Polar Blog Tips, tricks and information about training, fitness, activity, meals, sleep and healthy living 2017-11-17T19:50:19Z https://www.polar.com/blog/feed/atom/ WordPress https://www.polar.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/cropped-polar-symbol-640x640-32x32.png Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[What is sweat rate – and why does it matter?]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6273 2017-11-17T19:50:19Z 2017-11-17T19:50:19Z How does your sweat rate compare to others? Here's what you need to know about sweat rate from Dr. Craig Feuerman, Medical Director at City Sports Medicine.

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The scene: You’re at your favorite boot-camp class, and you’ve made it through the five-minute warm-up. You realize it’s only been a few minutes, but you’ve already started to perspire. Everyone in class seems to be working equally hard, but the guy to your left doesn’t have so much as a single hair out of place, while the guy to your right has already soaked through his T-shirt – and the woman behind you is huffing and puffing, but appears totally dry.

An average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 liters – that’s roughly 27.4 to 47.3 oz. – per hour during exercise. (Of course, then there’s Alberto Salazar, who boasted the highest recorded sweat rate for an athlete in an exercise situation while training for the 1984 Summer Olympics, topping out at 3.7 liters per hour!) So where does your sweat rate stack up – and are you normal? Dr. Craig Feuerman, Medical Director at City Sports Medicine, is here to break it down.

When people use the term sweat rate, what are they actually talking about?

Dr. Craig Feuerman: They’re talking about calculating how much fluid is lost through sweating during exercise. Sweating is a very important thermoregulatory defense of our bodies to prevent overheating and associated heat-related illnesses. It can be important to monitor fluid losses with rigorous exercise to prevent plasma volume depletion in the body. Plasma volume depletion can adversely affect exercise performance if the heart doesn’t have enough output to feed the working muscles. The heart would then have to speed up to maintain the same exercise intensity. Also, loss of plasma volume leads to less efficient cooling systems in our bodies, which can be dangerous.

How can an athlete calculate his or her sweat rate?

CF: There are simple calculations to guesstimate fluid loss during exercising for one hour. This involves measuring weight pre- and post-exercise to calculate any weight loss, and is best done without clothes on. Keep track of any fluid intake throughout your workout, and convert the weight loss to fluid ounces or milliliters. (1 kg equals 1000mL of sweat.) Add the fluid lost to fluid consumed during exercise to determine the sweat rate in one hour of exercise. Finally, to determine how much to drink every 15 minutes while exercising, divide that number by four.

But isn’t temperature a factor?

CF: Yes! Temperature can greatly affect our sweat rates. If our bodies heat up too much while exercising, sweating is the most efficient way to cool down. This creates a cooling effect on the body when we perspire. Environmental conditions can affect our abilities to sweat or need to sweat as much. This includes different climates, humid vs. dry heat, as well as wind conditions. It’s important to control the things you can control: Ensuring acclimation to the environment as well as adequate conditioning can prevent heat-related illnesses, and wearing proper clothing while exercising to prevent overheating is crucial.

Is how much you sweat indicative of your overall health? Do fit people tend to sweat more or less than their less-fit counterparts?

CF: Sweat is not indicative of overall health. Sweating is a normal physiologic process. Genetics play a role in how much you sweat, but so does acclimating to climate and proper conditioning.

What should athletes understand about hydration, and do hydration needs vary based on temperature?

CF: Proper hydration is extremely important with exercise to prevent dehydration. Dehydration reduces endurance exercise performance, decreases time to exhaustion, and increases heat storage, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

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Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[Kate Grace’s no-fail trick for calming her pre-race nerves]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6254 2017-11-16T16:06:32Z 2017-11-16T16:05:23Z Starting to feel nervous before your goal race? Utilize this advice from Polar athlete and Olympian Kate Grace to help calm your pre-race nerves.

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Even Olympians are subject to a stomach full of butterflies on race day.

Whether you’ve spent 16 weeks training for a marathon or a lifetime leading up to your first 5K, it’s inevitable that in the last few weeks, days, and hours before your goal race, your nerves will start kicking into high gear.

