Triathlon Recovery 101

By Debbie
November 25, 2014 on 1:23 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Product Information, Random Musings, Training | No Comments

This blog brought to you by TriSports Team Athlete Ali Rutledge. During this week of giving thanks, you should also thank your body by giving it the tools to recover better! Follow Ali on Twitter – alaida.

When it comes to triathlon success, recovery is a key component. Here are a few things to help you recover to your best.

  1. Compression - Use after a hard workout to speed up the recovery process. This will promote blood flow and remove toxins from your aching muscles. You can use a variety of socks, calf sleeves (active recovery only – do NOT use if you are just lounging around), tights or recovery pump boots, just to name a few.

    Zensah Argyle Compression Socks

  2. Ice - Used since the beginning of triathlon time, cold water is cheap and reduces soreness. A bath tub, lake or any body of water 55 degrees for 15 minutes will do. Your best result will be after your hard workout. If you have problems tolerating the cold, sipping warm fluids can help.

    Ice can really suck in the short run, but the benefits are awesome!

  3. Massage - You can use your own licensed massage therapist or your own tools for self massage. Today there are many massage tools on the market. Just a few to name are a foam roller, the Stick, or Trigger Point Therapy products. Massage promotes healing by removing old blood with toxins and getting fresh blood flow to the injured areas to promote recovery.

    Work the junk out of those muscles!

  4. Active Recovery - This will promote blood flow and homeostasis if done correctly. An easy spin, low-intensity run or an easy swim can promote recovery to injured tissues. You must leave your ego at home for this one!
  5. Rest - Recovery days, good sleep and a mental boost are imperative for improving athletic performance. We all need physical and mental relief from the stress of training. Doing something different or just a sleep-in day is a good example. You will feel fresh and ready to go the next day.
  6. Nutrition – Within 30 minutes after a hard training session, recovery nutrition is important to repair muscles and rebuild glycogen stores. There are many bars, shakes or just real food from which to chose. Blender bottles work great to mix any drinks. Eat like a champion!!

    Be smart with your nutrition

A training plan is not complete without a good recovery plan.  Being smart about your recovery will be the key to making a happy and healthy triathlete.  Cheers to swim, bike, run and recovery!

Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated!

By Debbie
August 21, 2013 on 11:19 am | In Nutrition Tips, Product Information, Training, Water | No Comments

This blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Nicole Truxes (rhymes with “success”). Check out her blog at www.nicole-stateofmind.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter – nicoletruxes.

It’s heating up here in the desert, as I’m sure it is for much of the country.  Summer time BBQs filled with burgers, watermelons, and margaritas are just around the corner!  Everyone loves summer, with more hours of sunlight, less clothing, great tan lines – especially us triathletes ;) – and (for most) no school!  Even with all we have to look forward to in the summer, all the sweating during those hard miles does take a toll on your body, one that you may not be used to coming out of your winter training.

Getting hot, must hydrate!

Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of our training, and it’s one of the easiest ones to forget.  First thing in the morning, aside from the hunger I’m sure many of you experience, you should be thinking about a glass of water.  You don’t have to overdo it, especially if you have a workout shortly after you rise (gotta beat the heat!), one 4-8 oz glass is fine depending on what you can handle and the duration of your workout.

If you think about it, the adult body is made up of about 60% water; wouldn’t it make sense to make it a key ingredient in our daily nutrition regimen?  Many of the metabolic processes necessary for training and recovery require the proper amount of water to happen, so why wouldn’t you supply your body with this integral piece of training equipment?

Your body is made up of about 60% water

Another important thing to consider is the amount of electrolytes you’re getting.  This word is thrown around a lot, but do you know what all of the electrolytes are and how to figure out if you’re low on any of them?

