Beat the Average With GNC – Challenge

Rachel Daily : July 29, 2014 10:51 am : Blog

According to The Wall Street Journal, the average person watches approximately three hours of television a day. Three hours may not seem like that much time when you look at it in writing, but think about what else you could accomplish in that amount of time and it may put things into perspective. You could take a pretty substantial road trip to a nearby town, work on your passion project or even invest it in getting your health in tip top condition.

In the spirit of rising above the mean and using some of that TV time to work on your overall wellness instead, we’re excited to announce the GNC Beat Average™ Fitness Challenge! 

The average MapMyFitness user’s workout hovers around the 4-mile mark and generally lasts about 58 minutes. We don’t think that’s too shabby! While we don’t want to make light of your hard work, the GNC Beat Average™ Fitness Challenge is here to push you to raise the bar.

To join the challenge, between July 28 and August 29, log all of your workouts on MapMyFitness to earn points that count toward the leaderboard rankings. Log any workout that lasts longer than the 4-mile or 58-minute average and you will earn extra points! At the end of the challenge, those who consistently pushed themselves to Beat Average™ will be eligible to win $5,000 to spend towards travel and registration for a race of your choice.

Don’t let the pull of the TV take you away from reaching your goals. We know you can do it. Now prove it to yourself! Are you ready to Beat Average™?

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Stay Fit – What We’re Reading: July 25, 2014 : July 25, 2014 12:45 pm : Blog, News
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Legs That Could Cause Disaster – Friday Fitness Funny

Rachel Daily : July 25, 2014 9:27 am : Blog

Feel that? That’s the Friday creeping in to your bones. The only way to shake it out is by working out those legs – so that they can cause disaster.

 This Friday’s fitness fun comes from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and his latest interview with Dwayne Johnson – aka, the Rock. While discussing how he got in shape for his latest movie roll, the Rock discovered an 80′s workout VHS (google it, kids) and threw it in the machine. The result may not have gotten him his abs but it did land him a celebrity skit session that Fallon is known for. Watch it for yourself below…then go hustle for your muscle. 




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Oh Kale No! – Kale Shortage News

Rachel Daily : July 24, 2014 1:59 pm : Blog

Oh KALE no! Wait wait wait so after dutifully watching the stream of Netflix available food documentaries boasting the healing powers of juicing and the contribution the leafy green known as kale makes, we have a shortage?! Ok, nobody panic. 

Whether you’ve jumped on the juicing train and pulverize your greens or you just like them sautéed in a drop of olive oil, Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and can be tossed into just about any recipe to add a little bonus nutrition. Well, maybe not the dessert kind of recipes.

What with the rise in demand of this leafy life sustainer, there now seems to be a bit of a shortage. This article from the folks at Modern Farmer will get you up to speed. They’re smart folks. Like they went to KALE for college or something. Ugh, sorry. 


via – Modern Farmer

It has been said that each generation must face some fresh crisis, which springs forth to test their might and mettle. We’re deeply sorry to say that our time has finally come. Ladies and gentlemen, gird your loins: A worldwide kale shortage is here at last.

We know what you’re thinking: That’s it? But this is no Wellesian “War of the Worlds” broadcast, friends. According to ABC News in Australia, Bejo Seeds, one of the world’s foremost kale seed suppliers, has emptied their kale stock, and now farmers in Australia may be unable to grow enough of the leafy green to satisfy the world’s juicers.

“You could describe it as embarrassing to us, but it’s just one of those things that’s happened on a global basis,” Tony Hubbard, who runs Bejo Seeds’ Australian office, told ABC. “It’s caught us out well and truly, we put our hands up to that.”

‘You could describe it as embarrassing to us, but it’s just one of those things that’s happened on a global basis. It’s caught us out well and truly, we put our hands up to that.’

This is not only a loss for said juicing population, but also for the farmers, who have found robust profits in the kale market. Just southeast of Melbourne, the fields at Brunyen Farms in Pearcedale, once reserved for red cabbages and leeks, have been entirely turned over to kale. “We probably only planted probably 3,000 or 4,000 plants a season,” said Steve Brunyen, the farm’s proprietor, to The Daily Mail. “Now we’re up to about 25,000 plants. I still haven’t had enough.” Over in Clyde, another Melbourne suburb, Deborah and Darren Corrigan plant 150,000 seedlings every week, and are one of the country’s main kale growers.

Now, we do admit that it is unclear whether these kale-sized ripples will truly be felt around the globe. Nor is this the first time a kale shortage has threatened to harry our shores. Back in April, a particularly resilient pest attacked the U.S. kale crop, to the point where some specialists believed the country’s supply could be completely destroyed by June. Rumors of kale shortages have haunted your local CSA for years. But as always, it is better to be safe, than without kale, so it may be in your best interests to diversify your vegetable portfolio.

In some ways, kale can be difficult to replace. Its coveted status as a superfood is not without merit — the dark, leafy green comes packed with calcium, vitamin C, etc., etc. — but dare we say that much of kale’s superiority can be chalked up to good branding? The humble broccoli, so often cast aside on young children’s plates, contains more carotenoids than kale, and is high in a number of potentially cancer-fighting nutrients. When compared to kale, arugula may not be as superfood-packed with health benefits, but no man nor beast can deny that it is infinitely more delicious.

We would never advocate that you abandon kale entirely — it is a rarity: good and good for you — but in order to preserve the global supply, perhaps it would be wise to take your devotion down a notch. In other words: little sips, not big gulps.

