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How to Wash Your Workout Gear

Remember the iconic scenes from the “Rocky” movies when Sylvester Stallone runs up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, pumping his fists in triumph as he reaches the top? Now, do you remember what he was wearing? Allow me to jog your memory: a full cotton sweat suit. While Rocky remains an inspiring character, when you consider the advances made in the materials used to construct workout wear, his choice of ensemble would be questionable at best in today’s world.

In 2015, you’d be hard-pressed to find any serious workout gear made from the same fabrics Rocky relied upon. To be sure, there’s a saying in the fitness industry, “Cotton is rotten.” This is a result of the fact that cotton absorbs and holds sweat during (and long after) workouts, making you feel heavy, hot and wet during exercise and then chilly when you stop moving.

The newest class of workout gear made from “technical” fibers will wick sweat away from your body and control temperature close to your skin. This means you’ll be more comfortable while working out, rather than lugging around heavy, sweat-soaked cotton. You’ll pay more for the performance wear, of course, but once you switch, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Just because today’s workout wear is high tech, however, doesn’t mean it’s stink-free. Some brands tout special antimicrobial properties, but, in most cases, a single workout will leave your duds rank and in need of washing.


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Since tech fibers can be more delicate than those of Rocky’s famous sweat suits, there are some general rules you should follow when washing them if you hope to preserve them. If you’ve ever washed your workout clothes only to find that they still stink after the fact, you’ve probably already come to this conclusion. Not only can washing them the wrong way mean they don’t get clean, but it can also degrade the fibers and shorten the lifespan of some very expensive exercise ensembles.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of washing your workout gear:

1. DON’T USE FABRIC SOFTENER

Fabric softener can often be blamed for keeping workout clothes from getting totally clean when they are in the wash cycle. Since it tends to coat these types of fibers, fabric softener prevents them from being able to absorb the water when being washed.

2. DON’T USE TOO MUCH DETERGENT

In the same way that fabric softener can keep water in the wash cycle from penetrating fabrics, so can detergent. Use slightly less than you would for your regular clothes, and this should limit the viscosity enough to do the job.

3. DO USE SPORT-SPECIFIC DETERGENT

There are a number of special detergents on the market formulated for washing workout clothes. If you find your duds are particularly stinky, this is a good thing to try.

4. DON’T LET YOUR GEAR SIT AROUND

Mold and mildew can begin to grow on workout gear that is left in a gym bag or laundry basket. Be sure to get those items in the washing machine sooner rather than later to prevent the buildup of nasty stenches.

5. DO SOAK STINKY ITEMS

By soaking the worst-smelling garments in a nontoxic sport-specific detergent and cold water, you can often eliminate anything that’s particularly pesky when it comes to odors. Throw them in a bucket or sink for a half hour prior to washing.

6. DO USE COLD WATER

Since technical fibers are generally on the delicate side, in most cases it’s best to use cold water to wash them. This will help maintain any special performance properties for many workouts to come.

7. DON’T COOK YOUR CLOTHES

Consider hanging your gear on a clothes rack to dry, or try line-drying outside. These approaches prevent you from drying out spandex, Lycra and other similar fibers.

8. DON’T SUBMERGE YOUR KICKS

Unless you’re ready to turn your workout footwear into lawn-mowing shoes, don’t put them in the washing machine. You can degrade the midsole cushioning and render them less protective when it comes to pavement pounding and other active endeavors. Instead, use a sports odor spray to neutralize odors. For best results, remove the insoles and spray both sides and the bottom of the shoes.

9. DO READ THE LABEL

Performance fabrics often require special care beyond these do’s and don’ts. Always check the label to ensure you’re maintaining the integrity of the performance fibers and any special attributes, like UPF, anti-odor or compression.

Written by Mackenzie Havey, a freelance journalist and coach based in Minneapolis. She holds a master’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota and is a USA Track and Field certified coach. When she’s not writing, she’s out biking, running and cross-country skiing around the city lakes with her dog.

The post How to Wash Your Workout Gear appeared first on Under Armour.

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What’s the Healthiest Thing to Eat at McDonald’s?

With 14,155 restaurants in the United States alone, and 22,744 additional locations outside of the U.S., McDonald’s is arguably the most well-known fast-food chain in the world. And, if you’re taking a road trip, this summer it can be difficult to resist the siren call of fast-food convenience.

