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Draw Halloween Costume Inspiration from 2011′s Health and Fitness Trends

By Kelsey Murray

Who says that Halloween is only for candy-fueled kids who dress up as scary monsters and the latest comic book characters? Well, maybe most people say that, but it doesn’t have to be true this year for you.

Here’s our list of healthy Halloween costumes for 2011! Be a great influence on your kids, show off your fit bod, or give your favorite home town athlete some love by drawing costume inspiration from healthy sources. Don’t worry, you can still have a piece of candy or two.


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Menstrual Cycle Does not Slow Athletes Down. Period.

All women dread that certain time of the month. Many women feel like crawling into bed and not speaking to anyone for a week, let alone do any kind of physical activity. So how do female athletes play under the pain and suffering of their cycles and does it affect their performance at all?

A New York Times article discusses how or if the menstrual cycle affects the athleticism of female athletes. Because women have not been participating in athletic events for very long, the research on female athletics is still in its infancy.

A study researching female rowers in Europe found that they measured the same in strength, endurance, and overall fitness in every point of their cycles. Some of the women were on birth control, which affects the production of estrogen, and some were not. Some of the women were professional athletes and others were not. Each woman could perform the same whether she was ovulating, menstruating or somewhere in between.


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Vikings’ Bryant McKinnie is Too Big for Professional Football

Bryant McKinnie was a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings. An offensive lineman, McKinnie signed a contract extension in 2006 that was worth almost $50 million dollars. It looked like McKinnie would be a long-term Viking, but he was recently cut from the team’s roster after he showed up to training camp, weighing almost 400 pounds. This is 65 pounds more than he weighed last year, and evidently, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Judd Zugland, a reporter at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, said that McKinnie’s weight gain was the “final straw” that allowed the team to dismiss him from their ranks. In the past, McKinnie has had several off-field issues such as being involved in a brawl in 2008 and was a key player in the infamous “Love Boat incident”, a sex party on a rented boat involving many members of the team, which was very embarrassing for the franchise.

In a sport where the players have to be big enough to clear the field for their teammates to score touchdowns and have to stop the other team from rushing the ball, shouldn’t bigger always be better? Surprisingly, no. These NFL linemen have to walk a thin line between being big but still athletic, and so overweight that it slows them down. It seems that the Vikings determined that McKinnie had finally gotten too big, and was no longer an asset to the football team.


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Endurance Runners’ Diets Directly Effect Performance

Part of the joy in endurance running is that the athlete is afforded more calories than their couch dwelling counterparts. However, when a well-meaning non-runner says to me, “you get to eat whatever you want though, right?” I have to sadly answer no and explain how I believed that lie once too.

I began running with hopes that I could eventually eat junk food all day long and pay no penance for it. It took me just a few stomach churning runs to realize that I was wrong. For most runners, their performance is directly related to their diet.

“Junk in, junk out,” is the phrase nutritionist Diane Greenleaf likes to use as a reminder for how our body works. She pointed out that while training does lead to more calories being burned, it doesn’t replace the fact that the body needs nutrients. And it’s no surprise that our tasty junk food isn’t chock-full of vitamins.


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First Vegan Cyclist Rides Tour de France

July 2, 2011 brought about another first for the infamous cycling event, the Tour de France. In its 107-year history, cyclists have experimented with a multitude of options to better their chances at taking on the steep mountains and rigorous course. From diets full of red meat and carbs to even using cigarettes as a tactic, nearly everything has been attempted by the athletes. However, American cyclist David Zabriskie tried something no one else ever had. Zabriskie showed up to the starting line, planning on his vegan diet to carry him to victory.

While so many people practice a vegetarian or vegan diet, why was Zabriskie’s diet news? His no meat, dairy, or egg diet seems so radical due to the demands his sport puts on his body. Most cyclists eat plenty of meat and diary to help muscle recovery. The iron in red meat helps the body produce hemoglobin which helps transport oxygen to the muscles.

So why would any athlete of Zabriskie’s caliber do such a thing? Zabriskie has a medical reason, stating that blood tests showed some food sensitivities that meant while most athletes would benefit from red meat, that meat would take too much energy for Zabriskie to digest.


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