8 Fitness Hacks That Will Make Your Running Life Better in 2017

8 Fitness Hacks That Will Make Your Running Life Better in 2017

Running is one of the best ways to blow off steam, stay in good shape and give yourself some alone time to clear your mind. Unfortunately, like with all repetitive actions, running can get quite dull after a while if we don’t do our best to shake up our routine from time to time. You need to stay motivated to go on your runs, so you constantly have to find ways to improve your running experience and your performance. Here are 8 fitness hacks that will make your running life better.

1.    Change of Scenery

One of the easiest ways to make things more interesting and challenging when it comes to your running routine is the change of scenery. If you’re going to the same park every other day, running on the same route in the same rhythm, sooner or later, it will all get old. That is why we always suggest trying out something new – if you’re a fan of the treadmill, but you’re tired of being stuck in the gym when the weather is beautiful, take your run outside. If you feel like your well-established route isn’t a challenge for you anymore, try something different, like running by a river or uneven terrain that will test your strength and efficiency.

2.    Lemon Water as Soon as You Open Your Eyes

We’ve seen so many eye-rolls on the subject of lemon water, but opinions change dramatically when people actually start drinking a glass of warm water with a drizzle of lemon in it every morning. If you wake up early to go running before work or before the rest of the family needs you, then drinking something sour and nutrient-rich on an empty stomach will give you the boost you need before you head out the door. There’s no reason not to try drinking lemon water, it energizes you momentarily and it chases away all the drowsiness that might still be lingering in your body. I always feel like there’s a current running through me when I drink it and it feels good.

3.    Strength Training

Running is one of the best forms of cardio there is and people often think that’s all you need to be in shape. And though it’s true that with a running routine you will feel better in your own skin and you won’t have to worry about cellulite and being flabby, if you really want to make the most of it, then strength training will be great for you. Not only are you able to acquire more muscle mass and make your body look amazing, but weight lifting and other forms of strength exercises will positively affect your running performance too. You will be able to run longer and faster, not to mention that recovery period will enable you to burn more calories when you’re not working out.

4.    Plyometric Exercises

In the beginning, the explosive jumping around will be tough, there’s no doubt about it, but the benefits you will reap won’t go unnoticed. Besides, the more you do plyometrics, the easier they’ll be and honestly, they become fun as you challenge yourself to be better. Adding plyometrics when you’ve already got a hang of your strength workout will change your body in the matter of weeks, so just make sure you do your explosive jumping after you’re done with your run. Also, be careful when it comes to your posture and form while you’re doing plyometric exercises, you don’t want to hurt yourself because you’re not paying enough attention.

5.    Eat Real Food

Like we said, running is a great way to stay fit and keep your bodyweight under control, but too many people have taken this fact for granted and eat whatever comes their way because they’re burn it later. Ok, calories will melt away, but the lack of nutrients and excess of sodium, fats and sugars will stay in your metabolism and can cause real health issues. That is why eating real food is something you should think about seriously - fresh produce full of vitamins, minerals and protein can nourish your body and prepare it for any kind of physical activity, running included. Focus your attention on eating organic fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, lean meats and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated at all times.

6.    Change of Dynamics

Just like we talked about changing the scenery in which you run, you should also consider changing the dynamics of your runs to make them more fun and yes, more demanding. Alternate sprints and jogging will make your blood flow and will be great for your endurance too. Doing hill sprints and crescendo runs will melt away all the unwanted fat in no time, not to mention that it will spike your adrenaline that will enable you to be even better. However, it’s important to know your limits and when to stop – there are days when just going for a light jog will do much more for your body than sprinting until you’ve lost the will to live.

7.    Running Is Better In Good Company

There are plenty of us out there who truly disliked running before someone finally put us up to it. Having a friend or a partner run with you will make the whole running experience infinitely more fun, you’ll be more motivated and you can even compete with one another if the competitive spirit is strong. You can also join running groups if you don’t mind running with more people, you get a chance to get fitter and meet some new friends, which is always a good thing. Plus, when you’re running with someone or with a group, it will be much harder to miss your run – you will want to show up for yourself and for the rest of the group.

8.    Let the Music Move You

All those runners with headphones and music pounding in their ears know what they’re doing. Choosing the right tunes for your run will not only spur you on to give it all you’ve got, it will put you in a good mood, just like every time you listen to your favorite music. Some choose power metal hits for their workouts, others go for lively pop hits, and it’s completely up to you to pick and choose your set list, but don’t miss out on all the fun that good music can give while you’re burning some calories and keeping yourself healthy. – Vanessa Davis

 

Vanessa Davis is 32 years old, lives in New York and is currently a full-time content-writer at diet.st. Her areas of expertise are fitness, nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle, and in her free time she enjoys skiing and mountain climbing.

 

June 14, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg
Sound Familiar?

Sound Familiar?

I’ve spent plenty of time over the past few years at ultramarathon events; from packet pick-ups to aid stations to finish lines, and I’ve gained an appreciation for some of the shared experiences of those of us left behind when the starting gun sounds.  I’ve met some wonderful people along the way and have relished in the chance to laugh, cry, worry, and celebrate alongside one another as we support our runners.  In addition to sharing food stuffs and first-aid supplies, we have learned that living with our runners means we tend to hear the same questions over and over and OVER again! 

Regardless of your runner’s level of experience or running community involvement, I have a feeling you’ll be able to relate to at least a few of these.  And if, by chance, these questions haven’t yet been uttered by your runner, consider yourself forewarnedJ

Honey, where’s my butt cream?  No kidding.  This question never gets old, and my immaturity gets the best of me. Every. Single. Time.  It’s really awesome when he hollers this in front of family and friends, or in a public place!  I can’t even describe the expressions this question garners.  Our youngest child has been out of diapers for approximately 14 years now, but here I am, still venturing down the baby aisle, picking up butt cream.  Worse yet? He can never seem to find one of a dozen partially used tubes when he needs it most!  

Sound Familiar

Have you seen my head lamp?  Yes, as a matter of fact I have.  It’s in the pile of gear on your nightstand.  Oh, wait…no, it’s in the kitchen junk draw along with all your extra cords, chargers, shoe ties, and abandoned headphones.  On the other hand, have you checked your gear bag? Car? Bottom of your closet? Under the bed?  How about your tool box?  Ummm, on second thought, do me a favor.  Take your hand and touch your forehead…there you go.  Found it!

Are we out of pickle juice?  Ahhhh…the magic elixir!  The power of the pickle juice!  Not just the ultimate cramp reliever, it’s become his go-to and in some cases, the ONLY thing that he can keep down during a race.  Therefore, we are NEVER out of pickle juice.  If I had the patience or time to learn how to can (sorry for not listening to your wisdom, grandma!), I’d be jarring and canning and pickling like a mad woman!  As it stands now, we always have at least 2 large jars of pickles in our fridge at all times and more often than not, we have pickle juice pops on-hand in our freezer. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried itJ

Are you talking to me?  I’ve had entire conversations with him, only to find out he either had his ear buds in or he was so focused on reading/watching a new post by one of his favorite fellow runners, he didn’t hear a word.  I’ve also had many a conversation while he bear crawls across the floor or as he hangs upside down from the door frame.  I’ve found that sometimes, he is most able to focus when he’s doing repetitive work-out routines.  Planking, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, bear crawls, wall sits…all great times to get in his face and grab his full attention!  Some of our more serious decisions have been made while I’m holding his sweaty feet in the air so he can do handstand push-ups.  No lie!

Did you pack the beer?  Of course I did.  Silly boy.  There is a well-documented relationship between ultrarunners and their penchant for beer.  The brands vary, but there seems to be a stronger than average following for classic old-school (PBR, Miller High Life, etc.), as well as craft and IPA’s.  Whether the race ends with celebratory cheers or commiserating tears, beer is both part of the ceremony and part of the recovery (or so I’m told!).  This holds true for him AND me.  After chasing him around the woods all day, being at his beck and call, I think I deserve a little indulgence as well!