  • Sodium- the most common, most demonized, but very necessary electrolyte.  Sodium gets a bad rap because of all the high blood pressure and heart disease we have in this country; however, as an endurance athlete you need to be very aware of how much sodium you get because you may not be getting enough!  If you often get confused, or dazed when doing a hard workout (particularly one where you sweat a lot), you’re covered in white, and your skin tastes like salt—you might be in need of some sodium, pronto!  This confusion you’re experiencing is one of the first signs of hyponatremia, which can be very serious if you do not take care of it. When your sodium levels drop in your blood and you do nothing to bring them back up it can cause you to go from confusion to vomiting to more serious things such as cardiac arrest, pulmonary edema, or even death.  This has happened in many of the major marathon events and can even be caused by having too much plain water and not enough electrolyte supplementation.
  • Potassium- just eat some bananas, right?! For the most part, yes.  Potassium is much different than sodium in that when your blood levels first drop, it is difficult to tell that they are low.  It is not until real problems begin and your muscles are already cramping that you know you are very low in potassium.  This can also cause GI distress (mainly constipation) along with the muscle cramps, so be sure to eat your ‘nanners.
  • Calcium- Stress fracture fighter no. 1! It may come as a surprise that some of the most avid runners have some of the lowest calcium and therefore weakest bones.  But running is weight bearing? Yes, running is a weight bearing exercise, but sometimes runners (particularly female) have such low hormone levels that it causes their calcium to go down and therefore their bones become weak and brittle, allowing for stress fractures to happen much more easily.  Calcium can be taken in a supplement daily to help raise these levels and prevent against stress fractures; however, vitamin D is very important to take along with it to help boost absorption into your blood!
  • Magnesium- Seldom talked about, but very important!  Magnesium is a mineral we don’t generally hear a ton about.  However, it is very important to carbohydrate metabolism and muscle strength (two very important things for an endurance athlete).  Magnesium deficiency can decrease endurance by fatiguing muscles and decreasing the efficiency of carbohydrate metabolism.  The symptoms of low magnesium are difficult to distinguish from those of potassium or sodium, so it is important to supplement magnesium along with the other electrolytes!
  • Phosphate- Generally phosphate is not a problem for athletes.  It is very common in our diet and usually not lost in mass quantities when exercising.  The only time this electrolyte is a problem is when an athlete has an eating disorder or other severe disease of some kind, in which case they should seek medical attention anyway.

So that is a quick and dirty breakdown of the electrolytes. Many triathletes supplement with electrolytes caps. A great source of hydration and energy that I like is Fluid Performance. Check yourself every once in a while, monitor your electrolyte intake and determine if you have any of the beginning stages of any of these electrolyte deficiencies.  Not only will this increase your performance, but it could save your life!

Stay hydrated everyone!!

(I’m sure many people have seen this memorable finish…these ladies could have definitely used some electrolytes!!)

BING CHERRIES, A Natural Way to Fight Inflammation

By Debbie
July 17, 2013 on 4:37 pm | In Community, Nutrition Tips | 1 Comment

This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Ed Shortsleeve. Check out his blog at http://itrihardinvegas.tumblr.com/ and follow him on Twitter – vegaschef.

It’s a typical weekend for the typical weekend warrior. Up before the family awakens and a cup of coffee as the sun rises with a small portion of carbohydrate. A quick review of your training schedule reveals a long bike ride followed by a short run. Another “brick” workout that gets you one step closer to your “A” race. The training goes well and you arrive back home just as the family comes creeping down the stairs with sleepy eyes and bad breath. “Good Morning” you say. And a groggy “Good Morning” is mumbled from the family.

Later in the day and possibly even for the next few days, things are happening in your body from that brick workout. Some is good and some is bad, and for many of us some of it is painful. Inflammation, that big word that we hear so much about, affects many athletes in all different sports. It is a frustrating, yet manageable side effect from training. There are medicines that can help fight the free radicals that develop from exercise, but some of us prefer to use nature’s remedies.

Classification and Storage

Bing Cherries are a favorite fruit of many children and adults alike. They are actually classified as a drupe or stone fruit, which is the family of cherries, plums, apricots, nectarines and peaches.  While you may find some of these fruits available all year long, the peak season is summer time. This is when they are at their best in flavor and ripeness. Bing cherries are considered a sweet cherry, best for eating out of hand or using raw in various recipes. When shopping for cherries, search for ones that look large, are deeply colored and firm. Cherries should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag until you are ready to consume. After washing, allow the cherries to sit out until they reach room temperature for maximum flavor. If you somehow can’t finish them all, you can simply place on a sheet pan and freeze (try not to let then touch so they don’t freeze together). Then remove from the pan and place in a seal tight bag to use all year long.

Delicious Bing cherries

Health Benefits

Many of the “red” fruits like pomegranate and Bing cherries contain flavonoids, a pigment that gives them their distinct deep, red color. Flavonoids are a plant based compound with antioxidant properties. In recent years, flavonoids have drawn interest from scientists and athletes alike for their potential benefits on our health such as anti- allergic and anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells against the damaging effects of free radicals that result from stress in the body. A poor balance of antioxidants to free radicals can result in adverse side effects such as inflammation, atherosclerosis and even some types of cancer. The flavonoids found in Bing cherries may help protect against these diseases along with other vital vitamins and enzymes. (Buhler, 2000)

Usage

Bing Cherries are best known as a great, healthy snack for everyone in the family. There are many other options for including Bing cherries in your diet as well. I have used the cherries as a topping for oatmeal along with almonds, Manuka honey and cinnamon for a filling breakfast to keep hunger at bay until lunchtime. If you haven’t heard of Manuka honey, I suggest you read more about it at manukahoney.com. Besides Bing cherries, Manuka honey has become a staple in my diet due to its amazing digestive and topical healing effects. For a healthy snack, try some yogurt topped with granola and Bing cherries. And for lunch, add Bing cherries to your salad for a crisp, sweetness that can round out an otherwise boring green salad. At dinner, try the following recipe for a simple summer time dish to impress even the pickiest eaters.

