Home / Athlete

Athlete

Ut wisi luctus ullamcorper. Et ullamcorper sollicitudin elit odio consequat mauris, wisi velit tortor semper vel feugiat dui, ultricies lacus. Congue mattis luctus, quam orci mi semper

Maximize Nutrition with Proteins

Protein is a powerhouse of a macro nutritions

  • Helps to create muscles, organs, nails and hair
  • Helps your cells to communicate
  • Facilitates muscle contraction
  • Transmission of nerve signals
  • Protein makes up
    • Immune molecules
    • Blood cells
    • Hormones, Enzymes and new protein cells
Protein is made up of chains of amino acids and each protein has its own unique combination of amino acids.  This explains how proteins serve such a vast role in the body and emphasizes why it is CRITICAL that you get your protein from a variety of sources, as each offers something unique.  The body needs all of these things.

Amino acids are broken down to build tissue, signal metabolism and a plethora of other processes.

Fyi.  Your DNA (again, everyone is different ... ) tells the body how to create the right proteins for nearly EVERY PROCESS in the body that occurs.  In order for the body to accomplish what the DNA is "programmed" to do, there much be plenty of amino acids available.  Even missing just ONE amino acid will stop a protein from doing it's job.

There are 20 amino acids.

Many of the 20 amnio acids can be synthesized in the body.  There are eight amino acids that you are unable to make.  We must get them from our food, thus they are called the essential amino acids.  Fact: animal proteins contain all eight of these amino acids.  There are also several complete plant proteins, but not all of these proteins are available in these  non-animal foods.  The human body is not designed to absorb them.  This might lead to plant based protein eaters not getting all of what they need and leading to deficiencies if they are not aware of this fact and supplementing accordingly. FYI.  New studies are showing that it is not the "red meat" that is causing all the issues (cancer and heart disease), but the fat composition of the red meat.  So again, the quality of the meat can make a huge difference.  As with all things in the food chain, red meat serves a purpose and is beneficial if consumed correctly and cleanly.  Grass-fed happy cows and that are "handled well" would be a great example of a source of red meat that is "clean" and of high quality.

High quality protein

  • grass-fed beef
  • pasture raised eggs
  • wild-caught salmon
  • organic vegetables

Protein is an essential structural component of all hormones.

  1.  Protein is digested
  2. Insulin acts as a gas pedal
  3. Glucagon acts as the break
  4. Protein doesn't have much sugar in it so ... a lot of protein without "sugar" causes hypoglycemia (blood sugar drops)
  5. To slow insulin down, arginine (amino acid from protein), tells insulin to stop stealing all the glucose out of the bloodstream
  6. For those with insulin resistance, one meal a day with only protein helps to keep the blood sugar from swinging so much

How Much Protein Do You Need

Low Protein Diet (less than 50 grams a day)
  • Decreases prolactin, growth hormone, estrogen, thyroid hormones, and insulin
  • Stimulates the stress response
  • Increases body fat and fatty liver
High Protein Diet
  • Can be damaging to the kidneys
  • Increase in body fat
  • NON ATHLETES: more than one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight
Protein consumption might need to be unique per individual depending on the particular imbalances going on, such as being anemic. There are a lot of plant proteins that vary in amino acid composition and bioavailability.  This means how much protein the body is actually able to be digested and processed in the human body.  Please recognize that ALL proteins, plants as well ... are a food source for all animals.  Thus, in common sense terms, different plants and animals are designed to "feed" different animals more efficiently.  This is how mother nature works.  Just because we can pick it and eat it doesn't mean that we were designed to digest and utilize the plant nutrients.

Best Plant Proteins:  Complete and Highly Bioavailable

  • Spirulina
  • Hemp
  • Soy
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
Other plant proteins, while they aren't complete, when added to the above listed help to increase protein completeness and value.
  • Brown rice
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Tahini

It is not necessary to eat a complete protein at every meal, to work to ensure that you get all the amino acids (a variety of protein including a completely protein) every day.