What do you think about (fill in the blank) for our family vacation this year? Insert any number of God-forsaken places with names like Bad Lands, Death Valley, Salt Flats, Tombstone, Devil’s Den, Bloody Springs, or Satan’s Kingdom.  The question is innocent enough, but don’t let that fool you!  There is most certainly a race in the vicinity which they are either considering, or have already signed up for! The race names are even more reassuring that you are headed for a fantastic time; Blood Rock, Hurt 100, Devil Dog, Lost Soul Ultra, Sinister, and Hell Hole.  I mean, honestly, who doesn’t want to spend a week in Slaughterville or Gnaw Bone checking out the sites??!!

Can you help me with my manbun?  Okay…this one makes me giggle.  It all started on a lazy weekend afternoon when I casually glanced over at him and said, “You know, I bet I can French braid your hair!” “No way!” he said.  Not one to turn down a challenge, I quickly went to work.  And, it looked fabulous!  He was shocked, but admittedly, he liked the fact that it kept his hair out of the way.  That little experiment led to teaching him how to use hair bands to create his very own manbun.  Having only manchildren in our family, little did I know my first hairstyle tutorial would be with the hubster.  Now we’re adding hair ties to the ever-growing list of packing needs for race day!

Does this look pretentious? As he stands here shirtless in bike shorts, sporting what seems to be the obligatory facial accessory better known as a trail beard, a sexy DIY manbun, and sunglasses, all while striking a pose.  No, love of my life, you don’t look pretentious.  You look confident.  Strong. Fierce. Manly.  Powerful.  Prepared.  Fearless.  But your humility and willingness to encourage others to unleash their best selves, leaves no room for pretension or conceit.  So, own it, live it, and just do you!

Why do you put up with me?  Because I love you.  You’re all kinds of crazy, but you’re mine…all mine! I was there when running was just a once-in-a-while way for you to blow off steam, and I’m here now as it has become a huge part of who you are and who you want to become.  I’m watching as you make your dreams come true, inspiring myself and so many others along the way.  I’ve even managed to find my own space within this zany community; embracing (and defending) the long-distance trail runner stereotypes of long beards, manbuns, beer talk, gear envy, taper madness, and trail-hoarding.  I’ll continue to document our journeys, offering glimpses of hope, humor, and insight and loving you more every step of the way!

So, if you see a short blond in a baseball cap wandering aimlessly in a grocery store baby aisle, elbow deep in pickling juice, or carrying a 30lb, triple-decker, all-you-will-ever-need first-aid kit across a grassy field, feel free to say, “Hi!” After all, we’re all in this together.  Sound familiar?

Sound Familiar

May 31, 2017 — Josh Sprague
How To Train For A Race And Still Have A Life

How To Train For A Race And Still Have A Life

Training for a marathon can be a stressful experience, especially for new runners. It is important to prepare properly and learn to manage the stress, possible anxiety and fear and actually be able to still have a life while at it. Here is how to get ready for a marathon and at the same time be able to go on with your normal activities, work and family obligations:

Make sure you are committed to your training regimen

If you are following a regular training or running regimen already, it will be much easier to prepare for a marathon. Exercising or running 4 to 6 times per week is going to make things much less stressful and much easier for you. So, sticking to a regular running or cross-training schedule on a weekly basis is crucial. Of course, when you start training for a marathon, the emphasis should be on the running. Try out running longer differences, as well as slow and fast running. Being physically prepared by your weekly exercise program will definitely help. If you are not used to regular physical exercise, jumping into marathon training will be more difficult and can cause stress to your body.

Make sure you don’t overdo it with bigger distances

In many cases, regular running at shorter distances can be more effective than pushing yourself to run longer distances all the time. Adding too many miles to your daily runs can stress your body,

lead to overtraining and cause injuries. Try to train by running comfortable distances which will help you prepare your body safely and gradually for your race. Getting a coach, or adding no more than 10% of the mileage to your runs per week is a safe way to go without stressing the body and risking injuries from overuse. Also - don’t forget to stay hydrated and consider getting a hydration pack.

Make a training schedule to allow for other activities

Make sure you keep in mind any vacations, family or work events and other important dates in your life when planning your training program for your marathon. Unless you are a professional runner, running and training should not be the top priority of your life. You need to balance between your other obligations, family and work time too. So, even if you are going on a business trip or a vacation, you can still run, but make sure you set your mileage goals and running timeline, so that your training doesn’t interfere with your life. Don't forget the right footwear for exercise – visit our website Comfort Hacks if you need specific footwear.

Also, make sure you schedule your runs for the time of day when it will not hinder the other chores and activities you have planned. Getting up earlier than usual and pre-dawn or early running could be a good option for those who need time for other chores later on in the day. Set a time limit for your run, and stick to it - do not run more or less for that particular run. This will allow you to be able to plan the rest of your day and will help you lead your life as you normally do when you are not training for a marathon.

If you can - ask your loved ones or running buddies to join you

Spend more time with your family and friends when training for a marathon by asking them to join you for your runs or other exercises. You can go to the gym together or play basketball in the backyard. This will also keep them involved in your pursuit as well as motivate you to perform better due to the support and approval of your hard work. Also, make sure that you communicate your needs to your support network, so that they can help you stick to your training program and run the marathon. You will probably need help with some of the chores at home and at work while training and racing, so make sure you have pre-arranged all that before the race.

Enjoy your marathon preparation

Since this is supposed to be a hobby for most runners, training and participating in a marathon should be an enjoyable experience for you. If you are too stressed you can lose the joy of running. Also, be ready to do some sacrifices and to be able to handle skipping a run or a training session because of unexpected work or family-related events and needs too. Running is supposed to be fun, so you need to find the proper balance: train properly and yet be able to enjoy the other things in your life as well!

Written by: Cara Haley

Website: http://comforthacks.com/

May 24, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg
Love of the Run

Love of the Run

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

It's been some time since I've been able to truly enjoy the Love of the Run. Some have asked where I've been and what have I been doing? Are you still running?                 

The truth is 2016 left me in unchartered territory.  Not fully myself as everyday became a struggle. These struggles consumed the one thing that gave me purpose and direction. It's hard not to lose sight of life's big picture when it seems you are bound by uncertainty. It causes you to pull away.  In these moments others see you as distant, unfriendly and not present.  

Pardon my language but for those in this situation will totally understand. For those that don't, let me give you some insight. Injuries/setbacks or whatever is keeping you from moving forward, fucking suck! 

There is no good way to fully describe the emotions that injuries and setbacks can bring. If we push through the pain, dig deep, and give it all we have at times, the scars from that resurface when we least expect it. I know I'm not alone in this. We all have been there, done that. Many athletes, including runners either have or will go through this at some point. From a minor injury to a major injury or just life in general.  Finding out that you may not be able to run is like having your heart ripped out. Yet in the big picture it ends up as a blessing in disguise. You wake up and realize that you are not invincible. That you are not super human. It is in these moments you realize something needs to change. 

My injuries are not because I am logging crazy miles right now or pushing through pain. Last year work had consumed me. Continuous 80 hour weeks for almost a year took it's toll. I went from running 40 to 70 + miles a week down to running under 10. It wasn't until the later months in the year, struggling to stay in shape when I noticed some unusual pains on a normal 2 to 5 mile run. Although very active at work, the long hours worked against me.  I was unable to maintain my conditioning. I was not taking care of my body mentally or physically. My mind and muscles grew weak and imbalanced. Subtle injuries surfaced that occurred when I was pushing my body physically to its limits over the years. A MRI showed a bulged lower disc in my back, a small left hamstring tear that had scarred over and torn cartilage in my left hip. I did not know what was wrong until I stopped taking care of myself. I struggled with the news for a brief second. Not once did I feel sorry for myself. It was difficult to comprehend that all the years leading up to this that were so meaningful, coincidentally became my wake up call. I am lucky. My injuries are not tragic- they will not keep me from moving forward. With physical therapy it can all be corrected to some degree. Instead I am even more aware and smarter about my passion.  