Pacific Northwest Salmon with Bing Cherry Compote

Pacific Northwest Salmon with Bing Cherry Compote

Ingredients

For Salmon:

2 each, 4-5 oz. salmon filet

1 oz olive oil

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

To taste, salt and pepper

For Compote:

2 cups pitted and halved Fresh Bing cherries(reserve a few cherries with stems for garnish)

Zest from one orange

½ cup orange juice(squeeze juice from orange that is zested)

¼ cup honey (or sugar-in-the-raw)

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon water

Procedure

Pre-heat oven to 350f.

Combine all ingredients for compote in small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until compote has thickened. Keep warm or allow to cool to room temperature. Store extra compote covered in refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use as a topping for pancakes/waffles or serve with grilled chicken.

Coat salmon filets with olive oil, salt/pepper and thyme leaves. Place on baking pan and bake for 7-10 minutes depending on desired internal cooking temperature (suggested medium or medium well which would be around 120-135f internal cooking temperature). Place hot salmon filets on plate, coat with Bing cherry compote and place 2-3 cherries with stem next to salmon for garnish. Add cilantro, parsley or watercress for added color. Enjoy!

Works Cited

What’s for Dinner. (2007, July 11). Retrieved from Komonews.com: http://www.komonews.com/nwa/whatsfordinner/8443172.html

Alden, L. (2005). The Cooks Thesaurus. Retrieved from Stone Fruit: http://www.foodsubs.com/Fruitsto.html

Buhler, D.D. (2000, November). Antioxidant Activities of Flavonoids. Retrieved from oregonstate.edu: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/f-w00/flavonoid.html

Interactive.com. (2012). Bing Cherries. Retrieved from Produce Oasis: http://www.produceoasis.com/Items_folder/Fruits/Bing.html

How to Travel to a Race

By Eric M.
May 29, 2013 on 1:13 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Races, Sponsorship, Training, Training | No Comments

This post was written by TriSports Triathlon Team member Zara Guinard.

So you just signed up for a race that is not within 20 miles of your house; hotel, flight, and rental car are all booked. The next question is, “how do you ensure you arrive at your destination (relatively) stress free, prepared, and ready to race?” You must plan. I mean REALLY plan. First you have Plan A, and then you have Plan B, Plan C, and maybe even a Plan D.

It is my experience in the past few years of traveling to races that things will always go wrong, but you can minimize your stress by arriving well prepared. I always do a little research on the area where I’m staying and find out the projected weather conditions for my time there, a layout of the area such as restaurants near the hotel, and distances to the expo and the airport.

Now that you know what the conditions and weather will most likely be on race day, it’s time to pack. I have a list that I print out (packing list at the end of the article) every time I go to a race. I only cross off an item once it is packed away. Sometimes I don’t need all the items for where I’m traveling, but its comprehensiveness ensures that I won’t absent-mindedly forget something.

I travel with a Rüster Sports Hen House, my wheel bag, and a backpack.

In my bike bag I put everything that I need to race: wetsuit, race suit, bike and run shoes, goggles, nutrition, bike tools, etc. Then in the wheel bag I pack all the rest of my clothes and toiletries. My backpack is my carry on and where I usually keep all my expensive electronic items such as my iPod and Garmin 910 XT.

Okay your bags are packed and you’re ready to go! Wait, what about nutrition?! Traveling to a race can be stressful on your body; you may be switching to a different time zone or your flight may be at an odd hour of the day. So how do you ensure that you are fueling properly to have a great race? That’s right! You plan. When traveling to a race in Florida where I knew that I would be going pretty much all day nonstop, this is what I packed for food:

I made sure to have my dinner food (the brown rice and avocado) with me. That way when I arrived at my destination I could focus on building my bike, and getting to bed, since my race was the following morning.

