Chicken doesn’t stack up to sirloin, Runner’s World says. (Bigstockphoto)
An Athlete’s diet
Red meat revival?
Runner’s World, “Meaty Issues,” April 2012

In a time when health-conscious individuals often stick to the monotony of chicken breasts and fish for their protein, Runner’s World makes a pitch for chowing down on red meat.

“Meat provides nutrients runners need like iron to help maintain energy levels. It also supplies protein and amino acids that repair small muscle tears that occur during training,” according to a sports dietitian quoted by the magazine. A lean cut of beef such as sirloin or tenderloin can be a great source of zinc and iron. And B vitamins, which “help convert carbohydrates into the fuel needed to make it through a training run, are particularly plentiful in beef,” according to the article’s author, Jessica Girdwain.

She suggests several alternatives to chicken breast, pointing out that 3.5 ounces of dark-meat chicken, lamb, pork, turkey pastrami or beef contains the health benefits without overdoing the fat and calories. Dark-meat chicken has plenty of iron and zinc. Lamb is a great source of omega-3s, which are great for heart health.

For white-meat devotees, pork is lower in fat than chicken and provides Vitamin B6, which Girdwain says can increase your metabolism. Turkey pastrami is a great source of electrolytes. That may not seem like a healthful choice, because deli meats can be sodium-heavy, but Girdwain quotes another sports dietitian as saying that athletes typically lose enough salt through sweat that the sodium content would not be a concern.

Girdwain’s final recommendation to runners and other athletes: “Spread your protein intake throughout the day, eating some at each meal. Doing so is better for bone health, muscle mass, and satiety.”

Conditioning
Exercise to get you ready for summer
Exhale: Core Fusion 30 Day Sculpt

Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp are dance, Pilates and yoga teachers who combine these activities with cardio and strength training to bring you a diverse fitness regime in this DVD, the most recent in a series. They’ll put you through your paces six days a week for five weeks if you follow this program, but fortunately each session is only 20 minutes.

As with many exercise DVDs, the workouts provide variations to make them suitable for any fitness level; you’ll probably want dumbbells and a medicine ball for this program, though there are ways to work without them. A mat will make the floor exercises more comfortable.

Weeks 1 and 3 are focused on strength. (Day 1 sets the pace with a fairly grueling series of push-ups and planks.) Weeks 2 and 4 are about cardio. Rapid squats and quick jumps in and out of the plank position are among these trainers’ favorite exercises, so if you don’t like them you’ll be unhappy. Week 5 combines strength and cardio. Yoga is interlaced through each workout to help your body stretch and recover.

Whitney Fetterhoff