Plant proteins ... the benefits

  • Provide a host of phytochemicals or plant nutrients = biologically beneficial compounds found in plants.
  • The deep colors
    • Bioflavonoids:  anti-oxidants that protect the body against stress
      • citrus, onions, tea, parlsey, wine, soy, and dark chocolate.
    • Isothiocyanate:  sulfur containing nutrients help fight cancer and combat stress in the body.
      • cruciferous vegetables:  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale
    • Carotenoids:  Yellow and orange pigments that act as precursors to vitamin A such as beta-carotene and lycopene.  They may play a role in preventing some cancers.
      • Carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes
    • Anthocyanins: Blue and purple pigments that are a form of flavonoid.  They scavenge free radicals and acts as antioxidants, helping to reduce stress in the body.  They may play a role in preventing heart disease.
      • Blueberries, edlerberries, blackberries, purple and red grapes
    • Polyphenols:  Flavonoid which prevent cancer cells from creating new blood vessels, reducing stress, protecting from ultraviolet radiation, reducing inflammation, and p rotecting the heart.
      • Tea, cinnamon, coffee and many fruits and vegetables
    • Chlorophyll:  green pigment found in all plants. Component in vitamin A, C, E, and K as well as magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and fatty acids. This nutrient also helps to repair DNA and keep it from mutating, which may help to prevent cancer.
    • Phytosterols:  may help block uptake of dietary cholesterol
      • Wheat germ, rice bran, sesame oil, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
    • Lignans:  phytoestrogens found in seeds and plants.  They may decrease levels of testosterone but have been shown to be beneficial in keeping blood sugars more stable (diabetes). Also have been shown to improve fatty liver.  Lignans can interrupt the circulation of estrogen in the GI tract in two ways, as a dietary fiber that binds to estrogens and as a compound that affects the composition of intestinal bacteria, reducing enzyme activity which lowers levels of free estrogen.  Dietary fiber also increases the concentration of globulin in the blood which binds to sex hormones and reduces the levels of free estradiol (rendering them inactive).  This can help with females that are estrogen dominant.
      • Flaxseed
      • Males with low testosterone will want to avoid
      • Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome might benefit

Plant proteins ... the down side

Plant protein comes packaged with carbohydrates.  (Animal protein comes packaged with fat.)

Too many carbohydrates in the diet can contribute to inflammation and blood sugar imbalance.

