THE RIGHT FOOD TO HELP YOU RECOVER

MEXICAN SWEET POTATO SKILLET

MEXICAN SWEET POTATO SKILLET

Many experts believe that nutrition could be even more important than the workout itself. No matter what type of exercise you do, your muscles always need two key macro-nutrients: carbs and protein. How much of the two you need will vary slightly, depending on whether you lifted weights in order to gain muscle or tackled a long endurance-building run. Either way, you’ll still need carbs to refuel glycogen and protein to rebuild and repair muscle tissues.

In general, try get about 0.5 grams per kilogram of your body weight of carbohydrates within 30 to 60 minutes of sweating and an additional 1.5 grams per kilogram body weight within two hours. Fruit, oats, quinoa, rice, bread and potatoes will all help you get there. For adequate protein, aim for 10 to 15 grams within at least an hour of exercise. Good sources include nuts, seeds, milk, eggs and meat. Don’t want to overdo it on the calories? Stick to about 200 for a snack and around 500 if you’re having a meal. If you’re tracking macros on the go, remember that both protein and carbs pack four calories per gram

 

Know The Row

 

Performing sustained exercise that increases your heart rate and breath volume improves your cardiovascular fitness. Rowing engages every major muscle group of your body including your heart and lungs. That requires your heart to pump more blood to your working muscle tissue to deliver energy and nutrients to your cells while buffering away waste byproducts, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

The human body is incredibly efficient, and doesn’t like to exert itself, so when it’s forced to work harder than it’s used to, it makes physiologic adjustments so future exertion feels easier. When your heart pumps and you breathe harder during rowing, your body doesn’t like it, and adapts and changes so that the next time you do the same level of work, it feels a little easier. This improves your cardiovascular fitness.

Rowing works your entire body. During the drive phase you’re engaging the major muscle groups of your legs first, then your core, and finally your upper body and back. This repeated exertion helps improve muscular endurance across muscle groups.

Rowing is an excellent form of exercise, but it’s not without risks. Poor form can result in injury, particularly to the lower back during the drive phase of the exercise. If you’ve never used a rowing machine before, ask for tips from a trainer to ensure you’re using it properly. And, as with any form of exercise, start slow and work your way up.

All the Free Outdoor Workouts You Can Do in New York City This Summer

 

"Can we have class outside?" isn't just a mantra for kids stuck in front of a chalkboard. As the mercury rises across New York City, gyms and fitness studios are breaking out of their basement classrooms and taking advantage of the weather in parks and on the waterfront both before and after work. And the best part? So many of them are totally free.

Below, we've rounded up the complimentary workouts you can do all summer long—yoga! running! Pilates! bootcamps!—broken down by day. With plenty of options in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, you've basically run out of excuses for skipping a workout this season.

One of the city's newer barre studios wants to start your week off right with hour-long yoga-Pilates-ballet mashup workout every Monday morning at the park's fountain plaza through August 4th. You don't need to sign up for the 7:30am class—no registration is required, and everyone is welcome—but you can sign up for email reminders here.

 

You can also do barre exercises in the Brooklyn Bridge Park every Monday at 7pm—but only for the month of June. In partnership with The Y, this class meets on the Pier 2 Promenade. They've also got sunrise yoga in the same spot on this day through the end of July; check out details about signing up here.

Also for the early birds, The Rise NYC has a free workout every weekday, and Mondays are high intensity interval training in Washington Square Park. The 6:30am class is only 30 minutes long, so they recommend biking or running to the location as a warmup.

In case you need to sleep in, activewear brand Lolë has an all-levels running group that leaves from its Soho store each week at 6:30pm (one of several free fitness events they host each week). You can stash your work stuff there, plus pick up a free yellow hat to help you spot fellow runners out in the wild.

Aside from running, Lolë is back to hosting weekly classes on the water with the city's top fitness studios. Tuesday's sessions take place at Tribeca's Pier 25, and upcoming partners include Lyons Den Power Yoga, ((305)) Fitness, Bari Studio, and Ironstrength. Classes start at 6:30pm and space is limited, so claim your spot by RSVPing on their Facebook page.

