Articles I'm Reading

The Benefits of Getting an Icy Start to the Day - in the New York Times. By Carl Richards. This article resonates with me not because I intend to take cold showers in the morning but because I've started to work out on a fast in the mornings. Richards cites scientific research that shows that if you start your day with a challenge you'll encourage similar behavior throughout the day.

Power Is the New Thin - in U.S. News & World Report. By Pam Peeke.  As in mental and physical power.  Fitness is a metaphor for life - show grit and perseverance getting through your workout and you're better situated to handle whatever comes at you in real life.  The article features Equinox Bethesda fitness instructor Liz Corah, who's rock solid.  

I Am Training for a Marathon: Why Am I Getting Fat? - in New York Magazine. By Melissa Dahl. Oh yeah I can relate to this. If you looked at my diet and and how much I exercise you'd think I were model thin. In truth, I've stopped paying attention to the scale - except before and after a long run to see how much water I've lost and need to make up - and am relying on how I feel to judge whether I need to drop a few pounds.

Five Myths on Dieting and Weight Loss - in the Washington Post. By Kevin D. Hall. Making the case for exercising regularly while debunking some popular myths. Personally I'm happy to know that the idea of the weight plateau might be in our heads.

Homing In on the Source of Runner's High - in the New York Times. By Gretchen Reynolds. Really interesting but not sure the distinction between endorphins, our body's naturally produced morphine, or endocannabinoids, our body's naturally produced marijuana, matters very much. The bottom line is that we've had to run to survive as a species and these chemicals make exercising vigorously worthwhile. Reynolds also makes the suggestion that if you don't get that high after running you should run more and longer.

Crossing the Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter - in the New York Times. By Jen Miller. I loved reading about Miller's journey, which she's publishing as a book, mostly because it makes me feel like I'm not crazy.

How a Poem Helped Save a Suicidal Teen's Life - in the Washington Post. Such an inspirational, moving story.

Basketball Uniforms Designed for Girls with Hijabs - in Newsweek. New uniforms designed to allow Muslim girls to move freely while preserving modesty. Don't all of us want that? Cool group of athletes in Minnesota.

How Grounded Is Your Love Life?  - from the NYT Well Blog. Fascinating connection between how stable you feel physically and what that might mean for your relationships.  I'm all about working on balancing on one foot in the gym, but what does that say about my emotional stability? 

Your Guide to Peeing Politely - Anywhere You've Got to Go - from Women's Health. So nice to know that as all of us are hydrating more I'm not the only one thinking about this. Alot.

Protein Applications in Sports Nutrition-Part II: Timing and Protein Patterns, Fat-Free Mass Accretion, and Fat Loss, in the June 2015 issue of the Strength and Conditioning Journal published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Not terribly surprising but good to know, scientific studies show protein consumption before and after a workout has the potential to impact adaptations to exercise training. Also, consuming carbohydrates with protein impacts muscle glycogen recovery rates. This is real science backed by real research and is good reading. There is also some discussion of achieving both weight loss and fitness goals by adjusting protein and carbohydrate intake in combination with a consistent exercise program. I am all about this lately as I am developing my marathon training plan, which calls for an overall increase in my calorie intake, particularly carbohydrates, while I am still trying to meet my weight loss goals.

A recent New England Journal of Medicine article on rape on college campuses reports that carefully designed sexual assault education programs substantially reduce sexual assaults on college campuses.  I'm not sure why Canadian psychologist Charlene Y. Senn, lead author of the study, was worried this kind of intensive prevention training for incoming college freshman and sophomores would not reduce the number of sexual assault victims and needed to conduct her study on three Canadian campuses.  But if it takes scientific evidence to convince college administrators to fund programs designed to prevent aggressive behavior, then ok, I'm down with that.

I recognize that there is some criticism of these kinds of programs because they assume that the victim drives the crime.  Just focusing on young women victims here - as I realize both men and women are victims of sexual assault - I am completely perplexed that in 2015 women who would not enter the driver's seat of a car loaded up with vodka would plan to drink excessively at a campus party on a Saturday night.  Wouldn't you want your wits about you when you are dancing and connecting with potential dates or sexual partners just as you would want your wits about you behind the steering wheel of a car, which in my father's words, is more like a loaded weapon?

When I was in college, I had friends who were not in committed relationships who spoke openly about not using birth control because that would mean they were 1. acknowledging that they were having casual sex and 2. seeking casual sex. They obviously had a lot of guilt here.  I don't have my head in the sand so I know men and women in their 20s are having casual sex, summoning a partner on Tinder the way I call a black car on Uber, but if either or both people having sex are out of their minds drunk how are they having healthy sex? And isn't having healthy sex what women have been talking about and working toward for decades?

So in 2015, how could we be sexually promiscuous and sexually buttoned up at the same time?

I'd like to see the focus on college campuses on promoting healthy sex between consenting adults so both men and women don't feel the need to get so trashed that they aren't willing to take responsiblity for their actions.  Just as students wouldn't want to be impaired driving a car or taking an exam why would they want to be impaired having sex? They have a lot to learn if they aren't having sex with their eyes at least kind of wide open and their brains fully (or at least partially) alert. There's a difference between having sex and enjoying sex and that's where the healthy part comes in. And that's what college is for, right? To learn stuff?