For some, that means a stomach full of butterflies and an overactive mind. For others, pre-race nerves manifest in phantom injuries, lack of sleep, and incessant to-do-list making.

For Polar athlete and Olympian Kate Grace, who represented the USA in the 800m event in Rio in 2016, learning to quiet her brain was absolutely key in order to perform well on the track.

People don’t realize how important the mental aspect is – and how much you can undercut yourself if you don’t get it right.

“Any profession where you work for so long and have this one moment in which you can show it all off can come with a lot of stress,” Grace says. “People don’t realize how important the mental aspect is – and how much you can undercut yourself if you don’t get it right. It’s almost empowering to me, and it’s so impressive when people are able to consistently execute under great pressure. It’s a physical feat, but it’s also mental.”

So how does the California native actually conquer those mental feats? With a tactic called discomfort training that she learned from Dr. Marc Schoen.

“The idea is that you figure out when you start feeling normal signs of nervousness, and you realize that that’s your body reacting – but it doesn’t mean you can’t do something,” Grace says. “It can mean you’re excited! So one thing I do is think to myself, ‘This is an excitement thing, not a fear thing.’ I’m anticipating it.” Discomfort training doesn’t just come into play before a big race or game – it can work in any uncomfortable situation. “Maybe you’re in a really hot car, or you’re getting your blood drawn,” says Grace. “Anytime you start to feel uncomfortable, you can use this mental tactic to practice building a strong inner core where you feel calm and are still able to focus and make rational decisions even though there’s something uncomfortable happening.”

Beyond just telling herself to shift focus, Grace employs physical and mental cues to change perspective. “I take cues from music – I like the song ‘Clearest Blue’ by Chvrches – or I think of someone I love or something I’m grateful for, like my sister,” says Grace. “They remind me to go to that place where I’m calm and ready. I heard once that gratitude is the only emotion you can will yourself to feel. So by bringing in gratitude, you can push the feeling of fear out of your brain.”

And she doesn’t just wait for race day to get her brain in the game: “I’m constantly working on becoming a discomfort master,” she says. “I tell myself that everything I need to succeed is within me, and it’s here to stay.”

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Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[My last race]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6259 2017-11-15T15:56:24Z 2017-11-15T15:56:24Z For some athletes, there comes a time when the racing shoes need to be retired. Read 3 athletes' stories of their final finish lines – and what came next.

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Many athletes cross the finish line of their first race and, before the soreness has even set in, are ready to sign up for their next race. The thrill of racing – the atmosphere, the support, the burning lungs as you gut it out in those final 400 meters – can be addicting. But for some athletes, there comes a time when the racing shoes need to be retired, whether it’s a physical or emotional decision. Here, three athletes reflect on their final finish lines – and what happened for them next.

“An injury took me off the race course – and reunited me with my original fitness love.”

“I ran my first 5K when I was 20. I had moved to the middle of nowhere and started running as a hobby. I worked my way up to a half-marathon, and five years later I was running ultramarathons. I enjoyed the challenge of the race and the energy and adrenaline that came with competing. But in 2014, I herniated and tore a disc in my back.

“After my surgery and recovery, I wasn’t able to return to my previous mileage or train for a race. At first, I still did races because I had some serious FOMO. (That’s fear of missing out.) I still wanted to enjoy those fun weekends with my friends. But I knew I was running well below my potential, and no matter what mind games I played, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was wasting my time and disrespecting what used to be a point of pride for me. I also knew that if I tried to push it and run more often, I’d risk injury. The logical thing to do was to stop racing. It took a while for me to accept that.

“Since my last race, I’ve decided to get back to a sport I feel passionate about: kung fu! I’ve been back at it for a few months now and it’s been pretty amazing. I had a black belt in tae kwon do before I started running, and I can honestly say that I don’t miss training and working toward a racing or running goal because I’m fulfilling that aspect with martial arts. Instead of caring about mile splits, now I worry about things like my wrist position with my broadsword and not poking my eye out with my spear! I still run occasionally, if I feel like it, but not more than three or four miles – and I’m at peace with that.” —Kara K., Falls Church, VA

“I run because I want to – not because I feel like I have to.”

