8 Favorite Workouts When You’re Short on Time

Time is a luxury that most of us simply don’t have. Work, school, commute, family, meal prep, you name it — sometimes it feels as if fitting in a workout would be absolutely impossible. We’ve all been there. Trying to find a workout to squeeze into even a 15-minute window can be a challenge, but it’s worth it if you want to see weight-loss results. These 8 time-efficient workouts from the MyFitnessPal community are sure to help even the busiest person break a sweat.

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8 Podcasts to Listen to While Walking

A walking workout can be a nice break from an otherwise stressful day, but sometimes you need more than just the birds and scenery to keep your mind occupied. Enter: technology.

With thousands of digital ways to distract yourself during a walk — including music, games and mobile apps — your workout will be done before you know it. We hand-picked our eight favorite podcasts to entertain, motivate and inform you during walks of any length.


Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” knows a thing or two about being happy. Three of her books have been on The New York Times best-seller list, and she has sold more than one million print and online copies of her happiness-focused books worldwide.

In this podcast, Rubin explores all things happiness with her sister, Elizabeth Craft, a television writer and producer. Together, they provide valuable, doable suggestions for being happier in your everyday life. Episodes have covered the downside of apologizing, how to remember names and why perfection is a fallacy.

Mystery Show

Mystery Show

If you love a good mystery but you’re admittedly too afraid to watch a scary movie alone, this podcast is for you. Each installment tells the story of a new mystery — but instead of your typical blood-curdling, creep-you-out-for-days type of mystery, the host solves much less hard-hitting puzzlers.

The podcast is commentated by a very witty and inquisitive Starlee Kine, who seeks to solve everyday mysteries in her own life. Nail-biting topics include the origins of a “Welcome Back, Kotter” drawing on a child’s lunch box and tracking down the owner of an old belt buckle — all approached with a sense of urgency, as if society depended on knowing the meaning behind a cryptic license plate.



No list would be complete without the inclusion of this chart-topping, award-winning series, hosted by “This American Life” producer Sarah Koenig.

In case you’ve never heard of this podcast, “Serial” has thus far run for two seasons, each focusing on a different real-life court case. The first season follows the 1999 murder of a Baltimore teen, while season two delves into the military desertion case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Koenig narrates with such curiosity and relatability, you’ll be hooked from first listen. Each episode builds on the last, so you’ll want to listen to them in order.

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

This wildly popular podcast is hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, two writers from the site HowStuffWorks.com. The pair cover random topics that they deem deserve a closer look, from bodily functions to the importance of body language and how reverse psychology works.

You could argue whether or not you should know how to do the moonwalk, for example, but you can be sure to end each episode a little wiser and at least mildly entertained.


TEDTalks Audio

If you’re lucky enough to attend a TED Talk in person, you are guaranteed to leave a) smarter, b) stronger or c) motivated to go do something great. This podcast is a way to reap these benefits on the go.

Each episode features the audio of a different 18-minute TED Talk from experts like professors, scientists, philanthropists, business people, musicians, athletes and more. TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks are known across the world as a place to see and hear brilliant ideas from speakers in various industries, and each talk will leave you smarter and more inspired in less than 20 minutes.

The Forward

The Forward Podcast with Lance Armstrong

Regardless of how you feel about the embattled cyclist, Armstrong’s new podcast is worth a listen. Each episode features a conversation with one of his famous and brilliant friends (Think: musician Ben Harper and Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League) about anything and everything under the sun. And even though this is Armstrong’s podcast, he uses this opportunity to step out of the limelight and tell the unique stories of his real-life friends.

While he may make a few references to his sordid past here and there, those looking to hear Armstrong talk about his doping scandal should look elsewhere (we hear Oprah might have something for you). In fact, we suspect the selection of the podcast’s name coincides with his attitude about his personal and professional life: moving forward, one day at a time.

Good Life Project

Good Life Project

Want to live your best life? “GLP,” as insiders call it, is a community of individuals “on a quest to help each other live more meaningful, connected and vital lives.” This twice-weekly podcast features an interview with influentials who offer life-changing advice, motivation and inspiration. Guests have included “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert, marketing maven Seth Godin and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington.

From advice on better sleep to being happier at work, each episode is dedicated to helping you improve your mind, body and soul to truly live the “good life.”

Nutrition Diva

The Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous

What the Cheerios Protein Lawsuit Means for Consumers

Walk into any grocery store, and you’re guaranteed to find food packaging plastered with trendy nutrition claims. As health-conscious consumers with busy lives, we may believe these claims enough to buy a certain food, but to what degree can we trust them?

Only about a third of consumers do believe that food companies are transparent, according to the 2016 market research report “Evolving Trust in the Food Industry,” from Sullivan Higdon & Sink FoodThink. The remaining 65% yearn to learn more about how their food is produced — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can decide for themselves. Researchers did find a modest increase in the trust consumers have in their food. Since 2012, food companies and manufacturers have increased their credibility as a source for food production information in the eyes of consumers by 17%. This growth is likely due to the industry’s willingness to be more open and the media’s increased attention on food production. Still, the food industry has a way to go.

