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What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

— Jane Goodall, primatologist and conservationist
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a snake-oil debunking, a trick for quick effective workouts, and a controversy in your deep fryer. Read on...

“Wellness”. Does the word arouse enthusiasm—or skepticism? Thanks to extreme commercialization, “wellness” has become a concept identified less with adequate rest and functional exercise, and more with crystals, reiki, and adaptogenic smoothies.

Just look at Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop, which has published many ill-founded health claims—typically pushed to sell a product. Would you believe that underwire bras cause cancer, bee stings help scarring, and flower essences can cure depression? Us neither! 

State prosecutors in California charged that Goop’s claims were not supported by reliable science. Goop settled the lawsuit, but watchdogs complain the site is still using deceptive marketing—such as claiming perfumes and candles can treat anxiety and depression.

We don’t think anybody’s wellness is helped by snake oil. We’d rather look at what the science says—and update our beliefs when the evidence changes.

Your friends in skepticism this week and every week, Katherine & Linda
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Maddie Lymburner, MadFit

Former dancer Maddie Lymburner is used to working out: as a teen, she trained in tap, jazz, and pointe for seven hours a day. After becoming vegan in 2015, she started vlogging about what she was eating on Instagram and YouTube, and soon built up a following.

The pandemic lockdown propelled her to explosive growth in her fitness channel, MadFit, where she hosts an extensive back-catalog of over 200 home workouts. In an interview with Toronto Life, Lymburner shared: “What’s great about the workout videos is that they’re evergreen… viewers are going to come back and watch the same videos over and over.”

Try this: Lymburner’s workouts are short cardio-dance routines, making them ideal for a midday energy pick-me-up if you’re working from home. Her cardio dance workout to Arizona Zervas’ Roxanne is her top hit, with over 6 million views. In the mood for a throwback 2000s music mix? Check out her 15 Minute Dance Party Workout.
#tbt with this throwback mix!
An effective workout in just four minutes? Yes, but there’s a catch
A shorter workout that actually works? Yes, high intensity interval training (HIIT) can materially improve your aerobic fitness even using relatively short training sessions, with one catch: your work intervals must be an extreme push.

Tabata is perhaps the famous example of HIIT, and uses a simple protocol: work out hard for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds, complete eight rounds. When the inventor of the protocol, Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, had study participants perform this style of training for six weeks, their aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels skyrocketed.

A similar study used a Sprint Interval Training (SIT) protocol that had participants repeat three twenty-second bursts of all-out exercise interspersed with two-minute intervals of less-intense exercise.
Whatever the specific format, evidence is piling up: every form of HIIT can give you big gains in aerobic fitness, as long as you push yourself to the maximum of physical exertion during the work phase.

Want to try it yourself? There are numerous “Tabata Timer” 4-minute videos on YouTube that put music to Tabata countdowns, and provide you with a user-friendly guide to try this workout style. If you want a complete workout to follow, check out SHAPE’s 4-minute follow-along Tabata workout led by a personal trainer.
Canola oil: oily problem or deep-fried friend?
With a neutral taste and a high smoke point, canola oil is something we reach for a lot in our home cooking—but is it healthy? 

Invented in the 1970s and manufactured via high-temperature steam cooking and solvent extraction, canola oil is shelf-stable and doesn’t break down under high heat. When packaged food makers were forced to remove trans fats from formulations, canola oil became the #3 most widely-consumed vegetable oil globally, after soybean and palm. 

Aside from vitamins E and K, canola oil isn’t a good source of nutrients. Another problem: The total fatty acids in canola oil have a 2:1 ratio between omega-6 and omega-3. That’s suboptimal, since the typical western diet already contains too much omega-6, which can cause inflammation. (Your ancestors ate an omega 6-3 ratio of 1:1.)

That said, mainstream nutritionists say canola oil consumption is fine in moderation. Today’s Dietician wrote: “While canola oil doesn't have equivalent health benefits as extra-virgin olive oil, the bad press is overblown. Canola oil is a neutral-flavored oil that's rich in heart-healthy fats, and its versatility makes it equally appropriate for salad dressings, marinades, and cooking at all heats.” 
So there’s no need to shun canola completely. If you’re still concerned consuming too much canola is throwing your omega ratio out of whack, try subbing in less-processed oils such as olive, walnut, or flax.
 How to do a wall sit—the perfect exercise to burn out your quads & hamstrings at the end of a workout (Greatist)

 Mindfulness is a lifestyle trend meant to calm active minds—so why do some who try it, find it worsens their anxiety? Why mindfulness backfires for some people (Elemental)

 Do you avoid meat? You could be at higher risk of fracture than meat-eaters, according to a recent study that used data from 55,000 people (MedicalXPress)

 Fitness is for every body: studies show increasing aerobic fitness among people with obesity demonstrates larger health improvements than either dieting or weight loss (IDEAfit)

 We love this step-by-step video on how to create easy, healthy, and ultra-flavourful Asian noodle soup starting with a savory made-from-scratch bone broth (YouTube)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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