66 Climb it, change
50 REFINE DINING
Supersizing your lunch could downsize your belly. In a study reported in the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition, subjects who ate their main meal at lunchtime experienced higher average weight loss, greater reduction in BMI and improved insulin resistance compared with those getting the majority of their kilojoules at dinner, despite both groups eating the same total number of daily kilojoules. 51 TRAIN TO THE MAX How much oxygen your body can take in and use per minute, per kg of your body weight – aka your VO2 max – is a key measure of aerobic fitness; it’s routinely monitored in elite athletes. But you don’t have to be an elite to get yours measured in the lab and benefit from precision training based on your results. “It doesn’t matter what level you are, the test is tailored to you as an individual,” says Vincent Christan, head physiologist at the Nuffield Health Sports Performance Lab in London (nuffieldhealth.com). “Your results help to identify your strengths and weaknesses, from which an effective training programme can be created.”
A VO2-max test demands your all – sport science labs traditionally placed mattresses against the wall behind treadmills to cushion the blow for those flying off the back. At Nuffield, a harness suspended from the ceiling sweeps you off your feet if you lose control. Your dignity may suffer a little. 52 SWEAT, THE DETAILS
If your post-run aroma is a source of concern, clean up your diet. In a study published in Evolution and Human
Behaviour, women judged clean-eating men (lots of fruit and veg) to have the most aromatic sweat, using adjectives such as ‘floral’, ‘fruity’ and ‘sweet’ to describe the scent. Oddly, eating fat, meat, eggs and tofu also produced pleasant-smelling perspiration. The bad news? Stinky sweat came from consuming carbs. 53 LOVE THE JOURNEY To boost long-term motivation and gain maximum enjoyment in your running life, remember that running is about more than just results, says Clint Wells, the top masters finisher at last April’s Boston Marathon (he clocked 2:24.55). “Enjoy the build-up to a marathon. Join a group, and make it social,” says Wells. 54 PASSIVE GAINS Some news on the debate over passive vs active rest in interval sessions: a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that in a session consisting of 10 sets of 20m sprints, passive recovery (walking back to the start position and standing still until the next sprint) between efforts led to significantly faster splits, lower perceived exertion, less bloodlactate accumulation and lower post-workout heart rate than active recovery (jogging between sprints). For short, sharp speedwork at least, then, it seems total rest is best. 64 THE IMMORTALITY WORKOUT
New research suggests it may be possible stop the clock on age-related muscle decline. The study, in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, put older men (aged 65-83) through a 12-week weight-training programme of leg presses and leg extensions; it found this increased their muscle fibre size and capillary networks to a level matching that of younger men. 65 FOR YOUR SHINS Take these steps from podiatrist Dr Stephen Pribut to keep shin splints at bay: Limit running on concrete Don’t overstride (aim for 160-190 steps per minute) Stretch your calves and your hamstrings post-run Running up stairs is a great way to build strength and endurance. The plyometric motion works the same muscles as lunges and squats, and targets the gluteus medius. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that short bouts of stair climbing five days a week for eight weeks improved VO2 max by 17 per cent.
TRY THIS stair-running session from Paul Romeo, who oversees stadium-step workouts as a coach for Koko FitClub (kokofitclub.com). After a warm-up, run up a set of stairs five to 10 times at 80 per cent effort. Walk down between reps, and rest at the bottom if you’re still out of breath.