Health & Fitness

health is all in the wrist

Know Your Stats: Deciphering Wearable Metrics

Just like they're different in style, wearables vary in which metrics they measure: heart rate, calories burned and blood pressure are just a few metrics vital to determining fitness. Prospective buyers need to ask themselves two questions: will you actually wear it? And will you understand it? More data means nothing if you don't know what it means or how it's measured. Take a look at our breakdown of the different metrics and which wearables utilize each.

The most interesting wearable in fitness

With Athos, Has the Personal Trainer Met Its Match?

Athos is a startup that’s just a few months away from bringing to market one of the most interesting wearables yet: compression clothing capable of monitoring how hard your muscles are working, on top of heart rate, heart rate variability and breathing patterns.

Wearable Replacement? There are apps for that

Who Needs Wearables? These Smartphones and Apps Might Be All You Need

The ostensible benefit of smart watches and health trackers, as far as health goes, is that they allow you to monitor your calories, heart rate, and step count with previously unmatched accuracy. Truth is, a number of upcoming smartphones paired with worthy fitness tracking apps make fitness-tracking wearables redundant.

Advice from My Second Time Around

How to Run a Faster Marathon

Sequels tend to suck (Caddyshack II, I’m looking at you), and when they’ve got 26.2 miles of pavement in them, the suck-potential goes exponentially up. After my second marathon, I came up with some advice to my former self, who was still prepping for his first. You can listen in.

Barefoot Except for the Shoe

10 Best Barefoot Running Shoes

The musculoskeletal therapist says it’s all good. The running ancestors give the the nod. And calves like grapefruits can’t be wrong. Embrace footwear devolution with these barefoot running shoes.

New Gear and Stories, Fresh from the Farm

This Week in Sports and Outdoors: August 28, 2014

This Week in Sports and Outdoors: Cannondale sponsors Slipstream, Garmin introduces an updated power meter, an app brings pick-up sports to the teammate-less masses and more.

Race for Survival

How to Race at Altitude

At altitude, you dehydrate more easily, your body has to work harder just to survive and, depending on how high you go, you can be at risk for various degrees of altitude sickness. But sometimes outdoor adventures and competitions call us into the mountains, by bike or by foot. So how do we handle it? Legendary cycling coach Chris Carmichael gives us some tips.

New Gear and Stories, Fresh from the Farm

This Week in Sports and Outdoors: August 7, 2014

This Week in Sports and Outdoors: two Norwegians win Norseman, Michael Phelps is back from retirement, we're on the ground at Outdoor Retailer and more.

New Gear and Stories, Fresh from the Farm

This Week in Sports and Outdoors: July 31, 2014

This Week in Sports and Outdoors: photos from a bike race in Dubai, a tiny hydration hose, a look inside Alex Honnold's van, the story behind the Tour de France and more.

Great Excuses For A Rubdown

11 Sunscreens for Every Occasion

We spend a lot of time outside, and the reality is that we’re often more fastidious about taking care of our bikes and boards than we are our skin. News flash: even if you don’t burn, you should be doing something to block the UV rays from permeating your dermis. These sunscreen options should cover whatever type of protection you need.

Massage on a Budget

The Art of Foam Rolling in Five Moves

Right up there with kettlebells and battle ropes, foam rollers are ubiquitous at gyms but nevertheless require a bit of explanation if you want to incorporate them into your fitness and recovery routine. We spoke with an expert to find out five easy exercises you can do at home or in the office.

Fitness to Go

Gym Bags For Any Workout

Whatever your style, these are the best bags for being shoved into a locker while you and fitness meet up for a hot, sweaty tryst.

Work Hard AND Smart

Rewind: (Fitness) Knowledge is Power

In sports and fitness, training plans and pounding the pavement can take you a long way. But sometimes it takes more than a blue collar work ethic: it helps to have bits of wisdom from seasoned vets, deep scientific insight and cleverly-designed products. Since kicking off Limits, we've scraped together knowledge about everything from the effect of caffeine on endurance to importance of VO2 max testing. We still fall down at stoplights occasionally, no amount of wisdom can prevent that. Here's what we've learned.

A Big, Bad Watch Gets Bigger and Badder

Tested: Suunto Ambit2

We get our hands on the Ambit2 from Suunto, the best watch in the business for serious outdoor adventurers looking to track all of their data over an entire weekend trip.

The fitness tracker that refuses to fit in

Tested: Misfit Shine

What makes a good wearable? Comparing a laundry list of features is one way to start the conversation. The Misfit Shine proves, however, that there’s still something to be said for keeping it simple.

Workers of the world, unite!

The Cubicle Workout

Even the cubicle-bound among us want, and can achieve, a basic level of fitness without waking up for 5:30 a.m. brick workouts or going for a long post-work run. We suggest a combination of simple high-intensity interval workouts, stretches and easy lifestyle changes that can make you a relatively fit person.

Two paths diverged in a deli

Up Your Lunch Game with this Healthy Plan

Most of the time we don’t take a full hour out of our workday for a methodical lunch, instead finding ourselves at the corner store, collecting what we can to fill our stomachs. This is where two paths diverge: some go for a fried cutlet sandwich followed by dessert; others cobble together a reasonably healthy meal followed by an average life expectancy. Read on to find out how to get a healthy lunch next time you're eating on the go.

15 essentials for 26.2

Kit: Marathoning

While running is by nature a sport with minimal gear requirements, having a combination of the right soft goods plus some accoutrements for comfort can make the whole experience more enjoyable. Pick from this Kit and you’ll be furnished with everything you need to succeed -- minus grit and determination. That’s on you.