Late last year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit advocating for safer, healthier foods, filed a lawsuit against General Mills over their Cheerios Protein. They allege that the claims on boxes of Cheerios Protein could mislead reasonable consumers into thinking that it’s a higher-protein alternative to regular Cheerios. Judge Thelton Henderson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on August 10 that this lawsuit, which accuses General Mills of violating the federal Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, may proceed. He did concede that the court was “skeptical.”

Cheerios Protein: Do the Math

Having the word “protein” on the front of the box can make a cereal appear more nutritious at first glance, but do the math and you’ll see the difference in protein between the two products is minimal.

Cheerios Protein contains 7 grams of protein per 1 1/4 cup serving compared with the 3 grams per 1 cup serving of traditional Cheerios. If you ate 2 cups of regular Cheerios, you’d get nearly the same amount of protein, with fewer calories than the 1 1/4 cup serving of the version with added protein.

Surprised? Flip the box over to read the ingredients list, and you’ll see that Cheerios Protein lists 10 forms of sweetener, including corn syrup, refiner’s syrup and brown sugar. In total, Cheerios Protein contains 17 grams of sugar compared with 1 gram in regular Cheerios, though the box does not mention that on the front.

Original Cheerios Cheerios Protein Oats & Honey
Serving Size 1 cup 1 1/4 cup
Calories 100 210
Protein 3g 7g
Sodium 140mg 280mg
Sugar 1g 17g

Why Transparency Matters

In today’s digital age, transparency is expected. To consumers, transparency means an honest package that does what it claims. If it claims fewer ingredients, it should have fewer ingredients. If it claims to be gluten-free, it should neither have any ingredients containing gluten nor have been processed at a gluten-containing facility. If it has added protein but also contains added sugars, it should disclose that. Consumers want to learn about where their food comes from and what’s in it, for the health of themselves and their families. Packaging with truthful claims help us make smart choices quickly. When packaging lacks transparency, we have to spend a few extra minutes to do the math and go beyond the marketing claims.

The Takeaway

Building a transparent food system won’t happen overnight. Lawsuits like this will gradually lead the food industry toward more transparency and accountability in their marketing and manufacturing practices. For now, health-conscious shoppers should be aware that traditional products are increasingly fortified or labeled with trendy nutrients for an added marketing edge. Stay informed and be proactive by reading the nutrition label and ingredients list.

15 High-Fiber Recipes That’ll Keep You Satisfied

When it comes to weight loss, is simple the way to go? Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School think so. Their study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that participants told to eat a high-fiber diet lost weight just as effectively as participants told to eat the complex “heart-healthy”American Heart Association (AHA) diet.

To test this, the researchers recruited 240 participants at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. In a randomized controlled trial, they assigned participants to either the high-fiber diet or AHA diet.

  • The high-fiber diet group was simply told to up fiber intake to through a variety of food sources (namely fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains).
  • was given more complex instructions based on the AHA guidelines, which includes limiting calories, saturated fat, sugar, alcohol and sodium while balancing protein, carbs and fat.

After 12 months, the high-fiber diet group lost 4.6 pounds (2.1 kg) while the AHA diet group lost 6 pounds (2.7 kg)–not a significant difference. Researchers then concluded that emphasizing just fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for those of us struggling with strict diet regimens. While fiber helps us feel fuller and more satisfied, it’s still no magic weight-loss bullet. The study mainly focused on weight loss, but weight is just one component of being healthy. It’s helpful to know that focusing on fiber is a good (and easy) place to start when launching our weight-loss journey.

, which is challenging for many of us. It’s best to get fiber from whole food sources like fruits, vegetables, legumes (a.k.a. beans) and whole grains. Guess what those sound like? Ingredients for your next cooking adventure! To help you up your fiber intake, we’ve compiled 15 of our high-fiber recipes, containing at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Baking with buckwheat flour is a great (and gluten-free) way to get fiber into your pancakes. These fluffy banana buckwheat pancakes are delicious topped with a berry compote sauce that adds sweetness and, you guessed it, more fiber! Recipe makes 5 servings at 2 pancakes each.

Calories: 220; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 85mg; Sodium: 297mg; Carbohydrate: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 11g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 9g

If you’re in the habit of grabbing a hot egg sandwich on your way to work, this breakfast burrito is for you. It’s full of fiber from the 100% whole-wheat wrap, sweet potato, bell peppers and spinach. Make them in advance, then wrap them up and freeze. When you wake up in the morning, simply pop one in the toaster oven to heat while you’re getting ready, then take it with you on the go–it’s genius! Recipe makes 4 serving at 1 burrito each.

Calories: 226; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 113mg; Sodium: 500mg; Carbohydrate: 32g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 13g

Get a serious boost of vitamins A and C along with your dose of fiber! We all know kale is a superfood; it’s bursting with antioxidants, iron and vitamin K. Don’t have a pear on hand? No worries! Just use an apple instead. Recipe makes 1 smoothie.

Calories: 228; Total Fat: 0g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 67mg; Total Carbohydrate: 568; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugars: 26g; Protein: 6g

Just roll and go! The cinnamon french toast wrap transforms thin, whole-wheat tortillas with traditional french-toast-style prep . This convenient, high-fiber breakfast is ready for a drizzle of nut butter, bananas and your favorite berries. Recipe makes 1 french toast wrap.

