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August 20 2014

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Does Your Workout Need a High-Tech Boost?

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karlie-kloss-nike-fuelbandThis column features tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox.

What’s your take on tech gadgets like Nike+’s FuelBand SE? Do you find them to be powerful motivators for working out?

“I think across the board, people are motivated by different things, whether it’s drawing energy from working out in a group situation or from the competitive spirit that kicks in from using tracking devices like FuelBand SE. There’s definitely a greater level of accountability when you have actual data showing your physical output, which you can compare to your peers and share across a virtual network. I think that aspect can be tremendously helpful for setting targets. These tools can also improve your NEAT profile: your nonexercise activity thermogenesis—or your everyday activity level, apart from the gym—which a lot of physicians are talking about right now as a key indicator for overall health. Personally, I have used the FuelBand SE and it’s not for me. I’ve been an athlete for so long that I don’t need all the information on the number of steps I’ve taken or the quality of my sleep cycle. But a lot of my patients love these types of gadgets—and I think the concept of combining fitness and technology is definitely here to stay.”

Dr. Jordan D. Metzl is a nationally recognized medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery with practices in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. He is the author of The Exercise Cure and The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies. An avid athlete, Metzl has completed thirty-one marathons and eleven Ironman triathlons.

Want to Give Your Workout an Instant Jolt? Try This Doctor-Approved Trick

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model-coffee-break

This column features tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox.

I’ve heard drinking caffeine before a workout can boost your performance. Is this advice worth following?

Yes, the caffeine really helps. It provides a jolt of energy that helps you get more juice out of your muscles. If you compare working out with caffeine versus without it, you can actually notice a difference. The downside is that you might feel like your heart is racing, especially if you have a sensitivity to caffeine, so this approach is not for everyone. But if you’re already used to drinking caffeine and don’t have any side effects, I recommend having a cup of coffee about a half-hour before you work out (remember, it’s a diuretic). Anything with caffeine works—it doesn’t need to be coffee. It could be a diet soda or iced tea, but a Red Bull might be a bit much. Stick to an intake of about 95 milligrams and you’ll be good.

Dr. Jordan D. Metzl is a nationally recognized medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery with practices in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. He is the author of The Exercise Cure and The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies. An avid athlete, Metzl has completed thirty-one marathons and eleven Ironman triathlons.

Photo: Getty

The CrossFit Craze: Is This Truly Your Best Workout Ever?

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dree-hemingwayThis column features tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox.

Is CrossFit deserving of all the hype? Everyone I know is obsessed with it.

I’m a huge fan of functional cross-training, both for my own athletic performance goals and my patients’. There are a couple of reasons why it’s so great: First, it focuses on multiple muscle groups to improve your overall balance, power, and explosiveness. If you do at least one forty-five-minute session twice a week, it strengthens your kinetic chain of muscles that runs from your head to your toes, so you have a toned physique all over, and are less prone to injuries. If you have an achy knee or weak back, functional cross-training lessens the loading force on any one spot. It makes any athletic activity easier—whether you swing a tennis racket or go for a run. The impact on your body is impressive: You’ll be more cut and defined but not bulky. It’s more about getting stronger than just skinny. That said, you don’t need to do actual CrossFit classes to reap the benefits—any type of functional cross-training would provide these results.

Dr. Jordan D. Metzl is a nationally recognized medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery with practices in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. He is the author of The Exercise Cure and The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies. An avid athlete, Metzl has completed thirty-one marathons and eleven Ironman triathlons.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Marie Fernandez

The Magic Number: How Many Days You Really Need to Work Out

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lisa-marie-fernandezThis column features tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox.

How many days a week do I really need to exercise? It’s hard to find the time to squeeze in a gym session, and I’m forever inventing excuses to not work out.

I’m a seven-days-a-week kind of workout guy. But I do different things, whether it’s running, swimming, riding my bike, or strength training. If you want to build fitness and lose weight, then you need to work out most days of the week. If your goal is just to maintain health, then I’d say three or four times a week is fine. But I often talk about how exercise is a medicine that strengthens more than your body. There are benefits across the spectrum, especially for your mind—research shows that regular sessions help boost your memory, sharpen your concentration, and improve your sleep. It’s not so important what type of activity you do, just that you do something. I think people fall into bad habits from actually not enjoying what they’re doing when they work out. So try a variety of sports, whether it’s Spinning, yoga, or something in between—you’ll have a much better chance of sticking to it. Over time, you can build in other goals, like strength training or upping your cardio. The point of any training method is to start small and build up gradually so you don’t burn out.

Dr. Jordan D. Metzl is a nationally recognized medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery with practices in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. He is the author of The Exercise Cure and The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies. An avid athlete, Metzl has completed thirty-one marathons and eleven Ironman triathlons.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Marie Fernandez

The Secret to Flatter Abs: The Exercise Move That Really Makes a Difference

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flat-absThis column features tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox.

With bikini season here, I want to focus on slimming my stomach—fast. What type of training would you recommend?

To be honest, there are some people who are genetically more prone to belly fat, and it often comes on very easily and is very difficult to take off. My trick is lots of core-strengthening exercises—specifically planks. Why? They strengthen the muscles on the front and back of the spine at the same time. I think they’re better than any machine at the gym. That’s my number one strategy. Next, it’s about getting in your daily cardio to slim down overall, and varying what you do so your body doesn’t get too used to one activity and plateau. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For some inspiration, try my IronStrength Workout, or teaming up with a trainer can help if you’re not likely to mix up your routine on your own.

Dr. Jordon D. Metzl is a nationally recognized medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery with practices in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. He is the author of The Exercise Cure and The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies. An avid athlete, Metzl has completed thirty-one marathons and eleven Ironman triathlons.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Marie Fernandez