“I started running and racing back in 2007. I had never been a runner, but I had just started a sedentary job and knew I had to do something to circumvent weight gain. I signed up for a 5K, and I lost weight over the years. I also got faster and was always trying to better my times. At my peak in 2014, I raced seven times, mostly 5Ks, and won my age group four of those times. I loved the sense of accomplishment I got from racing – of having achieved something that very few people can physically do, and all before most people get out of bed on the weekends. As a non-runner for most of my life, I loved looking around at the tail end of the lead pack, which is where I typically was, and seeing such incredibly fit and inspiring athletes, and realizing that I had become one myself.

“Two years ago, I skipped quite a few of my regular races, including ones I had already signed up and paid for. When the season ended, I felt relieved. I didn’t have to decide if I really wanted to drag myself out of bed and work out so intensely that I’d puke – which did happen a time or two – early in the morning. It was freeing. I told myself I’d see how I felt the following year before signing up for any races, and by the time spring rolled around, I realized my feelings hadn’t changed. I didn’t want to do it anymore.

“Now, being able to run on my own terms – when and where and for however long and hard – is so liberating. I started to resent my training schedule, of having to run almost every day and in a very specific way. I would come down hard on myself for missing a run, which is unhealthy. Sometimes I do miss the structure of a training plan and of being able to cross off milestones, but mostly I feel relief that I’m not bound to one. My relationship with running as a whole is better and healthier now. I run because I choose to, because I want to stay strong and healthy. Not because I have to.” —Colleen Martin, Fawn Grove, PA

“I learned to embrace Running 2.0 – and it’s a great place to be.”

“I’ve been racing for 20 years – first as a triathlete, then later just as a runner. I ran at first as a means to an end with triathlon, but slowly, running rose to the top. I loved challenging myself in races; sometimes against other competitors, but mostly against the clock. I loved training hard for an event and then seeing what I could do come race day.

“I didn’t make a hard decision to stop racing. For me, it’s more a matter of aging slowly and losing some enthusiasm. I think I pushed myself for so many years that eventually I simply lost the desire to push that hard. It’s not that I don’t still enjoy running – even doing some speedwork sometimes – it’s just that I don’t want to prioritize it among the many other facets of my life.

“I do think I enjoy running more now. If there’s a week where I don’t want to run long or don’t feel up to doing speedwork, I just skip it. I don’t follow any particular schedule, and I spend more time on trails. There’s no pressure whatsoever, and that’s a lovely feeling. My friends and I call this Running 2.0 – and it’s a great place to be!” —Amanda Loudin, Ellicott City, MD

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Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[Five questions to ask yourself before signing up for a race]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6252 2017-11-14T13:47:17Z 2017-11-14T13:47:17Z Whether your goal is a Couch-to-5K or an ultramarathon, consider these five factors before hitting the registration button and signing up for a race.

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Whether this is the year you sign up for your first 5K or you’ve decided it’s time to make good on that decades-old resolution to go from an Olympic-distance triathlon to an Ironman, it’s important to take time for reflection before going registration crazy. Put those race signups on hold – just for a few minutes! – and consider these five factors first.

1. Is my body in decent enough physical condition to embark on a training regimen?

If you have a nagging injury or a persistent cough, it’s important to get those lingering issues taken care of before committing to your race goals. The race you’re dying to do may be four months away, but it’s crucial to treat any tender, achy, annoying body issues before you start training. Anything that hurts on the first day of training will likely only get worse with each workout. A happy, healthy body is your best advantage when it comes to training and racing. Consider visiting your general practitioner for a routine physical and to get the okay to start training.