In Midtown, Athleta is hosting Tuesday morning yoga classes at 10am on the lawn in Bryant Park through September. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also reserve a spot here. Be sure to pick up your "Frequent Yogi Card" the first time you stop by, since 12 visits will earn you a $25 Athleta gift card.

On the west side? Bring your own mat for Pilates in the Park, taking place in Riverside Park at the plaza at 66th Street at 6:30pm, every Tuesday through August 25th. It's open to all levels, too. And Brooklynites get their own Pilates session with The Fitness Guru at 7pm, starting on June 23rd and running through September 8th on the lawn by the Empire Fulton Ferry—sign-up information is here.

And from The Rise, we've got a full-body workout beginning at 6:30am. The strong-willed meet at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, rain or shine.

Yup, you guessed it—more free fitness from Lolë. Midweek classes take place at the West Village's Pier 46 with even more cool classes: Body by Simone, Yogaworks, The Fhitting Room, and BFX Studio are just a sampling of their partners. These limited-availability classes also start at 6:30pm; you can use the same link above to book a spot.

And there's more free Pilates at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, too—this mat class is led by Cobble Hill's Body in Balance studio, and it takes place on the Pier 5 Promenade at 7pm (beginning June 24th). Be prepared to arrive early, as you'll need to fill out a release form before each session.

For Queens citizens, there's sunset yoga in Astoria Park every Wednesday at 7pm through August 26th. Bring your own mat, and RSVP at least 24 hours in advance; you can find more information about sign-ups and location here. In Brooklyn, Goodyoga hosts an hourlong class on the North 5th Pier beginning at 6:30pm—you'll be able to spot them by the balloons.

And back in Manhattan, the New York City Parks Department has two options for sunset yoga on this day: An hourlong session beginning at 6:30pm in Riverside Park (where Tuesday's Pilates class meets), and a 6:45pm class on Abby's Lawn in Fort Tryon Park that runs until 8pm. Both require you to bring your own mat and are subject to rain cancellations.

If you'd rather start early, The Rise has a quickie half-hour bootcamp (think pushups, burpees, and mountain climbers) in Bryant Park each Wednesday at 6:30am—it takes place on the fountain terrace near 41st Street.

And the November Project—remember those crazy people working out in dark mornings this winter?—keep at it in the warmer months, too. Their free workouts start at precisely 5:28am and 6:28am inside the Upper East Side's Charles Schurz Park; head here for more information.

Not free for mid-day yoga on Tuesdays? You can down-dog with Athleta in Bryant Park after work at 6pm on Thursdays, too (here's that optional signup link again). If you're in Brooklyn, Bend & Bloom is hosting Free Fresh Air Yoga in partnership with Lululemon on the northern end of Prospect Park's Long Meadow at 7pm—be sure to bring your own mat.

In the Meatpacking District, Classes on the Cobbles is back—and while the Gansevoort Plaza classes aren't happening every Thursday, there's plenty to choose from when they are taking place. This Thursday, June 11th, for example, has four 40-minute classes hosted by local fitness studios, beginning with circuit training by Kore at 5:30 and wrapping up with Core Fusion by Exhale at 7:45. Head to its Eventbrite page to RSVP for classes taking place this week and on June 25th, and keep checking back at that link as the season goes on for more sign-ups.

And across the Island, there's morning and evening fitness classes at Union Square as part of its Summer in the Square series that runs from June 18th through August 13th. There's a partnership with local gyms (Atmanada Yoga, Crunch, Brick New York, New York Health & Racquet Club), plus a Paragon Sports running group that leaves from the North Plaza at 6:30pm. Click on the link above to see the full schedule.

And The Rise takes it to Macdonald Park in  Forest Hills, Queens at 6:30am for its half-hour of heart-pumping body resistance exercises.

The Rise caps off the week with hill workouts on the Williamsburg bridge, meeting at the pedestrian entrance on the Manhattan side at 6:30am. They'll vary between straight jogging, timed sprints, and workout stations that you'll need to run to and from.