Okay, so you have your clothes, gear and food. After flying and driving for what seemed like centuries, you have finally made it to the hotel and now you can …rebuild your bike!!! For those who travel often, it is more economical to be able to pack and rebuild your bike on your own. If you have the means, there are often companies that will break down, ship and rebuild your bike for you. I happen to be very protective of my bikes and, as taught to me by my coach Trista Francis of iTz Multisport, I won’t let anyone touch my bike in the break down or re-build process. Only I know exactly how it is supposed to be for race day. Even after multiple assembly processes I still find it helpful to take pictures just in case in that frustrated, foggy, post-travel phase, you accidentally put your fork in backwards…not that I’ve ever done that of course.

Congratulations! You arrived at your destination with everything you need, a functioning bike, and either food for dinner or a contingency plan for the closest restaurant. Now it’s time to relax, hydrate, and enjoy a race outside of your own backyard!

Packing List:

10 Triathlon Tips You Have Never Thought Of (But That Make You Faster!)

By Eric M.
January 23, 2013 on 8:50 am | In Nutrition Tips, Races | 1 Comment

Here’s a blog from Coach Noah, the head coach at T1 Triathlon LLC, who can be found on coachfitter.com.

What easy triathlon tips can you use to become a faster triathlete?  What unusual triathlon tips do pro triathletes give to beginners?  There are lots of lists of triathlon tips out there (eat your Wheaties, be sure to stay hydrated, take your bike helmet off for the run – don’t laugh, I’ve seen people forget that one), but most of those triathlon tips you can think of yourself, or are pretty obvious.

This is a list of triathlon tips I have assembled, focusing on actually useful tips to being a faster triathlete, but ones that I am confident you have not heard before.  On each one of the triathlon tips you can click the links for more detail.

Added Bonus- There are actually 13 triathlon tips for the price of 10!

Pre-Race Nutrition Triathlon Tips: What You Eat Matters

1.Carb-load properly the day before the race:

  • This is one of those things that everyone thinks they know how to do but very few people get right
  • The day before the race focus on eating a LOT of easy to digest (and pass through) carbohydrates!
  • Eat them early in the day (pancakes and syrup?)
  • Your target is 15 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight- this is a LOT.  Think ~2 lb of pasta.
  • Eliminate non-carb foods the day before the race so you are not overwhelmed by calories
  • You can read more details on how to carb load properly for a triathlon.

Swimming: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Swim

2.  Learn how to draft on the swim!

  • It’s not that hard to do, its 100% legal, and it saves a ton of energy.
  • One great spot to draft while swimming is right behind someone- everyone knows this one.
  • The secret great spot for drafting is next to the lead swimmer, but half a body length back.
  • You can see a lot more detail on this triathlon tip here: draft while swimming in a triathlon.

Biking: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Bike

3.  Ride faster in a triathlon by riding on the white line when you are riding alone.

  • On bad pavement it will surprise you how much faster you can bike!

4.  Ride on the fast pavement whenever you can!

5.  Evaluate your triathlon bike fit

  • If you can’t ride for the whole bike leg (however long it takes you to ride whatever distance you are training for) in your aero-bars, you need a better triathlon bike fit.
  • It’s far more important to ride in your aero position for the entire bike leg than it is to buy an aero helmet or even to pedal really hard.
  • You can do an online triathlon bike fit, or go to a good local tri shop,
  • You can even do a DIY triathlon bike fit yourself with a video camera

6.  Learn how to pass other triathletes on the bike efficiently via slingshot passing

  • You will pass a ton of people out there- if you can save 1 second per pass by doing it smartly, it’s worth doing!
  • Ride right up behind the athlete you are passing, then swing around at the last minute, having gotten a good rest while catching up behind the lead rider
  • You have 15 seconds to go from 3 bike lengths behind to “your wheel passing the front wheel of the other athlete” -there is no reason not to use at least 10 of those 15 seconds!

7.  Conversely, you should also learn how to be passed efficiently

  • This is just a reverse slingshot pass
  • Remember you have to drop out of the 3 bike length draft zone in 15 seconds
  • But you might as well do it while directly behind the faster rider so you can rest while dropping back

8.  Use the correct triathlon race tires to have a faster bike split with no added effort.

  • While all tires may look the same (round? Check.  Black? Check) there are huge differences.
  • Some are crazy fast.  Some are slow as riding in mud.
  • A lot of research has been done on tires, and the result is a complete file of rolling resistance data (get it from the link below).
  • There is a bit of a tradeoff with puncture resistance and tire speed, so read this article on how to choose the right triathlon tire for the specific race you are training for.

9.  Use the correct tire sealant in your race tires so you can run fast (and slightly puncture prone) race tires without getting flats.

  • There are a lot of good choices for tire sealants.  My personal preference is “flat attack.”
  • You can read an insane amount of detail about your tri tire sealant choices.