2. Can I commit to making time to train for this race?

Considering running 26.2 miles this year or completing your first century ride? You’ll have to put in the work to get there – and the time. Marathon training, for example, requires a handful of mid-distance weekday runs, plus a weekly long run ranging from 15–22 miles. If you’re training for a 100-mile cycling event, expect to spend 4–6 hours at a time in the saddle. Factor in preparing for your workout (coffee, bathroom, repeat – that time adds up) and recovering from it, and there goes a big chunk of your weekend, morning, or evening. While plenty of people with demanding jobs and busy lives make time to train for serious endurance events, it takes commitment and dedication.

3. Do I have the support I need from my family, friends, or colleagues?

If you have kids, will someone be able to care for them while you’re doing your workouts? If your job is especially demanding right now, will your coworkers or boss understand if you want to cut out early to get your workout in – and are compression socks considered acceptable attire at the office? Will your friends mind if you have to duck out of happy hour on account of an early workout the next morning? Your friends and family members may not always understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, but their understanding is a major added bonus. (Plus, having loved ones on the sidelines as you approach the finish line will make the race extra rewarding.)

4. Am I in a solid place financially to train for and complete this race?

How much is the actual race registration? While 5Ks and local swim meets generally clock in at less than $50 a piece, popular marathons can run upwards of $200 (like the Disney race series and the New York City Marathon), and an Ironman triathlon will run you up to $700. Add in shoes and apparel (you can find running shoes on the cheap, but most are more than $100 apiece), equipment (a serious tri bike will most definitely cost more than your monthly rent), and your preferred method of recovery (whether it’s a $20 foam roller or bi-weekly physical therapy or massage appointments), and suddenly a one-day race is a long-term investment. Not all races will cost a pretty penny, but it’s imperative to consider the monetary investment of your bucket list item.

5. What’s my motivation?

When you have to do a 5-hour training ride in 20-degree weather or you’re due for a track workout in the pouring rain, you’re going to want to remember why you’re doing this. Whatever your motivation is, make sure it’s something that’ll get you out the door to train when you’d rather stay in bed.

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Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[Macronutrients 101]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6237 2017-11-09T13:53:58Z 2017-11-09T13:53:58Z What are macros, what do they do and should you be counting them? Here's what you need to know about macronutrients and macro-counting.

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There’s a very good chance that right now, one of your friends is counting his or her macros. You’ve heard them talk about it during your group runs, and it’s been brought up during your mid-ride muffin stop. You know whether one friend hit her macro goals for the day, or whether another is seriously lacking in the protein department. But do you really know what they’re talking about when they talk about tracking their daily protein, carb, and fat intake?

Here, Kelly Hogan, MS, RD, clinical nutrition and wellness manager at the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, breaks down the macro-counting breakdown, and explains why some athletes love this eating method – and why others should probably avoid it.

What are macros?

Kelly Hogan: Macros are macronutrients. There are three of them: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Athletes should understand their basic functions. Carbohydrates are needed for energy throughout the body and brain. Protein helps rebuild and repair muscles, organs, cells, and hormones in the body. And fat helps manufacture and transport hormones, protects and insulates organs and bones, and is essential for brain function. Athletes should also understand which type of food falls into each category. Carbohydrates consist of grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and dairy. Proteins are found in animal products like meat and eggs, as well as plants like nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and grains. And fats include oils, nuts, chia seeds, avocados, and cheese.

Why is counting macros so buzzy right now?

KH: It’s not necessarily a new way to diet, but it’s become popular from various folks, especially bodybuilders, promoting it as a way to help gain muscle and, oftentimes, lose weight. I think the appeal is that for those who are numbers-focused, it’s fairly easy to play with the percentage of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in your diet based on your goals. It can help you adjust your nutrition plan beyond calories in, calories out. And you can definitely have short-term results. For example, cutting carbohydrates and increasing protein and fat for faster weight loss.

The important thing to keep in mind is that using something like this as a quick diet plan isn’t long lasting, and that weight loss will be largely due to water weight loss. Like any trendy diet, the appeal can also be that it manipulates eating patterns and may involve some restriction of foods, which people often associate with ‘successful dieting.’ But that’s not really what’s going to provide long-term success.

