Festive Coffee Making You Fat, Learn to Walk Properly, Feeling Safe Exercising & Infrared Saunas

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Is Festive Coffee Making You Fat?

As we enter the holiday season, coffee chains are offering festive drinks. Many news outlets are writing articles 'informing' the public about what these treats contain.


Why are articles on festive drinks making you fat an issue? Do you think it's a big deal that these news articles tell us how many calories and sugar are in these drinks? Here's the problem we got out of it, and it ties into last week's episode about TikTok and food ethics.

There's a negative tone to these articles about festive drinks making you fat. They're not written in a positive way. Here are some quotes from the article I read. This hot chocolate at Starbucks has almost as much sugar as four Krispy Kreme Donuts, a can of Coca-Cola, and a Mars Bar. It's even got more calories than four McVitty's Chocolate Digestives and a McDonald's cheeseburger. What if I told you this was Starbucks hot chocolate? Wouldn't you be terrified?


They've listed things next to it that are associated with quite 'bad' foods. It's nonsense, but those are the kinds of foods people would associate with that category. By comparing that drink to those foods, it automatically makes a hot chocolate Starbucks 'bad'.


Don't get us wrong, these drinks have a lot of calories, but there's a term here called seasonal sensationalism, which is what happens in the news around Halloween. 'You have to be careful with candy now because they're hiding glocks'. 'It's Christmas time, so yeah, these high-calorie coffees, these seasonal coffees are killing your kids'



People aren't stupid. I bet you're not looking at this drink and thinking, Oh, what a nice morning cup of Americana that is? It's piled high with chocolate, ice cream, and whipped cream. This is not your morning coffee. This is a treat.

We'll get back to the language point, because it's significant. You're also bombarded with sugar language. This is something we talk about on the podcast a lot. They'll say, oh, there's more sugar in this drink than in 'sugar-laden' drinks, for example. In essence, they're pushing the idea that sugar is bad. Because of that, when you look at these comment sections on the Daily Mail or just forums in general, we still see people talking about cutting out sugar and how bad sugar is.


They're not even saying it directly in these articles. This article implies that sugar is still bad for you based on how it's framed. "Oh, there's so much sugar in it." Well, sugar isn't that bad. Unless you over consume it, it's not the devil.

We know obesity is a problem, but constantly telling people to cut things out makes us think of what we said last week about approach goals vs avoidance goals. Let's approach obesity if the government or these companies want to combat it.

People aren't stupid, right? It's not ideal for them to consume too many hot chocolates, Krispy Kremes, McDonald's and such during the holidays.

What can we do to reduce this overconsumption? Rather than telling people to stop eating sugar, calories, and stop eating this, stop eating that. Rather than just telling them to stop eating things, we need to find a way to give them other options. We need to sanction behavior change by giving them things or giving them ideas. This is just like an avoidance goal: don't eat this, don't have that. That's not going to help. It doesn't help anyone.


As long as you're aware that these will probably take up a lot of calories throughout the day, you can still have these 'festive coffees' while you're trying to lose weight.



Learn To Walk Properly


Bod & Brad, 'world-famous physiotherapists', recommend walking properly if you want less hip, knee, neck, back, and foot pain. We can also get headaches from having 'poor posture' when we walk. According to Bob & Brad that is.

Let's just pretext this by saying we knew about Bob and Brad before this podcast. There are outdated practitioners who like to use anecdotes as evidence. They don't keep up with the latest research, but instead opt for what's trending or what's a catchy buzzword to generate fear and sales.


We've spoken before about foot striking before in a running context. Bob & Brad said that striking on the heel when walking is not good. This is a common thought process however the evidence just isn't there and normally when it comes down to injuries when walking or running it's due to improper loading. Doing too much too soon. [1] [2] [3]


In some cases changing the way you walk could be problematic. Tom's brother, a podiatrist, describes how parents come to him and say things like, "I am trying to tell my kids that they have to walk differently." Their walking isn't right, so I'm trying to fix it. He says he explains to them that, look, your kid is adapted to walk this way.


By trying to change and force them to walk differently, we're placing stress in a position they're not used to or adapted to. So doing that might be a not-so-good idea. That could cause pain, which could lead to an injury.

In some cases (performance-based), you might want to change how you walk or run, but for the average person, we can adapt to all kinds of movements/postures.



Feeling Safe When Exercising: What Men Can Do Better


This article is probably going to make you think 'Oh, it's men bashing!' Men must learn how to make women feel safe while exercising. However, if we look at it, it's that time of year, isn't it? It gets dark early, like, really early. That means it's going to be dark before and after normal working hours. Biologically, men are taller, stronger, so in some situations we might appear intimidating even without realizing it.



