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Men’s Health

Brooks Aurora BL – $200 Running Shoes Review and Wear Test



In recent years, high-tech running shoes have focused on one goal in particular: creating the fastest possible road racing experience. Serious runners have not been able to hit the sidewalk for a competition without discovering the latest and greatest in carbon sheet creations, as almost every well-known running brand has been involved in creating the fastest shoe on the market.

However, as almost any runner can tell you, you can’t go through every training session like your last race and increase the pace to run as fast as possible. An intelligent (and above all, healthy) runner mixes workouts at different speeds with short, fast speed sessions, long, leisurely #sexypace runs, and everything in between. Super-fast shoes don’t go with every workout – but what about those runners who want a very special experience for this type of workout?

Running specialist Brooks has a solution for this type of balanced training: the Aurora-BL, a shoe that was developed in the brand’s project-oriented BlueLine Lab. The shoe is an ultra-padded space age style runner designed to run miles as smoothly as riding a luxury star cruiser. Speed ​​is not the goal here. Instead, comfort and efficiency are the rule.

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I’ve done a variety of runs with the Aurora-BL and found that the experience was a bit like what I imagined running in space. The gravity of the earth didn’t seem to be pulling me onto the sidewalk as much as it usually does, especially as I stretched my runs for longer distances.


The Aurora-BL is supposed to be different

The Aurora-BL offers a different experience than most other running shoes from the moment you put it on your foot. Instead of a separate tongue like traditional sneakers or a slim one-piece upper like so many modern running shoes, the Aurora-BL has an inner, stretchable sleeve made of quilted material that holds the foot in place. This segment provides a strong splash of color (orange for the men’s color) in the otherwise transparent upper material, which consists of a soft, translucent “mono-mesh” material that looks like laminated plastic at first glance, but feels supportive and comfortable as soon as it is Your foot is in the shoe. Just make sure you have a nice looking pair of socks because you will be able to see them. A molded, silver heel counter adds to the astronaut aesthetic (and visibility in low light).



But the real highlight is the midsole. The Aurora-BL uses a unique two-piece design that decouples the heel and forefoot area to allow greater freedom of movement. This isn’t obvious the first time I put the shoe on, but when I started running I felt it was easier to get through every kick than in other shoes. This is also supported by the “Glide Roll” shape from the heel to the forefoot, which has been specially developed for an easy transition through the step. Instead of jumping forward into the next step, which is often the case with carbon plate shoes designed to get you forward, I felt more like I was rolling through my runs.



The midsole foam is also noteworthy. Brooks used a new version of their softest foam, DNA LOFT v3, which injected nitrogen into the material to make it lighter, softer and more responsive. I could try to explain further, but I’m not a chemistry expert – basically, Jain is saying that the nitrogen cell bladders can be packed more tightly into the EVA foam to bring about this change. Brooks has introduced another nitrogen-injected foam, DNA Flash, in their speed shoes, the Hyperion Elite Racer and the superb Hyperion Tempo Trainer, but Jain tells me the difference is in the size of the nitrogen cells: the firmer, faster Flash – Foam has small nitrogen bladder cells, while the softer, cushioned LOFT v3 foam has nitrogen bladder cells that are large enough that you can see some of them with the naked eye. When you put on the Aurora-BL, you can feel the pillow, which only gives a little and gives a lot of energy back.

All the foam stuff isn’t just for the show. In a world of short-lived, seemingly jet-powered super shoes that only last 100 to 250 miles before they fizzle out and fall apart, the Aurora-BL’s long range stands out. “From a durability perspective, these nitrogen-enriched foams maintain their integrity over time,” said Nikhil Jain, senior manager of the Brooks BlueLine Lab. “We find in some cases that runners don’t notice a difference between my mile one and mile 250 or mile 350.” Jain says he would estimate the Aurora-BL’s lifespan to be 350 to 500 miles.

The Aurora-BL is inspired by space and not long for this world

Aside from performance, the shoes look like nothing else on the market. This design was partially inspired by the Apollo 11 moon mission, according to Jain – but the aesthetic should definitely be more science fiction than retro. The aim was to break the norm. “We wanted it to be strange. We wanted it to be unexpected,” he says.

