If we know the micro-nutrient RDAs and know the micro-nutrient content of virtually all foods and drinks then maybe we can focus on these essentials instead of going all macro each time we eat, what do you think?
What does this do for us though, if nothing then why bother working it all out, but if we can focus on the needs of the body and mind and the need to deliver essential nutrients then we can eat only the foods related to these basic needs and avoid the macro system of eating percentages or grams of sugars, fats, proteins and instead provide vitamins, amino acids, minerals, water, phyto-nutrients and essentials like Vitamin D, Iron, Zinc and other essentials, whereas most of our high percentage sugars are non essential, so why focus our eating and drinking patterns on these macro-nutrients.
I do believe that we can do it and eat in a much healthier way with a system based first on the micro-nutrient needs and then when the foods/drinks are selected we will see if we are getting sufficient calories from the selected intake and adjust to get what we need when we need it.
Here’s what we have found, a great website and tracking system from the well renowned Dr Mercola and in this tracker you can see your nutrient intake daily. The tracker is called CRON-O-Meterand you can find the link at the bottom of this page and try using it for a day or two and it will learn what you eat and be predictive for you. At first it takes a while then daily food, drink logging is easy. Already I can see daily what is missing in terms of micro-nutrients and can adjust my diet to add the missing sources as the day progresses, so there’s not really any guesswork on a daily basis. Simply searching for the food sources that contain your missing micros will help you to adapt and adjust your daily diet to ensure full nutrient density.
If you are an athlete who trains for a significant amount of time daily then you can add training time/intensity and sport to the tracker for a more accurate assessment of calorie needs. I don’t think the tracker will take into account sweat losses yet, so you will probably have to include extra minerals/electrolytes to take that into account. It would be a nice new feature.
So far so good and it has identified a well known missing vitamin/pre-hormone, Vitamin D as deficient in my diet, so I can correct that knowing you can only get vitamin D from direct sunlight or pills. I also see potassium is low so I can search and find sources like sweet potatoes and now im eating pistachios for their potassium. When you get to the early afternoon you can see what you need for pre training or for dinner and adjust the menu to find what you need. Nutrient density of food is clearly higher in less processed or natural foods and this should be taken into account when looking at micronutrients as intake does not equal absorption. Eat whole foods for better quality foods and drinks.
How do champions become champions at any level they chose or can get to? Is it basic genetics or can we coaches take anyone and help them achieve their very best and become champions? I certainly believe that with the right coaching guidance and support anyone can improve and make it as far as they want to – you just have to believe for one and then work your ass off to get there – no shortcuts or at least none that are allowed #cleansport #nodoping . But what is hard training and how does anyone support it? There is a myth I truly believe about “over-training” and I am prepared to support my ideas.
1. Doing too much too soon will usually result in injuries and excess fatigue, but that isnt over-training.
2. Doing too much while “dieting” and I mean not getting the fuel that you need to prepare, train and recover properly to fuel training and life will result in muscle breakdown, fatigue and excess stress hormones, but that isnt over-training.
The human capacity for exercise is probably limitless if allowed enough adaption time, so that’s why we @DaiRobertsGroup use very personal and progressive programs and we always err on the conservative side of increases in volume or intensity to ensure no injuries. Out of our 40+ athletes right now we have none injured and that includes many #IRONMAN athletes post racing and also racing hard at National and World level even they are not injured but still succeeding as evidenced with podium finishes and top 20 finishes in Omaha for National Triathlon Championships. #USATAG2016
But back to over-training and performance on race days. If training remains progressive based on the individuals performance gains month on month and a 4 weekly training cycle is adopted with an EASY week every 4th week then optimal training is achieved. Of course there are outliers who can handle 5-6 weeks without many rest days but these are our top athletes and usually young and very efficient and so able to cope with more and also usually with less life stresses.
Fuel for health and fitness:
Fuel to train is exactly right and restrictive-dieting while training is a sure way to under perform and get injured so eat appropriately and make sure to ingest the nutrients you need for your mind/body not anyone else’s body. Water and micro-nutrients are the true key to healthy training, whether iron, minerals, omega 3 fats, salts(electrolytes) and vitamins and other trace elements. Basing your fueling plan on the right micro-nutrients will ensure a complete diet and also will make sure you get the macro-nutrients needed from carbohydrates, fats and protein. We will discuss this in a future blog about MNF Micro Nutrient Fueling.
