Thursday, 25 June 2015

Get Your Food Right.

Eating the best food all year round is how we need to be thinking about how nutritional our next meal will be. Sounds hard but lets break it into parts. Each meal should have three components, Carbohydrates, healthily fats from oils such as olive, or fish oils, Proteins, from fish, lean meat, nuts, vegetables. These foods should be 'clean' no E numbers preferably organic.

Side note here, E numbers are the silent killers, destroying stomach flora, causing intestinal problems. So we should be avoiding these. And topping up our good intestinal flora with the help of Kefir not chemicals added to small plastic pots.

Our foods want to be ticking many boxes, nuts for example, give us healthy fats and proteins. Vegetables also provide and good source of carbs and some proteins and of course vitamins and minerals. Here we could look at the number of studies that show how vegetarian diet is proving to be the age, diabetes and cancer fighting and staying away from processed meats and dairy products that are now linked to lots of health issues. see Gerson Therory and The China Study

So back to our daily menu, in my kitchen right now, I have to go shopping as I have no garden to grow my own, I have some organic potatoes, some salmon and some tomatoes, Kumato in fact. Here I can see that I have the proteins and omega 3 fish oils, carbs from the potatoes and vitamin C from the tomatoes, but I'm missing some leaf or flower vegetables, so on my shopping list is some spinach or celery and broccoli both providing anti-oxidants as well and vitamin A. Link to Vitamins in food

The idea is to cover the main food groups and which in turn will provide us with the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, not the E numbers.

'It is easy to write about but in reality...' Well it's about thinking and planing a bit more, today I cooked extra and saved it as I know when I get home late from work that I'll will be hungry and there is a meal waiting. We can try to buy and cook extra and keep it either frozen or in the fridge. We want to give our bodies the best opportunity to stay healthy, It starts with what we put in our mouths.

Thanks for reading and post any questions or comments and I'll try to help.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Natural Suplements

In sports and fitness there are too many options and bogus information. I have been spending some time to understand how we can apply this to our diet and if we need to.

The basic idea behind any extra ingested source is to give us better energy during and event or better recovery after. For those of us that do endurance events the main use will be glucose energy from bars, gells, or drinks. This 'instant' boost to a depleting quantity of glucose stored in the muscles from our previous carbohydrate meals. I'm not going to get into fat sources and diets here but we can see that one use is based on carbs.

What about recovery, there is a window of time post training that can be used to restore both carbs and water and protein and we may want to try a protein based shake. We have all seen or used these powders mixed with water, using fruit juice can push the carbs up too much and with skimmed milk is ok but ingests slower, but what is really in this powder? The purest form of protein is whey as in curds and whey but then it is treated to add other elements that 'help' recovery. As a basic guide then if you are not lactose intolerant, whey products are ok but if you are intolerant then look for Isolate meaning that the whey has been heat or cold treated to reduce/remove the lactose.

Personally  I like to get into the kitchen and make a second breakfast, that covers all, protein and carbs then I know what is being ingested. The reason I say this is most supplements have less control than normal food products and it also is real food meaning that it's something you can do anywhere you don't have to rely on getting that specific bottle.

One supplement that is going in my diet right now is black garlic. You may not have heard of it or tried it. Basically it is fermented to make it soft and sweet, and this process increases its vitamin E, good for our immune system. It is also claimed to be anti inflammatory and many other things, whether that is true who can really say but I don't think anyone would dispute garlic being beneficial for our health.

So my top-tip is keep it natural and try the black stuff.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Santa Pola Triathlon Cross 2015

Repeat until perfect that basically what we know is a solid way to get things right. Arnold Schwarzenegger used this throughout his career as, bodybuilder, actor, and Governor; musicians too know how important it is to repeat. So this year I have broken away from my 'never repeat' motto to try again.

This year then has been the Santa Pola Triathlon Cross that I did back in 2012, it's a great race, at the start of June, perfect swim conditions 1000m in the Med, at 22º. Plus a 19km mtb ride over some fast cross country then a coastal 5km run to finish. This is actually the biggest Tri-cros in Spain right now with over a thousand inscriptions.  A big event for women too over 120 and very well organised.

perfect conditions.

ON with the race, good things about repeating an event is you know where to go and what to expect, bit like doing your driving test for the second time. So relaxed and confident it was time to see where I had improved. Working on my open water swim has been my big focus in the last year and I was pleased to see that it paid off, I got my line right, did some drafting and spotted the markers without interrupting the flow (thank you Brian) also managed to stay in the main pack with a few elbow and feet blows but nothing that put me off my objective. Two minutes quicker, which is huge in swimming, and I came out of the water sprinting to the bike not gasping and wobbling. Transitions were also a minute faster both T1 and T2.

The  bike, I was on a different bike (26" wheel same as 2012) but my training over the last year has been long 3 hour rides in high mountain with an average speed between  10-12km/h, but this was a fast 19km circuit, my average was up to 22km/h which compared to my normal rides was fast but actually this was my slowest component. If we look at 2012 I was averaging 24km/h. Lesson from this is if we want to get better results we have to train the area in question. I had done very little intensity training on the bike so though I did ok with my base fitness the muscles needed for this race didn't get the same training focus as the swim.
one of the first to get bike ready

There is a nice take away from this, we all know that if we focus on something we will improve, and our bodies are no different but we must have that vision and drive to achieve it. Just working out for the sake of it won't see much improvement do it with a goal in mind and get a lot more.

The run, as I opted for flat pedals on the bike I saved time in the second transition and didn't have to change shoes and got straight into my run taking the first km to get the calves working and tipping water on my head as the temp was now up to 30ºc many people were trotting as I started to pick up the pace keeping to the shade where possible but the last 2km are directly next to the beach and that is where the sun was at full power. Luckily two locals that have houses on the beach had a water hose to cool us as we ran past, makes a big difference. I tweeted a 'big thank you' via Santa Pola tourist board. So as a friend of mine (Tom.F) says you have to 'blow the doors off' but at the finish not before it like Jonathan Brownlee. I saved my sprint for the last 50m to come in quicker on the run than 2012.

Overall I was two minutes slower but only because of the bike, but the rest of my race I was beating myself. So I am happy to accept the medal for it.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Beach Body: Buff or Blubber

When we strip off at the beach are you happy with your body or the body of others?
Most will say no, but lets look at this in another way. having a buff muscular body may be the image that we are all bombarded with in the fitness industry. But what can you do with it?

What do I mean here? Well lets look beyond the big biceps, big chest and back. We need to look at the foundations, the motors, we have a hybrid engine, the heart and lungs. With these two working properly we can shift the extra weight, gain some muscle if we need to, but remember what is your objective. To be a body builder - then great, or do you want to be able to run swim and ride without keeling over.

For most of us we don't have the time to eat, sleep and workout like a pro, however we can work on reducing the junk calories, fizzy drinks, kicking the bad habits, beer after work and increasing our activities. Swim, run, walk, ride, skate, dance, do a workout, sweat. That way will develop a better inner body and help shift some of the unwanted extra.

So next time you're at the beach if you have been working on your foundations the rest will take care of its self.