Plants are not defenseless.  They are designed to prevent creatures from feasting on them.  These compounds are known as antinutrients.  These antinutrients can keep us from absorbing all the nutrients in the plants and can cause side effects for people that are sensitive to them or have hormonal imbalances.
  • Phytate or phytic acid: primary storage compound of phosphorous in plants.  It is known to bind minerals in the GI tract Grains, keeping them from being absorbed.   This can lower iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium levels.  It can also make it harder to digest proteins and fats by inhibiting digestive enzymes.  Phytic acid also has some benefits such as scavenging heavy metals.  Also, phytic acid slows digestion down so it may help balance blood sugar levels.
    • The highest sources of phytic acid is from beans, soy, sesame and rapeseed oils.
  • Oxalate or Oxalic Acid: Can bind with calcium and other minerals making them insoluble and decreasing their bioavailability. Consumption of high oxalate foods my cause decreased bone growth, kidney stones, renal toxicity, diarrhea, and impaired blood clotting.
    • Rhubard, tea, spinach, and parsley (asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collards, lettuce, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, coffee, beets, etc.  It
  • Goitrogens:   Make it harder for the thyroid to absorb iodine because the compete with iodine for entry into the gland.  They also weaken the activity of the enzyme thyroid peroxidase which is required for conversion of T4 and T3.  However, in common sense terms, you would have to eat TWO POUNDS of kale in order to have an impact on your thyroid.  For those with thyroid issues, the vegetables to avoid are raw brussels sprouts and collard greens.   Cooking decreases the affect.
    • Cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli
  • Lectins: present in high levels in legumes.  Lectins are able to bind or clump together red blood cells, which can cause blood clots in coronary arteries, blood vessels to the lungs and smaller blood vessels in the GI tract.  They can also interfere with nutrient absorption from the intestine.  And they may encourage bacteria overgrowth in the GI tract.
    • Black beans, soybeans, lima beans, etc and grain products
  • Glycoalkaloid: antinutrient produced by the nightshades.  For people that are sensitive to nightshades, consumption of these foods can cause depression, anxiety, indigestion, joint pain, and anemia.
    • Potato, tomato, peppers, eggplant, tobacco, and goji berry.  Potatoes are the highest producers.
  • Heavy metals:  found the soil that plants are grown in.  They have no biological function and highly toxic.  Heavy metal build up have been linked to breast, endometrial cancer, endometriosis, and spontaneous abortion, preterm deliveries and still births, and low birth weight.
    • Arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium
    • Aluminum has been shown to damage nerve tissue and may contribute to Alzheimer's.
  • Soy:  90% of soy is genetically modified. Soy is hard to digest because it has trypsin inhibitors which inhibit digestive enzymes. Fermentation helps with the digestion but not completely.  This is why miso and tempeh are recommended over others like tofu.  Phytoestrogens (from soy) have been implicated in infertility, testosterone deficiency, and thyroid suppression.  Soy in baby formula may contribute to early puberty, asthma, thyroid disease, and food allergies, and behavioral problems.  Some processes required to package soy protein requires using acid washing in aluminum tanks in order to remove the antinutrients.  This leaches aluminum into the product.
Antinutrients can be decreased by soaking, fermenting, heating, sprouting, and milling or grinding.  Soy is very resistant to many of these methods. With balanced protein consumption from the plant world, adequate protein can be consumed, though supplements can be helpful.   Sources: 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27459444 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22412075 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307518 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15927927 5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22470009 6. http://www.nature.com/articles/srep25145 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9605218 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264239/ 9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23553645 10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12083319 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12016126 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15113961 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12016126 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15113961 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11916349 14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11142531 15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24460407 16. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0001148 17. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.5635/full 18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11445478 19. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09637486.2016.1161011 20. http://lifestyleworksclinic.com/Estrogen%20Metab%20ANSR%20Research.pdf 21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2266880/ 22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153292/ 23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26946249 24. http://het.sagepub.com/content/5/1/15.short 25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26094520 26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27479193 27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12639286 28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21325465 29. Van Wyck JJ and other. The Effects Of A Soybean Product On Thyroid Function In Humans. Pediatrics, 24, 752-60 30. Poley JR and Klein AW. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1983 May;2(2):271-87 31. Freni-Titulaer LW and others. Am J Dis Child 1986 Dec;140(12):1263-1267  

Read More »

Endurance Triathlon Strength Training

GOOD ARTICLE

http://www.bonniekissinger.com/get-faster-with-strength-training/

STEP 1:  Trans Ab Test

https://youtu.be/pBW16_q4cLQ

 HIP Anatomy and Strength

https://youtu.be/l8rVI-5WhEM

Strength Work for SI Joint

https://youtu.be/uo1kFryOMlU

Sample Strength

[box]Plank / shoulder protract/retract. 1 min x3 Globet squats. 3 sets of 12. Standing reverse fly. 3 sets of 12 (5 pounds) Leg Press. 3 sets of 12. Cross arm cable pull. 3 sets of 12 (light weight) Dead lift. 3 sets of 12. Standing single arm row. 3 sets of 12 (light weight) Standing double arm row. 3 sets of 12 (light weight) Cable/band hamstring kick back. 3 sets of 12. Medium weight with correct mechanics. [/box]

Single DeadLifting

https://youtu.be/z4yJ7mGVvJE  

Read More »