Cheat Day: Chocolate Nutella Protein Brownies

INGREDIENTS

For the brownies

  • 2 Scoops of Chocolate Whey Pretein Powder 
  • 2 Eggs
  • 40g nut butter
  • 175g boiled and mashed sweet potato
  • 50g Fage 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably dark)
  • 40g dark chocolate chips
  • 60g hazelnuts 
  • 2 tbsp. of stevia
  • 50g melted dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil (for greasing)

 

 

METHOD:

 

  1. Pre heat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. 
  2. Using a knife or a food processor, chop your 40g hazelnuts for the brownie into small pieces.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients first; boiled mashed sweet potato, greek yoghurt, stevia (if using liquid form) nut butter and eggs and stir until a smooth consistency is reached. 
  4. Then add the dry ingredients; hazelnuts, coconut flour, stevia (if using dry sweetener) and chocolate chips and stir thoroughly until the mixture is well combined and smooth. 
  5. Grease a square baking tin with your coconut oil covering evenly to avoid the brownies sticking (or you can using baking/parchment paper). 
  6. Pour in the brownie mixture and spread evenly (you want to aim for 9 brownie squares). Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes (until cooked through but still slightly moist to touch)
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely for around 15 minutes. In the meantime, melt your 50g dark chocolate.
  8. Once the brownie has cooled, spread the dark chocolate evenly over the brownie using a spatula until its completely covered. Whilst the chocolate topping is still wet, sprinkle over the 20g finely chopped hazelnuts for topping. 
  9. Slice into squares and enjoy!

A Timely Perspective on Training for the NYC Marathon

After years of running local 5k races and 5 mile Turkey Trots around Connecticut and New England, at some point I was attracted to the allure of the half-marathon. My first was tough. I remember it well. A hot, June Sunday morning starting at the beach and a hilly 13.1 mile winding course. My time wasn't great but I was thankful for the experience and used it to find ways to improve in my next race. I continued to run more half-marathons until I eventually felt the inclination to take it up to the full distance. I was officially registered for the 2008 New York City Marathon. 

I really had no idea what to expect. I had never run a marathon before. I'd never even been a spectator before and I was now months away from one of the biggest in the world. With a combination of Internet research, magazine articles, conversations with friends and peers, I patched together a personal training plan that I felt met my expectations. Race day for the NYC Marathon is a special time, and also a learning process. You report to Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island before the sun has risen. Early November wind gusts across the starting area as tens of thousands of runners huddle into clusters, some shaking from a combination of pre-race nerves and anticipation but mostly from the morning chill. One word of advice or lesson learned from my first NYC Marathon is that there's no risk in showing up over prepared. You will be spending hours sitting around waiting at the start. Understandably so, the starting area is just that. An open area meant to logistically organize a massive amount of people. There are no food vendors or Gatorade stations. Extra insulating clothes, sweaters, hats, food and drinks can be left behind. I'm not exaggerating. I saw people shaking with the look of hypothermia before the race even started. Try to follow the better safe then sorry motto. 

The ominous voice over the loud speaker called out my wave number and I worked my way into the crowded corral area. Before long, the explosion of a cannon announces the start of the elite runner's at the front. Eventually the corral opens, I work my way up to the official start, and I am off and running. I'm not going to get into all of the details here about the New York City Marathon course but I will say that if you are thinking about it or not even thinking about it. Do it! It's an amazing experience that can't even be described. My official finish time for the 2008 NYC Marathon was 4:01:38. I was happy. Glad that I had done it. Soar and tired as hell. Ready to recover. 

In 2009, I passed on the marathon to do an endurance race with two of my best friends in Jay Peak, VT. The following year I signed up for NY again and in 2010 finished 4:07:27. After that one I resigned to take a break from the 26.2 distance race. I started getting into triathlons and developing a passion for biking. But in early 2013, I got the itch. Before long I was again signed up for the NYC Marathon. This year I was going to try something different. Mix things up. 