The products that come out of the BlueLine Lab, such as the Hyperion Elite Racer with carbon plate, are said to be limited edition innovations that serve as testing grounds for the future of Brooks’ general release shoes. Only 25,000 pairs of the Aurora-BL are produced, making it a limited edition item (Jain says Brooks typically produces 2 million pairs or more for standard models). But you will likely see aspects of the space shoe – specifically the DNA LOFT v3 foam – in future Brooks models.



The Aurora-BL is heavily padded and features a wide toe box (one of my favorite design features and the reason I think the “Space Cruiser” label is so accurate) so it will likely appeal to a wide range of runners, but Jain quickly realized that it is not intended for people looking for support shoes. The midsole foam is durable, but also not intended for the trail.

In particular, this could be the perfect fit for serious runners looking for a souped-up cross-country or recreational shoe. “This is a concept vehicle for us,” says Jain. Think of it in terms of moving up to the premium car model. “When someone says, oh, you know, I love my Honda Accord,” he continues. “But I want something that zips a little more, a little more luxurious.”

This luxury will cost you. The Aurora-BL isn’t cheap at $ 200, which is even more expensive than some specialty racers. And with only 25,000 units available worldwide, the shoes could also be hard to come by. But when you’re ready to pony up and go through the hassle of getting yourself a pair, your chance stands for a weird, highly-cushioned ride that is unlike anything else on the road.

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Men’s Health

Thor ‘The Mountain’ Björnsson Won His Debut Boxing Match by TKO



After a long road to his first boxing match, which spanned over a year of training, lost more than 100 pounds in weight and switched opponents at the last minute, it took formerly strongest man Hafthor Björnsson just one round to transform into . to prove the greatest fighter in the world is done.

Björnsson, aka The Mountain from his role on Game of Thrones, finished arm wrestling champion Devon Laratt by TKO in the first round of their critically acclaimed boxing match in Dubai on a map that turned other strength athletes into fighters. Björnsson posted a celebratory photo of himself on his Instagram page, hugging Larratt in the ring to thank his opponent and reflect on the experience.

“Last night was amazing and I will be forever grateful for the experience. There is no better feeling than the adrenaline rushing through your body as you enter the ring, ”he wrote in the post’s caption. “Thank you @devlarratt for the fight and the bravery. You are a champion. Thanks to my entire team, my coach, my wife and all of my fans!”

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Larratt, who started the fight as a replacement with only six weeks of prep and no boxing experience, responded graciously to the post. “You are a great champion @thorbjornsson thanks for the experience,” he wrote. He also gave a longer speech in a YouTube video. “It’s kind of what I expected,” said Larratt. “It’s nice to feel alive – it’s nice to chase something that’s kind of impossible.”

The matchup was originally intended to feature former strongest man in the world, Eddie Hall, with whom Björnsson has a controversial public feud that unofficially broke Hall’s record after their strongman rivalry and Björnsson’s 501kg deadlift in May 2020. Both men documented their transformations and training, and exchanged verbal barbs throughout the process – but Hall sustained a bicep injury in August that forced him to withdraw.

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That fight is still on the horizon. Björnsson addressed the Hall situation immediately after Larratt closed in his post-fight interview. “Enjoy your life, mate,” Björnsson said loudly at BarBend to Hall. “I’ll knock you out soon.” Hall responded on social media commenting on coverage of the fight. “Many thanks to Thor for beating up an old man with 5 weeks of training,” he wrote, clearly sarcastic. There’s no date for Björnsson-Hall’s clash, but given the tenor of their responses, a game soon after Hall’s recovery seems likely.

CrossFitter Jacob Heppner and Josh Bridges also fought, with Heppner winning unanimously, according to Sportskeeda. The world record powerlifter Stefi Cohen, who was also on the map in her second professional boxing match, ended with a draw against Marcela Nieto.

