, it looks as if their underdeveloped brains continue to operate reflexively, in the way that keeps newborns alive and suckling. These reflexes are good at first, but babies need to outgrow them and behave consciously if they are to grow up normally.
Zika babies often don’t, she said.
Brain scans show seizure-like activity in many of the babies. It’s clearly uncomfortable for them, although giving them pain medication does not seem to help, Van der Linden said.
“Some patients improve only after we treat them for epilepsy,” she said.
Many also have terrible, painful reflux — caused when food and stomach acid bubble up into the esophagus. It’s being caused because the infants are not suckling properly, using the reflex instead of coordinated sucking, she said.
The result is many cannot eat enough. “They often have delayed or impaired gastric emptying,” Van der Linden said.
“The patients sometimes are able to eat only 30 ml of milk,” she said. That’s about a 10th of a cup. “They have a very small capacity to eat,” she said.
Based on that, many Zika-damaged babies may not live long, said Dr. Steven Miller of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.
“I am not sure how many of the severely affected kids are going to get to school age,” Miller said. “It is hard to imagine the brain growing well without adequate nutrition.”
In addition, some babies born looking normal have regressed, Van der Linden said. “At birth, they were normal. Head circumference was normal. But now they have microcephaly,” she said.
That fits in with other reports showing Zika virus infections may continue to damage a newborn’s brain after birth.
Researchers at the meeting expressed concern about symptoms such as autism and schizophrenia as children who seem to have escaped Zika’s worst damage grow older.
Dr. Camila Ventura of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami said her team’s also found some evidence on ongoing damage in the babies’ eyes.
“The babies that have congenital Zika syndrome, their vision is severely impaired,” she said. The eyes look normal, but they don’t function properly, Ventura said.
“The children need to be monitored for some time. Some of these manifestations are only beginning to show months out,” said NICHD director Dr. Catherine Spong.
“The impact on the family cannot be understated.”
Neil Hill, the founder of a world class fitness training programmes Y3T, has literally no time for rest. He keeps an extremely busy schedule, which involves a lot of traveling. Those of you who relentlessly live through the horrors of incessant traveling – and spend more days commuting than resting – would actually realise its aftermath on health. Not only does it mess around with your sleep cycle but also alters the appetite and takes away the time to exercise and remain fit.
As Neil Hill got in conversation with BodyPower, he revealed his secret to remain fit despite all the back and forth. “Right now I am in Australia and before that I was in the UK for a few days, and right before that it was America. My travel commitments can really become intense around this time of the year. Obviously, my sleep pattern gets interrupted greatly and keeping a watch on my diet or training becomes harder than ever, but I don’t let this get in my way. One needs to make adaptations, plan ahead and stick to it,” shared Neil.
If you are among those who are always on the go, don’t let your health take a hit. Neil Hill’s tips will help you be on top of your game, feel healthy and look fit.
1. The Basics
Make sure that your nutrition is taken care of, even if it’s at a basic level.
“I’m a huge follower of supporting gut health and this is something that never changes for me. You can read my books with Dr. Paul Rimmer to know how focused I am on this. Therefore, you will always find my probiotic drinks, digestive enzymes and other essentials traveling with me. I also ensure that I get some quality protein every two to four hours along with the essential fatty acids and the right complex carbs. I do whatever it takes to meet these dietary requirements every day. There are days when you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, meal replacement agents come in handy then – all your seeds, nuts, rice cakes, etc.” shared Hill.
2. Don’t Skip Training
There is never an excuse to skip your cardio. If you can’t find a gym or a training facility nearby, you can always go out for a run. Carry your running shoes with you always. Keeping your calorie turnover intact is of the utmost importance while you are traveling.
When it comes to strength training, there’s no reason why you can’t do a few exercises in your hotel room if nothing else is available. Of course you prefer to be in a gym, but it’s better to do something inside your hotel room or in a nearby park than nothing at all when you’re already pressing for options.
3. Keep Hydrated
Hydration is really important especially when you are flying across borders a lot. Your body needs an extra load of fluids when it experiences sudden change in weather, time zones and is struggling to keep the various bodily processes – specially sleep – in accord. Hydration is vital for your muscles too. Ensure you are drinking bottled water at regular intervals. Opt for electrolyte powder if need be. Coconut water is a great choice too.
Keep these tips handy to manage your stress better and battle the woes of frequent traveling.