The first move I made was lots of research on training and plans. Talking to more experienced runners, seeking out advice and reading material online. This eventually brought me to the website of Hal Higdon. I recalled his name from articles in Runner's World magazine but didn't know a lot about him personally so I read his bio and explored his entire site. It was an Aha! moment. There is something incredibly inspiring, not only in the athletic accolades of Hal Higdon, but in his renaissance man pursuits across writing, art and the humanities. I quickly studied up on his writings and marathon training plan, which became my playbook. 

It's an 18 week training plan that starts by explaining and answering very concisely the most basic questions of 'how' and 'why'. Hal uses speed sessions calling for hill repeats, interval training and tempo runs balanced against progressive weekend long runs that 'stepback' every three weeks. He also presents his training methodology in a way that's straight-forward and honest. 

Admittedly, not everybody wants to do speedwork, or enjoys going to the track. If that is your philosophy, you are better off following one of my intermediate programs. The advanced schedules (1 and 2) are designed only for the hard core, those willing to take it to the limit. Only a small percentage of today's runners classify themselves as "Advanced" or want to follow this demanding a schedule. We track how many runners sign up for my various schedules, and fewer than 10 percent choose Advanced. If that is you, welcome aboard. - Hal Higdon

I printed out the training plan and pinned it up on my wall, using a yellow highlighter to track my daily progression. The training plan was challenging but on tough days I was able to push on feeling the confident voice of great coaching. A voice coming through an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. The running continued going well through the summer as I tracked almost all of my workouts on  Training Peaks website. In the middle of August I started feeling discomfort on the outside area of my left knee. It wasn't too serious but enough for me to dial things down and take extra time stretching. My next weekend long run was a disaster. Somewhere at mile 9 or 10 the pain became sharp and excruciating bringing me to tears. I walked home and elevated my leg. I didn't run for the whole week. The following weekend I attempted to go out for a slow, light jog but couldn't even finish. I know aches and pains are a part of the process but something just wasn't right. I visited a doctor to get an x-ray. The x-ray came back clear and I was told the pain was my IT band. I needed an extended time out from running to stop exacerbating the problem to allow more rest and recovery.

At this point, I was balancing my stubborn nature and frustration with being told NOT to run with the lesson I had learned of better safe than sorry. I aired on the conservative side and took another two weeks off. I actually considered giving away my spot in the marathon because I was convinced I wouldn't be able to catch up my training in time and someone else would need enough time to prepare. But before making that kind of call I opted to give it one last go. The first day back I decided to test things out and jumped on my bike instead of running, just to get the feel of exertion and motion without the impact. It felt pretty good. No pain. At this point I needed to adjust my game plan. I was completely off Hal's training plan and only had a few weeks left before tapering. I continued to build on distance and speed work but at a much lower level. As the weeks progressed I felt ok physically which allowed me to focus on my inner-game. How was I going to manage this psychologically? 

As the day drew closer, friends and colleagues who were also running the marathon were abuzz. Both returning and first time runner friends were excitedly chatting about their training plans and target finish times. I stayed soft spoken and introspective having been humbled by the unpredictable curve ball of an IT Band injury. The day of the race was another cold November  morning on Staten Island. At some point, maybe an hour or so before my starting time, I broke out of my silent, one-man blanket huddle and stood up where I had been sitting. This is it. It's go time. A feeling of release. Calm before the storm. I had no idea what to expect. Would my knee hold out or would the pain start right in the beginning. It didn't matter anymore. I did my best. I followed a great training plan, persevered through the pain and all I could do now was enjoy the ride. I put my iPod shuffle and headphones away. No music. I want to feel every step. Use my inner-game to stay positive and aware of what's happening around me and with my body, recalling all of the sage advice I had learned from Hal. 

I crossed the starting line of the New York City Marathon for the third time in my life and the race was officially under way. I was feeling good and maintained my prescribed pace as 50,000 runners wound through the beautiful and diverse neighborhoods of the five boroughs. Mile after mile I stayed focused and strategic about my pace.

Toward the later parts of the race when fatigue and exhaustion inevitably set in, I used my injury as impetus. Practicing humility, in knowing that I had to stay that much stronger to overcome a difficult setback. I turned a challenge into an opportunity. And that was the focus of my inner-game for the last final miles of the race. 