Shed the winter coat

Great Home Workout Programs

Dropping some extra winter weight or jumpstarting your fitness goals for summer is no easy task, especially if you're staring down something crazy like your first Ironman 70.3 or GORUCK Challenge. Sure, you could shell out some cash for a personal Jillian Michaels or Tony Horton lookalike at your local Globo Gym, but unless you want to feel like a boot camp recruit or Biggest Loser contestant, there are better options. We've been testing a few home workout programs this winter to help keep our edge. Here are a few of our favorites.

Less Space, More Power

Kit: The Perfect Machine-Free Home Gym

Twenty years ago a home gym required an entire basement. This was ridiculous. Our ideas about fitness have progressed in breadth and scope -- generally toward functional workouts that have real-world application -- and the equipment required has diminished in size and price. If you’re looking to set up the perfect home gym that gives you the opportunity for a huge variety of exercises, it helps to have a few more tools in your kit.

Low Hanging Fruit

The Benefits of Berries

For anyone uncomfortable with pills, powders, shots and gels, Mother Nature offers an alternative way to stay healthy this winter. We’re talking berries, those tart little packets of juicy goodness. But beware: not all berries are created equal, and some go together better than others. Our resident fruitarian breaks down some of the most popular options.

The Sky's the Limit

Breakdown: London SkyCycle

Last week, London architecture firms proposed a plan to build the SkyCycle, a 137-mile bike superhighway that runs over existing rail lines. We break it down.

An Object in Motion Stays in Motion...

Tested: Newton BOCO AT

Founded in 1996 to develop footwear technologies for Nike, Adidas and Saucony, Boulder-based Newton Running now (according to its CEO, Jerry Lee) supplies shoes for one in every four triathletes. Though Newton currently makes two designated trail shoes, they'll soon drop the Terra Momentum and offer only one: the sturdy, lightweight BOCO AT ($129). We took a pair out for a spin on a snowy day in Manhattan, which is nearly as rough as any beaten trail.

Two Toms, Three Sports

Tested: TomTom Multisport

From the Pebble to the Toq, multi-tasking sports watches have recently gained popularity among the techie set. Among athletes, they’ve been used for over a decade. At their most basic functionality, athletic smart watches measure pace and distance, though most also have an optional heart rate monitor and offer enough technological bells and whistles to make Siri swoon. We got our hands on the TomTom Multisport GPS, an intuitive little offering that provides metrics for running, cycling and swimming.

Comfort and sturdiness, put to the test

Tested: ECCO BIOM Terrain Plus

Over the years we've owned a number of different hiking boots in a continuous search for just the right balance of sufficient support, stability, and grip without being so rigid and heavy that they feel like Tony Soprano concrete specials. Recently we had the opportunity to try the BIOM Terrain Plus ($230) from ECCO, a brand we knew only as the maker of grandpa's "most comfortable shoes you'll ever wear!" Of course we were skeptical about where they would rate on that scale of comfort and stability -- and, equally as important, whether we'd want to be seen wearing them on the trail.

It's never too cold

Kit: Winter Running

It’s not like getting up for that pre-work run was easy during the summer or fall. Now it’s pitch black, relentlessly cold and the streets are covered with ice, snow and salt. But a brisk jog before sunrise is a one-way ticket to a fulfilling day, not to mention a long winter of staying fit despite a dining regimen of braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. The right gear will keep you warm, dry and, most importantly, stable when the ground beneath you isn't.

Gifts for the resident jock

12 Guys of Christmas: The Athlete

Part of you doesn’t want to buy The Athlete any gift at all. He roughhouses at the Thanksgiving football game; he runs negative splits at the charity 5K; he seems to be toweling off every time your girlfriend is around. While we’re all worse for wear, he’s aging like a Rodin. But ultimately, he’s a good guy who just really likes to get the blood flowing. He whipped you into shape for Tough Mudder, remember? And who came along for a second opinion when you bought the used Cervelo? Who’s consistently willing to do an aerial chest bump? Yeah, that’s him. Go ahead, get him a little something nice for the holidays this year. We've got all the ideas you need.

The Bar, Raised

Epic Bars

An active life is a fulfilling life, and part of maintaining an active lifestyle is eating healthy. In an ironic twist, one of the most challenging times to eat well is when you're out exploring. Energy bars do their job, but usually with lots of sugar, saturated fat and other ingredients you can't pronounce. Fractionated palm kernel oil while overlooking the North Kaibab Trail of The Canyon? Pass. Made from organic, humanely-treated beef, bison and turkey (both beef and bison are grass-fed), EPIC bars ($34) are also gluten-free, so those who've gone paleo can enjoy them without Grog turning over in his grave.

Not a treatise on Pink Floyd

Opinion: Rethinking “The Wall”

There’s a lot happening in the body that’s implied by the catch-all word “bonk” (a.k.a. “hitting the wall”). While the resulting symptoms can occur at once as a symphony of pain and delirium, it’d be a mistake to think they all have the same cause and the same treatment. In my opinion, the the most valuable distinction for beginner long-distance runners is between dehydration and a glycogen bonk, or, generally speaking, running out of stored carbs to burn.

Run Forest, Run

Off The Beaten Path: 6 Great Trail Runs in the NYC Area

In urban settings like New York, walking, let alone running, is hard enough. With the abundance of hazards -- from reckless taxis to sharp-eyed grannies -- hitting the streets in your new pair of kicks often means putting your life on the line. If you're looking for a quieter run around the Big Apple, forget the Central Park Reservoir and Hudson River Park: when the only other New York residents you want to see are plants, birds and squirrels, check out these less frequently traveled trails.