Brett Williams, fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM CPT certified trainer and former professional football player and tech reporter who divides his exercise time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running.

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The Alabama Legislature is about to meet on prisons. Here’s what to know.



The Alabama legislature gathers Monday to discuss a major new prison blueprint. In the background, an epidemic of violence is looming in the state prisons, which has led to a lawsuit by the US Department of Justice and state prisons may come under administration.

Here’s what to expect.

What is the legislator considering this week?

Governor Kay Ivey wants the legislature to approve a plan to build two new men’s prisons in Elmore and Escambia counties, each with “at least” 4,000 inmates. The plan also opens the door to a new women’s prison to replace the 78-year-old Julia Tutwiler Women’s Prison in Wetumpka, and renovations to the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer and the Limestone Penitentiary in Harvest.

The plan would also allow the renovation of Bullock Correctional Facility in Bullock County or Ventress Correctional Facility in Barbour. If fully implemented, five prisons would be closed.

How much would it cost?

Legislators estimate the cost of building the facilities in Elmore and Escambia to be more than $ 1.2 billion. The other parts of the plan could cost a total of $ 600 to $ 700 million.

The building law under consideration would require the state to borrow $ 785 million to pay for the prisons, along with $ 400 million in COVID relief funds and $ 150 million in general fund funding.

What led to this session?

Alabama prisons have faced violence and overcrowding for decades, and the problems have accelerated over the past five years. The number of reported homicides increased 200% from 2015, and the number of suicide attempts doubled between 2019 and 2020. Two Justice Department reports on state prisons in 2019 and 2020 describe horrific physical and sexual violence among inmates, as well as numerous excessive acts of violence by law enforcement officers.

The DOJ sued the state last December over detention conditions, saying the area surrounding the state’s correctional facilities violated the 8th inmate change protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The state is facing separate federal orders to hire more prison staff and improve mental health care for inmates.

What if the state loses the lawsuit?

The prison system could enter bankruptcy administration. That would mean a federal judge could force the state to make improvements in correctional facilities. Remedial action could include anything from increased spending on prisons to mandatory prisoner releases to tackle overcrowding.

State officials have said for years that they don’t want this. The Alabama prisons fell under receivership in 1976 and remained there for nearly 13 years. Alabama leaders initially defied mandates, but federal oversight led to significant improvements in security, medical and psychiatric care in prisons.

More:In 1976, federal agencies took over the Alabama prison system. And Alabama’s prisons were improving.

What are the advantages of new prisons?

Jeff Dunn, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, speaks with Governor Kay Ivey during a press conference in the governor's office at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.

Ivey and DOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn have argued for years that Alabama prisons are past their useful life and are unsafe for law enforcement officers, staff, and inmates. DOC closed most of the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore and the Draper Correctional Facility in Elmore (although portions of Draper have since been used to quarantine inmates with COVID) and say the prison system is putting hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance costs Has. DOC argues that new facilities would require fewer staff; easier to monitor and have more space for programming.

More:New prison proposal to be presented; Governor Kay Ivey urges legislative action

What is wrong with them?

A wave of tough anti-crime laws in the 1980s and 1990s led to overcrowding in prisons, and advocates of prison reform say Alabama must scrutinize its penal system if it is to get a grip on the prison crisis.

Crime thresholds can be far lower in Alabama than in other states. A person convicted of stealing property of $ 2,500 or more in Alabama faces 2 to 20 years in prison. In Georgia and Mississippi, a person would have to steal $ 25,000 worth of property to receive a similar fine. Alabama also allows prosecution of people for trafficking in marijuana if they possess 2.2 pounds of marijuana. Other states set the threshold at £ 10 or more.

The plan has drawn other criticism. The $ 400 million COVID aid grant would allow work to begin immediately on the Elmore and Escambia facilities, but critics said the money would be better spent on education or health care. The two men’s prisons would not be advertised competitively, which has been criticized by some contractors who say it could open the door to corruption; Proponents say that through Ivey’s previous unsuccessful build / lease proposal for state prisons, the state identified contractors to build the prisons.

