Extreme swimming is old hat. Cross the English Channel? Ho hum. Circle Manhattan? Whatevs. OK, so now it's not about doing any single insane feat of swimming endurance, it's about doing all seven of the great swims. The Wall Street Journal has the story:
Steven Munatones, a coach and marathon swimming guru...devised the Ocean's Seven—a list of channels that a well-rounded marathoner should master—and posted it on his website devoted to distance swimming. There's the English Channel, for old time's sake; as well as the Catalina crossing; Cook Strait in New Zealand; the Tsugaru Channel in Japan; and the shortest, the Strait of Gibraltar, about eight miles between Spain and Morocco. Most swimmers say the toughest are the Molokai Channel in Hawaii, at 26 miles, and the frigid North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Think of that next time you're swimming laps. Just for reference: It takes 24 hours to swim to Catalina Island from Los Angeles....
While we're second-guessing our fitness idols: Fast Company just published a long, thoughtful, and inconclusive feature on Lance Armstrong in the shadow of his doping accusations. It's Lance and Livestrong vs. the fierce investigator who brought down Marion Jones and BALCO and all the rest. "Unlike the cases involving Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens, there's more at stake here than one athlete's reputation," points out Fast Company. "Armstrong is not only 'the most famous cancer survivor in the world,'...he is also the inspirational figure behind the most entrepreneurial foundation in cancer, a critically important health-care movement that helped win $3 billion in new funds for cancer research and prevention in Texas alone." Gulp. To sum up: Lance isn't as much of a jerk as some people say. He's been helping fight cancer since before he won his first Tour de France, and he long before he split with Sheryl Crow. That's good to hear. But, should doping czar bust him conclusively, his example is a little less good. Sadly, no news here. Lance's lawyers forbid him to talk about The Case. And so the mystery will live on....
Oh snap! The L.A. Times has taken on Jilian Michaels, and our celebu-trainer girl is pissed. The Times got in the first punch last week by way of saucy Op. Ed. penned by James Fell, a Canadian trainer: "I don't know much about proper kettle bell techniques. Neither does Jillian Michaels," wrote Fell. And then: "Michaels is not actually a real fitness trainer — she's an actress playing the role of fitness trainer on TV and in a line of popular DVDs."
It took a while for Jilian to get off the mat, but she came up punching at a "Guess / Marie Claire event" where Us Magazine caught her laying it out to a friend, "Honey, they said I was a total fraud! They didn't do any of their homework. They flat-out [lied]. It's defamation, it's libel, it's full-on."
Please recall that Michaels, former star of The Biggest Loser, is on the short list of whispered cultural successors to Oprah, and so she's a bit touchy about her reputation. Sadly, it seems she's also named in a few other lawsuits involving her new line of dietary supplements.
Does Jilian cut fitness corners to move product and jack her ratings? Would that be a huge shocker? Is the L.A. Times desperately trying to sell newspapers in a dying industry. Without question! What's the verdict? In a celebrity-crazed world, truth is a victim and it's hard to sort out the biggest winners and losers. Your call?
You may recall the fascinating finding that popping acetaminophen can ease the pain of social rejection. So headache, take Tylenol. Party snub, take Tylenol. Well, here's a related finding for people who prefer a more natural approach. Turns out love can ease physical pain. In the study, researchers took people who were in love, placed hot probes in their hands, and then scanned their brains. The people who professed to be in love and were then shown a picture of their loved one while holding the hot probe showed a 40% reduction in moderate pain and a 10-15% reduction of severe pain.
Ah jeez, another way people in love get to lord it over single people. Sheesh. But not so fast! Turns out distracting word games were just about as effective at dulling pain. Ta da! An equal-access solution! Who needs a boyfriend when you have Scrabble....
Wild new bio-molecular breakthrough—scientists have figured out how to give you a tan by monkeying with your enzymes. Or at least they've figured out how to give a mouse a tan, and you're next. The researchers discovered that when they blocked the enzyme PDE-4D3, melanin production kicks in, which in turn darkens skin pigment. Not sure I'll be signing up for a bio-tan anytime soon, but bodybuilders nationwide and the entire cast of the Jersey Shore must be rejoicing at this news.