Running: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Run

10.  Do most of your training runs SLOWER

  • Most people do almost all of their runs “at the edge of discomfort.”
  • This is too fast for your day-to-day run training.
  • The much better method is to do almost all of your runs at a very easy, comfortable speed, and finish feeling like you could do a lot more.
  • Then once a week, do a really hard speed workout.
  • This will actually make you a lot faster for races, and GREATLY reduce your recovery time and risk of injury.

11.  Aid station water is NOT for DRINKING

  • Gatorade (or whatever with carbs and salt that they are handing out) is for drinking
  • Water is for pouring on your head and keeping your hat, hair and clothes wet
  • Water is not for drinking and is not for getting into your shoes (harder)

12.  Put ice in a “Michael Jackson Glove” to manage heat

  • Ice makes a huge difference, but its hard to figure out where to put it when running
  • Wear one surgical/latex glove (yes you look kind of silly) and fill it with ice at the aid stations

13.  Develop an efficient aid station routine

  • There are 12 running aid stations in a half ironman.
  • Save a few seconds at each one and it’s 4 minutes off your race time!
  • Keep moving!  If you stop moving you lose time and your legs get cramps.  At least walk, or jog through it
  • Develop a routine and stick to it- this way as you get dumb towards the end you don’t forget something
  • The key thing to keep in mind is to do as little as possible in the aid station itself and to move on and do as much as you can while running.
  • Here are suggestions on a routine that works,

About the author: Coach Noah is the head coach at T1 Triathlon LLC, a coaching company dedicated to meeting the needs of all triathletes, specifically including beginner triathletes, and often working with athletes training for their first Ironman. We had 3 first-time Ironman athletes this year, and one athlete race at Kona 18 months after starting triathlon.   You can read about our success stories, and the services we offer.

This blog entry was brought to you by coachfitter.com, a great service that helps athletes connect with the coaches they fit with in many different sports.

All I want for Christmas is…

By Eric M.
December 18, 2012 on 4:32 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Training, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

By: (guest blogger) Joanna Chodorowska via our friends at CoachFitter.com

No extra pounds around my middle, hips and thighs, or guilt from stuffing myself more than the turkey!  Here are some tips on how to get your holiday treats while keeping it all in perspective And keeping you closer to race weight:

Eat your greens and vegetables. The phyto-nutrients in green veggies combat stress and free radicals caused by stress. The antioxidants in vegetables and fruits help counteract those free radicals.  Dark green vegetables help with stress relief naturally because of the high calcium and magnesium content.  Calcium and magnesium help muscles relax, so get your greens every day! They will also help keep the calories down.

Get your sleep during the holiday season. Every additional hour of sleep you lose each night will make you crave more sweets, treats and simple carbohydrates during the course of the following day.  The blood sugar spikes cause more stress!  Studies show you gain 4% more weight just with 1 less hour of sleep per night, so get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  You’ll feel lighter and less bloated and you won’t feel like those bike shorts or Speedo shrunk.

Make time for exercise! You may not be able to get your 3 hour ride in, or a 2 hour swim or run, but getting 30-60 minutes of high intensity interval training will help keep your stress levels down and your fitness intact. It will also help burn some of those calories you did or will consume. You can also consider hiring a coach who can help you manage fitting a training routine into your busy schedule. For more information on the right coach for you, check out CoachFitter.com.

Double-fist it for the holidays!! Drink one alcoholic beverage, then one glass of water (mineral or seltzer with lime works great!).  You will keep yourself hydrated and you can wake up refreshed rather than tired, nauseous and irritable from that hangover.  Have several parties?  Choose to drink at only one of them.  Training sucks when you are hung-over!

Do not skip meals to save up for the big feast! Skipping meals will just make you overeat at that next meal.  Eat smaller and lighter meals throughout the day by limiting the starches and increase the vegetables. Don’t forget to save room for dessert!  Do you try them all?  Um, yes!  Take only a bite size portion of each dessert onto your plate so you can try each one.  Don’t worry, they won’t all go to your waist and hang over the bike shorts – promise!

You can’t avoid the Holidays, but you can learn to keep the weight gain to a minimum while still enjoying your family, treats and parties.  For this and more sports nutrition tips you can live with, go to www.n-im.net or everydaynutritioninmotion.wordpress.com as well as CoachFitter.com

About the author:  Joanna Chodorowska, Nutrition in Motion, LLC is triathlete and sports nutrition coach working with elite and endurance athletes improving their performance using real food principles and meal plans you can live with and do everyday.