Calories: 413; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 159mg; Sodium: 434mg; Total Carbohydrate: 49g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugars: 8g; Protein: 15g

Here’s a new take on cranberries-roast them! This recipe features cinnamonny and mapley (yes, those are adjectives!) oatmeal topped with roasted cranberries. A bowl of this is great for a high-fiber breakfast so grab a spoon and dig in, preferably in your coziest pajamas. If you don’t have fresh cranberries, substitute 1/2 cup of dried cranberries instead. Recipe makes 3 servings.

Calories: 302; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 48mg; Carbohydrate: 53g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 12g; Protein 10g

Take one bite of these spicy black bean burgers with chipotle mayo and you’ll understand why we love this recipe so much. Packed with fiber, protein and iron, black beans are not only nutritious but also budget-friendly too. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 burger and 1 tablespoon of mayo each.

Calories: 343; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 51mg; Sodium: 587mg; Total Carbohydrate: 41g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 11g

This wrap is packed with grilled zucchini, veggies, cheese and hummus. Grilled zucchini is placed on a nice big tortilla topped with kale, red onion, tomatoes, cheese and a heaping dose of hummus–the abundance of veggies is where fiber comes into play. Recipe makes 2 servings at 1 wrap each.

Calories: 332; Total Fat: 17g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g ; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 643mg; Total Carbohydrates: 34g; Dietary Fiber: 17g; Sugars: 2g; Protein: 13g

Kick off your craving for spice with this hearty vegetable curry. This vegetarian meal takes 30 minutes to make from start to finish. Sweet potato, cauliflower, chickpeas and tomato will give you a healthy dose of protein and fiber. Top off with a creamy spoon of Greek yogurt and chances are you won’t miss the meat. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 cup of curry and 2 tablespoons of yogurt each.

Calories: 280; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 299mg; Total Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 12g; Sugars: 11g; Protein: 14g

Family-friendly black bean spinach quesadillas make for a delicious and quick meatless meal. This recipe calls for black beans, fresh baby spinach and mushrooms-but feel free to switch them out for your family’s favorite high-fiber veggies. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 quesadilla each.

Calories: 370; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 20mg; Sodium: 846mg; Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 20g

Crunch into baked taquitos! This dish features hearty black beans, cooked spinach, shredded cheese and tomatoes all rolled into a warm tortilla blanket. In addition to being high in fiber and vegetarian-friendly, taquitos are also super flexible. Top with avocado, cilantro, plain greek yogurt and hot sauce, and eat while hot. These are great stored in the freezer and reheated in the oven for a crispy exterior. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 taquito each.

Calories: 126; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 6mg; Sodium: 233mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 1g; Protein 7g

Sip on this soulful tomato and lentil soup to warm you up on those cold winter mornings. Thickly pureed tomatoes and lentils lend a thicker body and more fiber to the soup. This recipe also freezes well, so make a batch to reheat on those really busy days. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Calories: 235; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 256mg; Carbohydrate: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 14g; Sugar: 10g; Protein: 12g

Savor a meatless meal with this lentil, sweet potato and spinach stew. Lentils provide a great source of protein and iron for vegetarians and vegans, and add so much body to this stew. The orange veggies add the perfect amount of sweet to balance the spice without a pinch of added sugar. This stew can be made ahead of time and frozen for convenient reheating. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Calories: 310; Total Fat: 0g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 602mg; Carbohydrate: 58g; Dietary Fiber: 13g; Sugar: 14g; Protein 20g

Try your hand at making shaved Brussels sprouts salad as another way to enjoy these tasty veggies. Brussels sprouts are high in fiber and delicious when made into a tangy salad with superfood peers like walnut, blueberries and avocado. Recipe makes 5 servings.

Calories: 268; Total Fat: 21g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 207mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 8g; Protein 6g

Crowd-pleasing white bean chili calls for canned beans and chicken broth, making prep convenient. Pureeing the bean mixture makes the soup thicker. Cannelini beans will work in a pinch if you cannot find Great Northern beans. Recipe makes 8 servings at 1 cup each.

Calories: 281; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 40mg; Sodium: 623mg; Carbohydrate: 34g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 26g

On the lighter side of satisfaction, this tangy coconut lime noodle salad gets its fiber from fruits and vegetables, including naturally sweet mango and red bell pepper. We recommend making it ahead of time and adding a little lean protein for a fresh and healthy brown-bag lunch. Recipe makes 2 servings.

8 Easy And Creative Ways To Add More Protein To Your Salads

When prepared deliciously, salads are the best. They’re often loaded with fibrous veggies and packed with other nutrients, while being totally low in both calories and carbs. The only thing that good salads tend to forget about? That oh-so necessary protein count. Experts recommend squeezing in between 15 and 30 grams of protein per meal, and all too often salads can fall a bit short of that number. Sure, you can easily amp things up by topping your greens with some chopped chicken or grilled salmon, but that trick can quickly become kind of a snore if it’s only one you’re relying on.

Instead of letting your salad lunch slowly rock you to sleep with its boring nature, kick things up a notch with these eight sneaky protein-packed tricks. They require little-to-no extra work or preparation, and can easily transform your salads into filling meals that will keep you satisfied through your days.