The Dash in the Middle Matters

We talk about goals. I want to do this. I want to do that. I want to lose weight. I want to do a marathon. I want to be a better mom and human being. I want to fix the anxiety. We set goals. We have these big things that we want to do. We can get really wrapped up in that the end looks like. When we begin ... most of the time we already have set the expectation of what success looks like. And it is usually borrowed from somewhere/someone else .... We might become very rigid in what that looks like.  Become very attached to "creating" that exact thing or how we perceive it to "look".  Like... my 401K needs to have this amount of money it in because that is the only way I'm going to have security when I'm older.  Or .... my kid has to turn out to gotten all good grades and went through college and got a good job and a good marriage in order for me to check mark that I was a good parent.  Or ... I have to hit my marathon goal to prove that I am a good enough athlete, that I'm not slow and pathetic".  I think that some amount of that is important. To hold the line. (I don’t believe in everyone gets a participation ribbon, sometimes the line needs to be far enough that some fail. So the lessons are learned). Goals are GREAT. But the truth is that everything is changing all the time.  Facts of science. And it’s just common sense that if that is true, hahaha, which it is, then the end picture if you will, has a high likelihood of looking different than what you envisioned when you started.  You almost want to really embrace this because it means (proves) that you did change.  Because we want to change.  If the goal is big enough, and heart felt ones always are ... you have to be different in order to accomplish it.  Thats growth.  You are either growing or you are dying.  (THE DASH)  We need to learn how to be flexible with those changes so we roll with the slight adjustments along the way. That is where faith comes in. Faith that when you GET ON THE ROAD, and work your ass of to go down the road, hopefully faster than slower, you don’t freak the heck out on the slight detours that might just gift you with most awesome stuff .... That lack of faith or freaking out at the detours can very well cause you to cheat yourself out of something glorious or the whole flipping goal. DO NOT FREAK OUT HAVE FAITH (plus be brave, look at what’s in front of you, pick up what you need, use the darn thing, and continue forward) I do believe that all our goals, if we look close enough, have ties to our heart. “I want to lose this stupid 20 pounds!”. DEEP down I believe this stems from the #heartgoal of wanting to develop better self love activities, take better care of ourselves, love ourselves more, do the right things, etc. I do not believe that we REALLY want or are designed to drink our life away, or play small all the time or live a boring ass life that doesn't make a dent anywhere.  (A positive dent thank you very much!)  Yeah, a lot will get hung up on fitting in the cute jeans, tri shorts, etc .... but I do truly believe that underneath that is the TRUE DESIRE to love ourselves more so we see (outwardly shine) a more attractive version of ourselves. It is the visual feedback that we accomplished the REAL CHANGE we wanted,  the self love habits accomplished. It’s the journey that matters. We begin. And we end. We start out gloriously perfect. We ALWAYS have the part of ourselves that is gloriously perfect and bright (we just cover it up). And we will always die. What you can influence with the “dash”. What you do in the middle is what matters. Did you take the detour and help a stranger, perhaps save a life and grace yourself a bit too ... or did you freak the f out and make life harder on yourself and those around you? THE DASH MATTERS. What you do with the dash is what brightens life. What graces others. What dictates not the end number or the end goal, but how big of a smile there was.  What gets WRITTEN ON YOUR TOMBSTONE is the dent you make.  What do you want written on yours? This is why I tell my athletes, GET THE BEST RACE PICTURE EVER! It represents all the blood, sweat and tears that it took to get there. It represents the DASH! The Journey. Doesn’t matter if you got on the podium or were dead last. THE DASH MATTERS  

Read More »

Eat better to sleep better

WHAT WE EAT MATTERS

We can set yourselves up for a night filled with rest by padding our diet with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that support serotonin, a brain chemical that contributes to relaxation and sleep.  Additionally, we can consume foods that naturally contain melatonin.  Here is a quick run down of the biggest players in the sleep chemistry world.
  1.  Magnesium:  Almonds, cashews, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, salmon, yogurt
  2. Melatonin:  Bananas, cherries, flaxseeds, orange bell peppers, raspberries
  3. Serotonin:  Bananans, kiwis, pecans, pineapples, plums, tomatoes, walnuts
  4. Omega-3s:  Eggs, flaxseeds, salmon, sardines, trout, walnuts, yogurt
  5. Potassium: Acorn squash, avocados, bananas, salmon, sweet potatos
  6. Tryptophan:  Eggs, spinach, turkey
  7. Vitamin B6:  Avocados, bananas, bulgur, pistachios, salmon, rice, sesame seeds
  8. Vitamin D:  Eggs, mushrooms, salmon, sardines, turkey, yogurt
As you can see, this is a fairly easy list of foods to incorporate into your daily nutrition.  And a big shout out to the green smoothie that I highly recommend.  Info here .... www.bonniekissinger.com/greensmoothie, which contains a good amount of these foods.

