For quick energy, is an expensive energy bar really that much better than a candy bar?
There's nothing magic about an energy bar. Energy comes from calories, so if your energy bar has the same number of calories as a candy bar (most do), it will provide the same amount of fuel for your body. The key is to read the labels, says Sandra DeLong, a registered dietician at Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown.
While energy bars are usually high in vitamins and minerals, I've heard nutritionists compare them to candy bars with a vitamin pill stuck inside. So why not just enjoy your candy bar and then take a vitamin?
Energy bars do have nutritional elements that candy bars lack. Many contain fiber, soy or other nutrients. They also generally have less fat and more protein than candy bars (although don't be fooled -- energy bar manufacturers add a significant amount of sugar and fat to improve taste).
The verdict on energy bars? "They aren't necessary," DeLong suggests. For a healthier and cheaper source of energy, reach for a piece of fruit or glass of low-fat milk.
I'd like to spice up my trips to the gym, but want to stick with my favorite machine, the stationary bike. How can I make it more fun without switching to another exercise?
I'm a firm believer in mixing up exercise routines, but if you're sure you want to stick with cycling, the key is to add variety to your routine:
* Try varying speed and resistance. Not only will this give you a better workout, you won't feel as if you're counting the minutes until you can hit the shower.
* Buy a flashy new pair of spinning shorts, or anything that you will look forward to wearing come gym time. Any adjustments will do you good. If you usually scan the paper while biking, delve into a trashy novel instead. If you're used to biking in silence, bring headphones and crank up the volume.
* Finally, try a different bike. Do you always use the one on the end because it's closest to the television? Next time hop on one in the middle that gives you a better view of the gym. New sights and sounds are the secret to making any workout fly by.