Adding insult to injury- literally, last year a routine doctor visit early in 2016 landed me a visit to the ER. After getting a shot, passed out and caught the fall with my head to the floor. Although I sustained no long term brain damage,  I've learned head trauma will leave lasting effects (good and bad) long after it happens. Soon after it happened, I lost motivation, became irritable and moody, I craved sugar constantly and became very emotional. I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, priding myself on being kind,  but my emotions were out of control. I didn't understand my state of mind. I cried at the last Avengers movie during an action scene when Scarlett Johansson was kicking ass and taking names. A year later and I am feeling more like myself again. 

Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. 

It's been a long road back. I still face challenges as I am recognizing that things have changed.  The long distances I so desperately crave may now only be a once a year endeavor. But, I can still run. I may never accomplish that 200 or 300 mile race that I dreamed about as I was running my first 100- but I know as long as I keep doing the right things I will be running for a long time. Bringing back cross training and conditioning is making all the difference. I am not super fast, I'm not an elite athlete by any means. By running less to run more I am still able to run a 5:40 mile and enjoy the long run.  I continue to move forward and run each run like it is my last. My schedule Is normalizing and I finally have time to focus. Every day I am getting stronger.  I stay driven, determined and positive. 

My running direction used to be clear- distances I wanted to accomplish and bucket list races to check off- but last year was a wake up call. I am proof that in the blink of an eye things can change. When these changes or setbacks happen we have a choice to stand still or climb that mountain. 

I choose to climb that mountain. 

Ramon Hernandez

May 17, 2017 — Josh Sprague
Encouraging Women to Run!

Encouraging Women to Run!

Starting anything new can be daunting, but as someone who loves being in nature and running I always want to encourage everyone else to do the same.
This past fall I was at the USTAF Trail Running conference and joined a discussion about women in trail running.  We noted that many women often have the same reservations about running and especially trail running.  I'd like to address and suggest ways around some of these concerns.
1. I'm not a runner, I feel like a fraud.
Ladies, and men too, if you put on shoes, and you move one foot in front of the other and you do this at any pace- you are in fact a runner.  Runners come in all shapes and sizes.  Recreational, professional, fast, slow, trail, road, ultra, 5k, whatever.  Don't worry about labels. Do your thing!
2.  I feel unsafe.
This is probably something I heard the most.  I'm sure almost every women at one time or another has been cat called or whistled at (and unfortunately even worse), and often the result is that the woman is left feeling uncomfortable, especially while alone.  I lived outside of Baltimore city when I first graduated college and after one week of watching the local news and seeing all the gun violence was terrified of getting shot so I ran on the treadmill for a whole year.  Eventually as I got comfortable with my surroundings I built up the courage to run outside alone at 6 am.  After a while it became just an every day thing for me.  I decided that I was not going to let what might happen stop me from doing what I loved.  While we cannot change other's behaviors and where we live, we can change what we do.
  • Run in a group!  Safety in numbers can be key.  Join your local run club, or start your own running group in your neighborhood.  For example, Myself and a few other friends lead an all woman's trail run through our local REI store, I also know of several group runs from all the other outdoor/running stores close by.  Get online or pop by a running store and see what kinds of group runs they offer.
  • Leave a map of your route.  Sometimes just leaving a map of where you will be running and what time with friends or a spouse can make us feel safer.
  • Run with mace.  My mother bought me mace years ago, its been hanging on my fridge ever since.  For myself, running in the woods I feel quite safe, if anything I bring a small pocket knife on really long runs more for first aid than anything else, though.
  • Carry your phone.
  • Don't run with music, or keep one earbud out so you are aware of your surroundings.
  • Run a different route at different times of the day.  If, on the off chance, there is someone watching you changing up your route and time that you run it will make it that much harder for someone to anticipate where you will be.
  • When running at night wear reflective gear, and even a low powered headlamp so cars can see you.
  • Get your spouse to join.  I know several couples, myself included, that will bike while the other runs.  Also, if I am going to run a really long loop and need refueling I will have my husband both check on me, and refuel me at a pre-agreed upon meet up spot in the car.
  • Run smaller loops around the house, or other busy public area.
  • Adopt a dog to run with.  The last thing an attacker wants to deal with is your dog.  Plus you get to save a pups life when you adopt!
3. I don't have time. 
We all do it, we pack our days full of things, putting ourselves and our self care last.  Keep running clothes/shoes in your car for last minute runs!  Run laps around the soccer field while your kid is at practice.  Don't mindlessly scroll through social media while your kids are at practice/art lessons/music/after school activities.  Use that 30 min, hour, whatever as a chance to get out for a few miles.  If at all possible, get up really early.  I have started many a run at 4:30 in the morning.  There is something to be said about the early morning quiet and watching the sun rise. 
4.  I want to, but can't motivate myself! 
 This one is hard sometimes, and is often only alleviated by having very good running buddies who will encourage you to go out in the rain/snow/heat.  Other ways are;
  • Hire a coach.  If you can afford this, it can be quite liberating to just wake up and look at some already planned mileage for the day.  Also, you're paying for it, so might as well get your money's worth.
  • join a gym. This can satisfy both the fear of running alone in the dark, and also accountability because, again, its something you're paying for.  Also, many gyms have great daycare center, which also frees up some time when you have kids all day.
  • Make a date on your calendar, or with a friend!
  • Don't put pressure on yourself to use it as a weight loss tool. Running will make you healthier, but expecting to lose weight and checking your scale often will just turn it into a chore.
5. Its too hot/cold/rainy. 
One of my favorite quotes I tell myself when the weather is just blah is; "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear."  Invest in one good outer layer for each type of weather; rainy, cold, windy, hot. Also, there's always the treadmill.
 
6. For more advanced runners who are already trail running but want to go further but fear the unknown, take an wilderness first aid course and learn how to survive in all sorts of conditions to boost your outdoor confidence.
7. Chronic injury keeps me from running. 
To this I would suggest a few things. Invest in a really good PT and figure out what it is that is causing your chronic injury. Are you lacking in strength? We, especially women, lose muscle faster as we age, so keeping basic strength training can be important to injury free running. Also after having children women's bodies change, a good PT can also help you address your body changes.
8. I might get lost. 
Many watches now have features that allow you to pre-download a route into them.  When I run in new places I have done things like carry my phone, or write a turn sheet.  A turn sheet, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, is basically what it sounds like.  I go look at a map beforehand and write on a little piece of paper either RIGHT or LEFT turn onto each road, and sometimes I will write the distance between each turn.  For trail running, learning to read a map is actually a pretty important skill. 
 
One last comment, be prepared.  When I go out for long trail runs in places I am unfamiliar with I always leave extra water in the car, I usually carry a small first aid kit and some sort of lightweight blanket, a map, maybe even a headlamp and usually more calories than I think.  If there is a trail map at the start of the run, I will take a picture of it, keeping in mind those maps aren't always to scale, but it will at least help me orient myself on my own map.
I really love how I feel through running; it brings me peace and makes me feel grounded; connected to the world.   It also has created and strengthened friendships I would not have otherwise made. I hope these suggestions can help entice other women to lace up their shoes and explore all that running has to offer.
Guest Blogger Rachel is an avid trail and mountain runner, she can often be found exploring trails with her dog and friends.  When she's not out running, she's often dreaming of mountain adventures from her art studio where she relives her adventures on canvas. Check her out on Instagram @wisp_kelly
 
Learn more about Orange Mud at www.orangemud.com
May 10, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg
Running for your Life

Running for your Life

I grew up with riding my bike alongside my dad as he trained for marathons during my childhood, which influenced my desire to begin a lifelong career of running at the age of 12.  Running was a sport I could find myself in, connect with countless others around the world, compete against myself and build a whole new network of a family.  As my life has changed into a working mom, my running and fitness goals have changed too.  For 2016 my goals included running 1000 miles for the year (first time since my collegiate running days) and compete in my first 50k ultra marathon trail race.  I was pumped up about these goals as my love for trail running had grown over the years and this was a new challenge to embark on.

