Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Yesterday I whipped up another delicious smoothie at home using nothing more elaborate than one of my blenders. I posted a tweet about it and several of my twitter followers and friends emailed me directly to ask about it, so I figured it was worth a little post!

(Since I'd already finished my workouts that day, and did NOT need to stick with the typical pre workout Paleo fare, I wanted to make this smoothie typical of all my non training Paleo meals- as in a macro nutrient ratio closer to 40/30/30 compared to the 4:1 Carb:Pro Paleo ratio I go for before and after training!)

I threw in:

8 oz of brewed, chilled plain green tea (plain as in, NO one needn't add sugar, for Pete's sake!)
1/2 a bunch of flash steamed kale (I'd eaten the other half with avocado, leftover turkey and an apple for breakfast)
1 cup of frozen, organic berries (I like to freeze the berries to give the shake more body)
1/4 large, ripe Avocado
A runny cage free egg (if you're not that keen on eating them raw, you can soft boil for six minutes without destroying too many of the nutrients while signficantly decreasing the likelihood of encountering any bacteria)
A dash of turmeric (natural anti-inflammatory thus a great idea for athletes to use to counter the acidity we may encounter as a result of our training)

I whizzed it for about a minute, poured it into a glass, stuck in a straw and off I went to run my errands. I don't recommend eating in the car as a regular, go-to idea, BUT if you're pressed for time, you can make a liquid meal like this at home and the result is something that is safe to drink while driving!

Here I am, enjoying the afore mentioned smoothie:

Thursday, July 28, 2011


by Joel Friel

Assuming you are now in your Build period of training with fewer than 12 weeks until your first A-priority race, now is probably the time to focus on interval training. I want to get into more detail on this topic in the coming days, but for now I’m just posting a quicky to make a general case for intervals. When I have time I’ll write about the types of intervals and their benefits relative to the typical events for which athletes train.

There have been many studies done on intervals. I’ll touch on some in the following parts of this series. One of the best reviews of the scientific literature on the topic came from Laursen and Jenkins at the University of Queensland in Australia (Laursen, P.B. & D.G. Jenkins. 2002. The scientific basis for high-intensity programmes and maximizing performance in highly trained endurance athletes. Sports Med 32(1):53-73). To quote from the study:

"Increased volume for highly trained athletes does not appear to further enhance endurance performance or associated physiological variables. For athletes who are already trained, improvements in endurance can be achieved only through high-intensity interval training."

This is a point I make repeatedly in this blog: the key to success for advanced athletes is intensity—not volume. If you want to go fast you must train fast. How many miles, kilometers, or meters you accumulate in each of the last 12 weeks before your event have much less impact on your performance on race day. If you’re going to make a mistake make it on the side of too little volume—not too little race-specific intensity.

The study’s authors go on to say that the improvements resulting from intervals are probably the result of increased muscle buffering capacity. This has to do with the body’s ability to absorb and remove the acid that accumulates in the muscles when the intensity is near or above lactate threshold.

They also indicate that the research has shown benefits for runners who did intervals at their velocity at VO2max (this is roughly 1-mile race pace). This is an interesting concept that has been known for at least 10 years now. But, they point out, supramaximal sprints by cyclists may be just as effective, or even more so, than doing intervals at power at VO2max (the equivalent of a runner’s velocity at VO2max).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7 Home Remedies to Relieve a Sunburn

Aloe Vera
Kukui Nut Oil
Topical Vitamin E
Topical Black Tea
Coconut Oil

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Squatting.....not an exercise but an expression of health
I thought that this was a superb article:

Squatting - An Expression of Health

Squatting is a movement that we all need for everyday activity and one of the purist expressions of health. If your patients can’t squat or can’t squat without pain then this MUST be addressed, and addressed just as closely as the primary reason they first presented to you. To no one’s surprise this particular athlete had difficulty recruiting her glutes and therefore was utilizing her poor hamstrings as the primary mover instead – a recipe for hamstring strains and continued pain.

A closer look into how your patients move might just reveal that their troubling squat pattern is the underlying cause to the problem that brought them in to see you in the first place

Monday, July 25, 2011

Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein

By Brenda Goodman

When the study started, there were no significant differences between groups, researchers report.

Men weighed an average of 218 pounds, while women weighed an average of about 190 pounds.

Throughout the study, all the groups ate roughly the same number of average daily calories, about 2,200.

After six months, people drinking the carbohydrate shakes had gained a little bit of weight, about 2 pounds, which appeared to be mainly added fat, compared to where they started.

People drinking the soy shakes had stayed about the same weight as where they started.