What are the risks when it comes to counting and tracking your macros?

KH: For a generally healthy person, it’s not totally necessary to count macros or be that strict or rigid with what you’re eating and how much. That doesn’t signify a healthy diet or relationship with food – instead, it takes the focus away from the actual foods you’re choosing to eat and why. The strict rigidity of a diet like this can easily fuel disordered eating thoughts and habits. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to follow a strict diet or count macros in order to be a successful athlete! It works for some people, but others may find that a more balanced and less stressful way of eating is the best way to fuel their training and racing.

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Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[Meal timing matters | 6 things athletes should understand about what and when to eat]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6228 2017-11-08T16:44:36Z 2017-11-08T16:44:36Z As an athlete, when you eat is just as important as what you eat. Here are 6 things to understand about how meal timing can affect your performance.

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There are generally two kinds of athletes: those who finish a hard workout or grueling race and ravenously head straight for the fridge for a post-workout chow down, and those who cross the finish line and want nothing to do with food, at least for a little while.

Both camps have their causes, but whichever you fall into, keep one thing in mind: “When athletes eat is crucial,” says Kelly Hogan, MS, RD, clinical nutrition and wellness manager at the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Here are six things Hogan says athletes should understand about post-workout feasting.

Eating before an early morning fitness session is totally personal…

Many athletes love – or have a love-hate relationship with – pre-dawn workouts. But when you’re waking up at 4:30 to be out the door by 5, should you really force yourself to scarf down a banana and some toast before getting on the move? “It depends on the athlete,” says Hogan. “Every individual is different when it comes to what their digestive systems can or cannot tolerate before a workout.” In other words, apply the “you do you” mentality here.

…unless you have a monster workout on tap.

“If you have a two-hour run ahead of you, it’s a bit more important to prioritize fueling beforehand than it is for a 30-minute easy run, yoga class, or elliptical workout,” says Hogan. “In general, if you’re going to be out for longer than an hour doing an endurance activity like running, it’s a good idea to have some easily digestible carbohydrates beforehand.” Hogan’s picks: a banana or toast with dried fruit or jam.

Be careful working out on an empty stomach.

If you’re only planning to work out for an hour or less, you can usually get away with minimal fuel beforehand, especially if food tends to bother your stomach. But if you choose fasted workouts for reasons other than a sensitive digestive system, Hogan says to be aware of the pros and cons of your plan and intention. “When we work out on an empty stomach, our bodies use more fat as fuel, as opposed to carbohydrates,” she says. “This is one common reason I see more people trying this tactic. But you want to be careful here, since running on empty – especially for longer runs or hard workouts – is stressful on the body and may not lead to performance enhancement.” Wherever you fall on the digestive spectrum, try different strategies to figure out what works best for you – comfort wise and energy wise, Hogan says – before and during your workouts.

There are two ways to determine your workout-related meal plan of attack.

The first, Hogan admits, is trial and error. But the second approach requires a little math. “In general, for an endurance activity, you want to take in about 0.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight if you have one hour or less beforehand,” Hogan says. (To get your weight in kilograms, divide your number in pounds by 2.2.) If you have more time beforehand, like up to a few hours, Hogan recommends going up to about 2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. (Her favorites when you have enough time to digest include a bagel with peanut butter, oatmeal with fruit, or eggs and toast.) “But despite these equations, I don’t’ think you have to be exact or bust out your calculator,” she says. “Trial and error is just as important to see what sits in your stomach well and energizes you during activity.”

Eating the right foods at the wrong times can seriously mess up your workout.

This seems obvious, but even if you’ve found that tried-and-true pre-workout meal, eating it too early or too late can definitely affect your performance. “Having a higher fat meal right before a workout can cause GI distress because it’s more difficult to digest,” says Hogan. “The same goes for higher fiber meals, like lots of vegetables, beans, and whole grains.” And not eating enough carbohydrates before a workout can leave you feeling a bit depleted even before you start. (Hogan’s favorite simple carbs include white bread, English muffins, bananas, and dried fruit.)