While greens may not be famously high in protein, there are certain varieties that have more than others. Rather than using watery, nutritionally weak iceberg lettuce, Maxine Yeung, M.S., R.D., owner of The Wellness Whisk, recommends using spinach and kale instead. Spinach has about 1 gram of protein per cup, while kale has 2 grams per cup.

This trick is so easy. Chia seeds are a bit expensive, but you really don’t need to use a ton to get the benefits (1 tablespoon has 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein), so a bag of them should last you for kind of a while. They’re also relatively flavorless so you can add them to almost anything without messing with the taste of your favorite foods.

The next time you make a simple vinaigrette, add in a teaspoon or tablespoon of these seeds. Then dress your salad! The only catch with using chia seeds is that if you plan to make a large amount of dressing and use it throughout the week, those seeds might absorb the liquid and take on jelly-like properties. This transformative characteristic is what makes chia seeds great for using in healthy puddings, but not so great for long-term storage of salad dressings. The simple solution? Only make enough for one salad at a time, or add the seeds to a small portion of your dressing right before you plan to use it.

While yes, Caesar salad dressing may be a bit higher in calories, it’s also higher in protein–you can thank whipped anchovies and egg yolks for that. As long as you use it in moderation, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits without accidentally packing on the calories.

Other high-protein dressing options that I love are those made with beans, tahini, nut butters, and the like. They’re thick, creamy, and, of course, high in protein. With these dressings you’ll want to be careful to avoid accidentally making them too thick–like bean dip or hummus. An easy way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to simply use a larger ratio of oil, vinegar, or citrus juice to the protein-packed ingredients.

Adding beans to salads might sound kind of weird if you’ve never done it, but once you start, you’ll never go back. Beans give your bed of greens a heartier, more filling texture, and and the type of bean you choose can often take the flavor of your salad to the next level. Try a Mexican-style salad with black beans, a spinach salad with kidney beans, or even mix up your next Caprese with some white beans.

Toasted chickpeas are clutch. You can make a bunch at once and simply snack on them, or use them to top soups, pastas, and (you guessed it) salads! They’re crunchy, seasoned, and salty, so they have a similar taste and mouthfeel to croutons. But with way more protein (7.5 grams in 1/2 cup) and a lot of fiber, too (6 grams per 1/2 cup). To toast them, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Meanwhile, dry off your chickpeas with a paper towel, then lightly coat them in olive oil and any seasonings you desire. Then bake them until they’re brown and crunchy (about 30 or 40 minutes), remove from the oven, and let them cool before you store them up.

Whole wheat bread does in fact have more protein (about 4 grams per slice). So if you don’t really care about ditching carbs, and seriously love croutons (I totally get it), then try making your own with whole wheat bread instead of white. If you don’t feel like making your own croutons, however, most grocery stores will sell whole wheat crouton options.

This is Yeung’s preferred crunchy trick. She likes to use sunflower seeds and almonds on almost all of her salads, because they add that extra texture and layer of flavor, and they’re packed with protein and fiber–1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds has 1.5 grams of protein and 1 tablespoon of almonds has about 2 grams of protein. If those two types of seed and nut varieties aren’t your cup of tea, most other varieties will have a similarly high protein count.

The Beginners Guide to Fueling for a Half-Marathon

You’ve been running for a little while now, and things are going well. You’ve increased your mileage, maybe even run a 5K and actually enjoyed it. Now you’ve officially been bitten by the running bug, and you’ve set your sights on the next challenge: a half-marathon.

Before you start tackling your new training plan, it’s important to also formulate a nutrition plan. If you take on the responsibility of running more miles, you need to take on the responsibility of fueling your body better. Sure, you could run longer distances and maybe feel OK, but having a solid nutrition plan will keep you feeling your best and ultimately help you take your training and race performance to the next level.


As your mileage increases, gone are the days when you could just go run on an empty stomach. Why? Because your muscles will need additional fuel to power you through a longer run. While you could muscle through a short run or workout and be fine, your performance on a long run will suffer without fuel. In addition, not fueling your body properly can put you at greater risk for injury and may even compromise your immune system.

Glucose, a simple sugar, is the preferred source of energy for endurance sports. If you run early in the morning, which is when most long-distance races are, then your body is already fairly depleted of glucose from your overnight “fast.” It’s important to eat an adequate amount of glucose, which comes from the carbohydrate food group, both the morning of and leading up to long runs and races.

You don’t have to eat a large meal before you run. A small meal is sufficient, as the goal is to get a little boost of glucose into your blood so you have energy to get you started. Then you can continue fueling throughout your run.

If you’re not used to eating before a run, start simple. The last thing you want to do is end up with an upset stomach. If you are used to eating before working out but you’re wondering how much you should eat, the rule of thumb is the more time you have before a run, the more you should eat. If you have 30 minutes, then a small snack consisting mostly of carbs is best. If you have 1-2 hours, a small meal containing carbohydrates, lean protein and a touch of fat is OK.


