Experimenting with later-in-the-morning workouts frees up the early hours for circadian rhythm-setting (and coffee-getting) walks. On yesterday's stroll along the High Line, we noticed pops of pink and green that promised spring is on the way. While we wait, here are a few highlights and learning from the TORIAL team this February:
A word on… de-influencing
Every social media platform seems to feel more and more like an on-going feed of ads. But over the last month or so, influencers have flipped the script from influencing you to buy to influencing you not to buy, or, what marketers have officially coined: de-influencing.
Companies with crap products and poor customer service, watch yourself. You will be called out. While the trend is about calling out specific brands, that’s not really our style. So, we’re going to jump on the trend our way, with our top three time-, money-, and/or effort-wasting fitness habits.
1. Any restrictive or elimination diet
Extreme diets always fail. Is there that rare story of an individual that can somehow survive on the keto diet for more than a couple months, sure, but for the most part, it’s unsustainable. We’ve interviewed dozens of nutritionists and dieticians over the years and 9 out of 10 always preach a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fats via whole foods. The key to making it work for your individual goal is finding the right combination and that takes time, experimentation, and professional guidance. That’s not very exciting, but that’s the reality. Want to get your diet in check? Meet with a nutritionist or dietician that designs meal plans rather than push pills, potions, powders, and magic elixirs.
2. Circuit workouts in a packed gym at peak hours
I’m a big believer in the effectiveness and efficiency of a circuit workout. If I had a gym all to myself, I’m 100% designing something sinister with just about every piece of equipment in the place. But, when it comes to peak hours in a big box gym, it’s a huge no-no. I’d say, if you’re going to circuit train in a crowded space, find a little nook to yourself with a few weights and have at it instead of bouncing around from machine to machine. It’s not fair to everyone else trying to put in their work.
3. Yo-yo training
Yo-yo training is the same thing as yo-yo dieting, you start and stop, start and stop, etc., etc. Yo-yo’ers jump on the latest trendy workout plan or concept for a few weeks then stop, they lose all their gains, then maybe come back at some point. Ultimately, it’s hard to make any sort of progress. The only way to build strength, endurance, skill, stay injury free, or sculpt a lean physique is to consistently show up, day after day after day. Need a program? Check out the more than 30+ free ones at humanfitproject.com. There’s enough to keep you busy for the next decade or two.
And for only the highest quality influencing, follow @humanfitproject on Instagram.
-Mike Simone, TORIAL co-founder and creator of humanfitproject
A word on… articles for American Heart Month
Throughout February (American Heart Month), I’ve been writing and editing articles related to heart health for Paceline’s blog, The Minutes. The first, a guide to seven top cardio exercises you can do at home, gave me the opportunity to chat with Alex McBrairty, a certified personal trainer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Alex had plenty of ideas for meeting your cardio quota without heading to the gym, hitting the pavement, or purchasing any particular equipment—from combining stair climbing and household chores to doing classic exercises like burpees and bear crawls.
Another article, a curation of nine heart health tips, spanned topics like nutrition, exercise, sleep, and more. Plus, it broke down how blood pressure and cholesterol can be used to keep tabs on your heart health. Though American Heart Month is technically drawing to a close, it’s not too late to learn more—read the full piece here.
-Erin Warwood, TORIAL managing editor
A word on… resetting my pain threshold
I’ve overcome my fair share of running injuries in pursuit of 10 marathons (including the 6 World Marathon Majors)—and thereafter. The first time I had a sidelining issue—MRI-confirmed as “hip tendonitis”—was circa 2011 when I was living in London and training for the Paris Half-Marathon. It flared up again in 2012 in the lead-up to what was supposed to be my first marathon—New York City—before it was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy. While digging into the depths of my Gmail trying to confirm these dates just now, I stumbled on this email that I’d sent my doctor at Hospital for Special Surgery back then:
I went running on Wednesday (3 miles) and felt fine during the run and immediately afterwards. A few hours later (after sitting at my desk for a while) [my left glute] started to hurt worse. Interestingly, the next day I felt great!
What’s wild about this is that as I sit here now typing this over a decade later, I’m in the exact same situation. I went years without any pain in that area and then boom—back to the physical therapist I go.
Luckily, I already have a spot in NYC I trust, Finish Line. We do a lot of the traditional myofascial release and PT exercises you’d expect. But as a fitness editor, I jumped on a term my therapist threw out the other day: pain threshold. From what I understand, it’s the idea that once you injure a certain body part, you gain a heightened awareness of that body part. And simply by virtue of thinking about it (all the d*mn time), your pain threshold lowers and you're more likely to feel pain in that area more regularly.
The potential solution? Learn to break the pattern and bring your pain threshold back up to baseline in order to be free of it. And the way you do that may actually be through a lot of those expected PT practices which could train your body that it’s safe to move in the ways it’s supposed to.
All this to say, I’ve always been a believer in the mind-body connection (if you’ve never read John Sarno’s Healing Back Pain, I can’t recommend it enough), but this experience has brought it even more into focus. My PT was quick to remind me that none of this discounts the very real pain I—and so many of us—feel. But it’s an interesting perspective to keep in mind as we work towards long-term relief.
-Caitlin Carlson, TORIAL co-founder
A word from… Gabe Rose, DO, an ER doctor based in San Diego
While no one is bulletproof, here are some things I personally do to minimize my chances of getting sick and optimize my immunity:
Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
Drink 1-2 cups of green tea each day
Supplement with omega-3 (fish oil), vitamin D, and turmeric
Exercise daily (weights, stationary bike, yoga, or surfing)
Practice mindfulness—if I'm stressed and sleeping less, I'm pumping out more cortisol and my immunity wanes
Allow 1 indulgence (I personally love a little non-dairy ice cream topped with almond butter and granola at the end of the day)
For more from Dr. Rose, follow him on Instagram (@doc.gabe).
DISCLAIMER: This content is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It’s not intended as medical advice. Consult your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.