Refuel after your workout, even if you don’t feel like it.

You may be one of those athletes who can’t even look at a smoothie, salad, or pizza after your wrap up your workout, but one of the best ways to promote muscle recovery and replenish your glycogen stores is to refuel – at least with a little something – within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. If you can’t stomach a sandwich or a brunch buffet, grab a protein shake or smoothie to sip on until you’re ready for a full meal. Hogan’s favorite post-workout meals include eggs and avocado toast, pizza with veggies on top, salmon with sweet potato and broccoli, or a smoothie with Greek yogurt, berries, banana, and greens.

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Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[I’m running or riding a lot but I’m not losing weight: Why?]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6226 2017-11-07T19:54:12Z 2017-11-07T19:54:12Z You’re going all-in on cardio, but the weight is not coming off. Why? Here are 5 reasons you're not losing weight despite all of your running and riding.

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You set two goals for yourself this year: to lose some weight and to train for endurance races. But while the training part is going well – you’re running or riding more days than you’re not, and you’re able to go longer and faster each time – the pounds just aren’t coming off. It’s a common occurrence among runners and cyclists. We pick up the habit hoping to shed some weight along the way, but instead our pants end up feeling tighter and our weight creeps up rather than down. Why? Jonathan Cane, an exercise physiologist and founder of City Coach Multisport in New York City, says there are a few reasons this happens.

1. You’re consuming more than you’re burning.

It’s Saturday morning, and you just finished your weekly long run or ride. You take a steamy shower followed by a quick nap – and then you proceed directly to the kitchen, where you slam a protein shake followed by a stack of pancakes and a handful of bacon. You’re understandably ravenous – but overeating after a hard workout is a common occurrence among endurance athletes. “It’s prudent to refuel after a workout,” says Cane. “It promotes muscle repair and glycogen replenishment, but also helps athletes refuel wisely. Even if your primary goal is weight loss, it’s better to put back a reasonable amount of calories shortly after your workout than to wait a few hours and binge when the hunger gets to be too much.”

2. You’re taking in too many mid-workout calories.

“Nothing makes me shake my head more than a runner who hopes to lose weight, but then eats a gel before heading out for a three-mile run,” says Cane. Many people overestimate the caloric expenditure from their training, and therefore take in far more calories than their exercise justifies. Do the math to determine whether you really need to take in fuel and replenish any lost electrolytes and calories during your workout, or if you can do without. (Chances are, if your workout takes less than an hour, you don’t need to take in calories until its recovery time.) Utilizing the Smart Calorie count on your Polar M430 or Polar M460 is the best way to keep your calories in check after your workout.

3. You’re losing fat – and gaining muscle.

If you’re working out efficiently and effectively, there’s a good chance you are losing weight – at least in theory. But you’re also gaining muscle. “Though running or cycling aren’t necessarily the most effective or efficient ways to gain muscle, it’s not unusual for runners or cyclists to add muscle mass in their legs,” says Cane. “That can obviously affect the reading on the scale.” Consider your body composition, and pay attention to how your clothes fit or how your athletic performance is improving instead of focusing strictly on the number on the scale.

Plus, if you’re super active, you’ll also develop an increase in your body’s ability to store glycogen. “Since glycogen holds three times its weight in water, an increase in glycogen stores will be reflected as weight gain, even though it’s not unhealthy,” says Cane. “That phenomenon is why I often get panicked emails from athletes who are loading up on carbohydrates in anticipation of a marathon and freak out when they see their weight shoot up by a couple pounds.”

4. You’re not mixing it up enough.

Steady-state cardio workouts are great for training and upping your endurance. But going for the same five-mile run or 20-mile ride every few days probably isn’t enough to reach your weight-loss goals. Mix it up by adding some high-intensity interval training, track workouts, or speed sessions into your training. This is when heart-rate training comes in handy: If your heart rate stays steady for the duration of your workout, you’re not maximizing your potential calorie burn.