Read More »

#62 How Not to F Up Your Ironman Season, the biggest mistakes triathletes make

[podcast src="https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5633022/height/90/width/480/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/88AA3C/" height="90" width="480" placement="top"]What will get in the way of a successful (successfully executed)

What is a Successful Ironman Season

  1. Healthier and happier in the other side
  2. Not divorced, family not disgruntled
  3. Evolved into the next version of yourself
  4. Meet goals
  5. Managed yourself well in training AND racing

Habits that Really Get in the Way of a Successful Ironman, and may result in a DNF

  1. Not doing it for yourself or the healthier whys.  You are not “a real triathlete” until you do an ironman.  Peer pressure. Doing it for Status.  Unhealthy drive to do the really hard things to prove that you are good enough.
    1. Dreamboard or vision board.  YOU HAVE TO REALLY WANT IT.  For yourself for it to be enjoyable and “successful”. And not a shit show.
  2. Losing track of your why
    1. Dreamboard
  3. Not resting and recovering enough. Utilizing too aggressive of a plan, some plans cycle 3 weeks on and one recovery.  Some (ours) do two weeks on, one easier.
    1. Acknowledge that recovery is mandatory and do it.  (don’t complain about it)
    2. Have a plan that works for your lifestyle, life demands, etc
    3. Listen to your body, have a sounding board and alternative activities that are more “rest like” that are productive but won’t tear you down.  Wear you down.  Drag you down.  
  4. Not be consistent and disciplined.  Not get up in the am.  Staying up too late.  Have that 3rd glass of wine.
  5. Not learning the ever important nutrition discipline.  You need to be very consistent with what you try and make small changes.  Learn to ask your body specific questions in order to know how to fix the things that BEGIN to go sideways (before your yacking in the john)
  6. Not understanding the principles of hydration/electrolytes fueling
  7. Injury. How to communicate to coach (or …) and how to fix early before it becomes a big darn deal.  THIS IS A BIG ONE.
  8. Lack of strength training and self care.  Not fucking doing your yoga or stretching.  Ironman is a lot of motion in one dimension → injury. Strength training keeps all joints CENTERED.  Running, biking (in general) tend to not unless your form is PERFECT.
  9. Not honoring limitations
  10. Not preparing for course specifics such as bike elevation gain or hot runs, choppy water, wind.
  11. Not learning some technical aspects, mostly concerning the bike.  Bike stations, tire changing, dropped chain and generally not having a lot of bike handling skills.
  12. Not training smart, like heart rate training.
  13. Driving too hard, working too hard.
  14. Not having a coaching.  (Coral’s example of her first ironman. Sounding board, etc).  Or expecting/thinking that you can travel the EXPONENTIAL LEARNING CURVE by yourself.  The books and groups are awesome, however … if you are not perfect or slightly cra cra or identify with being a hot fucking mess … you might want to get a coach. Namaste.  There are some great structure programs with support groups that provide great plans.  However, they do not have tailored help and instruction for those that have specific needs.  Do you have issues like swim anxiety or hip issues …. Because in ironman, little issues become big fat issues fairly quick.  And might end a season or make a race a complete crap show.

Read More »

#59 Ironman Triathlon Special Needs Bags

[podcast src="https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5564695/height/90/width/480/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/88AA3C/" height="90" width="480"]

