Our Favorite Fitness Stories of 2017

This year we taught you how to turn eggs into a high-performance fuel, highlighted historic feats like Cat Bradley’s Grand Canyon FKT, celebrated the lives of icons like Ed Whitlock, and dived into critical topics like eating disorders among endurance athletes. Here’s a list of our favorite 2017 stories and why they stood out. 

The Most Underrated Endurance Workout? Hiking.

A walk in the woods is a superb way to build endurance and strength. (lzf/iStock)

“I loved the insight that going hard while doing something in nature feels easier than going hard indoors. I won’t feel any guilt when I go hiking with my family this Christmas rather than slogging through another treadmill run.”

—Svati Narula, assistant social media editor 

Why I Run in Prison

Though Rashaan Thomas is serving a life sentence with only the possibility of parole, running gives him liberation. (Marco Melgrati)

A totally new perspective for us, this beautiful first-person reflection describes how running in prison completely changes day-to-day life for Rahsaan Thomas through its ability to heal and empower. 

Don’t Tell Me What Strong Looks Like

“My marathon PR isn’t a step toward ‘the perfect body,'” writes Kelly Roberts. “It represents the happiest, strongest, and best version of myself yet.” (Banga Studios)

Kelly Roberts is a role model of mine. I love how real she is about her relationship with running and with her body. I hope to be half as badass as she is one day.” 

Abigail Wise, managing editor

How Hiking Could Help Change the Fate of Rural Appalachia

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The Breathitt County Hiking Club embarks on a hike to the Copperas Creek Falls. The group’s members range in age from 14 to 74. (Josh Mauser)

Living in one of the poorest and unhealthiest parts of the country, it’s easy to just give up. But one man believes that nature walks will help energize residents around their health and future.

We Have Found the Cure! (Sort Of…)

taffy brodesser-akner
If this is the path to happiness, why am I so freaked out? (Hannah McCaughey)

“Everything Taffy Akner writes is good, but when the first sentence is about vagina steaming, you know it’s going to be spectacular.”

—Molly Mirhashem, associate editor

Meet the Doctor Inside Your Smartphone

SteadyMD plans to reshape primary care. (Jane_Kelly/iStock)

A team of tech-savvy entrepreneurs are looking to transform the health care industry in a way that could benefit athletes, and they’re starting with your iPhone.

The Sweat Science Manifesto

The prime directive for Sweat Science: explore the science of endurance and adventure, but without fooling ourselves. (Michael Libis)

In October, we brought on Alex Hutchinson, an expert on the science of endurance and adventure, to dissect the monumental body of research around health and fitness. Sometimes that means calling bullshit.

Oatmeal Is Still the World’s Best Performance Breakfast

A bowl of oats is a blank canvas, ready to be paired with a truckload of other high-quality, nutritious ingredients. (john shepherd/iStock)

Readers and editors went crazy for this one, which means we now have an office full of folks stirring globs of peanut butter into their morning oats. 

The Old Man and the Sea, and the Sea, and the Sea

Aleksander Doba departs on his third trans-Atlantic journey, with New York City on the horizon. (Adam Rutkiewicz)

A flat-out inspiration.” 

—Jonah Ogles, articles editor

The Condition That’s Quietly Sidelining Female Athletes

A study of 240 health care providers found that less than half of physicians and physical therapists—and less than 10 percent of coaches—could identify the three triad components. (Katherine Lam)

“This is a hugely important issue in our world, and one that we hadn’t really explored in a big way.”


Are Endurance Athletes More Susceptible to Diabetes?

Could all those sugary sports drinks and gels put athletes at higher risk of developing diabetes? (Vinnie Neuberg)

It’s a concern that has long existed among many advocates of low-carb, high-fat endurance fueling. But is it true? Our Sweat Science columnist finds out.

The Five Things That Happen to Your Body When You Quit Working Out

When the temptation to skip a workout inevitably arises, think about these effects on your body. (Ben Mounsey)

The good news: it’s not as terrible as you think. The bad news: but only if you call it quits for a few weeks at most.

The Longer the Race, the Stronger We Get

World-champion mountain biker Rebecca Rusch believes that women aren’t remotely close to maxing out their genetic capabilities. (Josh Glazebrooke/Red Bull Content Pool)

In ultra-distance events, it’s becoming more common for women to beat men.

My Absurd Quest for a Coachella-Ready Body

After my final class, I looked at myself in the mirror. All I could determine for sure was that I looked very sweaty. I’d have to let the experts at Coachella be the judges. (Kelsey Dake)

“I’m a sucker for Nate Dern’s writing. Here he echoes my extreme disdain for cardio.”

—Jenny Earnest, assistant social media editor

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