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Must-Know Hydration Tips For Summer Workouts

By Allie Burdick, FITBIE.com (TNS)

Did you have enough to drink during your workout today? It’s a simple question but, most of us either don’t know the answer, or have the wrong one.

“Part of the problem is that there are so many variables,” said Keri Gans, MS, RD, and author of The Small Change Diet. “If you’re doing regular, steady state exercise for under and hour, all you need is water, but a hard effort outside in the heat or in a heated room for over an hour, and you need a sports drink.”

The most important rule, Gans said, is to “listen to your body and use common sense.” The recommended guidelines for fitness hydration call for, “around 16 to 24 ounces over two hours before you exercise then, another two cups 15 minutes prior to a hot outdoor sweat session, and then every 20 minutes during the actual activity.”

However, that could be difficult depending on the activity you’re doing to work out.

“Think about it,” Gans said. “If you’re doing stand-up paddleboarding, you’re not going to be able to drink during that activity and there are definitely no bathrooms out there.” Her best suggestion? Let the temperature and how you feel be your guide.

Follow these steps to help stay hydrated throughout your summer training and beyond:

Step One: Just drink it
This is the golden rule, according to Gans. Don’t worry so much about the amount or kind of hydration you should be getting _ just drink water. If you think about drinking some extra fluids (non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated as those will dehydrate you) the night before your run or fitness class, that’s the perfect time to start. Then, when you wakeup, drink another 16 to 24 ounces especially in the hours leading up to vigorous activity. If you can’t drink during the actual activity, be prepared with water for immediately afterward.

The goal is regular hydration though out the day and, adding a sports drink or something with additional sodium, if you’re exercising in the heat for over an hour.

Step Two: Choose wisely
Obviously not all beverages are created equal and, if you’re watching your weight, anything besides water can add up to unwanted pounds. If you’re exercising in the heat for over an hour your body needs the sodium that a sports drink like Gatorade will provide. Coconut and other fruit or plant based waters like Cactus or even Artichoke waters have more potassium, but also have added calories from sugar.

“Read the labels and know where the sugar is coming from,” Gans said.

For instance, if the sugar in Cactus water comes from prickly pear, that’s a good source. If it’s just ‘added sugar,’ that may not be your best choice. As a general rule, the lower the sugar content the better and, Gans said “at the end of the day you just want to stay hydrated,” but remember, if you’re drinking anything other then plain water you’re not consuming zero calories.

Step Three: Mix It Up
To keep a steady flow of fluids, have some fun with it.

“You can add almost any fruit or herb to water these days to liven it up,” Gans said, who also suggests drinking seltzer with fresh lime or lemon as well as diluting your favorite drinks.

“I love lemonade,” Gans said, “but it’s obviously not the best choice calorie-wise so, I dilute it with water.” Use this hack for all your favorite not-so-healthy thirst quenchers _ one part favorite juice or drink and two parts water — get some of the flavor with a lot less of the calories.

“Don’t forget about milk in all its forms,” Gans said. “Low-fat, almond, and soy all count toward hydration while providing additional nutrients.”

Many runners opt for a cold glass of chocolate milk for post-run fuel because of its protein and carbohydrate content.

(c)2015 Fitbie.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: John Revo Puno via Flickr

The Only Treadmill Workout You’ll Ever Need

By Allie Burdick, FITBIE.com (TNS)

There’s a reason why super-fit celebs like Sandra Bullock, Amanda Seyfried and Kim Kardashian reportedly love hot treadmill workouts like Barry’s Bootcamp — the treadmill gets it done. The popular gym machine can burn up to 600 calories an hour (more if you incorporate sprints) and it’s also a super convenient way to sweat, since you can find one in just about any fitness club or home gym.

Problem is, if you hop on without a plan, the treadmill can also be boring. So we wanted to know: How can you make the most of your time on the tread?

To find out, we tapped founder of Running Strong Janet Hamilton, C.S.C.S., and her 25 years of experience with athletes. Hamilton’s response when we asked her what the ultimate treadmill workout might look like: “To answer a complicated question in the simplest way, best practice is to run a variety of workouts throughout the week.”

The good news is that you don’t have to run fast for a long period of time to see results.

“You should run at a hard effort, followed by a recovery for the best calorie expenditure,” Hamilton said. A “hard” effort can be achieved by either increasing your speed or upping your incline, Hamilton notes, and by taking the time to fully recover, you’ll be ready to go again at a maximum effort and — more importantly — you’ll remain injury-free.

Oh, and don’t skimp on the first or last minutes of your treadmill session, either.

“Warm-up and cool down are vital, and the less experience you have on a treadmill or with running, the more of a warm-up you will need,” Hamilton said. She suggests at least a five-minute warm-up for intermediate level runners, and three to five minutes for more advanced runners. During these easy-pace portions of your workout, you should be able to easily carry on a conversation.

Ready to transform your cardio sessions? Hamilton helped us create the ultimate, modifiable treadmill workout that will change and grow with you. Like we said, the only treadmill workout you’ll ever need.

The Ultimate Treadmill Workout

Warm-up: 3-5 minutes easy pace (3-5 mph, no incline)

Two Minutes: Hard effort (increase speed to 3.3-5.5 mph OR incline to 3 percent)

Two Minutes: Recovery (3.5-5 mph, no incline)

Two Minutes: Hard effort (increase speed to 3.7-5.7 mph OR incline to 5 percent)

Two Minutes: Recovery (3.5-5 mph, no incline)

Two Minutes: Hard effort (increase speed to 4.0-6.0 mph OR incline to 6 percent)

Two Minutes: Recovery (3.5-5 mph, no incline)

Two Minutes: Hard effort (increase speed to 4.5-6.5 mph OR incline to 7 percent)

Two Minutes: Recovery (3.5-5 mph, no incline)

Two Minutes: Hard effort (increase speed to 4.7-6.7 mph OR incline to 8 percent)

Two Minutes: Recovery (3.5-5 mph, no incline)

Cool-down: 3-5 minutes easy pace (3-5 mph, no incline)

Total time: 30 minutes, with 10 full minutes of hard effort and an equal amount of recovery time

Now, for the change-up. Here’s how you can modify this basic workout to keep challenging you.

Change the Ratio

Keep your warm-up time the same, but change how much recovery you need. Go hard for two minutes and recover for one. As your cardio endurance improves, add one minute to each hard effort and recover for an equal or shorter amount of time.

Add Cross-Training

Instead of recovering for two minutes on the treadmill, hit the pause button and do two minutes of an upper body strength move. Incorporate bicep curls, tricep extensions, or push-ups — anything that doesn’t put any additional strain on your legs is fair game. Then, get back to those treadmill intervals and repeat.

Change the Speed or Intervals

As you progress with this workout, you’ll notice a strength gain in your legs and extra air in your lungs. Typically, after doing it consistently for three to six weeks, you’ll be ready increase the challenge. You can do that by slightly increasing the speed, or by changing the interval durations so that you are doing a three-minute hard interval and a two-minute recovery interval, or even a three-to-one ratio.

“Be wary of doing too much too soon,” Hamilton said. “You should feel invigorated at the end, and not completely exhausted.”

Take things slowly at first, listen to your body, and recover properly after each hard effort.

Photo: MilitaryHealth via Flickr