But people drinking the whey protein had lost a little bit of weight and body fat, about 2 pounds. Additionally, while the other groups saw little change in the size of their waists, the whey protein group lost about an inch around the middle.

The study was partially funded by the dairy industry.
How Whey Protein May Affect Weight

Researchers say a couple of things may help to explain the weight and fat loss seen with whey protein.

People in the whey protein group had significantly lower blood levels of the hormone ghrelin than people eating the soy protein or carbohydrate.

"It's a hormone that helps regulate food intake," says David J. Baer, PhD, research physiologist at the USDA's agriculture research service in Beltsville, Md. "So the higher concentration, the more hungry somebody feels. The lower concentration, the fuller somebody feels."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Top Five Guilt-Inducing Foods

Does guilt makes food more delicious?
by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. in The Science of Willpower

Everyone knows what it's like to feel guilty about some mouth-watering morsel you just couldn't resist. But as I was researching food guilt, I was surprised to find out that scientists have created a guilt index based on how likely a food is to trigger taster's remorse.

According to a 2009 survey published in Appetite, the most guilt-inducing foods are:
1. Candy and Ice Cream (tie)
2. Potato Chips
3. Cake
4. Pastries
5. Fast Food

Friday, July 22, 2011

Strength Endurance, A Contradiction?


When you hear the word strength endurance, you might see an image of someone jogging while lifting weights. This picture makes sense because strength is the ability to exert force and endurance is the ability to maintain an activity. The term together, strength endurance, is usually defined as the ability to maintain muscular tension (force) without a decrease in efficiency. So strength endurance is really the ultimate combination that everyone seeks to achieve, especially athletes.

One of the easiest ways to improve strength endurance is to just work on strength, even ignoring the endurance component. Think about how you can run a faster mile by including sprinting in your workouts, but you’ll never run a faster 100 meter by keeping the mile run in your training regimen. It is because strength endurance comes down to intensity, the percentage of maximal effort you need to put in to accomplish a task repeatedly. An oversimplified example is if you can squat 400 pounds, but weigh 200 pounds, then jumping only requires you to move at 50% of maximal effort. Another person weighing 200 pounds, but can only squat 300 pounds, must produce greater relative efforts, closer to 75%.

A 2009 study out of the European University of Madrid actually looked at this concept of strength endurance, particularly in relation to intensity. A common test for firefighters was used in the study; a maximum repetition test in bench press at 40 kilograms (88 pounds). The authors concluded that all of their initial training should be designed to increase maximal strength to bench press at least 100 kilograms (220 pounds). This maximum allowed the strength endurance test to occur at a relatively lower, and ideal, intensity of 40%. Those subjects with a bench press of 80 kilograms performed the 40 kilogram test at 50% intensity, which resulted in lesser repetitions and a lower performance.

Once a suitable maximum performance is achieved, this level must still be maintained along with an emphasis on the test itself. We use the force plate to analyze maximum strength by assessing RATE (see Sparta Point 2/2/11), and then we seek to improve the sport skills and reactive strength for better efficiency (see Sparta Point 11/24/10). After all, everything is a skill, whether you are hitting a baseball or running an agility drill. Therefore, the execution of a movement just might be inefficient, like an athlete who has not played their sport for a couple of weeks

So before you start performing countless repetitions because you need “more cardio,” really evaluate your strength endurance. Most likely you’ll find that you’ll need to just improve your maximum strength to make everything else occur at a lower relative intensity.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ice baths for recovery

Post-workout ice baths are one of those things that everyone believes in, no matter what the science says. There have been a bunch of ice bath studies, but they’ve used lots of different water temperatures, immersion times, and outcome measures, and the results have been very mixed. This month’s European Journal of Applied Physiology has a study from France’s National Institute of Sport that looks like the strongest evidence yet in favour of ice baths — and offering some concrete advice on water temperature and immersion time.

One key difference from previous studies: they used elite athletes — 41 football, rugby and volleyball players — whose recovery might be expected to be faster than untrained volunteers. They tested four different protocols:

TWI: body-temperature water (36 C) for 15 minutes;
CWI: cold water (10 C) for 15 minutes;
CWT: contrast water (10 C and 42 C), alternating 90-second bouts for 15 minutes;
PAS: no water — just sitting there for 15 minutes.

The exercise they used to induce fatigue and muscle damage was alternating bouts of hard rowing and counter-movement jumps. They took blood samples and tested muscle strength (MVC), jump height, and power produced during 30 seconds of rowing — and they did those tests before and immediately after the exercise, then again one hour and 24 hours later.

