MetroSports Magazine July-August 2015

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MetroSports Magazine Triple Crown Sports NYC 2015 Will Shortz Sets a Table Tennis Record

July-August 2105

30th Anniversary of the Entertainers Basketball Classic Harlem’s Rucker Park

FDNY vs NYPD Gaelic Football


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May/June 2015

Features 2 Triple Crown Sports NYC 2015 Colorado’s Triple Crown Sports Re turns to Randall’s Island 4 Randall’s Island Sports Legends Randall’s Island’s Sports History 14 Entertainer’s Basketball Classic Celebrating 30 Years of the Best of Urban Streetball 17 Harlem’s Historic Rucker Par Site of the 2015 EBC 22 Ponger Will Shortz Reaches a Milestone NY Times Crossword Puzzle Editor and WTTC Owner Enters the Record Books 27 NYPD vs FDNY Gaelic Football A preview of September’s Issue

Regular 31 Sports Photo Tip 32 Coach’s Corner 33

Athlete of the Month

Action Photography by Clark Thompson

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MetroSports Athletes of the Month May/June 2015

C olorado-based

Triple Crown Sports returned to New York City this summer with their wildly popular and highly competitive boys baseball and girls softball tournaments, drawing players from the New York Metro region and from across the country. First up, in late June, was the boy’s New York City Experience Baseball Tournament conducted on Randall’s Island at the foot of the Triboro Bridge followed by Triple Corwn Sports’ second anual Northeast Nationals fastpitch softball tournament. Twelve teams from the NY Metro region, Georgia, Washington and the Dominican Republic faced off against each other in a five day, seven game elimination tournament held in two age divisions. A New York Metro area team, the Gators Baseball Club from Mohegan Lake, NY, prevailed in the 13 year-old bracket beating teams from Connecticut, New Jersey, Georgian and New York. The 14 year old division championship was captured by the DB Hawks of Pelham, NY, prevailing over teams from Connecticut, Washingon state, and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. July will feature the Northeast Nationals Softball Tournament back on Randall’s Island. 2 |July-August 2015

MetroSports Magazine (MSM) is published six times a year by the New York Sports Photo Group. MSM is available online and can be downloaded in electronic format for viewing on tablet and hand-held devices, laptop and desktop computers and purchased as full-color glossy print editions. Founder: Warren Rosenberg Publisher: New York Sports Photo Group: Features Editor: John Chuhran Director of Photography / Layout / Web: Warren Rosenberg Associate Photo Editor / Social Media: Clark Thompson Photo Contributors: Clark Thompson, Warren Rosenberg Proofreader: Melissa Tougas Contributors: Thomas Chin, Fitness Advertising: For rate card contact Please direct all inquiries to: Visit us on the web at:

MetroSports Magazine accepts and welcomes photos, short articles, opinions and letters from our readers. There is no guarantee that unsolicited contributions will be published and MetroSports Magazine assumes no responsibility for failure to publish or for editing published contributions. The Contents of MetroSports Magazine consist of copyrightable and/or copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers. MetroSports Magazine | 3

Randall’s Island, NYC

Home of the 2015 NYC Baseball Experience


ew York City’s Randall’s Island is not only the site for Triple Crown Sports’ NYC Baseball Experience and the Northeast Nationals Fastpitch Softball Tournament, but it is also a well-known NY Metro area mecca for sports of all types. Randall’s Island has served as the home for New York’s first professional soccer team, the NY Cosmos on which international soccer star, Pele, played. In 1936 in front of an audience that included President Franklin Roosevelt, Jesse Owens qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team with a victory in the 100 meter dash at the Randall’s Island Olympic Trials and went on to win 4 Olympic Gold Medals at the 1936 Berlin games. Jesse’s victory was reenacted in 2004 by U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Justin Gatlin to celebrate the opening of the island’s Icahn Stadium and recapture a bit of Randall’s Island history. On May 31, 2008, six time Olympic Gold Medalist, Usain Bolt, set a new world record for the 100 meter dash, also in Icahn Stadium. The history of Randall’s Island in NYC dates back to 1637 when Dutch Governor Wouter van Twillin purchased it from the Lenni Lenape tribe of Native Americans. Since that time, the island has been used for a number of purposes including a Civil War veteran’s rest home, burial ground, a juvenile delinquent detention center and various medi4 | July-August 2015