"For a romantic comedy, he needs to shrink down a bit. For Blade and Green Lantern, he was 200 pounds and 8% body fat. For rom coms, he’s about 180 and 11% body fat....I was with him in New Orleans [for the Green Lanterns shoot] for six months. We worked out seven days a week, 90 minutes a day, and never did the same workout twice."
Ryan Reynolds' trainer, Bobby Strom, explaining why muscles like Ryan Reynolds' may be a little out of reach for you...
You may recall the Hero Cam, aka the HD camera you can strap to your head or chest and then use to film yourself doing awesome stuff. Here's what it looks like if you attach that sort of camera to your head and jump out of a plane in a Batman suit. (The action picks up at :45)More...
Remember the study that showed that the better shape you're in the more you sweat? Researchers in Japan recently concluded a similar study, which confirmed the finding—if you've been training, you work up a sweat a lot faster. Good news for keeping you cool during hard workouts. But here's the bad news—women have to get hotter before they get their sweaty rewards. The order of sweatiness went like this (from most to least): In-shape men, in-shape women, out-of-shape men, out-of-shape women. It'd be nice if this just meant that ladies were just cooler. But nope. Just means we're at more of a risk for heat stroke. Boo.
If I go more than one day without a decent load of greens I can feel it. A day is okay. But after that, especially for us city slickers who don't have enough green around us, it's time to load up. My number one way is guzzling a green juice, which you can get anywhere in the city these days or easily make yourself with one of my green juice recipes. Another great way, especially when you're in the mood to chew, is to make a hearty beautiful salad loaded with greens and other colorful veggies.
You can replace the kale in this recipe with your other favorite greens, but kale is super hearty and particularly good for you in the colder seasons. I've given the option for cooked or raw for those of you who prefer one over the other. I love them both!More...
Today's science beat: A whole bunch of fascinating stuff about your body you may not have known until this very minute...
- You can skip the snack packs. There are people who swear by lots of little meals throughout the day. Like Jackie Warner. One of the downsides of this approach, though, is that it pretty much necessitates carrying bags of food with you. It's one thing if it's baby carrots, but what if you want some protein? A bag of meat snacks in your pocket? That's got an awful lot of backfire potential... Luckily for you, a new study shows that for high-protein diets, three meals a day is actually more satiating than six meals a day. In tangentially-related news, there was a meat heist outside the Plaza Hotel yesterday.
- The transgender golf lowdown. Okay, not exactly science, but just in case you're considering gender reassignment surgery, keep in mind that the LPGA currently bars transgendered individuals from competing. But that might change soon!
Right after you finish running your commando half-marathon, hop on this bike... Introducing, the thong bike seat. Just in case you think we're seriously recommending undie-free biking, let me take this moment to remind you of the wonders of workout underpants. (via Jezebel)
I tweet, I admit it, but you know what I don't tweet about? My underpants. I personally prefer to keep the public underpants updates to a minimum. You know who doesn't? Sara Rue, Jenny Craig Spokesperson du jour. Yes, I am now imagining Sara Rue's vagina, and it's not my fault, she totally brought it up.
Her new skinny self ran a half-marathon over the weekend, along with her personal trainer. After the race she tweeted about having forgotten her undies at home, and how running commando is the only way to go.More...
Today in science:
- An Evil Glow. That freaky nightlight in the photo is a demon that makes everyone who comes in contact with it fat. Or, to put it in scientific terms, mice who spent eight weeks with a dim light on at night gained 50% more weight than mice who slept in the dark. So what, they were tired so they ate more and moved less? Not so simple! In fact, their physical activity and their food were held constant. So the real explanation is that sleep disruption messed with their metabolism.
- Sex vs. Puking. Did you know German drug makers were working on a female viagra? It was called flibanserin, and the company just pulled the plug on it. Why?
"I find the more I give, the more I get back....To invest myself in giving back daily and doing good is part of my process. Daily good works are as important as my daily yoga practice."
— Russell Simmons, discussing his philanthropic involvement.