After years of studying and coaching IRONMAN athletes a common fatigue theme is clear and it is called many things by different people and this plague and nuisance manifests itself as a shorter stride length. So what you say, well so what indeed, but who wants a shorter stride or even a stride that gradually gets reduced as the race progresses into the night. Is this a problem for the professionals, well I hope not as they have the time to resolve this issue but many age groupers might not, or so they think! But how important is this really and is it the only problem? Of course there are other issues associated with IRONMAN racing such as mindset, overall fatigue, gut problems, hydration, sunburn, altitude to name a few and we should look into all of these as we develop prescriptions for anyone wishing to race well. But back to the shorter stride length and current ideas which have most recently been concerned with higher cadence running as it is considered by some to be the answer, the holy grail of running fast, but lets look at sprinters for a while, is it higher cadence that wins Olympic gold, not likely, it is rather deceleration rate ie whoever cannot maintain top speed will lose. As speed is directly related to stride length and cadence of course it is true that speed is a product of the two, but what generates stride length or cadence; muscular strength and strength endurance is the answer. How to develop this specific strength is the question and when?
Which muscles do we need specifically tho, well all of them probably need to be as strong as we can make them. But your hip flexors are key to stride length and these tire and tighten easily without correct strengthening. So during the post-season, pre-season and even pre-competition you should flex those hips! Simple – run steep 200m hills, perform Knee Drives with ankle weights or band/cable machine attached and you will see amazing results very fast. Of course for the marathon and IRONMAN you will need to do lots of them and keep doing them increasing resistance over time as you get stronger and then when it comes to race day, your hip flexors wont give out and thus your stride length wont end up with the “Ironman shuffle” with a 6″ stride length. So get them done, early and often.
Cable (or Band) Knee Drives. 3 sets of 10 reps. Using a low cable pulley and an ankle cuff attachment, stand so that the cable has pressure, but not enough to whip you backwards. Drive your knee explosively up to your chest. Keep the movement controlled as you lower. Using band will give a different feel, and thus you’ll have to really accelerate the initial explosive movement. Make sure the upper body stays tall and this will work your core as well. HIP FLEXORS
So we should start as always with a hypothesis: finishing the @IRONMAN within the cutoff time. It is achievable for anyone with the right approach, but to be successful (defined as perhaps podium in AG), a more determined and thorough approach is needed. So how did I get to shave one leg? Well let’s take a leaf from “Team Sky” where all the small things are said to add up to a big thing… and Froomy did win after all. I will first do some experiments to test the small things. Starting with the right calf or truly speaking the back of the right calf, it had to be shaved to determine if it would itch. So far 3 weeks later no itch – the secret, you might well ask? The aim is to reduce drag and improve aerodynamics so removing the hair is necessary and the beard trimmer is the easiest way to do this. Experiment 1 done! Let’s move on. Some say that alkaline water (pH 7+) is better for you than acidic VB City water (pH 6-) but what is the best water to use while training to help with holistic stress reduction? Your thoughts please! I used @Evian water after much personal testing and have loved it. But what of the legs and shaving you might still ask, well we completed the experiment on the Thursday before the @IRONMAN in Lake Placid as we determined that 3 days before the race was optimal so we held a
shave down for speed party! Wine and local Adirondack beer with a great dinner and then the razors were out! Enough hair for a blanket! After 55 years to see bare naked legs, wow something else. And with the beard trimmer, no itch…in 3 days just enough growth for perfect racing conditions, we will see and if it didn’t work we will never know.
Oh as an aside all the guys had beards so they had to go too, the longest beard over 6″ of winter-spring-summer growth is no more, condemned to the waste bin and for the rest of us, neat trims to stubble; indeed a strange looking group. And the ladies, well they had no beards! Next thing toenails haha, short and pedicured. Must be close to race time. Lets get it done.
Goal setting: How do you set a goal and what are the criteria for goals? Should they be “reach for the sky” and maybe you make it or fall short, or should they be less ambitious and maybe less exciting? One thing’s for sure if YOUR GOAL is not clearly understood by you then you will never reach it. I say IT on purpose, as having more than one goal at a time leads to confusion and inefficient training. To reach your goal, your training needs to be specific, personal, appropriate, progressive, comprehensive and of course based on YOUR belief in what you can reach for and achieve – the goal. In any racing season you can create several goals that run sequentially so you reach one and move right on to the next one. It’s even better if they compliment each other. For example a Half Marathon PR and then an IRONMAN triathlon work well together.
To be successful you need to follow your plan and do your training. That doesn’t mean you can’t train with groups and sometimes compromise a little for the added benefits of the group support. Group training has added benefits like accountability and observant coaches watching you and letting you know when you are overreaching or over training and risking injury or illness. Having a good coach can of course provide personal oversight and direction to stay on track with adjustments to your training program and plans. And finally having a comprehensive approach to your training so that it is balanced and fits in with life (partner, kids, work, deployments, travel, and vacations). This balance is essential for success and ensures you end your racing season wanting more, not a post-season break as recommended by your coach! #EATTOTRAIN check our blog on eating well to train well – Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome – RED-S
An experiment in recovery and the use of probiotics as a way to support immune system degradation post race or post @IRONMAN.But what do these “bugs” do for you and how many should you consume for great or optimal health and especially recovery? A good daily does seems to be around 80-100 billion live viable organisms with a variety of cultures as different bugs work for different people. But the question is will it help your immune system to repair after very hard or extreme training?
plural noun: probiotic
a probiotic substance or preparation. a microorganism introduced into the body for its beneficial qualities.