What to do with all of the bags you receive at your Ironman race

What the #?$% do I do with all these bags?! You just checked in at your Ironman race as are headed back to your hotel/condo wondering why did they give me all of these bags – Do I need them? What goes in them?   Where do I need to bring them and when*?  This can seem a bit overwhelming at first thought, so let’s demystify the process. There will be 5 bags, each with a specific purpose to be utilized in a particular time and place:
  • Pre-swim/dry clothes
  • Swim to bike (T1)
  • Bike special needs
  • Bike to run (T2), and
  • Run special needs.
The bags will either come pre-numbered or you will receive a sticker sheet with your race number to place on the bags.  It is best to think about what you want to put into these bags well ahead of time.  Make a checklist for each bag so that you will not forget a single item.  Lists are a way to keep a sense of control at a time when tensions can be high.  Having this control and order will go a long way to staying calm during your final race preparation.  Let’s take a look at each bag. Morning Clothes Bag – This bag is for your “street” clothes you wear to transition on race morning and/or your dry clothes for after the race.  Don’t underestimate how great it will feel to get on some dry clothes after being in clothes that can be wet and rather gross for so many different reasons.  ;)  One item that is always a post-race favorite are flip-flops (aka “slippers”, if you’re in Kona). Bike Gear Bag – This bag will be placed in T1 during the gear check-in and will have everything that you need for the bike leg.Transition_bags
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses
  • Socks
  • Cycling shoes
  • Chamois cream
  • Sunscreen (this is often available in T1)
  • Arm warmers/coolers (and any other special clothing)
  • Race belt with number (if required to wear it during the bike leg)
  • Nutrition (calories, hydration, caffeine, and electrolyte tabs – if not stowed on the bike)
  • Cycling race kit (if not worn during the swim leg)
Run Gear Bag – This bag will be placed in T2 during the gear check-in and will have everything that you need for the run leg.
  • Visor/Hat
  • Running shoes
  • Sunglasses (if not worn on the bike)
  • Race belt with number (if not worn during the bike leg)
  • Nutrition for the run (calories, hydration, caffeine, and electrolyte tabs – if you plan to carry some)
  • Body Glide
Bike Special Needs – This bag will be available to you, usually right around the halfway point of the bike.  This bag will be dropped off race morning*.  Some items for this bag include nutritional items and some basic “oh crap” bike repair items.  Know that these repair items are purely back-ups and you should carry them and more on the bike with you.
  • Nutrition – bottles of your special sauce, gelsbarscaffeine, and electrolyte tabs, etc.
  • Something yummy – if things aren’t going well, it can be nice to have a special treat that you know will sound good.  I always put a king size Snickers Bar in my special needs bag, just in case.
  • Spare tubes/tubular tire
  • CO2
  • Inspirational note or picture.  This is always nice to have…  You can even write a note to yourself with some words of encouragement.
Run Special Needs – This bag will be available to you, usually right around the halfway point of the run.  This bag will be dropped off race morning. Some items for this bag include nutritional items and comfort items.
  • Nutrition – bottles of your special sauce, gelsbarscaffeine, and electrolyte tabs, etc.
  • Something yummy – if things aren’t going well, it can be nice to have a special treat that you know will sound good.  I always put a king size Snickers Bar in my special needs bag, just in case.  Yep, I put one in each of my special needs bags.  J
  • Comfort items – extra pair of socks, long sleeve t-shirt, etc.
  • Vaseline/Body Glide
What you put in your particular bags is a very individual decision.  You have control over what you want out there on race day.  Know that Murphy’s Law is always in effect during those precious 17 hours.  I like to have a system of redundancies.  Think of a squirrel stowing nuts away for the winter.  Before I had laser corrective surgery, I had contact lenses stashed in every bag…  It is better to pack it and not need it, then to leave something out because you “probably won’t need it”.  Also, don’t forget to fully utilize your family and friends as Ironsherpas.  They will want to help and giving them a specific task, i.e. carrying your equipment and/or dropping off your special needs bags will give them a mission and save you the walk up the road. *Be sure to read the athlete guide to confirm when and where to deliver each bag.

Read More »

Electrolytes

 