Loading your diet with carbohydrates in the days leading up to an endurance event like a longer run or half-marathon may boost your muscles’ energy reserves, but it’s not a license to kill. It’s easy to overconsume food in the name of “carb loading.” This technique is most beneficial for performance when runs are about 90 minutes or more. A true carb loading starts about six days out from an endurance event and is paired with energy-depleting exercise. As you taper runs in the week leading up to a race, gradually increase your intake of carbs. Practically, this can look like eating an extra 1-3 servings of carbohydrates daily in the 3-4 days leading up to your event.

As you experiment with different food and beverage combinations, you’ll probably be able to narrow down a couple of food and beverage combinations that work particularly well for you. Make note of them, as these are foods you can and should rely on regularly to fuel future runs.

Some foods, particularly those high in fiber, are best to avoid before a run. Tummy trouble can occur on longer runs for a variety of reasons, but eating too much fiber beforehand is an all-too-common culprit, since fiber is tougher and slower to digest. For this reason, it’s best to avoid high-fiber foods in the 12 hours leading up to a long run. Examples include leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cabbage), beans, and high-fiber bars and cereals.

Of course, you may discover other foods upset your stomach while running that aren’t high in fiber. If so, make a mental note to avoid those before long runs as well.

A tight-knit sports nutrition plan can give you a serious competitive advantage, no matter how serious or seasoned you may (or may not) be. Runners with no fuel strategies are easy to pick out in a race — you can see the fatigue on their faces and in their posture, and they certainly don’t look like they are enjoying the race. Why even chance this situation when you can almost ensure a positive running experience with the right fuel?

The basis of a good fueling plan starts with determining your best frequency. One motto you should embrace is “fuel early and often.” You should not wait until you feel your energy start to crash. By then, it’s really too late to get the maximum benefits. Why? From a digestive perspective, your body will more easily absorb and utilize glucose and fluid when you keep a small amount in your stomach from the get-go. If you wait too long to fuel, digestion becomes more challenging as your moving body demands all the attention.

To determine your optimal fueling frequency, practice eating or drinking every 15-30 minutes from the beginning during a longer training run. After completing your run, really think through how it went for you by asking these kinds of questions:

  • How did my body feel on this run?
  • How was my energy throughout the run?
  • Did I experience anything positive or negative on this run that I haven’t experienced in the past?
  • Did I enjoy my run more, or was it more difficult?
  • How did my stomach feel on this run?

Once you answer these questions after trying out your fueling plan on a few runs, you can narrow down the frequency at which you need to fuel. Then, if needed, set your watch to beep at that time interval to remind you.

The goal is to get in 45-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour of training or competing. This is the amount of energy that science suggests is required to preserve performance during endurance events. Truly, your best fuel option is the one you like and will actually eat, sits well in your stomach and enhances your performance. The key, once again, is to practice with different options to determine which works best for you.

Sport supplements — including gels, beans, bars and goos — make fueling while running very convenient. They provide the quick and easy-to-digest carbohydrates in a convenient, portable package and can be purchased either in running stores or online. If you don’t love supplements or find you’re getting tired of the taste, real food can certainly be used as a substitute for or in combination with these quick energy products to keep you well-fueled.

Here are some ideas to help you get started, with each serving providing 15-30 grams of carbohydrates:

  • 3 Clif Shot Bloks
  • 1 ounce animal crackers
  • 1 pouch Annie’s organic fruit bites
  • 1 fig cookie
  • 1 Gu Gel
  • 1 pouch Clif Organic Energy Food
  • 1 ounce (about 20) mini salted pretzels
  • 3 mini peppermint patties
  • 8 ounces of sports drink

Remember, your goal is to take in 45-90 grams of carbohydrate per hour of running, and take in some sort of energy at least every 30 minutes.

Staying hydrated while running is another critical key to your success. This area also needs to be practiced before race day. The goal for your hydration plan is to reduce significant fluid losses from sweat and prevent fatigue, muscle cramping and dehydration or overhydration.

It’s important to figure out how much fluid you actually need for long runs. The more scientific way to assess your fluid needs is to weigh yourself before and after a run.

  • If you gain weight, you drank too much fluid and run the risk for hyponatremia (basically diluting your blood). While this may sound far-fetched, slower-paced runners can easily drink more than they need because they don’t sweat as much and and are on the course longer.
  • If you lose more than 2% of your body weight, you probably didn’t drink quite enough. Work on drinking at more frequent intervals regardless of thirst. (There is a little debate on this issue. Read more about it: Is Drinking for Thirst the Best Hydration Advice?)

A good rule of thumb is to drink 3-4 sips of fluid every 15-20 minutes. Water is sufficient so long as you get carbohydrates from fuel. If you do choose a sports drink, it can do double duty by providing both fluids and carbohydrates.

It’s also important to start your run well-hydrated. Try drinking 12-16 ounces of fluid in the 2 hours leading up to your run. You will know you’re hydrated if your urine is pale yellow.

Electrolytes are charged elements that play critical roles in the body, like muscle function and digestion. The main electrolyte of concern for athletes is sodium because it is lost in the highest amounts in sweat. You do lose some potassium and a little magnesium but typically not in large enough amounts to impact performance, although it is possible.