I started off the year with a pulled achilles, then slipped and fell on a bridge and hit my tailbone that set me back on my mileage.  As I was healing and gaining miles back, I continued on my training plan and was back on track.  I ran a 30k trail race as a start to my official training for my 50k on June 5th, then six days later, my goals would have to change dramatically.

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning on June 11th, 2016 with excruciating head and neck pain, then quickly became dizzy and numb on the right side of my body.  I knew this wasn’t something I could cure on my own, so I called out to my husband to call 911 as I knew I needed medical attention.  Doctors weren’t quite sure what was happening to me at first as I still had most function in my body and was communicating, until my whole right side lost all function and I was beginning to have trouble breathing.  It was then that doctors put me under to stabilize me and could see that I was having a stroke.

How does a perfectly healthy 31 year old female, with absolutely zero risk factors have a stroke?  This is the question that still boggles my mind and my doctors.  My specific stroke, which was a right vertebral artery dissection, is generally caused by extreme neck trauma.  Still mind boggled because I hadn’t really experienced any trauma.  I had just ran a 30k trail race and been going along business as usual the week prior to my stroke.  My only conclusion is that I gave myself whiplash from some extreme violent sneezing during a seasonal allergy attack.  But still..seriously?

Nonetheless, I had a stroke.  My running and fitness goals changed in an instant and new goals emerged.  I would have to learn to walk again, regain my balance, and gain mental and physical strength.  Learning to walk again came back to me slowly after a week of intensive therapy at a rehabilitation facility.  Being young and healthy helped me get there fairly quickly.  I continued to do my own therapy at home, then found an amazing therapist who was an experienced triathlete and has worked for many years with stroke patients, as well as young stroke patients.  

Since working with this therapist, I continued to grow stronger both physically and mentally.  With guidance, I incorporated underwater jogging and balance work, HIIT workouts in both running and in the weight room, and yoga. I am now almost 10 months post stroke and have competed in a 5k, have an upcoming 10k trail run, and am looking to continue bumping up my mileage. I have learned to change my workout regime to match my current health safely and effectively.  I pay even more attention to my nutrition and to how my body is feeling.  My stroke has in no way limited me, but has made me a better and smarter athlete.  That 50k will sooner or later be mine!

Guest blogger,

Stacie McGraw

http://themcgrawlife.blogspot.com

https://www.instagram.com/scmcgraw2012/   (Instagram @scmcgraw2012)

Want to learn more about orange mud gear? Checkout www.orangemud.com 
May 03, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg
Staying Positive When Injury Strikes

Staying Positive When Injury Strikes

You sustained an injury.  It wasn’t planned.  They never are.  You’ve taken all of the precautions you could but yet, you still sit on the sidelines and can’t do the things you enjoy any longer.  For me, it’s the running and the obstacle course races.  So how do you recover?  How do you get back safely and try to avoid it ever happening again?  How do you try to be positive when recovery is taking everything you’ve got?

Herein lies the problem for me.  I live a fast paced life and everything I do is always so intense.  Maybe it’s the career choice I have in being a career firefighter/paramedic and need the adrenalin rush.  I think I’ve always chosen the excitement of challenging myself in every aspect of my life from sports to jobs.  That’s why I fell in love with the sports of running, trail racing, and OCR races.  I sustained a serious injury doing just that and it changed me.

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Last year, I tore my quadriceps tendon running the Chicago Marathon.  This came after thousands of training miles for my first marathon and it didn’t end the way I intended.  Surgery was the only viable option if I wanted to get back to what I loved doing.  Well, the surgery and the rehab wasn’t the difficult part.  It was the mental aspect of sitting back and watching my friends run the races I really wanted to be part of.  I still received tons of support from my fellow runners but something was missing.  I needed to be okay with not training and I wasn’t.  I wouldn’t say that I was depressed, but maybe I was.  I’m not used to being the one that needed help.  I was always the one who offered the help.  Being stubborn is easier.

I’m now 4 months post surgery and it’s still hard to maintain the level of fitness I had before the injury.  I know it’s still early and I’ll be working hard to get back but it gets harder as the weather gets nicer.  There are good days and bad days with my knee and I think that signing up for races in mid summer and fall is driving me to work hard and see that attainable goal.  There is still that voice in the back of my head that wonders if I’ll ever be 100%.

So, how do you stay positive?  Well, my advice to you would be to never bottle it all in.  Take the time to talk to people.  Talk to those who have been through similar injuries.  Talk to people you feel comfortable with.  Talk with someone.  Being positive isn’t always easy but sometimes it makes the process go faster.

April 26, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg
Training for your first Obstacle Course Race

Training for your first Obstacle Course Race

Spartan. Tough Mudder. Obstacle Course Races are becoming popular among elite athletes, casual runners, and everyone in between. Everyone wants to feel like the next American Ninja Warrior. Plus, the athletes we see competing in the “big leagues” are incredibly fit and BEASTS. So it’s not wonder why more and more people are hitting these start lines for the first time. Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is an event that tests your strength and stamina. And just like an other endurance event, it takes some training and practice.


I started training for my first Spartan Race because it would not only change up my routine, but force me to work on upper body strength. Boy were both of those an under statement! I did much better than I thought I would after just two months of training. I saw improvement on my strength, as well as in my overall running. The high-intensity OCR workouts are great, even for just a cross-training workout. I'm by no means an OCR elite athlete, but from one amateur to another, I'm sharing my OCR Training Story to help make your Spartan Adventure more fun.


First off, if you're a runner there's good news--you do have an advantage. You have some endurance already and a lot of stronger OCR athletes will admit they suck at running. But because we all want to do as well as we possibly can, you're still going to need to train like you would any other race. For Spartan, you need to build your grip strength and your upper body strength. You'll also need to learn some technique to save your energy as you go.


To give you an idea, here's the common Spartan elements and obstacles you'll want to prepare for:


BURPEES

If you miss an obstacle, you'll have to do 30 burpees. Yes. That's per obstacle you fail. And you don't get multiple tries. Most likely you'll be doing quite a few burpees unless you happen to complete EVERY single obstacle. I myself ended up doing 120.


BURPEE TRAINING: The hard part about the burpees is it jacks your heart rate way up, and you have to keep running (usually up hills) and then hit another obstacle. It's pretty high-intensity. So the  best way to train for this is to do some high-intensity workouts that incorporate burpees. Or even just go for a run and stop every mile to do 20-30 burpees. Practice makes perfect!


WALLS

There will be walls of varying heights. Some 6', others 8' or higher. You'll need to learn how to jump and hoist yourself over. Check out this Spartan Wall Video for tips on the best techniques for climbing these walls.


WALL TRAINING: Lots of explosive exercises, boxes jumps, squats, etc will help give you the power and boost you need to get up and over.


RIG

You will encounter a "rig" or two, consisting of rings, bars, ropes, or a combination of all the above. This will take a lot of grip strength and technique.


RIG TRAINING: Lots of monkey bar practice at a nearby park, pull ups, etc to build your upper body strength. Also, a great way to train for any Spartan race is to visit your local rock gym. Rock climbing is a great way to learn technique and build the strength needed for Obstacle Course Racing.


HEIGHTS

Are you afraid of heights? Me too. But you'll want to practice getting used to heights so you don't panic or freeze on any obstacle on race day.


HEIGHTS TRAINING: Besides getting over your fear, how do you "train" for heights? Well, get up high! I go back to the indoor rock climbing wall. This will do wonders for building your confidence while training at the same time.


THE ROPE

Climb the rope or take the 30-burpees penalty. The height won't make it easier either.


ROPE TRAINING: The biggest part to learning to climb the rope is getting the "wrap technique" down. Then it just becomes about using your feet. Check out this Spartan Rope Climb video to learn all about the "wrap". Some rock wall gyms will have a rope you can practice on as well.