Athlete Electrolyte and Hydration 101

(candid notes from the podcast.  Listen!!) INTRO Coach BK and Endurance Athlete / Nutritionist Rachel Shuck, chat about Electrolytes in a 101 kind of fashion.  What the runners and triathletes need to know to perform well, be healthy and be safe. BACKGROUND MAIN - What are electrolytes GOOD DESCRIPTION:  Active.com Electrolytes are minerals that, when dissolved in water, break into small, electrically charged particles called ions. Present wherever there's water in your body (think blood, cells and cell surroundings), electrolytes regulate your body's fluids, helping to maintain a healthy blood pH balance, and creating the electrical impulses essential to all aspects of physical activity -- from basic cell function to complex neuromuscular interactions needed for athletic performance. The water then serves as a conductor, allowing ions to move across membranes and carry fluid, nutrients and waste. In the process they trigger nerve impulses and muscle function and allow ions in the blood to neutralize lactic acid as well as other acids dumped into the bloodstream as waste. OR
  • Facilitate thoughts
  • Facility all movement
  • Control h2o
  • Control timing and sequence of “events”
-To be a bit geekie, electrolytes are ions (particles with a charge on them) that control movement of molecules. -Na, K, Mg, Ca are all positively charged -Chlorides, Phosphates, Sulphates, Carbonates are all negatively charged. -The ions (+ -) accumulate in the watery blood system of our body. All of our cells use that (+ -) charge differential as a driving force when they isolate (permit) some ions on the inside of the cell and others on the outside. In laymen terms:  Electrolytes ring doorbells and open doors.  Stuff goes in and out. Main Players are: Sodium - help "excite" nerves and muscles Chloride - help "excite" nerves and muscles Calcium - aids muscle contraction Magnesium - aids healthy cell function Potassium - helps regulate pH balance Phosphate - helps regulate pH balance What is sweat? NA 0.9 m/L, K 0.2 g/L, Ca 0.015 g/L, Mg 0.0013 g/L, trace elements, and obviously most h2o NOTE:  Don’t think linearly when looking or listening to the percentages mentioned of the elements and think that they are prioritized as Na more important and Mg less. YO!!!  Did you know that 4 - 10% of your water gets replaced with “fresh” water everyday.  Blood is approx 93% water, muscle is about 73% water and body fat is about 10% water.
YO!!!! Also, did you know:  during the metabolic process, you make your own water!  When muscles burn glycogen (fuel for the mitochondria), they release about 2.4 units of water for every 1 unit of muscle glycogen. :)) COOL UH?!?!  This helps the body protect itself against dehydration.
DRINKING As a rule of thumb we need to be drinking Body Weight x .31.  In long distance biking we say about a bike bottle an hour.  Tho these numbers are very individualized.  This you just need to figure out and train with consistently.  It really depends on your sweat ratio.  Which a good coach can do. NOTE:  Electrolytes ARE NOT Vit C or Vit B or or or   … soooo.  Products (and some fancy products) that use the work “hydrate” but have no Na, Ca, Mg or K (chloride comes with them) in them is misleading for electrolyte replenishment, aka helping you to hydrate or USE h2o.  Vit C does not help you absorb.
Interesting Factiod.  If you don’t have enough sodium, your body produces a hormone, ADH that helps to prevent you sodium to dip too low.  This hormone promotes inflammation in your arteries. HEED THIS ADVICE.  Do not take NSAIDS when it’s hot and your training/racing.  The prostiglandins produces are large molecules and are damaging to the kidneys. NOTE:  You can’t “stock up” with electrolytes.  It doesn’t work like that.  The kidneys are highly involved.  Let’s assume they are working up to par.  You can fill up the tank, but not stock up.  The body will balance everything out and get rid of what it doesn't need at that point. BACK GROUND INFO: http://www.bodybio.com/content.aspx?page=elyte-electrolyte-101 The membrane of every cell is composed of fat and acts as an insulator. By encouraging more of the sodium ions to accumulate in the blood stream, outside the cell (with potassium on the inside), they build up a charge on either side of the cell wall. That charge separation then becomes the driving force for all cells to be able to move the life giving materials in and out of the cell. It’s important to understand this because all the electrolytes are vital for cellular function and especially necessary for high performance. Simply put, without them we could not exist... even with the absence of just one of the basic 4 electrolyte minerals, we would be history. The list of functions that electrolytes control is endless but include; temperature control / fluid level / cardiac arrhythmia / respiratory rate / digestion / fluid transport across cells / ion transport / renal function (bladder control) / neurological function / signal transduction / thought / memory/ all the senses both gathering information and then transporting that message to the brain and to the muscles including the sense of touch / energy production / glucose metabolism etc. etc. It is easier to count the stars in the sky than to list all the functions in the body controlled by electrolytes. But the body, in its miraculous evolutionary way is structured to maintain it all in some combinatorial marvelous life-giving manner. The majesty of it all is so wondrous that the study of cells and of life can