5. Your goals aren’t a good match.

“Running is a great exercise for a number of reasons,” says Cane. “But weight loss isn’t necessarily at the top of that list.” A 132-pound runner burns roughly 100 calories per mile. At 154 pounds, it’s 116 calories per mile. “And despite what most people think, running faster doesn’t burn significantly more calories per mile, though you’re burning more calories per minute by running faster,” says Cane. If 3,500 calories equals one pound (roughly), a runner needs to cover 30-35 miles each week just to lose one pound. “While that may not seem like many miles to an experienced runner, it’s probably too much for a newbie,” says Cane. “When I’m working with someone who’s new to training and wants to lose some weight, I typically introduce running gently and gradually, but supplement it with other, lower-impact activities like cycling or swimming, since there’s less orthopedic stress. Then I can be less conservative with the increases in training volume.”

In most cases, diet has a greater effect on weight loss than exercise. If your goal is to lose weight, start in the kitchen and add workouts to supplement your diet plan. If your goal is to complete a 50-mile race, focus first on getting your miles in, and eat up in a way that allows you to perform your best.

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Noora Kangas <![CDATA[Get ready to unwind | Meet the Polar Unwinderator]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6201 2017-11-03T08:24:50Z 2017-11-03T08:24:50Z Beat the holiday stress and find new ways to relax with the Polar Unwinderator, our quick test that generates break activity ideas for the holiday season.

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The busiest time of the year is approaching quicker than you can say post workout recovery routine, and to many of us that means deadlines at work, party invitations, endless shopping lists and all kinds of holiday prep. And, as always, there’s plenty of running/cycling/HIIT to do.

The end-of-the-year rush may sometimes seem like a necessary evil, but should it be? What if this year could be different? Get ready – Polar officially pronounces this holiday season The Time to Unwind. We declare a war on holiday stress and urge people near and far to escape the hustle and bustle by making time for themselves. Take back the season, get out your calendar and mark down some time just for yourself.

So, once you have your me-time set aside, what should you do with it? When thinking of ways to spend those precious moments of relaxing and tuning out, it’s easy to rely on familiar routines. For many endorphine junkies, the ultimate winding down method is a trusty workout – a regular running route (at a regular pace in trusted running gear, of course), or a go-to gym routine (the one you’ve been doing for years).

These routines are invaluable when you’re short on time, but sometimes they can make you feel stuck. It can be really refreshing to mix things up and try something different every once in a while. For us at Polar, this is what the holiday season is all about this year.

May we introduce: the Polar Unwinderator.

Wait, what? What is that?

The Polar Unwinderator is a gateway to new ways of unwinding. It’s a simple web test that generates break activity ideas based on your preferences and the time you have to spare for your break.

Everyone has their own way of tuning out, relaxing and… well, unwinding. The Unwinderator is full of healthy and refreshing break activity ideas, ranging from a 5-minute instant rave to a morning yoga session or a trail run, not forgetting a bunch of quick, sweaty and fun workouts with our friends from Les Mills. Whatever your method of getting in the zone may be, the Unwinderator will find you a new way of taking a break.

Get ready to unwind

Make this holiday season all about unwinding – head out to the Unwinderator and find the perfect way to spend your me-time. You’ll also find out how to get your hands on our special holiday offer.

It’s time to unwind!

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Elizabeth Walsh http://www.polar.com/blog <![CDATA[Four professional athletes who swear by taking the stairs – and one who opts for the elevator]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6144 2017-11-02T15:22:24Z 2017-11-02T13:08:51Z When given the choice, you should always favor the stairs over an elevator, right? Here, 5 Polar pros weigh in on the stairs vs. elevator debate.

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If sitting is the new smoking and doctors advise striving for 10,000 steps a day, it seems obvious that, when given the choice, you should favor the stairs over an elevator, escalator, or tempting airport people-mover. But what if you’re a competitive athlete and you’ve already logged your 10,000 steps (or more) by 7 AM – or you have a goal race on the horizon and want to stay off your feet? Here’s what five Polar professional athletes have to say about the stairs vs. elevator debate.