Albert Cesare / Advertiser File Inmates sit on their bunks at the Draper Correction Facility in Elmore County on Feb. 6.  Opened in 1939, the Draper Correction Facility was the oldest correctional facility in the state of Alabama until it closed in 2018.

More:The decade-long prison crisis in Alabama is bigger than the decay of buildings, say critics

Does the appeal include anything other than building prisons?

Ivey’s agenda includes provisions to make parts of the 2013 and 2015 ruling reforms retroactive. The Alabama Sentencing Commission estimates that a similar bill, filed in February 2020, would affect 200 inmates. In July there were 17,724 inmates in Alabama prisons.

Will the plan work out?

Republican legislators believe they have the votes to enforce the prison building law. But lawmakers have historically been cautious about new prisons, be it because of cost, effectiveness, or the economic impact on communities with prisons. In 2016 and 2017, the legislature rejected bonds for the construction of new prisons.

How long will the session last?

The minimum time for a special session is five days, the shortest time an invoice can have from introduction to passage. The legislature could hold special sessions for up to 12 days over a 30-day calendar period. But her work will be limited to Ivey’s phone call. It takes a two-thirds majority of the legislature to raise items outside of the governor’s agenda.

Contact Brian Lyman, the Montgomery Advertiser reporter at 334-240-0185 or

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Henry Cavill Shared His Best Advice on Training, Fitness and His Nutrition



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Although Henry Cavill played Superman in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice over five years ago, he remains in superhero form all year round. His role as monster hunter Geralt in Netflix’s new Witcher franchise has resulted in the 38-year-old continuing to build strength and fitness with the appropriate combat stamina.

Working with Hollywood mastermind Dave Rienzi, usually associated with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s feisty training regimen, has made Cavill a formidable force in the weight room. In a recent Q&A interview with, Cavill shared a few exercise philosophies that have led him to push the limits in the gym and on set.

“I went through ups and downs in my physicality, depending on how hard my job was, how much physical work I put into it and that afterwards I have time off and did not have access to the same facilities for training,” says Cavill in an interview when asked how his fitness priorities have shifted, “One of the big things now is that I invest to make sure these facilities are always available to me.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s the same approach Johnson took to building his home fitness mecca, the Iron Paradise. For Cavill, the ideal home fitness studio would be a “maximum” structure, “a large room with all the necessary equipment”. And, as he admits in the interview, he is “now better in everything. It was 10 years ago” [since Man of Steel]So I think I’m more experienced now and have more experienced muscles. “

How tough is Cavill in these workouts and should you be doing the same? “It depends on what I want to achieve,” he explains. “And what level my body is at and how much time I have. The deeper I get into a job – if it’s a tough, time-consuming, and stressful job – I’ll ask my trainer to program things differently. I would work out four times a week instead of six and a really simple arm and shoulder workout on the fourth day … I don’t crawl out of the gym thinking, ‘I need a nap right now’ “.

When asked for his advice to the younger self – and we assume anyone else who seeks Cavill to be his Taurus in training – “find someone who knows what he is talking about and listen to him.” And cook well, ”he laughs. “It’s not supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be tough, so prepare yourself mentally for an hour or two of hard work.”

The hard work is also reflected in Cavill’s diet. Speaking to GQ, he starts with “one and a half scoops of 100% grass-fed whey protein with a cup of oats and a few berries and mixes that … The other part is an omelette with some ham” in there, and I think it’s about six Ounces of beef tenderloin. I eat two about three hours later, that’s chicken and white rice with a side of curry sauce, because I like the taste. “

“Meal three is another three hours later and will be the same but with brown rice. Then meal four will be, I think 120 grams of beef with sweet potatoes. I like sweet potato fries because I’m not that big a fan of sweet potatoes … then it’s the pre-bed [protein] Shake. Ideally three hours later, but if time is of the essence and I have to go to bed, it’s okay to have it an hour and a half later. ”

Ed Cooper is Assistant Digital Editor at Men’s Health UK, writing and editing on anything you want to know – from tech to fitness, mental health to style, food and more.

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