You can also find Joanna Chodorowska listed in CoachFitter.com

Fat Burning by the Numbers

By Eric M.
December 7, 2012 on 2:01 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s time to start thinking about resolutions for next year. If yours have anything to do with nutrition or losing weight, you’ll appreciate this blog from Rick Cohen, M.D. of Core 4 Nutrition. Our friends at Coachfitter sent it our way. If your resolutions include finding a coach and improving your performance, you should definitely check them out!

One of the most powerful things you can do to maximize your long-term health and athletic performance gains is to become a metabolic fat burner.

When fat-adapted, your body’s metabolic engine begins to work more like a fire burning logs instead of twigs or paper. Fueled by fat, your energy system will run longer, stronger and cleaner; every system in your body will benefit from having a more consistent, reliable source of energy that is generated with a minimal amount of metabolic waste (similar to the ash created by burning paper).  Less metabolic waste means lower levels of internal inflammation (the underlying cause of almost every modern, chronic disease), less recovery time, and an improved capacity for both physical and mental fitness.

How you can you tell if you’re a fat-burner?

Based on the metabolic analysis of hundreds of competitive athletes—the majority of whom were physically but not necessarily physiologically fit—we have created a brief questionnaire that should provide some insight into your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel.

Ask yourself:

1.  Can I go four to five hours without eating, or does skipping a meal cause me to suffer from ravenous hunger, anxiety, headaches, brain fog or other common symptoms of low blood sugar?

2.  Do I enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day, or do I experience peaks and valleys that leave me longing for a nap?

3.  Can I exercise in a fasted state (in the morning prior to eating), or exercise for an hour or more without relying on the use of carbohydrate-based foods or drinks?

4.  Am I relatively unconcerned about my body fat content, or do I need to maintain high and constant levels of exercise in order to stay lean?

5.  Are my blood sugar, blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels within an optimal range, without the use of any medication?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, congratulations, your body is being fueled by fat!  If you answered “no” to most of them, don’t despair. Your inner engine can become optimally fuel efficient by implementing some simple, dietary changes and taking a more strategic approach to nutritional supplementation.  Having a solid training program is also essential for optimal metabolic health, if you have thought about looking for a coach and don’t know where to begin, check out Coachfitter.com.

Want to dig deeper?

Consider doing an at-home, metabolic assessment profile that will allow you to quantify your body’s metabolic proficiency.  It can be repeated at regular intervals to scientifically monitor how your dietary and supplemental routines are contributing to your metabolic efficiency.  All that’s required is a painless finger stick and a few drops of blood.  From this small, serum sample, the four physiological factors contributing most significantly to your fat burning status can be accurately evaluated.  These four factors include:

HDL/Triglyceride ratio

This marker is typically used to evaluate your risk of heart disease. It compares the levels of HDL (a protective lipoprotein) to those of triglycerides (a transitional fat made from excess sugars ear-marked for long-term storage) found in your blood.

The goal is to establish and maintain an HDL level higher than that of your triglycerides. Most fat burners have at least a 1:1 ratio of HDL to Triclycerides. Some fat burners have achieved an impressive 2:1 ratio, while that of the typical American is an unhealthy 1:3.

Insulin

Insulin is an important hormone that regulates how efficiently your cells utilize glucose (sugar) for energy.  A fat burner with healthy cells rich in vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids will be very sensitive to insulin and, therefore, require very little of it.  Higher levels of insulin are, of course, toxic to the body.  They also promote the production and storage of excess body fat.

As a fat burner, your insulin level marker should be no greater than 3.0. Those with excellent fat burning engines often measure in at less than 2.0.  The typical American, on the other hand, is frequently more than 5.0.

Glycohemoglobin

This is a marker of your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. As a fat burner, your goal is to score no higher than 5.3. Those who are completely fat adapted will be under 5.0 while the typical American is often over 5.7.  Those with an average glycohemoglobin level of 6.0 are considered diabetic.

C-reactive protein

This is a marker of inflammation that is high for those who eat a carbohydrate-based diet and are low in vitamin D3 and omega3 fatty acids.  Most fat burners have a C-reactive protein level of no more than 1.0. Those who have become completely fat adapted will be under 0.5.  The typical American, over 5.0.

What are YOUR numbers?

Get this metabolic profile and find out!  Order before December 31st and you’ll receive a $25.00 holiday discount.  Just enter FatBurner25 during checkout.

Use your results to establish a metabolic baseline, then make a game-changing plan.  With some dietary guidance and targeted, nutritional support from Core 4 Nutrition, you can become a lean, mean, fat-burning machine!  You’ll enjoy more consistent energy, fewer swings in both mood and motivation, and a heightened sense of overall health and well-being.  In the long run, you’ll become leaner (without dieting or counting calories), stronger, and look years younger than your age!