As you can imagine, with all those different test groups and protocols, the results are a bit of a jumble. The key result, as far as I’m concerned, is right here:

This is the data for creatine kinase, which is a commonly measured marker related to muscle damage. Its exact significance is often debated, but the authors of this study suggest it’s a sign of “reduced passive leakage from disrupted skeletal muscle, which may result in the increase in force production during ensuing bouts of exercise.” The key: the ice bath outperforms all the other interventions, including the contrast bath.

Of course, nothing is quite that simple. If we look at the performance measures, the picture gets muddier:

What we’re interested in here is the cases where performance returns to “normal” quickly. The asterisks indicate where performance is reduced from the first bout by a statistically significant amount. The broad conclusion we can draw is that both the ice bath and the contrast bath seem to offer some advantages compared to room temperature water or not bath. The main reason I included this data is to show that it’s not a simple, magical effect. It’s complicated. But for practical purposes, this data gives me more confidence than any previous study to support the very strong anecdotal evidence that a sustained cold-water bath — in this case, 15 minutes at 10 C — helps to speed up recovery after hard workouts.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eat fat to burn fat?


Is it possible to eat fat to burn fat?

One of the hardest things for people to get over when it comes to eating a truly healthy diet is that dietary fat is an essential part of eating fat for fitness and weight loss. One of the reasons for this is that the word “fat” just has a bad connotation, and is still connected to body fat. And, I often hear people say that fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrate.

Let’s start with this surprising fact: studies have shown that people eating a diet high in fat will generally lose more body fat and at a faster rate than someone who eats a high carbohydrate, low fat diet.

This is contrary to what we have been taught, and contrary to what the government and other agencies keep telling us. However, it’s true: eating fat does not cause fat gain, and it is quite the opposite that is true!

So how is this true?

Well, it’s all about signals. Eating enough fat in your meals communicates a signal to your brain that you are full, and it’s time to stop eating. Carbohydrates for the most part do not have this same effect, although carbs with fiber will do this (however, there are other problems there that I’ll get into another time!). High glycemic carbs like sugar have the reverse effect, and will actually stimulate hunger!

Here are a few examples of fats that will help you to burn fat on your body:
-Coconut oil
-Animal fat

These fats take longer for your body to burn than carbs. This is where satiety comes in, as well as maintaining high energy levels throughout the day. Eating fats like these will also allow you to get away from the idea that you need “will power” to lose or burn fat, or that you need to spend a lot more time exercising.

It’s also important to mention the insulin factor. High levels of insulin mean more storage of body fat. Carbohydrates generally have your body producing the most insulin to digest. On the other end of that scale, omega-3 fats such as from fish actually help lower your insulin levels.

And, finally and maybe most importantly, fats taste good! (yeah probably didn’t have to tell you this!). You can have your fat and eat it too, despite the common misnomer that if it tastes good, it’s probably bad.

Focus on replacing most of your carbohydrates with healthy fats, and you will be on your way to a fit body!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Runners Beware Dozens report race rash

from Bostonhearld
Quote Of The Day

The Warrior Dash has morphed into the warrior rash for scores of runners who after racing in the muddy, extreme obstacle course at Amesbury Sports Park are now flocking to doctors to get treated for itchy, painful sores on their arms and legs.

“It’s horrible,” said Michelle Pupka, 39, of Oxford, one of 20,000 people who shelled out $40 to $60 to run in the first New England staging of the international, for-profit race held June 25 to 26. “On my ankles it looks like traditional poison ivy but on the rest of my legs are these little red dots all over. It’s crept up everywhere the mud hit.”

“I’m never, ever going to do that (event) again,” said Liz Micallef, 30, of Brookline, who is taking prescription steroids for her poison-ivy-covered legs. "No more mud runs. I’m sticking to pavement."
Dozens of dashers who expected to come home with bruises and sprains are now battling a raging rash.

Many have taken to Facebook, where Warrior Dash races have gained enormous popularity, to tell of severe poison ivy and folliculitis, sometimes called mud wrestlers rash.

“This is probably the worst case of poison ivy that I’ve ever had,” said Macey Apuzzo, 21, of Wallingford, Conn.

The race, held at 36 total sites in the United States, Australia and Canada, features a mud pit near its finish line. But due to torrential rains before the race in Amesbury, nearly the entire 3-mile course — most of it through the woods — was one long mud pit.

“You couldn’t see anything. Everything was covered in mud,” said Tammy Rebello, 39, of Oxford, who is taking drugs for poison ivy and said the mud at times smelled like sewage. Pupka said she detected the odor of manure. "It smelled like a farm."

