Tag Archives: athletes

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


We Love Gatorade G Series Pro

The elite athlete has different nutritional needs than the weekend warrior. We can all agree on that, yes?

Professional athletes train for hours every day and their dietary needs far surpass those of the typical exerciser. They have higher protein needs and require carb levels that will give them both short bursts of energy and long levels for endurance.

Gatorade, the company most well known for hydration beverages, has created a line of product for professional athletes called Gatorade G Series Pro. This line was created with elite athletes in mind, those who train for hours and face different nutritional hurdles than the rest of us. This line has different nutritional standards than the other lines Gatorade offers, the traditional Gatorade often referred to as G or G2 (the lower sugar version), the G Series Fit and the G Series Natural. G Series Pro is offered in the same three step line as the G Series Fit, with Prime, Perform and Recover. Prime was created for use an hour before training, Perform during and Recover for use within two hours after a workout.


Weighted Vests: The Best Fitness Equipment You Aren’t Using

If there is one advantage overweight people have over those of a normal weight when it comes to fitness, it’s that the more you weigh, the more calories you burn doing the same amount of work. Ask yourself: What is easier? Walking up a flight of stairs, or walking up a flight of stairs with a refrigerator strapped to your back?

While toting household appliances may be a bit extreme, you can get the same benefits of adding weight to your body for a more intense workout by using a weighted vest- a piece of fitness equipment designed for just such results. Unfortunately, most people either haven’t heard of them, or think they are just for hardcore athletes, when in actuality, they are great for even the fitness beginner.

Different types of weight vests are made for different activities. Some vests have a sleek design, like this one from Altus Athletic, which are less restrictive of movement and made for sports and activities that require more range of motion in the arm, such as throwing a ball or swinging a golf club. Other vests, like this one from GoFit, have broader shoulders, which is more comfortable for walking and running. Cardio becomes more taxing on the body when you must propel more weight, and your leg muscles will become stronger and more toned, especially when traveling uphill, than if you were walking with your own body weight alone.


Yoga For Athletes

What athletes love about their sport, whether it’s running, cycling, or swimming, is the rhythmic and repetitive motions that their bodies thrive on for the physical results and their minds gravitate towards for the meditative effects.

But when the same kinds of motions hit the body over and over again, it can take its toll on muscles, joints, bones and ligaments, leaving them misaligned. In addition, certain sports may favor one side of the body over another, like golf, while others such as cycling create powerful legs but weak and tight hips. This over-utilization of certain muscles and under-utilization of others can over time create imbalances, which can lead to injury.

Yoga not only counters these developed asymmetries, but it also provides the athlete with a host of benefits that can improve their performance.

Here is what you need to know about yoga for athletes:


Male Athletes with Weight Problems

Emanuel Tiny YarbroughWhen you think of athletes, it’s usually safe to assume that they are in good shape. This isn’t always the case. The most obvious example is offensive and defensive lineman in football. Sure, they are as strong as oxen. But, once football is over, that spare tire around most of their waists will just be a health burden.

There are more examples where that came from. The New York Daily News spotlights 36 of their favorite “fat-letes.” Here are a few interesting examples:

  • Emanuel “Tiny” Yarbrough is a sumo wrestler from Rahway, New Jersey. He weighs about 800 pounds, and holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest athlete. (more…)

Eating Advice from Female Olympic Athletes


If someone can please explain to me why we are so obsessed with what the Olympic athletes, I’d love to hear it. I am just as intrigued as anyone else as to how these elite sports figures eat to stay healthy, look amazing and stay at the top of their game.

Mary Lou Retton

From Michael Phelps eating his victory meal of a cheeseburger and fries on Saturday night to Dara Torres’s favorite training breakfast of a citrus berry smoothie, the interest of what these athletes nosh on is captivating.

For women, learning the nutrition tips and secrets of some of the United State’s most powerful and accomplished Olympic athletes is like learning how to put on mascara from your older sister. The sharing of beauty and health advice is our way of connecting with one another, supporting each other and educating one another. No matter how old we are, we never tire of swapping advice with one another.

Two former and current female athletes give us their inside scoop on how to stay healthy, look beautiful and keep their bellies full and satisified.

Even though Dara Torres and Mary Lou Retton are not similar in height, they both have similar eating styles. Neither of them count calories. Instead, they rely on eating everything in moderation, eating small amounts of indulgent foods and relying on lean proteins and plenty of fresh foods to fuel their day.

Retton who is a busy mother of four girls, eats to be healthy even though she still works out everyday. Also, as a mother of four impressionable young ladies, she keeps words like “skinny,” “fat” and “thin,” out of the daily vocabulary of her female household and instead talks with her children about the importance of being “strong,” “powerful” and “healthy.”

For Torres and Retton, counting calories, measuring fat grams and hopping on scales sets the groundwork for unrealistic body size expectations, unhealthy body images and potential eating disorders. Torres, who herself wrestled with bulimia for many years, focuses now on eating what she wants, when she wants, but exercising a lot so that she can have her cake and eat it too.

Here is a recipe of Torres’s favorite breakfasts: A citrus berry smoothie that packs fiber, protein and taste into a satisfying meal and great post-workout snack that was created by Eating Well magazine.

Citrus Berry Smoothie

1 1/4 cups fresh berries
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place berries, yogurt, orange juice, dry milk, wheat germ, honey and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 432 calories; 3 g fat (2 g sat, 0 g mono); 15 mg cholesterol; 77 g carbohydrate; 20 g protein; 7 g fiber; 250 mg sodium; 617 mg potassium. 8 Weight Watchers Points.
Nutrition bonus:
Vitamin C (175% daily value), Calcium (63% dv), Potassium (18% dv), Magnesium (16% dv).
4 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 3 fruit, 2 low-fat milk