Questions?  Don’t hesitate to contact me at rick@core4nutrtion.com.

Not So “Sweet” Sweeteners

By Steve A
January 9, 2012 on 11:48 am | In Nutrition Tips | 2 Comments

Walk down the drink aisle at any grocery store and you will notice basically two types of items, Drinks and Diet Drinks. Let’s face it; in today’s society there is a growing concern of becoming overweight and trying to watch your weight. Every corner you turn there is an advertisement for some sort of new diet pill, drug, book or drink. With the thousands of new diet products hitting the market I have little confidence that it is doing anything. It’s easy to see this proof year after year as more diet products come out and the amount of overweight people keeps going up; there is no end in sight. This brings me to my initial point I want to discuss on artificial sweeteners. Diet coke is the second highest selling drink in America, and its sweetener is aspartame. The two biggest artificial sweeteners used in manufacturing today are Aspartame (200 times sweeter than table sugar) and Sucralose (600 times sweeter than table sugar); both products cannot be broken down by our bodies so they do not yield any calories.

You are what you eat!

If you eat protein rich foods, they will allow your body to grow, heal and repair. If you eat carbohydrate rich foods, they will give you energy for just about any activity you encounter. Eating fats provides energy for low intensity activities and basal metabolic systems, as well as many vital bodily systems such as blood pressure regulation. Eating or drinking foods with artificial sweeteners will give no benefit. So why eat or drink foods with artificial sweeteners? We do this in hope to curve that craving for sweet foods so we can consume as much as we want and not gain a pound (I made that last statement laughing). In fact, consuming diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners trick our bodies into eating more food. There are a number of reasons why; one of them is that by consuming an artificial sweetener you trick your body into thinking you have had something with sugar. When you eat or drink something with real sugar, your body is expecting that sweetness to pass into your blood and give a calorie and insulin boost. Because you have consumed a non-nutritive sweetener, however, your bloodstream does not receive that boost of calories and your body desires more calories throughout the day. This is a negative feedback loop. There are several more reasons why artificial sweeteners do not prevent weight gain and instead promote weight gain, but in the interest of time, I will leave it at this one reason.

What can I do?

Read food labels; this past weekend I picked up a can of sparkling water or fizzy water I like to call it. I took a drink and I noticed that this was the sweetest water I have ever tasted. I did not read the label and the drink contained Sucralose along with 25 other chemicals that were not H2O. I didn’t die but I also did not finish that drink. Be careful when you pick up products; read the label and pay attention to the ingredients. Don’t drink or eat foods that do not give any nutritional value. I stand by my belief that “there is no need to consume foods or drinks that don’t provide any benefit.” Do this and your body will thank you.  If you desire something sweet, eat something sweet but don’t over consume.

What you need to know.

At TriSports.com I have tried my best to select nutrition products that only benefit your body. There are no products in our store that contain Aspartame or Sucralose. The products that we sell contain powerful ingredients that help you Swim, Bike, Run or whatever else you are doing. I promise.

The Gluten Free Triathlete

By Steve A
November 22, 2011 on 11:10 am | In Nutrition Tips | No Comments

There is a lot of talk today about different types of diets that claim many desirable health benefits. The two most popular I hear about are the Paleo diet and gluten free diets today were talking only about gluten free diets. Before you go head over kilt into something, I feel it is best to understand what you are going into and for what reasons. You need to understand if you need to be gluten free? What being gluten free means? Why you would want to be Gluten Free? Also what are you going to be losing by going gluten free?

Gluten is everywhere?
Gluten is the major protein that is found in wheat products such as breads and pasta. The gluten protein is found in the wheat seed and is approximately 80% of the protein found in whole wheat products. The gluten protein has elastic properties that give the desired doughy texture to the products it is found in. The gluten protein can also be refined in a wheat mill and used as an additive in many manufactured food products because of its elasticity characteristics, availability, and low cost to refine.

Gluten Free or Not?
There are truly only 2 reasons why a person should be gluten free and hundreds of reasons why people actually choose to be gluten free. The first reason is Celiac disease. Celiac Disease effects about 1% of the population comprised predominantly of white American Women in their mid to late 30’s. Celiac disease is an autoimmunity disease that causes the intestines to inflame and inhibit all absorption of nutrients. Celiac disease if un-treated is a very serious disease that causes dramatic weight loss and needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. The second reason is gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity affects about 10% of the population and is becoming more and more prevalent. The cause of Gluten Sensitivity is unknown but it is likely a cross of gluten allergies and some other unknown stress related problems. The symptoms of gluten sensitivity can range from extreme to mild discomfort, just to be safe this is something that needs to be discussed with your doctor.