Each runner is individualized in their approach to replacing electrolytes. As with fluids, slower runners may not lose as much sodium, even on longer runs, and therefore don’t need to replace sodium above what they eat in their typical diet. For runners who have a quicker pace, are heavy or salty sweaters or exercise in hot and humid conditions, replacing sodium during runs is likely going to be very important.

For most of us, sport supplements like drinks, gummies and goos that include sodium provide adequate amounts. Eating a salty snack like pretzels during your run could also give you enough. For some runners, however, these options are not enough and they may need an electrolyte tablet to replace losses. If you experience cramping or an upset digestive tract during your runs, you may be suffering from high electrolyte loss and need a better plan for replacing them.

Once your run is over, it many be tempting to scarf down anything and everything in sight. While replacing calories burned during your run is important for recovery, it doesn’t give you a license to binge. Here are some important things to implement in your post-run refueling plan that will optimize muscle repair and recovery:

Within 30-45 minutes of finishing your long runs, have at least a snack consisting of carbs and some protein. This is an important window of time when your muscles are very responsive to nutrition and will quickly use the nutrients to rebuild and repair muscles. This translates to potentially less soreness and injury prevention. Chocolate milk is a great science-based option for recovery, but you can choose other sports drinks designed for recovery or even something simple like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

In order to fully replace all nutrients for optimal recovery, you will need to eat a larger amount of food. Choose a meal with healthy carbs, lean protein, produce and fats.

Produce provides key phytonutrients that can help reduce inflammation in your muscles and joints. Some types, like tart cherries, have been shown to significantly reduce muscle soreness in the 24 hours after exercise. This Chocolate Tart Cherry Recovery Smoothie makes a huge, positive impact in reducing soreness after long runs and has become a staple in my recovery plan.

A moderate amount of monounsaturated and omega-3 fats can also help reduce inflammation. Include avocado, olives, olive oil, nuts or salmon in your post-run meal.

Be vigilant about rehydrating by focusing on replacing losses in the 24 hours after a run. It may take a full day to fully rehydrate. Focus on water (or recovery beverages if desired) first, although all fluids can contribute. And while that frosty finish-line brew might be tasty, be mindful of alcohol intake, as it can interfere with your body’s recovery and rehydration process.

6 Tips on How to Run Long (When You’ve Never Run Long)

So many runners hit a plateau fairly early on in training — we get stuck around the four- or five-mile mark for our longer runs and just never seem to get into volume. Sure, we can finish a 10K if we have to, but our normal runs seem to fall in that 30- to 40-minute range.

Think about how fun it would be to hit the trails for two hours — just you, your heartbeat and nature — on the weekend. Or maybe you dream of running a marathon. If you have a goal in mind, a training plan is highly advisable when it comes to adding mileage to your week, but if you’re just looking to add a few more miles to your weekly total for fun or to see how long you can go, there are a few simple tricks to going long when you’ve never gone long before. Here we present six of them. The keyword to keep in mind? Slowly.

If five miles is the longest you’ve ever run, you’re not going to be running 10 in the first week of marathon training. To avoid injury, slowly increase your volume, and add only a mile or two per week. That sounds like a minimal addition, but it’ll add up quickly enough.

You know when people tell you that life is a marathon, not a 5K? Turns out they’re on to something. When you’re adding mileage, you have to drop your pace. If you’re used to heading out and pounding the pavement for 30 minutes every morning at a pace that’s comfortable for the entire time, you’ll quickly find that the same pace won’t be quite as comfortable as you extend to an hour, 90 minutes and beyond.

When you first start adding volume, try leaving your watch at home (or turning it around on your wrist so you can’t see it constantly, if you still want the data). Run at a pace that feels comfortable for you — most distance running should be at a pace where, if someone were running next to you, you could have a conversation but be breathing through your mouth.

If you’re not sure about what heart rate you should be aiming for as you add volume, Phil Maffetone’s formula is a great spot to start. The heart rate you should be using to run is 180 beats per minute minus your age. Then, add five if you’re a well-trained, fit athlete who’s been making great progress in his or her goals, or subtract five if you haven’t been training regularly.

If you’re a fairly regular exerciser, stick with the 180-minus-age formula. This puts you in your aerobic zone, where you’ll want to be for most of your runs, especially as you introduce volume. (Note: This is a great starting point, but it’s not for everyone — even Maffetone, who coached racers like Ironman legend Mark Allen, says that individual testing is the best way to find the perfect aerobic heart rate.)

Training often boils down to a formula of intensity and hours: The more intensity you do, the fewer hours you can/should train. Conversely, the less intensity you do, the more hours you can train at that steady state. But once you’ve done the buildup and you’ve maxed out your free time with distance at a low intensity, it’s time to consider adding some intensity back in — slowly. Remember: Make sure that your body has totally adapted to that time spent at low intensity and you’re feeling fantastic before you add back in any speed work — otherwise, you’re risking overtraining and injury.

The best way to add miles to your run in a way that almost guarantees your injury risk won’t go up is to simply start by adding walking ahead of and after your runs. Start with a mile walk for a warmup, and end with a mile cooldown. Not only will your muscles thank you, you’ll get used to the added time on your feet in a gentler way. Gradually, run a bit more — maybe just a couple of extra blocks — before you start the mile walk. Add time running as slowly as you need to, and — if you really hate the walking part — you can slowly phase that out as you start getting used to the volume.

