If you like to do both strength training and cardio exercise when you hit the gym, does the order in which you do them really matter? Research suggests it depends on what you want to gain from your training. In a recent study, Tunisian researchers compared fitness gains among subjects who performed endurance exercise (running) followed by strength work (in a circuit format) against those who performed strength work followed by endurance. After 12 weeks, those who had done the cardio before the strength training had made greater improvements in 4km running time and aerobic capacity. But who's to say they didn't end up with arms and legs like pipe cleaners?
Research carried out by the University of Queensland, found that high-intensity endurance exercise could impact on a subsequent resistance training session. The best advice to follow? Do what's most important to you first.
Tri, tri, tri
It may have escaped your notice, but the world's largest triathlon took place in London last weekend. More than 7,500 people dunked themselves in the Royal Victoria Dock, then cycled and ran around east London - a privilege for which they (oh, all right, we) paid about £70 each. Indeed, it seems triathlon is capturing the imagination of the public. Once the territory only of Lycra-clad men with shaved legs, dark glasses and taut muscles, it is fast becoming a mass-participation sport - more than 100,000 people in the UK took part in a triathlon last year alone. What's the appeal? Well, with three distinct sports to contend with, you're bound to be good at something - and the training is much more varied. It's also a valid excuse for amassing a huge amount of 'stuff', from elastic shoelaces to a superfast-drying 'tri-suit' ...
Entries for next year's London Triathlon (thelondontriathlon.com) are open - and you've got time to book on to elite triathlete Richard Allen's beginner-friendly training camp in Sivota, Greece, from October 1-8, to learn the ropes. Contact email@example.com for more details.
There's little doubt that essential fatty acids are, er, essential for good health. But few of us consume enough oily fish, seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables - the main dietary sources - to ensure an optimum intake. That being the case, two new products from Biocare - OmegaBerry and Omega Oils 369 - sound like a good idea. Unfortunately, the OmegaBerry - fish oils in a fruit puree base - tastes exactly like what it is, even when mixed (as suggested) with juice, water or milk. Eugh! I fared better with the Omega Oils 369, which provides the correct balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 from a blend of linseed, evening primrose, sesame and olive oils - not a fish oil in sight. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it tastes great straight off the spoon -as its makers claim - but it's pleasant enough in salad dressings and perfect for vegetarians or those who don't like fish. Both supplements cost £19.50 from health stores, by mail order on 0121-433 3727, or at biocare.co.uk.