TIRE FLIP, SAND BAG CARRY, and BUCKET CARRY

I group all three of these because they all involve one thing: simple strength. Not a whole lot of technique involved, besides proper form so you don't throw out your back. All three will be heavy (400lb tires for the guys, and buckets full of rocks up and down a hill aren't for the faint at heart!)


STRENGTH TRAINING: You may not have access to tractor tires or sand bags, but you can lift at a your gym to build upper body strength, and the bucket carry is fairly simple to replicate. Find some heavy rocks, fill up a 24-gallon bucket and practice carrying it around a parking lot or up and down a hill.


BONUS BUCKET TIPS: Check out this video on the Spartan Bucket Brigade for tips on how to hold the bucket, and proper rest form when you need to take a breather.


HYDRATION

There will be some water stops, but you'll likely want some sort of hydration with you that frees up your hands and doesn't impede you from jumping, crawling, or rolling.


WHAT I USE: For Spartan Race hydration, I use my Orange Mud Endurance Pack. It's a small bladder pack, light weight, holds 2L of water, and stays close to my body with little bounce and no chafing. Plus, it washes off very well (b/c trust me, you're going to get muddy!)


GEAR

There will be a lot of crawling on your hands and knees in sand, rocks, dirt, and mud. A good "buffer" for this is gear like arm sleeves, compression sleeves/socks, and good trail shoes.


WHAT I USE: Everyone is different when it comes to shoes. I recommend checking out this Sports Illustrated article on The Best Shoes for OCR and checking them out at your local shoe store to see which one is the best fit for you.


I love my Orange Mud arm warmers. They kept me warm in the chilly weather and from getting too sun burnt. However, during the summer Spartan races, arm warmers may not be ideal. Compression sleeves/socks are plentiful and can be found in a number of places. But make sure you look for a pair that's heavy duty and won't tear from crawling around on rocks.

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to train, it’s time to get to work on your first Obstacle Course Race! It’s going to be a tough journey ahead, but you can do it. Good luck!

Guest Blogger,
Jeremy Heath
Instagram: @runner_blogger_az
Training For Your First Obstacle Course Race
April 19, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg
Want to learn about nutrition?

Want to learn about nutrition?

Our podcast with Angie Asche was just awesome. She clarified a lot of misconceptions we have on nutrition, convinced us to both start a nutrition log, and try out some new meals too. Below is the transcription from the call and a link below too for the podcast. 

Angie Asche Podcast

Josh: Hey, guys. Thanks for joining us for another podcast episode on the Orange Mud Adventure Channel. Today, your hosts are Paul Jesse...

Paul: Hey, guys.

Josh: Sales manager here at Orange Mud and myself, Josh Sprague, CEO and founder of Orange Mud. We're very excited to have our first nutritionist, Angie Asche, on the call today. She is a founder of Eleat Sports Nutrition, has a master of science degree in nutrition and physical performance, is a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition, and a clinical exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. So basically, she knows what she's talking about when it comes to nutrition. And Angie, welcome to the call today. How are you?

Angie: I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. How are you guys?

Paul: We're doing great.

Josh: We're awesome over here. We can't wait to pick your brain and learn all about how to be healthier and go faster and stronger, easier, is the goal.

Angie: Oh, God, I'm excited.

Josh: So, to start things off, tell us a little bit about yourself and why you chose the profession of being a nutritionist.

Angie: Sure. So, I grew up a competitive swimmer and dancer, so I was always really intrigued by the impact that eating certain foods had on my performance depending on if it was a swim meet or a dance competition. My dad was a sports medicine doctor, so I grew up basically surrounded by sports, surrounded by sports medicine, and truly, I was just fascinated by the science of it all. I had the opportunity to shadow a sports dietitian when I was a freshman in high school and it's been my passion ever since.

So, I really do... I love science and research, and really how nutrition can either have the most beneficial or detrimental impact to both athletic performance and overall health. And I actually... I didn't start running until I started college. And just recently, the past two years, transitioned over to triathlons.

Josh: Nice. What sort of distance do you like to do?

Angie: So, my favorites would be the Olympic, and then obviously, sprint. I have yet to do any of the half and the full Iron Man's, but it is it is on my to-do list.

Josh: Right on. Have fun ramping it up. The Olympics and sprints are a lot of fun.

Angie: Yeah, they are. They are.

Josh: So, with elite nutrition, you started that, what, seven years ago, I think I saw, is that right?

Angie: This is the third year, actually. Yeah, third year. So, I've been a dietitian, and I worked for a company in St. Louis, actually, called Athletic Republic before this. So, I worked with athletes starting back then and then opened my own practice after.

Josh: Nice. And you headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, right?

Angie: Yes, that's correct.

Josh: I see on your website, you have multiple different disciplines and kind of I guess focal points and whatnot that you use with different people and their different requirements, but what do you have is the majority of your customer base? You know, in terms of do you have people like our ambassador who is using you, Michael Bergen.

Do you have people like him coming mostly to you, learning how to reduce body fat, increase performance, for racing, or do you have more people coming in general nutrition, you know? Give us a background of who you generally see coming into your practice.

Angie: Totally. So, I'd say about 80% of my clientele is athletes, and it's everything from high school to collegiate to the professional Olympic level. I do have ultra-runners, like Michael, like you said, and a lot of ultra, like cyclists, so people that ride 100, 200 mile on the bike, they come to see me for the same reason. Getting down to that racing weight, getting down to, you know, a leaner figure that's also going to help them with performance.

So, it's a lot of endurance athletes, and it is a lot of, honestly, baseball, football. I do have a few basketball, volleyball, really just, you know, tons a different variety there when it comes to athletes. But I'd say the other 20% is definitely general population who are physically active, but maybe they're training for like their first 5k, or their first 10k, or maybe even their first half marathon. So, that's more so, you know, education on weight loss rather than sports nutrition. I incorporate sports nutrition, but definitely more on the side of, you know, weight loss.

Paul: Very cool. So, I mean, that's a pretty wide demographic, which is pretty neat. So, are there any, like common misconceptions that people come in, when they first come to meet with you, that they have about nutrition?

Angie: Definitely. Probably that there's a one-size-fits-all plan, that there's a clear-cut answer to everything, or that what works for one person will work for them. And another misconception is that, in order to lose weight, it automatically means you have to cut your calories. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Everyone's body is so unique, and has very specific needs.

And when you try to fixate your diet around what worked for someone else whether it was, you know, improved performance, or maybe it helped them to lose weight, it may not work for you. Especially when you're talking specific macros or calories or supplements. So, when I meet with a client I really analyze and assess their current diet, their eating habits, their weight and health history, to determine more specific needs and ultimately develop a plan that works best with them in order to meet their goals and also work with their lifestyle.

The misconception about cutting calories, or more specifically cutting carbs, as the way to long term weight loss is probably one of the most common misconceptions I see. Oftentimes, clients will come to me after like months or even years of struggling with weight loss or a lack of improved performance, and, you know, then I assess their diet and see, “Well, you're seriously under eating.” And oftentimes not even meeting half of their needs in terms of calories or nutrients.

So, it's a bit unsettling sometimes for athletes, especially, ones in more aesthetic sports to hear, “Oh, you need to increase your calories to lose weight.” But once the weight starts to come off, they're stunned at how incredible they feel, how much higher their energy levels are, and how much better they feel performance-wise because they're actually nourishing their body properly with high quality foods and with proper nutrient timing, which are two components I educate on as well.

Paul: How do you test for that? I know it with Michael, for example, he mentioned exactly, you just said, he said he was shocked that he actually had to eat more. He thought he was eating plenty, but he found that he was way undereating. But how do you do that? Do you ask him to document an excel spreadsheets for a week of what they do? I mean, how you figure out if they're short or not?

Angie: Exactly. So, that's the first step, is having them log their food for, ideally, a week, so that I can see some different patterns. Because, you know, if you just do one day or two days, it doesn't really paint a good picture. So, ideally you want to have, you know, maybe a rest day in there. Maybe, you know, what they eat on the weekends, what they eat… So you want to have about a full week, and then you can kind of tell get an idea of, you know, where they're at currently with their nutrition.