Team Stairs

Molly Huddle: “I’m a little crazy and I like to just do whatever is harder – though it actually seems like the fitter I am for runner, the worse going up stairs burns my quads! So I tell myself it must also be good for me to use my muscles in a different range of motion a few times a day, and then I make myself take the stairs.”

Kate Grace: “As a professional athlete, I always take the stairs, except during the few days before a race. Then I’ll take the elevator to avoid any extra work during my taper. But if I’m not about to race, I like to use the stairs as a way to check my posture and muscle activation. Sometimes I’ll do two or three extra slow, and I’ll practice engaging all my muscles like I’m doing a step-up in the gym. It’s a nice body awareness reminder when it’s easy to forget about core and pelvis alignment throughout the day.”

Angela Naeth: “I take the stairs on most occasions. I’m an able-bodied person, and it’s not a strenuous effort to take a few extra steps any day of the week. With that said, if I just raced and my body is aching, I definitely baby it a little and may opt for the elevator if the opportunity is there. And when I’m at hotels, I definitely take the elevator – only because I have luggage!”

Andrew Starykowicz: “I take the stairs more out of impatience than anything else. Where I’m at with my training does play a role, but more often it’s the impatience that kicks in and drives my actions.”

Team Elevator

Andy Potts: “I opt for the elevator every time. My reasoning is that when it’s time to go fast or hard, I go fast or hard. When it’s time to go slow and take it easy, I do my best to go easy. I try to knock out the objective of the day to the fullest. Have you ever seen a professional athlete off the field of play? They move really slowly! But when it’s go time, they move like no one else. That’s how I roll.”

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Noora Kangas <![CDATA[This is how we roll | Foam rolling for rest days]]> https://www.polar.com/blog/?p=6077 2017-11-03T08:25:39Z 2017-10-31T08:48:57Z Foam roll your way into the holiday season with Polar ambassador and personal trainer Lucy Young’s tips and go-to foam roller session.

The post This is how we roll | Foam rolling for rest days appeared first on Polar Blog.

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The holiday season is approaching quickly, and it’s the perfect time to give some TLC to your muscles. If you’re planning on including some active recovery time to your end-of-the-year training schedule, make a note of these foam rolling tips from Polar ambassador and personal trainer Lucy Young.

There is no deeper, cheaper, and more efficient self-massage than the foam-roller. While it could easily be one of the most underutilized pre-training techniques to help with muscle soreness, its benefits are too often forgotten on rest days or during time-off from training.

If you are planning time off from your training regime leading up to, or during the holiday period, then it’s an awesome opportunity to get foam rolling! If you cannot wait to rest up and spend a few R&R hours each day on the couch instead of building up km’s on the road, then foam rolling for a few minutes each day will ensure lactic acid doesn’t build up in your muscles when you are more sedentary.

You will be able to deeply massage the long-standing knots in your muscles, enabling your body to feel more connected.

What else? You will notice your flexibility improves, you feel more relaxed because your body won’t feel so stiff (better blood flow & circulation), and you will be able to deeply massage the long-standing knots in your muscles, enabling your body to feel more connected.

Given foam rolling involves applying pressure to areas of build-up tension (or trigger points), it might feel slightly uncomfortable at first. This is completely normal and means that you should start by applying only some of your body weight as you roll (i.e. use your hands and other leg to control the pressure). Also, foam rolling can at first feel like a workout in itself because you will need to shift and hold your body in new positions in order to target the right muscle groups!

Let’s roll

Here’s my go-to foam-rolling session, give it a go, and remember that taking a break from training means you have more time to foam-roll!

When following this foam-rolling guide, roll over each muscle group for a maximum of 20 seconds. Foam-rolling for minutes risks only injury to the area by damaging the tissue and causing bruising.

Groin Roll

Hamstring Roll

Quadriceps Roll

Glutes Roll

Lat Roll

Upper back Roll

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