I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:27:38. Less than 8 minutes per mile for 26.2 miles. Whenever friends or family ask how I shaved 30 minutes off my marathon time I always give the same answer, "A new coach."

Understanding Heart Rate Training

Different Heart Rate Zones are unique to each individual, and in addition to that, they differ for one individual over time. Here’s how to find your heart-rate reserve:

Get your max heart rate. You can get an estimate of your heart rate reserve, and your VO2 max, by doing any type of time trial or race at an all-out effort. In a 5-K race, you will likely be able to sustain about 97% of your max heart rate. If you want to go all the way to 100%, do a two-mile time trial. Here’s how: On a track or any flat stretch of road, run one mile easy to warm up, then run two miles (eight laps around the track) at the fastest pace that you can sustain, trying to run each mile and each lap at roughly the same pace.  Look at the heart-rate monitor, and see the maximum heart rate number that was hit. That is a good estimate of your max heart rate.
Get your resting heart rate. Take your pulse at your neck or on your wrist as soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed. Find out how many beats per minute by counting your pulse for a full 60 seconds. Do this every day for one week.

Find your heart rate reserve. Your heart rate reserve (HRR) is your max heart rate minus your resting heart rate.

Know your zones. To find out which numbers to target on which runs, multiply your heart rate reserve by the zone you’re running in, then add back your resting heart rate.
Here’s an example:

Let’s say you have a max heart rate of 190 and a resting heart rate of 60.
Your heart rate reserve would be 190 – 60 = 130.
To find out which number you should target for your warmup, when you want to be working at 65%, you’d use this formula:
Heart Rate Reserve x 65% + Resting heart rate
130 x 0.65 (65% of heart rate for an easy run) = 84.5 + 60 (Resting heart rate) = 144.5
So you’d target about 144 for your warmup. If the number is higher, you’re working too hard. If it’s lower, you need to pick up the pace.
See an expert. If you’re really curious about finding out precisely what your max heart rate and heart rate reserve are, go to an exercise physiologist and do a treadmill test. This test typically involves running on a treadmill while hooked up to machines that monitor your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as how much oxygen you’re consuming. Every few minutes the treadmill gets faster and steeper, until you reach the maximum effort you can sustain. Your heart rate at that maximum effort is your max heart rate.

Know the limits. Even when you know your max heart rate, and know the training zones, realize that there are limitations when using a heart-rate monitor to gauge how hard you’re working out. If you’re wearing your heart-rate monitor in a gym, the signals from the machines might interfere with an accurate reading. Also, certain other factors that have little to do with your level of fitness will impact your heart rate. If you’re dehydrated, if it’s a superhot day, or if you’re in pain, your heart rate might skyrocket, even if you’re running at a slower pace. Certain medications, such as beta-blockers and some migraine medicines, will affect the numbers you see on your heart-rate monitor. Similarly, if you’re going up a hill, you may have to slow your pace just to maintain the same intensity. In some cases you may have to walk. That’s okay. As you get fitter, you’ll be able to run up them.

Decide if heart-rate monitoring is right for you. When you’re just starting to work out, you have to carefully weigh whether this is right to you. It’s best to work by feel at first. Spend time getting into a rhythm of walking or running that feels comfortable enough to hold a conversation. It takes a while to get to a point where the running feels relaxed and natural. Once you do, you should target that feeling during each run. Studies have shown that running by feel and doing the talk test, which is well correlated with target paces. All you need is a watch. If you’re doing a run/walk workout, be aware that there will be a natural lag between when you hit a certain pace or heart-rate zone and when that number registers on the heart-rate monitor. So if you’re doing a run/walk interval by time, there’s a good chance that you may have returned to a walk before seeing your target heart rate for the run register on the heart-rate monitor.

On the other hand, having a heart-rate monitor will keep you from going out too fast and burning out before you’ve reached the goal distance and duration of the workout. Staying in your ideal zone of 60 to 80 percent will help you practice running in that relaxed, comfortable pace that you want to hit for most of your runs.