So, Michael for example, you're exactly right, came to me frustrated, you know, trying to lose weight, but he was extremely undereating and then trying to go on these 20 mile runs. So he just wasn't fueling his body properly. And so, a few things that can happen with that is either your metabolism can severely shut down, or it could impact your performance to the point that you're not going at your maximum potential, so you never really see improvements because you're not giving your body the fuel it needs to perform better.

And so, those were just a couple of the components as well. It can also lead to overeating once you do get to a point where you're just so starving that say, on the weekends, if you don't have a run, you know, you go to a bar and grill and end up getting the fries and the burger and the soda because you're just so, so hungry.

Josh: No, I don't do that.

Paul: Sounds like the story of my life.

Josh: Don't like, laugh at me so much. So, a strong diet can really boost your performance. But many don't know really where to start. So, what are the key steps to building a strong nutrition plan for a better health?

Angie: The first step is education. It'd be so challenging for an athlete to just, with no background, no nutritional background, education to just go on and make a plan themselves that maximizes nutrition timing, and provides adequate carbs and protein and fat based on their training load, adjusting these numbers based on, you know, how much you're running each week, and also making sure you're getting enough electrolytes and fluids and omega-3s and fiber throughout the day. So, obviously the number one would be meeting with a dietitian to help, you know, provide the building blocks.

But, I'd say number two, would be assessing and figuring out what's missing from your diet. So make it a point to incorporate more of these foods. Is it magnesium, is it iron? Whatever it is, you know, keep track for at least a week and really try to analyze it. It's gonna be hard to do yourself. That's kind of why I say meet with a sports dietitian to provide that education so, you know, you can kind of know ahead of time, “Oh, it's magnesium, so what should I try incorporating?” You know, that kind of thing.

Number three would probably be to monitor yourself. The clients that I have they have the most success are the ones that continuously monitor their food. Like Michael, to this day, every day, continues to journal his food. And this doesn't mean you have to count every single last calorie and gram that you eat, but it does mean to keep some sort of a journal and log things that matter in terms of sports nutrition. So, like for example, if you go out and have an awesome 20-mile training run, then write down what you ate before or what you had during.

And if you had a terrible run, or experience GI distress in the middle of it, write down what it was so you know what to avoid in the future. Because everyone's body is so unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. So, having that log of specifically what works for you will really help tremendously when it comes to race day.

Josh: I bet.

Paul: That's really interesting, because, I mean, especially from the athletic side, a lot of people are very used to having training plans that they look at and they can see the big picture when they look at that training plan, so it's almost like having a nutrition version of your training plan where you can actually get a bit...a more big picture aspect of what you've been putting into your body and how it's been affecting you on a day-to-day basis.

Josh: Like the gummy worms you eat at lunch.

Paul: Yeah, exactly. That's why I have to do my runs in the morning so I don't...

Josh: Reese’s peanut butter crunch. I would have to be...The benefit of me making a log would actually be probably my own self-accountability. It'd be those days where... Like I'm the guy that, I don't eat sweets a lot. But if there's sweets around, like, my mom knows I love gummy bears, and she'll send me like a two-pound bag of gummy bears. I'm like, “Mom, why? Why did you send me...?” Then she's like, "Oh, they're organic gummy bears." I'm like, there's still freaking sugar.

Josh: And then I have to eat them because my mom sent them to me. So if I was recording my nutrition, I would have to, I would definitely sit there and thank, God, Angie is gonna give me a bunch of shit if I eat these gummy bears right now. And especially, if I ate them at like 10, 2, 6, 8, and 10. So, I can imagine... I wonder how many people cheat, because I can imagine being like, this is not nutritionally relevant, because it doesn't exactly tie to my exercise today so I'm not going to log this. So she does not give me the cold shoulder.

Paul: It's like putting a zero on your training plan. You just don't want to do it so much that you'll just, you'd rather just go out for that 10-minute run just do avoid putting that zero on there. So we got some questions from some of our ambassadors so we’ll sprinkle them in. And this is ones from Joey Shear. He wants to know…

Actually, it's a great question because I have the same problem. I have a horrible sweet tooth, and I'd like to blame my mother for this as well, because we never went without ice cream after dinner. So, I always need something as a post dinner snack, you know. I can't go to bed without having something. So, what would you recommend as a, like the best after dinner, before bed snack for athletes?

Angie: Oh, that's a really good question. So, ideally before bed, you wanna aim for high protein. High-protein and high fiber. So avoid, you know, really... I know you said you loved the ice cream before bed, but try to avoid stuff that has added sugar to it. And you really want to have that high fiber to promote...preventing inflammation, helping to reduce the inflammation, and you want that high protein to really help recover the muscles while you sleep as well. So, a few ideas that I have would be like Greek yogurt with a spoonful of, you could do like flax seed, or chia seeds, or you could do even some dark chocolate chips. If you want, you could melt like a square of dark chocolate chips and...

Paul: Now you're talking.

Angie: I, myself have a sweet tooth. So I know...

Paul: The sweet tooth is my biggest nemesis when it comes to this stuff.

Angie: So yeah, melt like a, you know, a square of dark chocolate and drizzle it over either yogurt or maybe like almonds and strawberries. Otherwise, you could do like an antioxidant and protein rich smoothie that has spinach, berries. If you want… Actually, one smoothie recipe that a lot of my athletes really like, it's a chocolate peanut butter smoothie. So, kind of tastes like a milkshake, but it's way healthier.

You do a frozen banana, two cups of raw spinach, and then a cup of milk, and you can add, you know, if you want, like a little bit of peanut butter, or a little bit of almond butter. And then for the chocolate, you could do like a spoonful of cocoa powder, or if you have a chocolate protein powder, you could put a scoop in there too.

Paul: Very cool. I was looking on your website last night and I saw some just amazing recipes. Is this one on the recipes on your website?

Angie: It's not, but it should be. There are a few smoothies...

Paul: It really should be. That sounds amazing.

Josh: All right. So, on that note too, about water, just drinking water, especially when you're pumping out a lot of miles and really getting serious with your training, just drinking water and staying hydrated throughout the day, it can be tough. Just because a lot of people get sick of drink of water, and obviously, soda isn't the greatest thing, and probably drinking three gallons of coffee isn't. So are there other, maybe teas, or like…

I know, like, my mom, she's super earthy organic and all, and she sent me a bag of dried elderberries and I, you know, soak them in water and I drink elderberry tea, I guess, in that sense. Are there teas, juices, smoothies, etc. that can boost your immunity, help with vitamin absorption, and kind of give you maybe a good snack too?

Angie: Yeah, well, in terms of a healthy alternative this soda… I'll kinda start with that first. It doesn't necessarily boost your immunity, but if someone is really trying to give up soda, I would recommend Lacroix. Do you ever heard a Lacroix?

Josh: Yeah.

Paul: Yeah, tastes great.

Angie: Yeah, so, you know, it's basically just water, carbonated water and natural flavor. So, you're not gonna get a ton of, you know, it's not going to boost your immunity, but it's a much healthier alternative to soda, and it does still give you that fizz if you're wanting that instead of just flat water. Otherwise, you're exactly right with the tea. I mean, iced or hot green tea is going to be rich in antioxidants.

If you want something with vitamin C, I would go for like beet juice or carrot juice or orange juice. You could always make your own juices or you could do like a store-bought vegetable juice. There's a couple brands out there, Evolution, one that I'm probably going to mispronounce, but it's S-U-J-A, that's Suja brand. When it comes to juices, though, just make sure it's not from concentrate or doesn't have added sugar to it like a lot… You'll see so many juices out there that they add agave nectar to, or they add organic cane syrup, whatever it might be, you just want fruits and veggies.