Ultimate Flora gut care delivers 200 billion viable organisms for a 7 day rebuild program that is designed for repair to the gut and immune system after illness or even after extensive use of anti-biotics (which literally means – life killing!) The over use of anti biotics is well documented and has led to several health problems but they have their uses clearly for health and reduction of certain diseases. Recent studies support the idea of use for recovery also a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed evidence of reduced upper respiratory illness following use of specific probiotics.
So we shall see as I will take a lot of probiotics of various strains following an @IRONMAN race this weekend in Lake Placid, New York. And then will let you know 🙂 have fun friends and eat to live!
Training for distance, stamina and endurance means eating enough while eating the right foods AND drinking right as well. But…. what does this mean translated into real advice and then real meals made from real food. And what about salt eh, how can we make sure to get enough salts (sodium mostly, magnesium, potassium, chloride)? The answer lies not in processed food which although filled with salt is often cheaply processed salt rather than high quality mineral salts, and I do believe than many of us athletes are depleted in salts and this causes us problems with mineral balance, cramping, loss of muscle/nerve function and as a result poor performance and chronic inadequacies lead to longer term problems with nerve damage and muscle weakness. So go get those minerals, from where you might ask! Greens, meats, vegetables and fruits. Of course you can top up mineral and vitamin consumption with drinks such as @NUUN and @SKRATCH and many others too numerous to mention. Coming back to the idea of #overtraining, I think “too much training too soon” is really the problem combined with not enough food and drink ie good quality nutrition. As we stress the mind and body we have to support the mind and body with quality nutrition. So going to the question of too much training, that’s a hard one to sell when you think about it. People have walked, swum, hikes, ridden for days or weeks in training or racing I mean consider the DECAMAN https://goo.gl/r6Lgul a 10 day 10 Ironman triathlon race, people survive and thrive because of their hard, long training and excellent nutrition. Go figure! So EAT, DRINK, and BE MERRY!
Too often @IRONMAN is seen as the destination, the “end” of the journey resulting in success or failure, victory or defeat, happy or sad. But why is that the predominant view? Surely IRONMAN is a journey to discover something great about yourself, new strengths, weaknesses to be defeated and new processes and skills to learn and teach. Seeing races as end-states and not thorough planning and execution means you have that binary choice at the “end” – success or not, but if you see the process and delight in new skills and new opportunities for great and good then there is only one outcome and that must be pleasure through the pain and suffering and no matter how you measure it, you will have grown through it, learned from it and acquired new skills because of it: It being the race, the training, the fun, the aches, pains and pleasures. How many times did you see the sun rise and marvel once again at something so routine but something most people don’t see? How often a beautiful sunset witnessed during a sublime run or even witnessing the chirp of dolphins as you swim in the sea. Truly this is the best IRONMAN experience you can have. Live through your experiences and love every minute with a great smile. Smiling you know releases endorphins which make you feel good and happy, less stressed, so as part of training, dont forget to practice your smile! In a few weeks or months your IRONMAN will be done but you will be greater for it and stronger, more resilient and ready to lead the rest fo your life fitter, happier and just greater. Go for greatness, keep training because “Excellence is Inside YOU”.
Racing or completing that is the question and the answer determines the approach most likely to succeed for you or me the athlete @IRONMAN. Having the wrong mindset will likely end in more suffering than necessary and there is already plenty of that to go round! Deciding to race or compete happy is the choice that needs to be made early so that training is arranged to suit your goal, so that you finish happy and dont overacheive 🙂 But don’t think it’s all training: Nutrition and hydration are key for great health and great health equals a higher chance of success. But what is great nutrition and how much should you drink? Well we will cover these aspects in a later discussion as there is much that can help and much to go wrong. A great example is the risk of under-eating and cellular dehydration. Not getting enough is going to hurt your training and race prep, so “eat well, eat right“! So with 2 weeks to go to our event in the beautiful Lake Placid, NY. It is time to eat and drink to optimal levels, no plate unturned, no glass left full. But how about alcohol in these final weeks – minimise is the best advice. Tough I know when a man loves his Guinness and red wine, white wine…. you get the drift, just keep it down. Stress we know is the big killer both of goals and life itself so plan the details well, dont sweat what you can’t control and leave the rest to the execution. Remember no plan survives contact, so be ready to adjust, adapt and be smart. See you all soon.