Health Benefits of Gluten Free
If you lie outside of the 11% of the population that has been diagnosed with a gluten problem and you choose to be gluten free there are a number of health benefits. These health benefits include weight loss, and a leaner body composition. I personally do not believe that it is the removal of gluten from the diet that gives you these health benefits. The benefits of you are seeing come from decreasing the amount of processed foods you eat daily and from preparing food from home. If you are going to go gluten free you are making a life change that is going to cause you to be more conscious of what you are putting into your body. From an athletes perspective this is key to performance gains and life long health regardless if you remove gluten or not.

Health Benefits of Gluten
If you took the time to read the last paragraph then you understand now that the health benefits from being gluten free are not actually from being gluten free. The health benefits are from taking the time to see what you are eating, preparing foods from home and by limiting the amount of processed foods from the diet. Gluten is not bad for you, it does not make you fat or sick, heavily processed foods and inappropriate portion sizes are most likely the culprit.

Take Home Message
If you have a serious gluten problem that a doctor has diagnosed then always follow what they say. If you are the other 89% and are looking for performance and health gains you need to make the decision to go gluten free all together which is a difficult task and takes time to become efficient at. Or the other option is you can slow down daily, don’t eat out so much, take the time to prepare foods at home and limit the amount of processed foods in your diet. Option 2 is what I’ve chosen, and I think if you give it a good old college try you will find that it’s not all that hard to do. Slow down, and eat well!

Carbohydrates – a Triathlete’s Best Friend

By Steve A
October 26, 2011 on 12:28 pm | In Nutrition Tips | No Comments

In the world we live in today there is an increasing talk about carbohydrates. The truth is that carbohydrates really are the endurance athlete’s best friend, without them we could not swim, bike or run with any bit of enjoyment or proficiency.  Without carbohydrates, our capacity for endurance would just about disappear. So the question on everyone’s mind is how many carbohydrates do I need? To answer this we first need to understand what carbohydrates are and what they do in our bodies.

What is a Carbohydrate?

To the endurance athlete, carbohydrates are basically either glucose, fructose or some combination of the two (there are more types of carbohydrates, but for this we are only going to talk about those two). Carbohydrates can be linked together to form different types of sugars or chemical structures such as sucrose (glucose linked with fructose), also know as table sugar. Carbohydrates can also be linked together to form more complex molecules like Amylose or Amylopectin which is basically a long string of glucose molecules linked together and are commonly found in plants.  Carbohydrates are found in foods like fruit, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, grains and sweets. Carbohydrates can be classified as either Simple, like in cookies and soda, or Complex, like in whole wheat bread or pasta.

What does it do in the body?Carbohydrates begin to break down into a digestible form once they enter the mouth. Your saliva contains an enzyme called amylase that begins to break down complex carbohydrates into a more simple form preferred by the small intestines. Next, carbohydrates are moved down into your stomach where they are further broken down into a digestible form called chyme. This mix of partially digested food is then released slowly into your small intestines where it is broken down further into the simplest form, glucose. Glucose now can be absorbed into your blood stream. Once glucose is in circulation, your muscle cells and liver can begin to uptake glucose with a little help from our friend insulin. Inside the cell, glucose is either made into glycogen for storage or used for energy in glycolysis during exercise. Once glucose has entered glycolysis, it can be used to make energy anaerobically for a short period of time or it can be used to fuel the citric acid cycle at medium to medium high aerobic efforts. Depending on your exercise intensity, your body will begin to burn a blend of fat and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not 100% essential, but for an endurance athlete they are critical. Without carbohydrates, it would take a long time to restore glycogen levels to an acceptable range after training.

How much do I need?

Now that you have the gist of what a carbohydrate is, we can discuss how much an endurance athlete needs. Typically an endurance athlete needs 50-65% of their diet from carbohydrates, with less than 10% of those carbohydrates coming from a simple form. Here is what I recommend:

Training time                      Carbohydrate grams/pound body weight

1 hour/day                          2.7-3.2 g/lb

2 hours/day                        3.6 g/lb

3 hours/day                        4.5 g/lb

4 hours/day                        5.4-5.9 g/lb

As an example, if I am a 180lb man and I am training 2 hours per day, 180lb x 3.6g/lb=648 grams of carbohydrates. I recommend splitting these up through each meal of the day, so for 5 meals that is 129g per meal. Since there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate, that is about 520 calories per meal from carbohydrates.

The beautiful human machine is complex and there is no owner’s manual, but hopefully this helps you understand how things work a little better. Now go out there, eat carbs and train hard!

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