While known for its burgers, fries and shakes, you don’t need to blow your calorie budget on a Big Mac Extra Value Meal. These five options, at 420 calories or less, complete with ordering tips from a dietitian, can help you eat healthier the next time you find yourself under those golden arches.

HEALTHIEST BREAKFASTS

EGG MCMUFFIN

Nutrition stats: 300 calories, 12g fat, 30g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 18g protein

Why it made the cut: Coming in right at 300 calories, this breakfast sandwich contains 18 grams of satiating protein and 2 grams of fiber.

Dietitian’s tip: Opting out of the processed cheese slashes 50 calories and 190 milligrams of sodium. Skipping the Canadian bacon spares you another 200 milligrams of sodium but you also lose 4 grams of protein.

FRUIT AND MAPLE OATMEAL, HOLD THE BROWN SUGAR & DRIED FRUIT

Nutrition stats: 190 calories, 4g fat, 33g carbs, 4g fiber, 3g sugar, 6g protein

Why it made the cut: Topped with fresh apples and a splash of cream, this unsweetened oatmeal provides 4 grams of fiber and only 3 grams of sugar. At 190 calories it makes a great light breakfast or snack option.

Dietitian’s tip: Make sure you ask for oatmeal without brown sugar (it exists) and skip the dried fruit to slash 120 calories and a whopping 30 grams of unnecessary sugar. Add a little more staying power to this breakfast by asking for a side of scrambled eggs. You won’t find them on the menu but rumor has it they are offered. One side of scrambled eggs adds 140 calories, 9g fat, 1g carbs and 13g of quality protein.


READ MORE > 5 LOW-SUGAR BREAKFAST OPTIONS


HEALTHIEST LUNCHES & DINNERS

BACON RANCH GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD WITH 1/2 PACKET RANCH DRESSING

Nutrition stats: 420 calories, 22g fat, 14g carbs, 4g fiber, 6g sugar, 43g protein

Why it made the cut: At just over 400 calories, this salad offers 4 grams fiber and 43 grams of protein, not to mention a whole lot of nutrient-rich veggies.

Dietitian’s tip: Each packet of McDonald’s Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing contains 200 calories so it’s best to use less if you can. Rather than drizzling ranch all over your salad, load up your fork with greens and dip them into the dressing instead. Half packet should be plenty if you use this technique — and you won’t miss the rest.

SOUTHWEST GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD WITH 1/2 PACKET SOUTHWEST DRESSING, HOLD THE CILANTRO-LIME GLAZE

Nutrition stats: 360 calories, 13g fat, 24g carbs, 5g fiber, 7g sugar, 38g protein

Why it made the cut: With 25% of your daily intake for fiber, this veggie-filled salad is the highest in fiber of all McDonald’s salads and provides plenty of satiating protein, too.

Dietitian’s tip: As is, this salad is fairly high in sugar, but simply asking to hold the cilantro-lime glaze will cut 8g carbs and more than one teaspoon (5g) of added sugar. Use the fork-dip trick mentioned above and you can enjoy the creamy southwest salad dressing for half of the calories, or ask for the lighter balsamic vinaigrette which has just 35 calories per packet in contrast to 120 calories in the southwest dressing.

PICO GUACAMOLE GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH ON A SESAME SEED BUN, HOLD THE CHEESE

Nutrition Stats: 420 calories, 14g fat, 38g carbs, 3g fiber, 7g sugar, 36g protein

Why it made the cut: At 420 calories this is a hearty, protein-packed sandwich that also brings some healthy fats to the table thanks to the guacamole topping. The lettuce and pico de gallo add a few extra veggies.

Dietitian’s tip: You’ll get all of the goodness for 100 fewer calories simply by ordering this sandwich with a sesame seed bun instead of the artisan roll it’s typically served on and asking to hold the processed cheese. To get it under 400 calories, skip the buttermilk ranch sauce to shave off another 50 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Of course it’s not the healthiest thing to eat at McDonalds but, if a burger and fries is really what you’re craving, you can always get the cheeseburger kids meal with fries and apple slices for just 430 calories instead of the 1,000 calorie Big Mac Extra Value Meal.

Nutrition note: Most fast foods, even the healthier options, are very high in sodium. To balance things out, try choosing lower-sodium foods at other meals and snacks throughout the rest of the day.

The post What’s the Healthiest Thing to Eat at McDonald’s? appeared first on Under Armour.