Dr Kathy Dodworth

University of Edinburgh


One day last year I was cycling along the (very wide) Forth and Clyde canal; my fitness was great and I had a fine tailwind. I passed a man who had been dawdling, when suddenly he sped up and started slipstreaming me, within a couple of feet. This was in broad daylight, but the canal was empty.
I was worried in case he was somehow angered by me passing him, so I kept going for around 5km, after which my panic was really starting to interfere aerobically. I signalled that I was going to stop as he was so close to me, sat down on a bench and pulled out some food. He stopped too. “Thanks. I needed that,” he said, before asking me about the rest of my cycle. I refused to engage as I was recovering from the shock. A perfect example of how some men have no idea how intimidating their actions can be to women.


Opens your eyes a little bit doesn't it?


Let's start talking about it and raising awareness. What we're afraid of is that as soon as you bring up this topic, you'll have to say, look, we're not attacking men. If you go on social media, you're protected. They can just say what they think. You'll see blokes frothing at the mouth at articles like this, the hashtag not all men. It's like, yeah, no, not all men are like that. At the same time, can you just take a back seat and listen instead of making it about your own victimization?


It gets dark very quickly. We can even feel unsafe walking out in the evening in London, especially in the winter. It's almost impossible to imagine what it would be like for a woman.


Chris Boardman MBE

British former Olympic and world champion cyclist and the chair of Sport England and commissioner for Active Travel England


If you’re walking or running behind a woman, pause to give her some space, or cross the road so you aren’t behind her any more. Understand that women’s wariness and suspicion is not personal, so don’t be offended. Women have no way of knowing you are not a threat.
Never make comments, even if you think it’s a compliment. It’s intimidating to a woman on her own. Stay quiet. If you see friends or family members making disrespectful comments to a woman, challenge them and explain why it’s not OK. We need to break the cycle of misogyny that contributes to women feeling unsafe. Show younger men what it looks like to listen to women. Talk to them about what harassment is. Help them understand why a comment they think is harmless may terrorise a woman. If you notice a woman being harassed, show your support – it can be as simple as standing between her and the harasser.
Finally, share these tips with all the men you know. The more we educate men, the safer women will feel. Nothing I have written above is onerous or difficult. We can all play our part in ensuring the future world is safer for women – the potential gains are enormous and the cost of achieving them is so low.

Infrared Saunas

We've got a new study that has come out titled A Postexercise infrared Sauna session improves recovery of Neuromuscular Performance and Muscle Soreness after Resistance Exercise Training. [4] Now, that sounds very exciting.


First, let's talk about what an infrared sauna is. (IRS) You've probably heard of a normal sauna, you've probably been in a normal sauna, but this is something 'special'. This type of sauna uses infrared heaters, which emit IR light and give you an experience of heat that your skin absorbs.


In a sauna, regardless of how it's heated, whether it's a traditional sauna or these magical infrared saunas, the body's response will be the same. Due to the heat, your heart rate will go up, your blood vessels will dilate, and you'll sweat more. There's an increase in blood circulation when this happens, and that's sometimes compared to low moderate exercise. Due to these things, you could potentially compare it to an active recovery process.


Back to the new study


Due to the nature of IRS, it's not possible to have a placebo condition in such an experiment. Participants might have expected a positive outcome from IRS, which could have influenced the subjectivity of the results.


Athletes' perception of recovery and soreness may also improve, which in turn can boost their mood and performance. In the future, IRS could be tested with another heat condition as a placebo.

There was no placebo in this study. It's all about how people perceive recovery, as they rightly said. When people go to saunas, they have expectations. They're heading in with the mindset of, I'm getting in here to recover. I'm here to recover my muscles.


There's just no way to tell if these work as well as sometimes marketed. Providing any type of treatment over nothing is most likely to help recovery and injury thanks to the placebo effect.


If you want to use one, great, but it shouldn't come at the expense of other recovery methods.


Check out our older series on this. A whole series was dedicated to recovery methods. In one of those episodes, we even talked about infrared. You can see all the episodes here. Each type of recovery will be discussed and compared to let you know if it's worthwhile.





Articles & Studies

[1] Risk Factors for Injuries in Runners

[2] The training—injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder?

[3] The acute:chronic workload ratio predicts injury

[4] Infrared Sauna Main Study

2009 Study

Festive Coffee Article

Men must learn how to make women feel safe while exercising

Walking Properly

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