Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Five Fitness Facts

Fitness facts to make your next workout smarter.
How does that sound?  I typically share 5 random things about me when I post a "Friday 5", but let's talk about YOU and not me this week!  How can we help your next workout to be smarter and more effective?  Or maybe I'll just give you a random tidbit to impress your friends.  Regardless I hope you enjoy these 5 random fitness facts from my readings this week.

1. Raisins
You know you need to eat during your long runs?  <nods head> Research has found that consuming either sports chew OR raisins improves performance over runners who only took in water.  If you are someone who wants a more natural mid-run boost then grab a small box of raisins.

2. Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
If you're a gym goer then you probably add machine lat pulldowns into your routine.  Research from Norway showed that the very popular "wide grip" did not activate muscles of the back or biceps more than a more narrow grip.
What does that mean?  It doesn't mean that a wider grip is bad, simply that both are equally effective.

3. Cardio or Strength First?
This could be an entire blog series as it's such a common and complex question.  Should I do cardio or weights first?
My typical answer is to strength train first so you have the energy and focus for that and then if you need to finish with cardio.  I prefer that strength and cardio be done on different days.
I'm going to save you the complex science behind the different energy pathways of strength vs cardio and tell you the result of the research.  Researchers in Tokyo, doing  a study on rats mind you, found that whatever type of exercise you did SECOND then that biochemical pathway would dominate.  Interesting huh?  So that would be the reverse of what I recommend.  If your goal is to build muscle then you should do that last after cardio.  If you goal is to improve cardiovascular endurance then do that after strength training.  Keep in mind this is one study and it was done on rats, but interesting nonetheless.

Next time you see me in the kitchen please remind me to use paprika.  Paprika contains capsaicin...capasicin has been shown in recent research to reduce appetite, calorie intake, and encourage your body to produce serotonin, which suppress hunger in your gut.  Shake that paprika out.

5. Coffee in the Morning
I've long been an advocate of the morning cup of joe.  Previous studies have showed that it improves your threshold for pain and allows you to continue the exercise for longer.  New research confirms the benefits of coffee on performance in endurance and high intensity exercise.  BUT it says these effects are highest with morning coffee and decrease when coffee is consumed later in the day.

Two other fun tidbits for today:
- I updated my RD website thanks to my friend Tavi.  Take a look at let me know what you think.
- 9 things you didn't know about eggs - Check out my quotes on

What's your favorite recipe with paprika?
Did you learn anything today?

Love and science,
Carissa & Kyle


  1. I am still trying to figure out what works for me in terms of eating before I run, so far there are a lot of things that just don't sit well with me. I find the best is a protein shake 30min before I run.

  2. Good to know about coffee! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I dice up sweet potatoes and season them with smoked paprika and coconut oil. Honestly, it's life changing! Haha, no but really, it tastes sooooo good!

  4. ohhh I'm so trying that soon! I always forget to roast with my coconut oil.


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