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Tour de Snack Time – A Tale in Epic Eating

Rachel Daily : July 23, 2014 3:58 pm : Blog
You eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Sure, we all know that. But what about when you’re burning, and burning, and burning, and burning calories all day every day for a solid month? 
The cyclists in the Tour de France have a eating schedule that rivals their rigid riding schedule and consume roughly 9,000 calories each day! This doesn’t mean they’re chowing down on the Doritos though. Food is fuel and when you’re powering yourself down the road for hours for days on end, you need the highest premium fuel you can get. Check out this awesome story by NPR on the eating habits of the Tour’s cyclists. 

Photo: Spain’s Alberto Contador eats a banana in as he rides in the pack during the sixth stage of the Tour de France on July 10, 2014. The cyclists aim to eat up to 350 calories an hour as they ride, and up to 9,000 calories a day.

Laurent Cipriani/AP


The famously grueling cycling race involves about 2,200 miles of furious pedaling, huge mountain climbs and downhill sprints at 50-plus miles per hour. But the Tour de France, now in its final days, is also an epic marathon of eating.

The cyclists now competing in the 101st rendition of the race are burning an average of 700 calories per hour while riding and, to keep their weight up and maintain their health through the three-week event, they must eat 6,000 to 9,000 calories every day.

The almost nonstop eating begins with juice as soon as the athletes wake, according to Nigel Mitchell, head of nutrition for Team Sky. After joining their teammates in the hotel dining room, they devour a massive buffet-style breakfast, heavy on carbs and sugar, and moderate in fiber, which can add unwanted bulk to the cyclists’ bellies.

When they’ve finished this matinal meal, they pile into a bus, and keep eating, taking in hundreds more calories in energy drinks and bars before arriving at the starting line. Once they begin pedaling, team support vehicles shadow the riders, and assistants hand themenergy gel packets, homemade rice cakes and Panini sandwiches.

Still, some of the cyclists actually shed pounds during the Tour.

Keeping up with the energy demands of the race is a balancing act. Mitchell says 350 calories is about as much energy as an athlete can absorb in one hour, and yet the cyclists are burning up to 1,000 calories an hour — as some of them surely did during Tuesday’s arduous 148-mile ride through the Pyrenees. It’s the first of three days in the mountain range and one of the hardest days in the whole race.

“The body uses fat stores while the guys are riding,” Mitchell says.

By the end of the day’s ride, the cyclists have built up a major calorie deficit. Back on the bus, they eat boiled potatoes, rice, canned tuna and capsules of fish oil as they’re driven to the next hotel.

When they arrive, they dig into a 2,000-calorie dinner, always heavy in meat, fish and other sources of protein — important for helping repair and rebuild the athletes’ stressed muscles — followed by a fruit-based dessert. Before bed, the cyclists eat a bowl of cereal or yogurt. A few hours sleep is the only break they get from this demanding schedule of eating, Mitchell says.

Calories should come from the right mix of sources: fat, protein, carbs and on good days, a little alcohol. “Traditionally, if you win a stage, you have a bottle of Champagne,” Mitchell says.

Chefs face challenges in cooking for cycling teams, as there may be competitors from multiple nations, each with their own preferences. Mitchell says this year’s Team Sky cyclists hail from South America, North America and Europe. (This year, there haven’t been any major disagreements over food, he says.)

Sports physiologist Allen Lim has worked with Tour de France cyclists since 2005 and makes natural-ingredient sports drinks at his company Skratch Labs. He says a good chef knows each rider’s tastes: what foods they like, what they hate and what they won’t eat for health or ethical reasons.

Sometimes, Lim says, the dietary choices of the riders prove too challenging — or annoying — for a team’s chef. In 2008, when Lim was traveling with the Garmin team, all the cyclists decided they would ride the race on a gluten-free diet. The chef — a Frenchman — wasn’t happy about this.

“He was angry that the guys wouldn’t eat pasta or bread,” Lim recalls.

The Garmin team now works with chef Sean Fowler, an American who lives in Spain. Fowler has been more willing to experiment with fusion recipes and some gluten-free items, Lim says.

Fowler is tweeting his culinary wins on the tour, like gluten-free toast with salmon caviar, baked salmon with avocado mousse, gluten-free coconut cake with sheep’s milk yogurt and baked curry with marinated turkey skewers and prunes.

While nutritionists like Mitchell accompany the teams to help direct meal prep and make sure all essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients are served in adequate proportions, Lim says many teams have also hired chefs.

“Unless the cyclists love what they’re eating, unless they can celebrate dining with one another and enjoy what they’re eating, then they just won’t perform,” Lim says. “If the food is bad, they won’t ride well.”

Staying hydrated is important, too. Lim says there was once a prevailing element of machismo among some professional cyclists who abstained from drinking water as long as possible during a hard ride. Now, they’ve wised up, he says, and may drink well over two gallons of water and hydrating energy drinks per day. When nature calls during the race, they make a gentlemen’s agreement to pull over all at once, drain their bladders and get back on the bikes when all are finished, Lim explains.

But there is one thing just as important as eating, Lim says: showering.

“When these guys are done each day, they’re so freaking dirty,” he says. “They have road dirt all over them. Before eating, they need to wash off.” Showers, he says, are provided at each team’s finish line station. “If they don’t shower right away, it can make them very susceptible to getting sick.”

Alastair Bland is a freelance writer based in San Francisco who covers food, agriculture and the environment.

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