often leave one breathless. We frequently sit back in our research as the concepts unfold and are literally awestruck. The most one can attempt is to try and convey a small picture of this wonder. http://www.bodybio.com/content.aspx?page=elyte-inside-a-muscle-cramp Cramping is one of the most common complaints of athletes. It can occur at any time but more often at the tail end of their workout. Cramps are a one way street in the complete cycle of muscle action. All body motion is controlled by the opening and closing of ion channels that sit in the membranes of all cells. Sodium (Na) contracts the cell and potassium (K) relaxes it. Similar action occurs to transmit a thought with Na and K triggering neurons (depolarizing) to both transmit and fire. In effect the electrolytes do it all. You can’t blink your eye or even see or hear without them. A heart cell begins the process with Calcium (Ca) signaling the Na ion channel to open to begin the contraction cycle. There are hundreds of Na and K ion channels on each cell. A half second later Magnesium (Mg) encourages K to rush in which relaxes the cell. That’s the beat of your heart or the closing of your fist. With a heart cell the cycle is non stop; constrict with Na and relax with K. Its quite easy to see what happens when a muscle cramps. In essence you have half a beat. If a cramp hits your heart, you’re history, but in a different muscle you’ll hurt, but recover. If you’re swimming in a race half way home, it could be a disaster. Whenever it happens, it’s the guys in charge of the relaxing half of the cycle, Mg and K, that are missing. Actually, what is happening, is that the high K concentration is sufficient to complete the back side of the heart beat, or leg pump, etc. Without those 2 electrolytes Mg and K, in plentiful supply, your muscles have only the first half of the action potential to work on. Over time, that’s a one way street, that can end up as a cramp. Cramps don’t usually occur when your doing sprints, they are the result of cellular stress (loss of electrolytes) over long workouts. THIS IS COOL!!! A number of coaches have tried “pickle juice” to prevent cramping in hot weather. Pickle juice is predominantly vinegar. Vinegar is acetic acid, and is used to remove sodium (Na) with individuals with high blood sodium levels. The coaches are lowering their athletes Na levels to prevent the first half of the muscle cycle instead of making sure that they have enough of all the electrolytes needed. Lower Na and you may not begin the cramp. Not exactly what the doctor ordered, but it can work. However, you are removing Na to restore balance, instead of providing the correct electrolytes that the body needs at that moment, which is ……..Mg and K. Training logic says that you want as high a level of electrolytes as possible, all the time, not robbing one, Na, to achieve balance. Sodium Closes (constricts) and Potassium Opens (relaxes) In essence, the closing and relaxing of a muscle is dependent on the four mineral horseman of function, calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K).  Sodium constricts and potassium relaxes, with Ca and Mg initiating each phase of the action.  If an individual is low in potassium, it appears that that singular event of low potassium can be sufficient to permit a cramp to occur. Without enough potassium available to complete the relaxing cycle, a random signal (or even a conscious one) to close by an out of balanced condition can leave almost any muscle in a locked position. To understand sodium’s influence on the closing of a muscle and potassium’s role in engineering the reverse (the opening), it could be helpful, though somewhat macabre, to examine the procedure for executions.  Generally, the act of hanging was replaced by electrocution, which was in turn abandoned by the painless, yet highly efficient act, of an injection of a high concentrated solution of potassium.  Flooding the body with potassium forces all muscles to relax.  Eventually the concentration of potassium becomes so high that it dwarfs the normal balance with sodium, thereby restricting any ability to affect a normal muscle function.  The net result is to block the beating of the heart.  In effect the prisoner relaxes to death. Essentially an execution by injection is the reverse of a cramp.  The execution is clearly an excess of potassium and the cramp appears to be the reverse.  The injection of potassium overwhelms the normal balance of sodium and robs it of its ability to initiate muscle function; the body cannot begin any function, you couldn’t even blink your eye.  The reverse of high sodium (or to be more precise, the absence of sufficient potassium) is an imbalance that sets up a condition for a cramp to occur.  The poor individual with insufficient potassium on hand may not be able to relax that muscle and must message or stretch the knotted jumble of muscle to force some potassium into the cells to turn off the tight cramping condition. The potential cure for a cramp would logically be to have available sufficient stores of potassium.  However, magnesium also plays an important role in muscle function, so it is necessary to insure an adequate supply of magnesium.  Calcium is also important, but there is a ready supply from our storehouse of bone which appears to be sufficient for muscle function.   However, the supply of sufficient Ca and Mg as we age, is often insufficient, even though normal blood test results suggest there is enough.  But, that is a subject beyond this current discussion of cramps.

Read More »