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Can Avocado Toast Help You Lose Weight? | This Week in Fitness

We’ve got the secret to help you live longer. Or at least we’ve rounded up some solid research on how to get there. Every other week, the Under Armour Connected Fitness editorial team hand-curates the biggest stories, trends and goings-on around the world to help you live healthier. This time around, we’ve got a bunch of tips for longevity.

We Propose a Toast

Embrace it — millennial food trends aren’t going away. If you’re tired of avocado toasts and smoothie bowls, we present this evidence to (perhaps) sway your opinion: There’s evidence they help with weight loss, according to a new study. Need more convincing? Scientific evidence suggests eating avocados may help you live longer.

How to Live to 100

Want to make it to the century mark? The Daily Meal has published a massive feature on the quest for longevity, all centered around food. There’s lot of good stuff there, but our favorite might be its list of 25 foods that help your centenarian quest. Spoiler alert: Chocolate made the cut.

Healthy Eating, Brought to You by Ikea

OK, make your Swedish meatball jokes and get them out of the way. The home furnishings mega-chain wants to help you eat better. Check out this video, which details its new “Cook This Page” product — sheets of parchment paper with images stenciled on them. All you have to do is add the ingredients, roll it up and bake.


READ MORE > 8 FOODS THAT ARE SURPRISINGLY GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS


Eyeing More Than You Can Chew

When it comes to portion control, are your own eyes working against you? A study by the British Medical Journal reveals that we misjudge how much food we’re eating by sight — which can result in an extra 300 calories (or more) per day. You’ll be stunned by this series of images that shows a trio of portion sizes of the same meal. And check out our 7 tricks to nail portion control.

Phelps Debunks the 12K Myth

He won 23 Olympic gold medals — that’s a fact. But his fabled 12,000-calorie diet? Overstated, Michael Phelps told Men’s Health. “It’s impossible — you can’t eat that much,” he said. Here is Under Armour’s look at his legendary training regimen.

Keep Your Cool in the Pool

Speaking of the pool, if you’re looking to switch your workout routine — but keep the benefits of your cardio — Experience Life has four simple suggestions on how to make swimming your go-to this summer. Here’s a half-hour pool workout focused on calorie burn.


WATCH> FIT TIPS: EASY WAYS TO HYDRATE (THAT AREN’T WATER)


Give the Gym an Hour

Just 60 minutes per week of resistance training and you’ll give yourself a better chance of avoiding heart disease and diabetes. And that’s just the start of it, according to a new study of some 7,500 participants — you can avoid a whole host of cardiovascular risk factors.

See the Light for Better Sleep

Are we subjecting ourselves to too much artificial light before bedtime? That’s the argument in this WebMD piece, which suggests “blue light” is affecting our sleep, as well as larger health issues.

The post Can Avocado Toast Help You Lose Weight? | This Week in Fitness appeared first on Under Armour.

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Baked Falafel Lettuce Wraps | Recipe

Baked Falafel Lettuce Wraps

Baked falafels are a crispy way to get your lean protein and fiber in! Courtesy of The Wheatless Kitchen, these delicious falafels are made by baking ground chickpeas for a healthy alternative to the traditional deep-fried version. Serve them up with tangy lemon-dill yogurt sauce and watch them disappear.

Baked Falafel Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

For the Falafel

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

For the Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the Lettuce Wrap 

  • 18 butter lettuce or romaine leaves (about 2 heads)
  • 3 medium tomatos, chopped
  • 3 small (200 g) avocados, sliced in half

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a food processor, add the chickpeas, onion, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, baking soda and sesame seeds. Pulse until you have a thick paste, without almost no chunks.

In a large mixing bowl, add the chickpea mixture, quinoa and parsley. Stir together until evenly combined.

Form the falafels with your hands by taking about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Gently roll it in the palm of your hand to form a ball, and place it on the baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes in the oven, until lightly browned and slightly crispy on the outside.

While the falafels bake, make your sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the yogurt sauce ingredients and let it sit in the fridge until ready to use.

Build your lettuce wraps by layering the falafels, veg components and sauce into a lettuce leaf.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 6 |  Serving Size: 3 falafels + 1 tablespoon yogurt sauce + 3 lettuce leaves + 1/2 tomato + 1/2 avocado

Per serving: Calories: 285; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 331mg; Carbohydrate: 34g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 9g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 464mg; Iron: 24%; Vitamin A: 11%; Vitamin C: 51%; Calcium: 8% 

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