cal facilities. In 1933, by act of the New York State legislature, Randall’s Island was designated a recreational facility. New York City Parks Commissioner and builder Robert Moses oversaw the construction of playground, ball fields, and a sports stadium, originally known as Triborough Stadium and then as Downing Stadium and which was replaced in 2002 with the modern Icahn Stadium. The lights used at Icahn Stadium to light the field were taken from the old Ebbets Field, the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers prior to their move to L.A. Back in the days when baseball was a segregated sport and before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, the Black Yankees of base-

ball’s old Negro League played their 1938 season in Triborough Stadium on Randall’s Island although most of their home games were played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Also calling Triborough Stadium their home field were one of New York’s earliest professional football teams, the New York Yankees of the old AFL. Triborough Stadium was renamed Downing Stadium in 1955 and, in 2002, was torn down to be replaced by Icahn Stadium in 2004 and which is still in use on Randall’s Island today. The Triple Crown Sports NYC baseball and softball tournaments continue the historic sports legacy on Randall’s Island.

Let MetroSports Magazine put you on the cover using one of the photos from the tournament.

Order your custom, commemorative poster of your TCS NYC Experience.

For information contact:

Diamond Buddies Hawks Pelham, NY League: Westchester Baseball Association Tournament Finish: 1st Place 14U Tournament Highlights: The Hawks opened the tournament with back-to-back wins on Monday. They then went on to achieve a perfect tournament record winning every one of their six tournament games, twice scoring 10 runs a game while holding their opponents to 5 runs or less. In 3 games, the Hawks held their opponents to only 1 run and went on to win a shutout victory over the 3rd place UB Team from Santo Domingo.

Outlaws Blue Bonney Lake, WA Tournament Finish: 2nd Place Tournament Highlights: The Outlaws Blue might have finished in a very respectable 2nd place but took first place honors in distance traveled to participate in the TCS NYC Experience tournament. In Thursday’s game against New York’s Elmsford Crusaders, the Outlaws amassed a tournament high 16 runs on the way to their second of three tournament wins. Website

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UB Team Baseball Santo Domingo DR League: Santo Domingo, DR Tournament Finish: 3rd Place Tournament Highlights: The UB Team opened the tournament splitting its first two games on Monday with the Outlaws from Washington state. With a topnotch pitching staff, the UB Team won two of its seven games by shutout, against the Outlaws Blue from Washington and the Titans from the Bronx, NY. Traveling from their home city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the UB Team traveled the second farthest disatnce to participate in the 2015 TCS NYC Experience.

Titans Baseball Club Bronx, NY

League: Inner City Youth Baseball Program AAU Subordinate Tournament Finish: 4th Place Tournament Highlights: The Titans scored an early-tournament shutout over the Elmsford Crusaders in Game 1 and scored their scond victory over the Crusaders in an 11-1 Game 6 win. The team showed well in their Championship Round Game 7 loss to the UB Team from Santo Domingo. One of the three NYC hometown teams, the Titans welcomed the TCS NYC Baseball Experience competitors into their backyard for a fun-filled week of baseball.

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TCB Heat, 14 Niantic, CT League: Team Connecticut Baseball Tournament Finish: 5th Place Tournament Highlights: The Heat scored an impressive 10-4 win over New York’s Elmsford Crusaders in Tuesday afternoon’s game. The teams met again in the Championship round on Friday with the Heat once again victorious with a 7-2 outcome. \Website

Elmsford Crusaders Scarsdale, NY League: Rockland Baseball Association Tournament Finish: 6th Place Tournament Highlights: The Crusaders scored 17 runs during their seven tournament appearances, winning Tuesday’s Game 3 against a well-coached UB Team from Santo Domingo, the Tournament’s ultimate 3rd place finisher.

