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Tuesday
Oct192010

A Running Coach Inside Your iPod

If you're a jogger or runner, you might depend heavily on your playlist to get you through those miles. But music alone rarely challenges your workout unless you expertly create a song mix with various tempos. I received samples of workout music from AudioFuel that are really innovative and, I believe, extremely effective! It combines interval training at various tempos of background music with voice coaching. The cool British-accented voice that coaxes you to breathe or pick up the pace is not annoying, and neither is the music. At first I thought the Euro-techno instrumentals were a bit bland but I realized the steady driving beat is actually perfect for a 25-45 minute workout. My typical hip hop playlists could become irritating or distracting for that length of time. Every few minutes the tempo and music changes; the various speeds will challenge your heart rate while the voiceover helps you stay focused—much like a live training session! AudioFuel is downloadable as a music file that can be easily transferred to your iPod.

If you're not familiar with fitness music, the speeds are listed as BPM, or beats per minute. A jogging pace might be around 150 BPM while a very fast running pace might reach 180 BPM (for comparsion, aerobics classes like Zumba are somewhere in between). AudioFuel works similarly to the programs on treadmills, which may guide you through a steady incline and decline ("pyramid"), or a basic jogging tempo infused with intervals of higher BPM ("hilly terrain"). The overall goal is to challenge your heart and muscles by not staying at the same pace; a constantly repetitive workout can decrease the efficiency of your muscles.   

AudioFuel offers various paces for different levels. There's a 40 minute walking program (Walk in the Park) or a 20 minute slow running program (Shoot the Breeze). If you're a more experienced jogger, you can order tracks without the voice coaching or can personalize a track with BPM variations of your choice. There are even one to two-hour long tracks available for runners training for 10Ks, half marathons, and full marathons. The cost ranges from about $10 for a 30 minute run to $15 for an hour run. The two-hour marathon run costs $28. A big plus is that because you can download the tracks directly from the website, there's no shipping charge and you can access the track instantly.

AudioFuel is offering one FitMamaEats reader a free track of your choice! Click on "Contact Me" and send your name and email address by October 26th to be entered in a random drawing. I'll contact you if you're the winner. Browse through their music store to see which version is right for you. Even if you don't win, check out the AudioFuel website for a free 15 minute sample track.

Tuesday
Oct122010

Healthy Pancake Truffles

These sound like an exotic decadent breakfast treat but, surprise! They're actually pretty low in fat and very nutritious. They're about two bites big and the kids will love them (if you're willing to share). Christina tested and modified the recipe from Healthy Tipping Point. I was intrigued by how delicious they looked but even more by how easy the recipe seemed so I baked them myself. Christina mentioned the batter was gloppy to work with so I found a perfect no-fuss solution by baking them in muffin tins instead of on a baking sheet. Click here to get baking!

Tuesday
Oct052010

Fresh and Fantastic: Boston Local Food Festival

It was the perfect weather for a festival and the perfect location for hundreds of avid fans...of food! The First Annual Boston Local Food Festival at the super hip and rapidly developing Fort Point Channel was a great success this past weekend. Any kind of festival tends to be a mob scene, so having this one outdoors with lots of fresh air and overlooking the vast Boston Harbor made it much more bearable. The event showcased local farmers, food businesses, local food and health organizations with the intention of inspiring Bostonians to eat Massachusetts grown food, with a special emphasis on fruits and vegetables.

The hardest part was trying to maneuver the throng with a kid stroller on bumpy grass but everything else was manageable. Even though the crowds were thick, everyone was pleasantly polite, waiting in the long lines without shoving or grumbling. Many food samplings were a few dollars and none were more than $5. I skipped restaurants from my neighborhood that I could enjoy anytime like JP's Centre Street Café and City Feed and sought businesses new to me. I crunched through a delicious tangy ginger slaw for $1 made by the Haley House Bakery Café; Haley House is a nonprofit in the South End offering needy folks fresh healthful food, housing options, and skills training. I tried a simple but oh so fresh buckwheat crepe with caramelized apple filling from Pejamajo Café. I nabbed a bag of zippy and very addictive Cheezy Kale Chips from Newton's raw foods restaurant Prana Café. I discovered Metch, a yummy grain salad made by Seta's Mediterranean Foods of bulgar, tomatoes, scallions, lemon, olive oil and herbs. Even though they're available at supermarkets, I couldn't resist buying two packages of Tofettes, meaty flavored protein-rich soy cubes that can be added to just about anything. My son Jake made us park at Vermont Smoke and Cure for samples of ham and beef sticks free of artificial preservatives and antibiotics. And to end it all, since we had to go home via South Station, we couldn't resist some chocolate truffles at Serenade Chocolatier, which I don't have pictures of because they were gone in minutes! Overall, a day for happy tummies and inspiration to eat whole, fresh and local.

 One of many bountiful produce stands Hot peppers

Super fresh Ginger Slaw  Apple Buckwheat Crepe More great food finds...and an empty(!) box of chocolates