Lauren Shield, race director for Chicago-based Red Frog Events, producer of the Warrior Dash, said a medical team walked the course, looking for hazards.

“We clear the course as best we can. It’s an outdoor event through wooded areas and the rain was very bad that weekend,” she said. “We’ve never had this happen before. . . . We are doing everything we can to reach out to people individually as situations arise.”

She added that the dirt trucked in for the mud pit was “organic, sifted and manure-free.”

Dr. Jeff Altman, a retired physician at the University of Washington student health center, said it is “absolutely” possible that some of dashers could have contracted folliculitis.

Altman, in a 1990s medical journal, documented his treatment of 18 college students who got pustular dermatitis from a mud-wrestling contest for which a hardware store sold coliform bacteria-tainted dirt.

Meredith Robinson, spokeswoman for Amesbury Sports Park, which will host the Spartan Race next month, said poison ivy is to be expected in the woods, but said there was no sewage or manure along the course.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sleeping Longer Helps Athletes Reach Peak Performance

Dr Mercola

Yet another study has reinforced knowledge of the value of sleep. Research now suggests that sleeping longer can markedly improve physical performance.

Stanford University's male basketball team was asked to sleep for 10 hours a night for around six weeks. They found that their shooting accuracy improved by 9 percent.

According to BBC News:

“During the study period, players stopped drinking coffee and alcohol. They were also asked to take daytime naps when travel prevented them from getting 10 hours of night-time sleep ... The study found that the players ran faster timed sprints (16.2 seconds at the start of the study compared with 15.5 seconds at the end) ... and their fatigue levels decreased. The athletes also reported improved performance during competitive basketball games.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Many Small Meals vs. Few Large Meals

from Mark's Daily Apple

To graze or to feast? According to many fitness “experts,” grazing is supposed to “stoke the metabolic fire,” while infrequent meals “slow your metabolism.” The idea is that eating many small meals keeps your metabolism plugging away at a high rate for the entire day, helping you burn more fat. Conversely, going too long between meals slows down your metabolism, so that when you do eat, your body is sluggish to respond to the caloric load and you end up storing it as fat.

It’s a neat-sounding theory, but it isn’t true.

First of all, there is no metabolic advantage to eating multiple meals. Yeah, your body expends metabolic energy to process and digest food, but it doesn’t matter when or how it’s eaten. You could eat a steak in a single sitting or the same steak cut up into five pieces, each eaten an hour apart, and the total energy expenditure required to process and digest the steak would be identical in both cases. So, assuming macronutrient ratios and caloric content are identical, eating more frequently doesn’t make your metabolism “burn” brighter. If it did, this study would have ruled in favor of increased meal frequency as an effective tool in weight loss for obese patients. But it didn’t.

But wait: eating more frequently keeps you sated, right? If you’re eating more often and keep a cache of snacks on hand, you should be able to keep hunger at bay. This must be true because those 100-calorie snack packs of cookies and chips are so successful, and I always see the trimmest, sveltest folks happily snacking away on them. Why, I remember seeing a cubicle garbage bin positively filled to the brim with 100-cal snack wrappers. Its inhabitant was off for lunch at the time, but with all that healthy snacking, I imagine he or she was fit as a fiddle!

Ha, no. A recent study actually suggests that eating more frequently reduces measures of satiety and fullness in overweight and obese men (the population that most desperately needs satiety, mind you), while eating less frequent, higher-protein meals increases satiety and reduces hunger. This is buttressed by the hordes of anecdotes I receive in my inbox from folks who only achieved freedom from constant hunger when they started eating real, substantial Primal meals and stopped obsessing over frequent, smaller meals.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's All Wrong! The Message to Athletes About What to Eat Needs to Change!

Fron Nell Stephenson

Have you ever flipped through the pages of the latest issue of a running, triathlon, or whichever sports magazine might be most appropriate to you, and actually read what is being broadcast to you, as far as what you should eat and drink?

I did just that this morning.

Aside from all the same old ads that you see in each issue, a couple little bits stood out.

An ad for Gatorade which read: " Every hour a billion cells are replaced. Fuel the next generation."

A quick google search on the product reveals what you'd be fueling that next cellular generation with, depending on which of their products you chose to ingest. They may include:

Brominated vegetable oil (used for, as per their own site, 'keeping flavor oils evenly distributed')
Artificial color (but don't worry, because their site states that ALL the fake colors and flavors are 'qualified for human consumption according to the FDA's requirements', and we all know how important it is to the FDA that we don't eat anything toxic, and that they only 'use as little as possible to get the desired color')
Corn syrup (need I write more?)
Sucralose (because athletes apparently need fake sugar made from a chlorination process?)