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Gators Baseball Club Mohegan Lake, NY League: Team Connecticut Baseball Tournament Finish: 1st Place 13U Tournament Highlights: The Gators were crowned 2015 TCS NYC Baseball Experience Champions with after a tough 6-5 win over Atlanta Georgia’s Buckhead Braves. In four of their six tournament games, the Gators scored double digit runs with some extremely effective hitting while the pitching staff held opponents to single digit scoring in 5 of the 6 games played.

Buckhead Braves Atlanta, GA League: Buckhead Baseball League Tournament Finish: 2nd Place Tournament Highlights: The Buckhead Braves finished the 2015 tournament with an impressive 5-2 overall record with their only losses coming at the hand of the ultimate 13U tournament Champion Gators. The Braves opened the tournament scoring a total of 25 runs in Monday’s first two games while giving up only 5. Website MetroSports Magazine | 9

Bergen Express Maywood, NJ Tournament Finish: 3rd Place Tournament Highlights: The Express split their opening day contests against Connecticut’s TCB Heat with a tough loss in game one but coming back strong to win the second game. They went on to win their next three games, two of them with double digit run scoring, and splitting the final two games on their way to a respectable 3rd place tournament finish. Website genexpressbaseball

TCB Heat, 13 Niantic, CT League: Team Connecticut Baseball Tournament Finish: 4th Place Tournament Highlights: The Heat opened the 2015 tournament with an impressive win in their first game, scoring an 8-1 win over New Jersey’s Bergen Express. The Heat followed up Tuesday morning with an even more impressive 12-0 shutout over the Throgs Neck Braves. Website

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Throgs Neck Braves Bronx, NY League: Westchester Baseball Association Tournament Finish: 5th Place Tournament Highlights: The Braves opened the tournament with two very hard fought games against their southern namesake, the Buckhead Braves from Atlanta, Georgia. They finished the tournament with a 7-4 win on Friday over rival New York City team, the NY Angels. One of the three NYC hometown teams, the Throgs Neck Braves welcomed the TCS NYC Baseball Experience competitors into their backyard for a fun-filled week of baseball.

New York Angels New York, NY

League: Uptown Inner City League Tournament Finish: 6th Place

Tournament Highlights: The NY Angels played a respectable and competitive set of baseball games, scoring an impressive early-tournament win on Tuesday over fellow NY team, the Throgs Neck Braves, scoring a total of 13 runs in that game. One of the three NYC hometown teams, the NY Angels welcomed the TCS NYC Baseball Experience competitors into their backyard for a fun-filled week of baseball. Website: MetroSports Magazine | 11

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Train Like a Champion. Train with a Champion. MetroSports Magazine’s former Athlete of the Month and cover of our May-June 2015 issue, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, a former NY Golden Gloves Champion, current NYS Flyweight Champion and current WIBA World Flyweight Champion can now be your personal boxing trainer at the world famous Gleason’s Gym.

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The Entertainers Basketball Classic

ow in its 15th year at Harlem’s historic Rucker Park, the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) once again features the best of NYC’s urban streetball mixed with some celebrity. The EBC was started in 1982 by Greg Marius, a local Rap artist known as Greg G, then with the rap group “Disco 4”. During an on-air interview with members of a competing rap group, “The Crash Crew”, the Crew started “talkin’ smack” about their basketball exploits. Marius challenged them to a game at Mt. Morris Park on 120th Street. As word got out, over 1,000 people showed up to watch the contest including other celebrity rap groups such as The Sugar Hill Gang, Furious Five, and Grandmaster Flash each of which offered its own challenge to the Disco 4 team. When the games reconvened the next year, the event was named The Entertainers Basketball Classic, partly because all

the teams had to be involved in the rap music entertainment business. Over time, players and teams in the EBC migrated from rap musicians to basketball players drawn from the pros, from college teams, and from City streetball leagues. The EBC moved to its current home at Rucker Park in 1987. One of the traditions that EBC has become famous for is having the game the announcers assign nicknames to the players, such as “Lord of the Rings”, the name assigned to Kobe Bryant during his 2002 appearance at the EBC. When a young Julius Erving first came to play in the EBC in 1971, before ever being drafted into the NBA, one announcer gave him the name of “Black Moses”. Erving didn’t like the name and told the announcer he wanted to be called “The Doctor”. The name stuck and “Dr. J.” was born.

The 2015, 30th Anniversary edition of the EBC opened on Monday, June 29th with three well-fought games. Opening the event were two high school teams, Wadleigh High School’s “Harlem Hellfighters”, ranked 10th in MSG Varsity’s NYC high school power rankings and Brooklyn’s Lincoln High School “Railsplitters”, ranked 4th overall in the MSG Varsity power rankings. Lincoln went on to win this opening game of the 2015 EBC. Next up were two teams playing in the Unlimited division. team “Primetime” battled team “Madoff” in a heated contest with team Madoff coming out on top. Like their namesake, team Madoff prevailed with steals that swindled points from their Primetime rivals. The EBC continues at Rucker Park through August with games every eveing, 6pm - 10pm, Monday through Thursday.

NY Lightning owner (left) and EBC promoter Greg Marius at Rucker Park at the June 22 commemoration of Robert “Surrob” Negron.

Facing Page: Lincoln HS Railsplitters (yellow) in action against Harlem’s own Wadleigh H.S. (blue). 14 | July-August 2015

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Harlem’s Historic Rucker Park

nyone who knows anything about New York City basketball knows Rucker Park. Officially known as the Holcombe Rucker Basketball Courts, this hallowed ground at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in NYC’s East Harlem has served as playground for such basketball royalty as Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earl Monroe, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryan and Stephon Marbury to name just a few. Along with Madison Square Garden, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Yankee Stadium, ESPN has designated Rucker Park as one of its “Top 100” sports arenas in the world. Rucker Park stands at #31 on the list, ahead of such notable sports arenas as Dodger Stadium (#40), the Cotton Bowl (#81), and the Staples Center (#98). Holcombe Rucker, who passed away in 1965, was a NYC Parks Department employee who organized a basketball tournament for disadvantaged youth in his Harlem neighborhood back in 1947. The Rucker Park playground and basketball courts were named after him in 1971.

Rucker Park is located between the Harlem River and the famous Sugar Hill section of Harlem, named because it provided NYC’s growing black community a place to live the “sweet life” away from the more congested areas of Manhattan. Harlem’s Sugar Hill neighborhood as been home to such notables as Willie Mays, Adam Clayton Powel, W.E.B. DuBois, Duke Ellington and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The early ground-breaking rap music group, The Sugar Hill Gang, take their name from the area and, in their 1979 crossover hit, Rappers Delight, make a reference to Rucker Park in the following lines sung by the late Big Bank Hank, “I got a color TV, so I can see The Knicks play basketball. Hear me talk about Checkbooks, credit cards, mo’ money Than a sucker could ever spend, But I wouldn’t give a sucker or a bum from the Rucker Not a dime ‘til I made it again.”

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Team Primetime (blue) scores at the rim with members of Team Madoff (orange) looking on.

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Above: Riucker Park EBC Floor being installed, 6/22/15. Below: Completed for play on 6/29/15

Will Shortz Joins the Elite 1,000 Club Emmitt Smith Walter Payton Cap Anson Ty Cobb Everett Scott Gordie Howe Rainer Hertrich Meg Roh Teddy Roosevelt Will Shortz

Tied for Most 1,000 Yard Rushing Seasons Tied for Most 1,000 Yard Rushing Seasons First MLB Player to Achieve 1,000 Hits Youngest Player to Achieve 1,000 Hits First MLB Baseball Player in 1,000 Consecutive Games First in the NHL to Score 1,000 Goals 1,000 Consecutive Days Skiing 1,000 Consecutive Days Surfing First US President to Sign 1,000 Executive Orders 1,000 Consecutive Days Playing Table Tennis

Pleasantville, NY. June 30, 2015. Will Shortz, a USA Table Tennis ranked player and owner of New York’s largest table tennis facilty, the Westchester Table Tennis Center (WTTC), today added his name to an elite list of members of the 1,000 Club. As confirmed by Gordon Kaye, CEO of USA Table Tennis, Shortz is the first Shortz with filmmakers Schulman and Joost. to accomplish this feat. In his comments noting the occasion, Kaye stated, “Will has reached today through an unwavering passion for the game along with dedication, determination, and ingenuity.” On hand at the WTTC to help commemorate this milesotone were the celebrated film directors and producers. Better known for their award winning film series, Paranormal Activities, Schulman and Joost edited and premiered a short film chronicaling Shortz’ 1,000 day journey. Continued on page 26

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1,000 Days to Infamy

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Facing Page: Will Shortz at WTTC on 06/30/15. Superimposed are the sites visited during his 1,000 day journey.

Continued from page 22

Shortz first began his quest in early 2012 but fell short when, on a visit to Croatia, missed his opportunity to play on October 3rd. Unfazed by this setback, Shortz resumed playing on October 4th and hasn’t missed a day since. He reached his 1,000 consecutive day on June 30, 2015 on one of his home tables at Pleasantville’s WTTC. The logistics of keeping his streak alive presented Shortz with some unique challenges, particularly on those days he had long flights to China or Japan. Careful planning, pre-arranging games prior to traveling, and bringing his own net with him while away were some of the tactics Shortz used. We asked Will, what’s next, and he told us, “l complete three years of playing table tennis everyday. That’s my immediate goal. I have three trips planned, though, between now and then, two of them out of the country, and travel is always worrisome. Things can go wrong when you don’t have control. Looking ahead, I’d like to be the first person ever to play at table tennis clubs in all 50 states. So far I’m at 49.

My plan is is to go to Hawaii sometime next spring. I’d also like to set the world record for playing at clubs in more countries than anyone else. I’m currently at 27. This October the World Puzzle Championship will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria. I hope to add Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Bulgaria while I’m there. Looking even further ahead, someday I’d like to be national table tennis champion for my age. That’s my most distant goal.”

Above: Shortz being interviewed and filmed by a local television news crew at the WTTC

Below. One of New York’s ‘Bravest” from the Randall’s Island FDNY Training Center watching the Outlaw Blues take on the Elmsford Crusaders at the 2015 TCS NYC Baseball Experience.

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NYPD vs FDNY Gaelic Football Right next to the Randall’s Island ballfields which host the Triple Crown Sports NYC Baseball Experience and the Northeast Nationals Fastpitch Softball Tournament is the training academy for New York City’s firefighters, the FDNY, also known as New York’s Bravest. Along with NYC’s other uniformed services, the Police Department and Department of Corrections, these public servants work 24/7 keeping us safe. In their spare time, these heros test eachother in some highly competitive sports.

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This match was won by the NYPD. Pictured above, members of the NYPD and FDNY teams after the game.

Look for our full coverage of NYC’s uniformed services sports in the September issue of MetroSports Magazine

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Sports Photo Tip Sponsored by Hunts Photo & Video

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Sports Photo Tip of the Month Photographing Baseball & Softball


ere are some pointers for capturing great action shots on the baseball/softball field. There are basically four ideal shooting positions that allow you to cover most of the game action and which work well using a single camera and lens combination. Most of your time would be well-spent only at positions A and B. You will only occasionally need to reposition yourself at C for pitcher shots. The ideal lens for these positions to be the 70-200 f/2.8. Position A, behind the first base coach, is the single, most ideal position where I spent most of my time. Shooting from this position allows you to shoot straight down the baseline at home plate to capture right-handed batters as they stand at the plate. A great still capture of each player as he or she stands to bat with, full concentration on the pitcher, is easy to get. You’ll also be able to get some good pictures of the batter swinging and, occasionally the luck shot of the ball flying off the bat. Whether the batter gets a hit or a walk, you’ll also be able to get an action shot of the player coming straight at you, in a trot or full run, as they move to take first base. Occasionally, you’ll want to move to position B to get the left-handed batters straight on. . Position A allows you to catch close-up action at first base using the 70mm end of your lens. As you watch the game action you’ll pick up quickly if the first base coach has his/her runners take large leads and steal second base with some regularity. If so, be ready for some great action in the pick-off play. Position A puts you

in the ideal place to capture the runner sliding back into first in a cloud of dust, the first base player poised to make the tag and the pitcher watching the action and, more often than not, throwing the ball. Finally, from Position A and using the long end of your lens, you’re also well-positioned to get the play at second base. To get some great action photos of the pitchers, you’ll need to occasionally move to position C .Position C looks challenging because you’ll have to shoot through the fencing of the backstop. Actually, this is not at all difficult. If you place your lens right up to fence, centered on one of the small fence openings, have your aperture wide open and your focal length zoomed out, the fence wiring will be thrown so far out of focus that it will simply appear as a slightly dark shadow around the frame of your image. A natural vignette. You get wonderful facial expressions and, frequently, the ball in flight as it moves towards the plate. Shooting in burst mode will get you a nice sequence of images, one of which is sure to have the “money shot.

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The Coaches Corner


ummer is knocking on your door. By now, you’ve probably attempted to shed those extra pounds to fit into that bathing suit, yet for some reason the bathing suit seems to fit the same every time. Then the everso-mighty question of “Why can’t I lose weight?” comes into play. You go back and forth, justifying everything you’re doing, only to quit in a fit of rage. Truth be told, perhaps what you’re doing, although believed to be common knowledge, may not be what is actually needed. Here are three essential musts for losing fat… and keeping it off! 1. Eat Food! When trying to lose weight, the number one thought that immediately comes to mind is stop eating! Eat less, starve myself, eat rabbit sized portions, all these ideas about eating less leads many to believe that they will lose weight. Because eating food is associated with gaining weight, not eating must equal losing weight, right? Wrong. In fact, starving yourself will only preserve fat, as the body will need to hold onto the fat for energy, seeing as you’re depriving your body of nutrients. Your body is like a car; it needs gasoline to run. Eating the right, he lism process and thus help you burn more fat! 32 | July-August 2015

Why You Aren’t Losing Fat Thomas Chin

2. You can’t supplement a good diet Some people just refuse to eat food. Those who neglect the points mentioned above may opt for “supplementation”, taking vitamins and powders and other nutrition supplements in place of eating real food. While on the surface this seems great (same nutritional benefits, little to no calories), deep down this would actually do more harm. It’s called a supplement for a reason; it is meant to simply supplement a need. But why supplement when you can have the real stuff instead? Yes, while some supplements may have their individual benefits, the combined qualities of real food outweigh supplements any day, as certain vitamins, minerals, and overall components (protein, carbs, fats) can only be found in real food. While it’s not bad to have a protein shake after a workout, remember that ultimately, to maximize fat loss, stick with real food, as the nutritional qualities far supersede those found in supplements. 3. Hit the weights! Aside from starving yourself, one of the more popular solutions to weight loss is cardio. Going for a run, riding a bike, or activities of similar nature are usually the go-to

methods. However, it has been found that weight training burns twice as many calories as cardio. The activation of different muscle groups release hormones, speeds up the heart rate, and ultimately requires more energy than going for a steady run, thus increasing the calories you can burn per exercise. Also, by continuously running, you actually train your body to preserve fat, as the long distance cardio requires the use of energy from fat storages. Thus, by mixing it up and incorporating some weight training, you’re keeping your body guessing and ultimately maximizing the amount of fat you can burn!

Fuel for Competition Graze-Nature Delivered

Energy bars, sports drinks, powdered supplements - you name it - athletes ingest it. The reasons may vary but, competitive athletes are always looking for a legal edge during training or competition to provide an extra boost of energy, a protein supplement, or the replenishment of essential vitamins and minerals. Many of the commonly used sports supplements contain a mix of ingredients that read like a pharmaceutical textbook. Not so with the with the selection of naturebased snacks available from Easy to carry, quick to ingest, and delivered right to your front door, the U.K. based Graze, available now in the U.S for just over a year, may be the answer you’re looking for. Our selection at MetroSports Magazine includes the four choices pictured at right. Check them out at

MetroSports Athlete of the Month Will Shortz It is a rare thing for anyone to find a way to become the first, given how much of human history and personal accomplishments have come before. In recognition of becoming the first to record 1,000 days of consecutive play at the Olympic sport of Table Tennis, MetroSports Magazine designated Will Shortz of Pleasantville, NY, as our Athlete of the Month for July 2015. July 1st will be noted as Will’s 1,001st day and every day thereafter will constitute a new world record.

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