It’s easy to forget a cooldown when your pace is lower than you’re used to, but it’s still important to take a few minutes at the end of your run to slow way down, maybe even walking an extra few blocks. And beyond that, make sure you’re adding some dynamic post-workout stretching and doing things like foam rolling or self-massage to help inflammation.

13 Freezable Low-Carb Dinners Under 400 Calories

Fall is just around the corner. For most of us, this means an intensified schedule of work, school and family. During hectic times like these, exercise, clean eating and self-care can easily be thrown out the window in lieu of convenient, yet not-so-healthy choices. Set yourself up for success by preparing these freezable dinners with under 20 grams of carbs. Most freezer meals last up to three months, which is enough time to get you through each season and have a break before prepping your next batch of make-ahead meals.

Meat Dishes

Enjoy low-carb juicy meatballs in marinara covered in cheese! Lean ground pork is seasoned with fennel and marjoram then smothered and simmered in marinara sauce. These meatballs freeze well, so you can make a batch ahead of time and reheat as a quick dinner option. Recipe serves 6 at 3 meatballs each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 241; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 39mg; Sodium: 561mg; Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 23g

It doesn’t get much easier than these scrumptious, lemony chicken thighs featuring fresh herbs and bright citrus flavors. Marinate the chicken overnight so all you have to do the next day is toss them in a pan to roast, let cool and freeze. Serve with a side of sauteed zucchini or over a bed of greens for a satisfying low-carb meal. Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 thighs each.

Calories: 381; Total Fat: 18g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 9g; Cholesterol: 253mg; Sodium: 1044mg; Carbohydrate: 4g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 45g

Creamy beef stroganoff may not be the first meal that comes to mind when you think of clean eating, but this healthier version of the classic requires no butter and about half the sour cream as traditional stroganoff. We promise that this lighter version will tantalize your taste buds and your waistline. To freeze, spoon cooled stroganoff into an airtight container or resealable bag. Tip: To prevent the sauce from curdling, add the sour cream after thawing and reheating your stroganoff. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 cup each.

Calories: 302; Total Fat: 18g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 91mg; Sodium: 305mg; Carbohydrate: 8g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 26g

Drumsticks make a comeback with this simple jerk chicken recipe, and trust us — the smell alone makes this recipe worth the wait! The drumsticks slow-cook for four hours for extra tenderness before crisping up in the oven, making them a great party appetizer or main dish. To freeze, spread jerk seasoning onto drumsticks and place in an airtight container or zip-close bag. Thaw before cooking as instructed. Recipe makes 5 servings at 2 drumsticks each.

Calories: 253; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 184mg; Sodium: 376mg; Carbohydrate: 6g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 34g

Light on carbs but not on taste, this Mediterranean pork chop recipe cuts down on cooking time by having you multitask. While the tomatoes are roasting, pan-fry your pork chops. Tip: The trick to quick cooking is thinly sliced meat. For best results, freeze the pork chops and roasted tomatoes, then prep the rest of the veggies before serving. Recipe makes 4 servings with 2 chops plus 3/4 cups veggies each.

Calories: 230; Total Fat: 9g; Cholesterol: 72mg; Sodium: 502mg; Carbohydrate: 9g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 28g

Ready for a clean-eating treat? Savor juicy beef tenderloin steaks with a simple, decadent sweet-and-tangy pomegranate sauce. This homemade steak sauce cooks up in less than 10 minutes but tastes like a million bucks. Freeze a batch of this sauce to turn any steak dinner into a special occasion. Recipe makes 4 servings of 1 steak plus 2 teaspoons sauce.

Calories: 236; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 84mg; Sodium: 333mg; Carbohydrate: 4g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 25g

Have only 20 minutes to put dinner on the table? Try this protein-packed kung pao chicken made healthier with less sodium and oil. Turn up the heat by adding more Sriracha or chili paste. Freeze individual portions for quick meals any night of the week. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Calories: 375; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 82mg; Sodium: 495mg; Carbohydrate: 14g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 30g

Vegetarian Dishes

8. Portobello Pesto Pizza | Cook Smarts

Pizza lovers looking to cut back on calories and carbs should try out this portobello pesto pizza. Savory mushrooms topped with fresh tomatoes, herbed avocado pesto and plenty of mozzarella make a great option for a vegetarian meal. The pesto can be made in a food processor, or you can visit Cook Smarts for a video on how to make hand-chopped pesto. Freeze individual mushrooms, let thaw overnight and reheat in a warm oven. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 mushroom pizza each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 303; Total Fat: 29g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 17g; Cholesterol: 18mg; Sodium: 190mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 1g; Protein 13g

This vegetarian spaghetti squash lasagna is a gluten-free, low-carb and saucy delight! This main dish features simple ingredients like spaghetti squash, baby spinach and mozzarella. Make this one-dish casserole in advance and freeze pre-portioned leftovers for a quick, reheatable dinner. It’s perfect for those busy nights! Recipe makes 6 servings.