2. An article written about eating 'health-boosting foods', the first of which read, verbatim:

'A 2011 study found that having a slushie flavored with sugar syrup pre run can help you run 20% longer than drinking cold water with the same amount of syrup'.

A slushie? Really?

Why does the message that 'athletes burn lots of calories, so they can eat whatever (non food/junk) they want' even exist?

Why would an athlete (or someone who is not an athlete, equally) want to treat their body as a trash bin?

If you're putting high demands on your body for athletic performance and punishing it with acidic, refined, processed non-Food and wondering why your performance is suffering, this could very well be the reason.

On the flip side, if you're eating junk and are performing well nonetheless, imagine how much better/faster/stronger/leaner you might be if you ate real food!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Buy Probiotic

Dr Mercola

Contains specific super-strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
Shows high potency through independent lab test
Works together with prebiotics for improved probiotic performance*
Is stable at room temperature for at least 2 years
Is non-dairy, free from soy, corn, wheat, and gluten, and is non-GMO
Helps maintain a healthy flora, promotes digestion, and supports immune function*
Adapts naturally to the human body due to its human origins
Is acid and bile resistant to naturally survive the stomach and intestinal transit
Produces natural enzymes, vitamins, lactic acid, and hydrogen peroxide
Utilizes nitrogen packaging and is freeze-dried
Comes available in vegetable-based capsules
Is backed by academic and scientific research with patents and trademarks, and awards

Sunday, July 3, 2011

'Macho Man' Randy Savage

By Steve Coogan, USA TODAY

Medical examiner:'Macho Man' Randy Savage died of heart disease

Former professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage died of heart
disease and not the car crash he was involved in, according to an autopsy released on Thursday.

Savage, who hit a tree with his 2009 Jeep Wrangler in Seminole, Fla. on the morning of May 20, had an enlarged heart with severe atherosclerosis of his coronary arteries, the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office reported.

According to, William Pellan, the medical examiner's office director of investigations, said Savage did not sustain any trauma from the crash and that it had nothing to do with his death.

He just happened to be driving when he had a cardiovascular event."

He may have had a heart attack, Pellan said. He may have had some type of arrhythmia and his heart stopped beating, or his heart may have simply stopped beating, he said.

"We don't see evidence of it (a heart attack) because he died right away," Pellan said.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that Pellin tested Savage's blood for drugs and alcohol and that time of the former wrestler's death, he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.031, below the legal limit of 0.08.

Pellan also said Savage also had the painkiller hydrocodone in his blood, the paper reported. But the amount of the drug inside his body did not suggest abuse.

USA TODAY looked at the issue of wrestlers' health in 2004 and again in 2007, several months after Chris Benoit killed his wife and son before committing suicide. The 2007 story noted that based on a 2004 study and follow-up, "at least 70 pro wrestlers 45 and younger died from ailments linked to steroids, illegal drugs and devastating injuries."

It should be noted that Savage, whose real name was Randy Poffo, died at the age of 58 and he was not implicated in any sort of steroid use in either story. Unfortunately, he is another former wrestler who didn't make it to his "golden years" because of heart problems.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I'll Have A Big Mac and Bud Lite

By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

The trip to the fast-food joint that was once all about burgers and fries is increasingly about something that could require you to flash your ID: beer and wine.

•Sonic. Later this summer, the chain plans its first attempt to sell alcohol at two new locations: one in Miami and one in Fort Lauderdale. The Miami unit will sell three types of draft beer, 25 kinds of bottled beer and 10 varieties of wine to customers who eat on its patio — but not to folks in cars, says Drew Ritger, SVP of business analysis. The Fort Lauderdale location will only sell beer and wine inside.

"We look at this as an opportunity to drive evening business in this market," says Ritger, who says there are no plans to expand alcohol sales outside of South Florida.

•Burger King. Besides the three domestic Whopper Bars that serve beer, there are three others that also serve brews in Singapore, Venezuela and Spain, says spokeswoman Lauren Kuzniar. A cold brew at a domestic Whopper Bar fetches about $4.25.

•Starbucks. Four Starbucks coffee shops in the Seattle area now sell beer and wine, and a fifth will begin selling alcoholic beverages in September, says spokeswoman Lisa Passe. Beer goes for $5 a bottle, and a glass of wine for up to $9.

•Pizza Hut. The chain has sold beer for decades in many dine-in locations, and a handful of delivery/carry-out locations offer it, says spokesman Chris Fuller. A brew sells for up to $3.