And then, otherwise, you can make your own smoothie at home. But I do, on my website, I do have a healthy alternative to sports drinks, and what it is it's coconut water. So, coconut water is naturally really rich in potassium. So, you've got potassium in there for one, electrolyte. Add in a little bit of orange juice to it, freshly squeezed orange juice, and you'll get some good simple sugars in there to replace what would be normally found as just added sugar in like Gatorade. And then add a pinch of salt to it for sodium, and you have a good homemade electrolyte...more natural version of a homemade electrolyte drink.

Paul: Sounds really good.

Josh: Perfect.

Paul: So you mentioned… Excuse me, sorry. So you mentioned beet juice, and I actually recently had a pretty bad experience, and I was wondering maybe you could shed some light on. It's not exactly what your initial thinking, but that, I know where that is too, but… So, there's some companies that started, well, when if you drink enough beet juice, you have to flush out that coloration at some point.

Josh: Oh, right.

Paul: And it can scare you a little bit sometimes.

Josh: It's a number one or number two, though?

Paul: It can be both.

Paul: If you taken enough, it'll come out both.

Josh: I'm thinking I've tried it.

Paul: But the problem I had was... So, there's some companies now that are selling basically powdered beet juice as a nutrition supplement for during, before, or after exercise, and I was taking it during the race, and my stomach started going south. And unfortunately, the beet juice was the only thing that was tasting good, so I just kept pounding it, and I was drinking a ton of it to the point where my stomach completely locked up and shut down. I actually had to drop out of the race. Is there something about beet juice that if you're taking just way too much of it that it can kind of just shut your system down like that?

Angie: You know, to be completely honest, I haven't heard of that. But it might just be because, you know, your body wasn't used to it. If you didn't usually have that much and in that capacity, and then you had it in the middle of an event where your body was doing something pretty strenuous that you don't do on a daily basis, I can see why maybe that would have shut it down. So...

Josh: Like run a hundred-mile event.

Paul: Yeah, it was during a hundred, and I ended up having to walk from like 50 something to 70 something before I ended up pulling the plug because I just couldn't get anything in my system. And you're right. It was definitely... I mean, I looking back, I know it was a bad idea. I barely used it at all during training. I got it maybe a couple weeks before the race. And yeah, it was just one of those, you don't think it through.

Angie: Another thing too, you could look at the powder and see, because a lot of those packets, they do add a lot of artificial sweeteners to them for some reason, so it's always good to kind of look at the supplements. Not that whatever you had, you know, I'm not sure if it had it or not, but that's one thing to look for because artificial sweeteners do have that effect that you're describing.

So, that's something you could kind of look and if it has something like Sucralose or Splenda or something added to it, then I would definitely avoid it because you will have that, those GI cramps and those GI issues. But that's interesting. Something where, you know, you got to keep that with that food journal and...

Paul: Yeah, exactly. Well, that one's burned in my brain. I don't need a journal to remember that day.

Josh: And do you find that, like ultra-racing, we have a tremendous base of ultra-runners as customers and endurance riders and whatnot. And on the ultra-running side, it's so common to throw up in a race. And you know, go in 50 plus mile, especially 50 or 100 mile distances, it's so common to people puking that I think people just chalk it up to that's a rite of passage, but, you know, is there…

I assume it's got to be really tough for you to figure these things out because there are so many elements that probably go into the equation from, not just your nutrition but your hydration strategy, and even just pushing the limits of your body but, is it pretty tricky on your side to maybe troubleshoot this? And then, in addition, do you find that that there are, I guess, when you're pushing your body into and beyond your basically limits, should you just expect that?

Angie: Well, honestly, it's a total case-by-case basis. And I'm real glad you actually brought this up, because it sounds to me like… Ultimately, my mind goes to two issues. And the first one is that your body can only really ingest a certain amount of calories per hour, so it might be that they're overloading, and so, ultimately, that number is anywhere between 200 to 250 calories per hour.

So, they might be overloading that, and might be doing closer to 400 an hour just because they're so scared of mocking. So, that's something where, you know, you've really got to plan it out where every 20 minutes maybe you're doing 100 calories. If you're someone who's prone to puking, I mean, you want to, you know, make sure to spread it out smaller.

The other thing, though, too, is, a lot of people, they tell me that they don't really practice with real food when they train, and this is gonna be a huge downfall. Because if you go into every training session just doing like bars and goose and, you know, carbohydrate-rich drinks, well, then come your hundred-mile race when you're actually eating real food, that's going to be a lot for your stomach to handle for the first time. And the gut is something that's very, I guess, your gut can adjust very quickly to whatever you're eating, but it takes, you know, a few weeks at least to get used to and really adjust.

And so, if you're consistently going through your training runs with having let's say, a basic that I recommend is PB&J's. So, let's say, you know, you have two PB&J's throughout a fifty-mile, I don't know, run. Well, then, you know, your body will get used to the feeling of having real food, and hopefully, that'll prevent you from puking come race day.

Josh: Sure. All right. Before I skip ahead to, like... Yeah, I have so many questions on the race side. I got to be careful here. So, I still want to get a kind of this building blocks, your daily nutrition. An apple a day, does it really keep the doctor away? And if not, what's another fruit to consider?

Angie: An apple a day. So, I'd like to think more like six plus fruits and veggies a day keeps the doctor away.

Paul: That's a lot of apples.

Angie: But you know what? The more the produce, the merrier. But really, if I were to pick another fruit for endurance athlete reasons, I'd probably go with a banana a day just because they're so nutrient dense, and they're such a great convenient snack for athletes before, during, and after training sessions. I'd say banana a day.

Josh: All right.

Paul: All right, cool. Sweet. So, okay. So, this is actually a question I had that's kind of similar what you were just talking about. So, with pre-workout snacks and meals, you know, obviously, if you're training in the afternoon or the evening, you've obviously eaten things through the day. But, I mean, for me, personally, I do most of my stuff in the morning. I'm just more of a morning person. I do a lot of my training that way. I very rarely eat anything before a run just because I tend to have a sensitive stomach.

And then, even if it's a long 20, 30 mile run, I generally won't eat beforehand. I'll just rely on the calories I get through my nutrition during this run. What are your thoughts on, should I be eating something beforehand? If so, any recommendations there? Or is there a benefit or a negative to not eating anything before a workout?

Angie: So, that's something where I would look at what you ate the night before and how late you ate the night before.

Paul: A lot and late.

Angie: A lot and late. So, honestly, that's good for you. And if it works for you, then that's awesome. I wouldn't recommend changing it. Now, if you tell me, "Oh, I have a chicken breast and some broccoli at 6:00 and then I go to bed at like midnight," well, then, that's not really ideal. Because then, you're not really doing anything with those glycogen stores.

But it sounds like it's working well for you. If anything, you could add, you know, something as small as maybe like half of a bar or even half of a banana just to kind of get a little bit more of that immediate carbohydrates in your system. But the good thing is you're at least fueling. How soon do you fuel after you start running? How soon do you start taking in that?

Paul: Well, usually, within the first, like, 60 to 80 minutes. Well, I'll start usually sipping on it usually within 45 minutes, and then my first bottle is usually gone within the first 90 minutes, and that'll be about 200 calories.

Angie: Okay, so, honestly, that's perfect. I mean, you won't really necessarily need to begin until about 45 minutes into the race or into your run, I mean. I'd say, don't push it as late as 60 to 80. I'd say, you know, try to get before an hour.

Paul: Yeah, okay.

Angie: Because you are going on in an empty stomach, and if that's what works for you… That's the best kind of the coolest thing about sports nutrition is, you know, like I said it's not going to be the same for everyone. If this is how you perform best, then, you know, tweak it to fit your routine and your schedule that's gonna, you know... You don't want to have a big old bowl oatmeal, it sounds like, before you go out and run. So...

Paul: Yeah, definitely not. That's one of the things I love about this topic, is just the fact that it is so different for so many, for just about everybody. It is a pretty cool, I mean, I could see why you'd enjoy doing what you do. It's just a very cool puzzle to have to solve and everyone is a little different.

Angie: It is.