Calories: 129; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 68mg; Sodium: 192mg; Carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 7g

Breakfast for dinner? Why not! Spiralizing is an entertaining way to get fresh vegetables into your diet. This spiralized squash frittata is mainly made from vitamin C-rich zucchini and protein-rich eggs. If you don’t have zucchini on hand, feel free to substitute carrots, parsnips or bell peppers. Freeze individual portions by allowing them to cool, and wrapping in parchment then in foil; foil imparts an unpleasant taste on eggs. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Calories: 157; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 192mg; Sodium: 340mg; Carbohydrate: 9g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 12g

This breakfast recipe layers fluffy eggs with cheese, sweet potatoes and spinach. The best thing about casseroles is convenience: You can store leftovers in the freezer, and reheat for the perfect leftover lunch or no-sweat dinner. Serve it with a salad or steamed greens. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Calories: 340; Total Fat: 22g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 454mg; Sodium: 564mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 21g

Make this low-carb comfort food using spaghetti squash tossed with a simple five-ingredient sauce. Simply mix fire-roasted tomatoes, cashews, water, basil and salt to make a creamy vegan sauce. Freeze individual portions of the finished dish or just the sauce. Recipe makes 3 servings.

Calories: 202; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 630mg; Carbohydrate: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 5g

Practically the most multipurpose vegetable out there, cauliflower stars in a low-carb counterpart for another traditional favorite — burgers. Freeze patties between sheets of parchment for a burger any time a craving hits. Keep it low-carb, and wrap your vegan-friendly patty in Bibb lettuce. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 burger patty each.

8 Must-Do Stretches to Prevent & Recover from Workout Injuries

There is much controversy in the research as to whether stretching prevents injuries. One thing is clear: Stretching helps to improve both range of motion and flexibility. Not only can these play an important role in terms of warding off injuries, but they can also help improve performance in the long run.

Having better flexibility helps increase range of motion. In turn, both help an athlete move more effectively, so he or she is less likely to get injured. Healthy body mechanics and healthy training go hand in hand. Stretching has important implications for athletes who want to prevent injuries or rehabilitate them. Keep in mind that when it comes to flexibility, you can have too much of a good thing. A small study has even found that some inflexibility in specific areas can actually be an asset for runners. Even still, every good runner will have a healthy amount of muscular pliability, so we aren’t talking about stiffness to the point of impaired movement.

The key is to know when to do which type of stretching. There are two main types of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching involves holding a certain posture, usually for 20-30 seconds, thereby elongating the muscles. Dynamic stretching uses active movements to help stretch and train the muscles to fire in a certain way.

Static stretching has been proven to have a potentially detrimental effect on athletic performance when done prior to activity, but dynamic stretching appears to have the opposite result. The theory is that when the muscle is elongated too much during static stretches, it loses some ability to generate power during explosive movements (think: running or jumping). Dynamic stretching provides a more sport-specific warmup without overstretching muscles and reducing their elastic power.

While static stretching is still an important tool in your post-workout injury rehab and prevention plan, a dynamic routine should generally be the only type of stretching you do before training sessions. Consider integrating these dynamic movements into your pre-workout routine following a 10-15 minute easy jogging warmup. Following the workout, try the listed static stretches to help you wind down from activity and address any oncoming ailments.

Pre-Workout Dynamic Stretches

Do 20 meters of walking lunges.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right leg forward, and, as you plant your foot, lower your body into a lunge. Your right knee should be at a 90-degree angle and aligned with your right ankle. Slowly come back to center, stand up and repeat with the left leg.

Do 4 sets (1 set in each direction for each variation) of 15 reps of leg swings.

Start with forward leg swings by standing next to a wall for balance. While keeping both legs straight, swing your right leg in front of your body and then behind your body — this counts as one leg swing. Avoid swinging past the point of discomfort. After repeating with your left leg, switch to the sideways variety. Similar to forward leg swings, simply swing the right leg toward the left, sweeping your foot across the front of your body and then back to the right — this counts as one leg swing. Repeat with your left leg.

Do 20 meters forward and 20 meters back.

With your feet hip-width apart, stretch your arms out in front of your body with palms facing downward. March forward, and swing your right leg up in front of your body. Be sure to maintain good posture and keep your knee straight as you create a 90-degree angle with your body. Once you plant the right leg back on the ground, swing the left leg up.

Do 20 arm swings.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Swing both arms forward like synchronized windmills. Complete 10 rotations, then reverse your arms and swing them backward for another 10 rotations. Be sure to engage your hips and keep your arms relaxed during this exercise.

Post-Workout Static Stretches

Do 1 minute in pigeon pose.

Start in pushup position. Bring your left leg forward, placing your bent knee and thigh in front of your torso. Your left foot should be sitting near your right hip. The right leg should remain extended behind your body, the top of which is resting on the ground. Support your body with your hands on either side and feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides.

Do 1 minute of calf stretches.

Stand facing a wall or platform, and place one foot against the wall to stretch your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides.

Do 1 minute of quad stretches.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bring your right heel up to your backside, holding it with your right hand. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides.

Do 1 minute of scissor stretches.

Standing with your feet together, step your left foot forward a couple of feet. Carefully bend forward at the hip, reaching down toward the ground and placing your hands on either side of your left foot. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides.