Category Archives: Fitness & Exercise

Energy Drinks Lead to Insomnia in Athletes

Sprint (photo credit: rscac.co.uk)

We are often ‘preaching’ about the potential dangers of energy drinks, especially as they relate to teens. Excessive amounts have led kids to suffer from caffeine poisoning. There have been several deaths in the US, and multiple emergency room admissions due to energy drink consumption.

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at the effect of energy drinks on athletes.

“The use of caffeine containing energy drinks has dramatically increased in the last few years, especially in the sport context because of its reported ergogenic effect.”

Ninety athletes were given energy drinks or placebos before a sporting event. Their performance during the event (speed, height of jump, etc…) was measured, as well as their subjective feeling about it.

While the athletes did perform slightly better, and felt it too, there was a problem. They suffered from insomnia, nervousness, and activeness in the hours following consumption. These are well documented side effects of caffeine over-consumption.

American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) website says: Poison centers are urging the public to use caution and common sense when using energy drink products.
Energy drinks contain highly concentrated amounts of sugar, caffeine, and other ingredients. The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that “caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and adolescents.”


Healthy energy comes from great nutrition. That’s why our Juice Plus+ and Juice Plus+ Complete are so popular amongst those of all ages wanting peak performance and to live life to the plus+.

Every Choice has Consequences

Rewind the Future

A public service video posted to YouTube by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is making people think twice.

The video points out that obesity doesn’t happen overnight.

You’ll get a shocking sneak peek into the future to see what life might be like for a child who carries unhealthy habits. But…

WARNING: This video may be upsetting for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

We take the health of our Children and grandchildren very seriously.

Fruit and Veg: The Winning Edge

a lady picking up an apple

This is a guest post by  Bethanie Allanson, Sports Dietitian, Australian Institute of Sport & Benita Lalor, Sports Dietitian, Australian Institute of Sport

Issue: Volume 29 Number 3

The importance of fruit and vegetables in the diet is generally promoted with a public health focus, with an increased intake being associated to a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and some forms of cancer.  Many athletes fail to see the significance of incorporating fruit and vegetables into their daily food intake and either ‘leave them on their plate” or forget them altogether.

From an athlete’s perspective, the vitamin and mineral content of fruit and vegetables has an important role to play in maintaining health and well-being and optimising exercise performance during periods of heavy training.  A number of vitamins and minerals provided by fruit and vegetables have a functional role in exercise performance and recovery following strenuous exercise.  These nutrients can not be synthesised by the body so it’s essential that athletes consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to support daily training and recovery from training.

While there are no specific recommendations for athletes regarding dietary intake of fruit and vegetables, the population nutrient reference values (NRV’s) are deemed appropriate for use with athletes, due to their wide safety margin.

Fruit and veg and performance

Many athletes would not give much thought to the effect of a sub-optimal intake of fruit and vegetables on their sporting performance.  A decreased intake of the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables can lead to fatigue, muscle damage and impaired immune function all of which can have detrimental effects on training and recovery for competition (Watson et al. 2005).

The beneficial components of fruit and veg

The accumulative effects of an intensive training program, travel and hectic competition schedule place an athlete at increased risk of illness and infection.  Suppression of immune function in athletes is multifactorial, however it must be acknowledged that several vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E) and minerals (magnesium) found in fruits and vegetables have a role in maintaining the integrity of the immune system (Gleeson et al 2000).

The transportation of oxygen in the blood to the working muscles is vital for aerobic exercise function.  Haemaglobin is the protein responsible for oxygen transportation and iron is an essential part of this system.  Although the non-haem iron in green, leafy vegetables is not as readily absorbed when compared to the haem iron found in red meat, poultry and seafood, it can be enhanced by the inclusion of a fruit/vegetable source of vitamin C.   These combinations and increased variety of fruits and vegetables is particularly important for vegetarian athletes.

Antioxidants are the body’s mechanism of protection against free radicals – nasties produced in the body.  Production of free radicals is increased during exercise, resulting in oxidative stress and cell damage.  The effects of oxidative stress on sporting performance may include fatigue, muscle damage and reduced immune function (Trent et al).  Studies have demonstrated that dietary sources of antioxidants provide protection against the production of free radicals.  Interestingly, anti-oxidant supplements may not provide the same benefit despite many supplements providing much greater quantities of antioxidants. The antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables play a major role in protecting the body against oxidative stress and subsequent effects on performance (Watson et al 2005).

Are your athletes are at risk?

Athletes who fail to meet recommended intakes of fruit and vegetables are at risk of compromising their performance.  Studies have shown that many athletes consume insufficient amounts of fruit and vegetables (Ziegler et al 1999, Farajian et al 2004).  Athletes at increased risk of sub optimal intakes of the micronutrients found in fruit and vegetables include; athletes who restrict their energy intake (eg. aesthetic and weight making sports), fussy eaters, athletes responsible for their own food preparation and those travelling overseas where availability of fruit and vegetables may be limited.  It has been reported that females and younger children tend to have higher intakes of fruit and vegetables when compared to males and adolescents (Rasmussen et al 2006).

Food or tablet?

While athletes can meet their recommended intake of vitamins and minerals through a nutritious, well chosen diet, many athletes choose to take vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, in tablet form believing it will give them a sporting edge.

Consumption of large doses of vitamins and minerals, which may be common practise for some athletes, is likely to do more harm than good.  Megadoses may have toxic effects and can be detrimental to performance.  Large doses of individual vitamins, in particular antioxidants are not recommended (Gleeson et al, 2000).  However, there may be situations where the use of supplements is beneficial.  A broad-range multivitamin may be used when athletes restrict their total energy intake for weight loss or weight maintenance, during a heavy competition schedule where there is a disruption to the normal eating patterns, and where availability of food is limited.

Antioxidant supplements may be of use for elite athletes in specific circumstances including an increased training volume or intensity, altitude training or during periods of heat acclimatisation.  These training situations are likely to lead to the increased production of free radicals and supplements may be useful to help reduce the oxidative stress.  It is recommended that athletes considering the use of any vitamin and mineral supplement consult a qualified Sports Dietitian.  See Sports Dietitians Australia website: www.sportsdietitians.com.au to find a Sports Dietitian located near you.

Practical suggestions for athletes to ensure an adequate fruit and vegetable intake:

  • Fruit is a great snack and should be at the top of the snack list. Fruit is a very nutritious source of carbohydrate, so is ideal before or after training to top up fuel stores to assist training performance and recovery.
  • Don’t throw overripe bananas away. They are great in banana cake – see Survival from the Fittest or can be frozen and used in fruit smoothies.
  • If you’re making a lasagne, grate carrot and zucchini into the bolognaise sauce. You don’t even know though they’re there.
  • Baked vegies are often a favourite for most, although they can be high in fat.  Next time, try lightly coating your vegetables with oil with a pastry bush and cook in an oven tray covered with foil.  Remove the foil 10-15 minutes before you finish cooking – this allows the vegies to brown up.
  • Fruit juice doesn’t replace fruit, as much of the fibre is removed. You can’t substitute the value for a whole piece of fruit with juice.
  • Fresh or canned fruit added to cereal at breakfast is a great way to kick start your fruit intake for the day.

Bottom Line

To maximise performance, all athletes should be encouraged to obtain the range of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables through their daily food and fluid intake.

Table 1: Nutrients and their sources
Nutrient Performance related function Fruit and vegetable sources
Vitamin A
  • Immune function
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Mango
  • Apricots
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Legumes
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Corn
  • Plums
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Peach
  • Nectarines
  • Broad Beans
  • Mushroom

 

Pantothenic acid
  • Energy metabolism
  • Broad beans
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Green peas
  • Beans
  • Split peas
  • Fruit
Folate
  • Nervous function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Haemoglobin synthesis
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Orange
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Immune function
  • Blackcurrants
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Raspberries
  • Capsicum
  • Broccoli
  • Sprouts
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Immune function
  • Spinach

 

Iron
  • Energy production and supply
  • Haemoglobin synthesis
  • Antioxidant function
  • Broccoli
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Chinese green vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Sweet corn
Magnesium
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction

 

  • Green vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Peas
  • Beans

References

Rasmussen, M et al Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents: a review of the literature. Part 1: quantitative studies. International Journal of Behaviour Nutrition and Physical Activity,11;3:22, 2006.
Gleeson, M and Bishop, N.C. Elite Athlete Immunology: Importance of Nutrition. International Journal of Sports Medicine; 21 Supplement 1: S 44 – S 50, 2000.
Watson T.A. et al 2005 Oxidative Stress and antioxidants in Athletes Undertaking Regular Exercise Training. International journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism:15, 131-146, 2005
Ziegler, P.J. et al Nutritional and Physiological Status of U.S National Figure Skaters. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 9, 345-360, 1999
Farajian, P. et al. Dietary Intake and nutritional practices of elite Greek aquatic athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism; 14(5): 574-85, 2004.


The Winning Edge is also the title of an excellent book by Jack Medina. I recommend his excellent article here Whey Protein vs Soy Protein … You Decide!

Like me, Jack is a great fan and long-time proponent of Juice Plus+.

Motivation for mere mortals

In my last post I covered an excellent article in the Costco Connection and promised Scott Jurek’s tips on health, nutrition and exercise. So here they are. I could really have used these back in the days of my serious running.

jurek2

RECOGNIZING THAT NOT everyone is talking about running extreme distances, The Costco Connection asked ultramarathoner Scott Jurek for some exercise, nutrition and motivational advice that could apply to anybody looking to perhaps up his or her physical conditioning. Here’s what he had to say.

The Costco Connection: What motivates you?

Scott Jurek: Others. At the Hardrock 100 [Endurance Run], I didn’t have a place to stay; all the places were booked. So, I just camped out on track, cheering for the finishers as they came in. [Staying at the finish line] became a tradition. There is something magical about experiencing that energy; it’s motivating and inspiring to watch. You get a sense of what people have gone through to get there and you can relate to it. I recommend anybody who isn’t a runner to go to a finish line and get inspired. Everybody assumes you have to be a serious athlete or super-fast to race; it’s really neat to see a wide range of people competing.

CC: What motivational tips do you have for others?

SJ: Dedicate your goal, whatever it might be, to something, to someone. It will help you in moments when you feel like you can’t go on. When I set the American record at the 2010 [International Association of Ultrarunners] World 24-Hour Championships, my mother had passed away a couple of months earlier. I dedicated that race to her. There were times I wanted to quit, but then I reminded myself: “I’m running this for her.”

CC: Exercise tips?

SJ: Stretch throughout the day, even at your workstation. I sometimes do yoga poses after a run. I also integrate core workouts into my routine. Strength training will help injury prevention.

CC: Other tips for avoiding injury?

SJ: Train smart. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. Listen to your body, and give it time to adapt when you are trying something new. It might help to work with a physical therapist, or someone who can help you safely reach your goals. Get the proper nutrition you need to support what you are doing athletically. Staying healthy is about the whole picture, not just one workout. It’s about eating well, and doing things throughout the day to improve your health.

CC: What food items should we all eat more of?

SJ: Dark, leafy greens, like kale, collards, arugula and romaine. Fruit—I am a fan of fruit in the morning or for snacks. Whole grains and whole beans are inexpensive, and you get a complete protein when they are combined together. Tempe and tofu: Tempe makes great sloppy Joes and chili. Tofu is great to cook with because it can take on so many different textures and tastes. Healthy oils, such as extravirgin olive oil, coconut oil and flaxseed oil.

CC: What advice can you pass along for anybody who wants to eat healthier and get active?

SJ: Preparation is important. Go to the store with a list. Have a cook-off on Sunday, where you make meals you will eat during the week. Plan your meals and exercise a week ahead of time. Having groups to run with and have meals with can help you reach your goals. Have an exercise plan the day or night before. Setting out clothes the night before makes you more apt to wake up and do your workout.

CC: You are vegan—do you see health advantages to a non-vegan diet?

SJ: There’s nothing wrong with eating some meat; [our society] is just eating too much. The beauty of the human body is that we’re omnivores. We can eat anything. For me, a plant-based diet keeps me on track; it helps me keep focused. For other people, they might keep healthy by choosing to integrate good quality meat or wild game into their diets.

CC: Other tips for diet change?

SJ: Focus on integration instead of elimination of food. Think about what you can eat, instead of what you can’t. Experiment gradually. Pick one or two foods a week that you don’t normally eat. Try to incorporate them into a few meals a week. Be flexible. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off your diet regimen or goal. It took me a year and a half to transition fully into a vegan diet. If you are looking for consistency and sustainability long term, give yourself transition time. Involve others. Form a support system. Invite your family or your co-workers to get involved. Prepare and share meals together. It will make reaching your goal a lot easier.

For my perspective on nutrition for sports, you can watch my webinar: Fueling For Peak Performance.

“Running Past Empty”

This excellent article from Costco Connection (by Julie Hagy www.freelancewriterdenver.com) is worth repeating here. I’ve run many marathons, but never gone beyond 26.2 miles. So, Scott Jurek is a ‘giant’ to me, and the book “Born to Run” is one of my all-time favorites.

jurek

IF SOMEONE HAD told a young Scott Jurek that he would grow up to become one of the most accomplished ultradistance runners in the world, he would have laughed. Growing up in rural Minnesota, Jurek ate plenty of fast food, had high blood pressure and ran only enough to stay in the good graces of his cross-country ski coach. Running far was the farthest thing from his mind.

“As a kid, running was something you did for punishment,” he says, laughing. “You know, run an extra lap.”

Jurek, a Costco member, recalls, “My coach said to do something over the summer to train. I couldn’t afford a bike or roller skis, so I just started to run.” What started as a mile-and-ahalf jog steadily increased in mileage and speed for the high school sophomore. The exercise was gratifying: The farther he ran, the faster he became on his skis.

In college, Jurek continued to run only casually, until a buddy, Dusty Olson, suggested that his speed and endurance on the slopes could translate to pavement. Olson dared Jurek, who had run one marathon previously, to run a 50-mile race with him. Jurek took the dare.

At the age of 20, he entered the Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon with Olson. It was Jurek’s first experience with ultras, races that cover any distance greater than a marathon. He came in second. “I started to realize not only how much fun [running] was, but that I was able to put myself out there and accomplish something that initially seemed impossible,” says Jurek.

Two years later, he won that very same race. From there, he has gone on to win and set records at most of the world’s prestigious ultradistance races, including the Spartathlon and seven straight wins of the Western States 100- Mile Endurance Run.

“Scott accomplished what no one else will,” says ultrarunning historian Buzz Burrell. “He wasn’t the most talented guy out there. But he studied really hard. He trained really hard. He has his brain, his heart and his gut in [the sport], and that’s why he’s respected.”

Jurek did not set out to obtain the notoriety running has brought him. Running, to him, has always been about testing his own limits and experiencing nature. “I spent a lot of time in the woods as a kid, hunting and fishing, connecting to wild places. Running has been this vehicle to get out into the wilderness. It gets me out exploring places I might not otherwise see. Preserving that connection has been important,” he says. He admits that very little money comes with winning races, yet he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

“I never thought I’d be running for sport or for fun. What I do is out of the norm nowadays. Ultrarunning, while it seems crazy, it’s an extension of those survival instincts people have,” he says, reflecting on how society has largely moved away from the sustained labor required by hunting-and-gathering and agrarian lifestyles. “Nowadays we live pretty comfortably. Ultrarunning gives me a taste of what it was like to survive years ago. We’re all a little crazy, do things that seem out of the norm. I think that’s a good thing.”

Jurek’s incredible determination and endurance are chronicled in Christopher McDougall’s best-seller, Born to Run (Vintage; 2011, not available at Costco), which brought international attention to both Jurek and ultrarunning. In his own memoir, Eat & Run (scott jurek.com), co-authored by Steve Friedman, Jurek writes about how his lifestyle, specifically exercise and diet, has influenced his career.

Twenty years after that first ultramarathon entry, Jurek, 40, sits across from me in a bakery at the base of the mountain trails he trains on in Boulder, Colorado. He’s wearing running gear, and dipping a spoon into a bowl of cooling oatmeal. Jurek has broad shoulders and a broad smile. The long hair of his early running years, a good-luck charm, is now a mass of short curls. Standing tall at 6 feet 2 inches, Jurek doesn’t look like a typical runner. Then again, typical is not really a word associated with this man.

“I grew up with a mother who was a home ec teacher. For me, cooking was just part of the daily routine. It instilled in me an early drive to make that a priority,” says Jurek, who learned, through cooking, to reduce his fast- food consumption. He still enjoys cooking, often creating his own recipes.

His mother also influenced his career path. “Being interested in whole health was influenced by having a mother who had multiple sclerosis,” he says. As a boy, he watched a physical therapist work with his mother in their home. Inspired, he would go on to earn a master’s degree in the field and open his own practice.

As a physical therapist, Jurek became concerned that some of his patients’ poor diets were affecting their ability to heal. He started to convert his own diet. “I found my body would recover [from runs] faster on a plant-based diet,” says Jurek, who has been vegan since 1999.

As he continues to talk about the importance of eating whole foods and integrating movement into daily routines, I start to wiggle in my seat. “Want to go for a run?” I ask.

On a day that is sunny in most of the country, it is snowing in the mountains of Boulder. The snow slushes under our running shoes.

I almost expect his feet to fly above the ground. Graciously, though, he lets me set the pace. I am training for a half marathon at the end of the month. Jurek is preparing for 24 The Hard Way, an ultramarathon in Oklahoma City in October at which he will attempt to break the American record by running more than 172.5 miles within 24 hours.

“He previously held this record. [Jurek’s record was broken in 2012 by Mike Morton.] I do think he can do it again. If anybody has the ability to dig deep and go beyond, it’s Scott,” says ultramarathon runner Krissy Moehl, who calls Jurek a mentor and friend. “I’ve seen him do it many times.”

Jurek hopes that his goal setting will provide inspiration for others to make lifestyle changes. “I used to hate running and I used to hate vegetables. Life is about learning. Life is about being open to possibilities,” he says. “One of my biggest goals is to pass on my experience and knowledge, to motivate and inspire others, not necessarily to go win an ultramarathon, but to go out for that first workout, to get interested in moving their bodies, in eating well.” C

For my perspective on nutrition for sports, you can watch my webinar: Fueling For Peak Performance.

My next post will include Scott Jurek’s tips on health, nutrition and exercise.

Togetherness Advances Wellness: Stay Active With Your Family

Want your kids to stay active? According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, spending quality time together may be the solution.

We all know kids learn by watching their parents, observing their every move and mimicking their actions. With so many negative distractions around us, it’s more important now than ever to set a positive, healthy example for your children, including their activity level. And what better way to do so, than by spending quality time with your kids.

Help your children stay active by being active with them. All children should be physically active for at least one hour every day. Encourage your child to find activities they enjoy by building physical activity into family life. Here are some simple ways to stay active with your children:

Plan an outdoor activity: Set aside one day a weekend to do something active as a family: swimming in the summer, sledding or ice-skating in the winter, or biking in the spring and fall.

Take classes together: Ask around at your local gym or community center about yoga or aerobics classes offered to parents and kids together. Parent-child classes help promote exercise and build bonds in a fun and exciting environment.

Organize a scavenger hunt: What better way to get kids running around then by planning a scavenger hunt for the whole family. Make a list of challenges (get a neighbor’s signature, find a yellow flower), split your family into teams, then head off and see who can complete the most tasks!

Host a family Olympics tournament: Get the whole family moving with a family Olympics event. Compete in events like 50-yard dash, relay race, hula-hoops, basketball shoot and an obstacle course.

And just as important as promoting an active family, is preparing healthy meals. Take your kids to the farmer’s market to pick out their own fruits and veggies, and involve them in the food preparation. They’ll be much more likely to enjoy their healthy meal and clear their plates!

How do you and your family stay active together?

We’ve been an active family since before our boys were born, and to this day they, their wives and children (our 6 grandchildren) are very active – fit and healthy. Oh… and so are we!

Original Article.

The 10 Commandments of Fitness and Wellness

NY 85 2I discovered years ago the difference between health and fitness. I was known as “the fittest sick fellow” or “the sickest fit bloke” by my friends and family. I had fitness, but I did not have health; that’s me on 5th Ave. in the New York City Marathon way back then.

You see, it’s clear to me now that you can have fitness without health, but you cannot have health without fitness.

So I am excited to share this article by Eric C. Stevens. It’s very clever and full of profound truth. Thanks Eric:


I’m no Moses, but I’ve certainly experienced enough in my many years of fitness to establish my own ten commandments when it comes to fitness and wellness:

1. Thou shalt have no other gods in fitness besides health.

Behind every extrinsic fitness goal, such as wanting your body to look a certain way or getting your body to perform in a certain functional or athletic capacity, should be a lasting intrinsic motivator. All extrinsic goals will fail in the long run. All bodies age and atrophy and all athletes eventually retire. However, stand-alone concepts such as the expression of health and love of fitness can last the duration of our lifetimes. Make sure you aren’t bowing down to the temporary material physique and making a God out of what your body should look like.

10commandments2. Honor thy father and mother in fitness.

Regardless of whether you had great parents or a less than desirable upbringing, express yourself in fitness and wellness the way you should have been taught growing up. That is, demonstrate sportsmanship on the field of play, and demonstrate empathy, grace, and beauty in the realm of fitness and wellness. Always act with integrity in everything you do.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of fitness in vain.

Fitness should be synonymous with health and wellness, not vanity. The way your body looks isn’t your most valuable possession, your health is. Aesthetic fitness isn’t really fitness. Ultimately, the way your body looks isn’t an indicator of functionality, health, or even fitness. The people that truly matter to you don’t care that you have ripped muscles. You aren’t going to forge meaningful relationships, successful endeavors, or a sense of lasting happiness because you’ve sculpted the perfect physique. Everyone wants to look his or her best – I get it. But your guiding principle should be something bigger and deeper. Your grandmother was right. It’s what’s inside that matters.

4. Though shalt not kill…yourself in the process of getting fit.

For years, my goal was kill it at the boxing gym and in the weight room every day, often twice a day. I beat myself up a lot in the process, always winding up in some sort of physical therapy along the way. During those years, a wise man said to me, “Eric, you can either age gracefully or age foolishly. Which camp do you want to be in?” Solid advice, which I finally heard years later after my body gave me the same message the hard way. True fitness is finding a balance for your body, mind, and spirit.

5. Thou shalt not cheat, lie, or steal, in the name fitness.

Finish reps. Don’t half-ass your workouts, take shortcuts, or make excuses. More importantly, don’t profit by selling those same false hopes to others. If you don’t plan to face yourself in the world of fitness and wellness, do yourself a favor and just stay at home. There are no shortcuts, as we all know when it comes to anything worthwhile in this world. In fitness this is especially true. When it comes to being fit or healthy there are no magic pills or supplements and no six-minute abs – just the willingness to face your shadow at the fitness studio, gym, and dojo.

6. Thou shalt commit to thy exercise and fitness plan as a lifestyle and not a quick fix.

One of the things that bothers me the most in the fitness world is the before-and-after photo. As if in real life there’s an after photo. In life there’s just you, the process of aging, and the finish line. The sets and reps in the middle are what count. You can either live a life of integrity by working hard in everything you do or you can look for that brief momentary after-photo moment in the sun. Each time you hit a goal, pause to look at that after photo and the hard work behind it, and then put it away and move forward because the pursuit of health and wellness is forever.

7. Thou shalt not make any graven image that is not in the name of fitness and wellness.

We are fed countless images in the media of how we should look. Don’t make graven images out of what the media and societal pressure says you should look like. Those images are not necessarily akin with being healthy or fit. They also are not necessarily attainable. Be your own personal best body and level of athleticism and fitness. All of us have unique and special gifts, talents, and looks – perfect yours, not someone else’s.

8. Thou shalt not bear false nutrition in eating unnatural, processed, or diet foods.

Many in fitness are trying to sculpt physiques and lose weight by eating food that isn’t real and is disguised as healthy. Everyone over ten years old knows deep down that food is meant to be real and whole. Stop fooling yourselves in the believing that ingredients you can’t pronounce, food that comes in a box, and food that is chemically altered is “good” for you. We know we burn calories and get results the same way we always have – by working hard and getting uncomfortable. The same goes with our nutrition. We have to learn to like fruits and vegetables, eat more of them, and eat less packaged and processed foods.

9. Remember your rest day and keep it holy.

I despise apathy, laziness, and slothfulness. However, I despise arrogance more. Not being able to recognize that your body has limitations is one of the worst kinds of arrogance, as it flies in the face of what is health is really about – balance. Pushing too hard isn’t admirable. It’s arrogance. Every spiritual faith has a root in humility and the pathway to enlightenment runs right through the middle of downtown Humble Town. Do yourself a favor and give yourself the proper care and rest your body needs.

10. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s ass.

Lasting success is about knowing yourself in and out of the gym. Trying to prove others wrong, trying look like the picture taped to your fridge, and trying to keep up with the Joneses may work as a short-term motivator. However, only the deep level of satisfaction in discovering your own talents and best body will keep you motivated for the long haul.

Read the full article.


Now I have health AND fitness thanks to Juice Plus+ and a much improved diet.

 

Nutrition for Athletes: Better Health Means Better Hoops

orangebasketballIt’s March Madness!

So, for basketball players and other athletes, one determining factor between becoming a good player and a great player is your diet. Optimum performance requires sound nutritional habits to keep your body fueled and focused.

Want to play like the athletes competing in the big college basketball tournament this month? Fuel your body with these three core nutrients and you’ll be on your way toward improving your overall health and your performance – in sports and in life.

Water: During physical activity, we often sweat a great amount. It’s important for players to stay adequately hydrated before, during and after practices and games. Failure to rehydrate will not only affect performance, but can cause dehydration as well.  Here are some simple steps all athletes can follow to ensure they’re adequately hydrated for all types of activity levels:

  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
  • Drink two glasses of water before games or practice
  • Drink a glass of water every 15 to 30 minutes during workouts or games

Carbohydrates: Due to the stop and go nature of the game, carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for playing basketball. Once carbohydrate supplies in the body become depleted, we often experience decreased speed, quickness, reaction time and mental focus. Therefore, it’s vital for players to show up to games fully fueled with good carbohydrates. Examples of quality carbohydrate foods for fitness include bananas, oranges, dried fruits, carrots, pastas, baked potatoes and whole grain breads.

Protein: Just as important as carbohydrates, protein helps build and repair muscles and keeps players strong in the game. High-protein snacks fuel the body and prepare athletes for vigorous activity on the court. Basketball players should aim to eat heavier proteins such as meat and dairy in the morning or immediately following a game or practice. Examples of good sources of protein include lean poultry, low-fat dairy, fish, lean beef, shellfish, and legumes.

Don’t forget that Juice Plus+ Complete is a great source of top quality protein and carbs before and after physical activity.

More Exercise Means Less Sickness

Once again the dreaded cold and flu season is among us in full force. It seems like no matter where you go there is someone coughing or sneezing. And while your first inclination is to stock up on vitamin C, you may be better off going for a jog instead.

NY 85 2In fact, many years ago I started taking 1000mg or more of C a day to try to stop getting sick: cold, cough, bronchitis, etc… that was my pattern 3-4 times a year. Did it help? No!

In fact, the amount of exercise I was getting was a contributor to my sickness. Poor immune system + marathon training = sickness! (That’s me in the NYC Marathon in 1985).

So, I was interested to read this: researchers recently found that a daily dose of exercise may help keep you healthy. When 1,000 volunteers were asked to log their daily exercise activities and instances of illness throughout the cold and flu season, those who exercised regularly experienced fewer colds over the three-month period.

But before you think one or two sweat sessions will keep the germs at bay, think again. Scientists found that in order for your body to build immunity, you need to exercise consistently. Of the volunteers in the study, those who strapped on their sneakers five days a week experienced 40 percent fewer illnesses or symptoms compared with those who only logged one day of exercise weekly.

trailsAnother study found similar results when examining the occurrence of upper respiratory infections in adults. That was me! Researchers determined that those who exercised consistently experienced fewer infections than those who didn’t.

Researchers aren’t entirely clear why exercisers enjoy better health, but one theory is that increased blood flow allows white blood cells and antibodies to circulate throughout the body more quickly and efficiently.

relaymick2There are many other theories, but – without doubt – exercise is often the stepping stone to other immunity-boosting benefits such as better sleeping habits and stress relief. People who exercise on a routine basis often log more sleep or experience a better quality of sleep. And exercise of any kind will help reduce stress, which can hit the immune system hard.

Ah, now we get to it – the immune system! But those researchers are still missing the most important question: “what kind of exercise helps vs. hinders immunity?”

Walking or jogging 45 minutes a day 5-6 days a week (or equivalent) will certainly help and not hinder. Running 60+ miles a week in marathon training – that was me – (or equivalent) will make you fit, but not necessary healthy.

I was so Fit but not Healthy that my friends and co-workers called me “the fittest sick guy they knew” or “the sickest fit guy they knew” – I exercised like a fiend, but was ‘sick as a dog’!

antioxidantWhat was I (and what are those researchers) missing? The exercise/nutrition connection.

Hard exercise (for me, the best kind) causes free radical damage in our bodies. We need antioxidants to combat those free radicals, and the best antioxidants come from whole food; fruits, vegetables, berries, etc.

By eating those foods, it’s possible to prevent that free radical damage, lower our risk of many diseases, enhance our immune system and reduce the physical effects of aging.

You can read more on antioxidants and watch my webinar Fueling For Peak Performance.

One of the most powerful, proven sources of antioxidants is Juice Plus+ – proven time and time again to significantly reduce free radical damage. I know because my immune system is radically improved compared to my “fittest sick guy” past.

Lesson #6 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013)  both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog. This is the last one.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the final of six smart habits of super agers. Here Olga’s Lesson #5.

Lesson #6: Lighten Up

People get stressed out over the smallest things,” Olga says. The fact that she doesn’t is as much a matter of choice as temperament. “Honestly, I don’t have the time.”

Not long ago, at an Illinois airport, as Olga moved toward security, other passengers ­began removing their shoes. But Olga didn’t. A sign said that you didn’t have to if you were over 75.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” a security agent asked Olga. “How old are you?”

“Ninety-three,” she replied.

The agent gaped at her. “You’re joking,” she said.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re … how old?”

“Ninety-three.”

“What’s your secret?” she ­finally asked.

“Enjoy life!” Olga replied.

The agent nodded as a grin infiltrated her face. Then she turned to her supervisor, somewhere behind the barrier, and announced, “I quit!”

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

 Olga’s Lesson #5.