Josh: Yeah, I remember my first Ironman, I had some friends that were all on this kick that we... On Ironman day, we woke up at 3 am to eat a pretty good meal. It was quite substantial, I figured what all it was. But we woke up at 3:08, went back to sleep for like an hour and a half, two hours, whatever, and then headed down to the event, didn't eat anything up until like 15 minutes before the swim, had a gel.

And then, I went out, did the swim, and then implemented our nutrition strategy from there. And for me, that didn't work. To me, that was just a waste of sleep. You know, sleep deprivation, so from every event since then, I just wake up and eat an hour before, and I've always been good. But it just goes to show there's just so much variation with what can work with different people and what everybody's bodies crave, so...

Angie: Totally. Yeah, and that's funny you say. That I do have a lot of endurance athletes that they'll set their timer, you know, so that they eat that meal four hours before. Well, when your race is at 7 am, basically, making it two or three. But then they do always, an hour before, have basically just straight carbs before. But yeah, sounds like that wasn't ideal for you. And for a lot of people, that's not. So, that's wise that you changed your strategy based on, you know, what worked best for you.

Paul: I would always take the sleep.

Josh: Yeah, me too. Yeah, it's crazy. I give up on that. So how about on diet fads, do see any specific diet fads that end up screwing people up and drive them into you as a customer?

Angie: Oh, I'd say...

Josh: It's a can of worms.

Angie: Oh, my gosh, yeah. [inaudible 00:26:41], Paleo, Nutrisystem. You know, I have seen quite a few that did Weight Watchers before. As far as, in terms of athletes, I see more of the Paleo, the Whole 30, it's just so restrictive, the diets, that they fail very quickly and then they get discouraged, and then any weight that they did lose, you know, they gained back plus some, and they don't see any improvements to performance. So, it's frustrating. It's a total mental struggle too. So, those are probably the most common I see.

Josh: Do you see people that over focus on protein?

Angie: Oh, all the time. Definitely. Actually, especially my male athletes. They really do put an emphasis on protein, protein, protein, which is so funny because your body… I mean, yeah, it needs protein, but in terms of endurance athletes, as you guys know, obviously, carbohydrates are going to be the number one. And it's funny because when you look at studies from, you know, like the Kenyan runners, the top runners in the world from Kenya, a lot of them have almost 90% of their calories coming from carbohydrates.

And that's why I don't really like to use percent macros because it really does kind of make a confusing picture. Because then, you think, “90%, well, gosh, like, they're only getting 5% of the protein and 5% of fat they need.” But actually, in reality, they're eating so many carbohydrates and so many total calories that they were actually still getting the recommended protein that they need based on their body weight.

It was just, you know, so skewed because of their carbohydrates were so high. But yeah, it's funny how many people come to me and they just think that protein, protein, protein is the best thing for you.

Josh: Yeah, buddy of mine is a fruitarian, and we went out for a 20-mile run one day, or 18, I think it was, but afterwards, he ate like, I don't know, 10 oranges. And I just was blown away, and then he made a smoothie of kale and all kinds of other widgets and vegetables and fruit. And I remember asking, I'm like, "Do you not have any protein powder or anything in there, or any nuts even?" But he's like, "Josh, it's so..." he obviously is to the total extreme of what most people would probably consider, but in his opinion… And this is a guy that's running 200 plus miles a week, and hardly ever breaks down, so there's there must be something to it.

But he said that, for him, it's all about rebuilding the muscle fiber and repairing the muscle fiber. It's not building up the muscle fiber, and protein is largely building up the muscle fiber where all your fruit and veggies are repairing and, you know, giving your body the antioxidant boost for it and, you know… It's Anthony, I'm talking about him. And you know what? He's done the craziest miles I've ever seen. So, apparently, it works, at least for him.

Angie: Totally.

Josh: But he definitely opened my eyes on protein, and I just figured after every run he was, you know, eating like a half a bag of almonds. But it turns out, that's definitely not the case.

Angie: Yeah, well, and I mean, he's raising really good points. And honestly, he was pretty spot-on with that. But the one thing I would probably add is that protein, especially branch chain amino acids, does have a little bit of helping with recovery in terms of like the preventing inflammation. So those specific branch chain amino acids, those are definitely important for athletes to try to incorporate enough of. But what I recommend in terms of protein amount and a simple number to go by is 1.2 grams per kilogram.

So, if you take your weight and... You know, listeners can do this now. Take your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2 to get kilograms, and times that by 1.2, and that's really a basic of how many grams you need in protein a day. So, as an example, like for me, it's about 62.5. So, 60 grams of protein, that's that's not that much, honestly. It's pretty easy to get without having to sit and eat, you know, six ounces of meat at every single meal.

So, I think there's such a false, you know, presentation of the importance of protein in sports that I think people way over do it. Especially with diets like Paleo diet that just, you know, preach, preach, preach more animal protein all the time.

Josh: Yeah, well, I think it's a lot of like the high school education in the sense that when we're in high school, we learn, you carve up before big events, you take protein shakes to get big and strong, and then you just figure, "Cool I'm gonna race the long race now. Now I'm gonna even do it more on the protein, and I'm gonna carve up more." So, it just seems like it starts early and grains it in that that's we're supposed to do and...

Angie: Totally. You're exactly right.

Josh: Yeah.

Paul: So, kind of getting into a little bit of the training and pre-race stuff but, you know, especially in the trail and ultra-running community and the mountain bike community, beer tends to be a pretty big aspect of post workout, everybody will sit around and have a beer. But a lot of times...

Josh: That's a recovery mechanism?

Paul: Well, yeah, exactly. That's where you're getting your carbs, right? But I know people will take blocks and I've started kind of, just on a regular basis, cutting out alcohol, but especially leading up to a race, I'll do a strict no alcohol leading up to some races. I know a lot other people do that too. Are there actual benefits to gain from cutting out alcohol leading up to a race or, you know, is it just kind of more in our head?

Angie: There is 1000% benefits from cutting out alcohol, and I know so many listeners are going to be like, "Dang it. Why is she so…?" But so true. Honestly, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink is definitely going to provide some benefit. Think of it this way. Consuming five or more drinks in one night can affect your brain and your physical activity for up to three days. So, that'll really take a toll on your training and your recovery. Research has shown that alcohol has a direct impact on impairing muscle growth, causing dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and preventing proper muscle recovery, so...

Paul: So everything that we don't want.

Angie: Well, really, yeah.

Josh: Thank you. Don't be downer.

Angie: And I was… Oh, gosh. Now everyone hates me. But honestly, my advice is if you do, choose to drink. That's totally fine. Just make sure to have, you know, no more than two drinks max for men and one drink for women, and make sure it's, you know, 48 hours or longer before the event. So, I mean that's kind of common sense. And obviously, if you have a beer after, you know, your race, that's fine. But I would ultimately… First of all, it's not really an ideal source of carbohydrates, so it's funny you said that.

Paul: That's the common refrain, unfortunately here.

Josh: Topping off glycogen reserves, you're getting your wheat.

Angie: totally, which is funny, because actually, too much alcohol can actually impair and kind of have a negative impact on repairing...restoring your glycogen. So, I would eat some sort of little snack immediately after, and then have that either one or two drinks. But get some sort of actual food in instead of just saying, "Yeah, I finished my race. I'm gonna replenish with alcohol."

Josh: So, is there a difference between… Like you hear vodka is the athletes drink, you know, because it's clean, but...

Josh: Have you seen that… I guess, is there is there a difference between beer, vodka, wine, as far… Are they all just bad after exercise even if you're just having one? Is there anyone that's better over the other?

Angie: It depends. And honestly, if you're having one, it really isn't a big deal. Like I said, two for men, one for women. But in terms of actually providing health benefits, I'd have to say red wine, for obvious reasons that it has antioxidants, is going to be the best option. In terms of preventing gains in body fat, I'd have to go with either wine or liquor. So basically, putting beer in last place if you're wanting to prevent body fat gain.

And if you do go with liquor, a lot of problems, or a lot of common misconceptions I see is about tonic water. People think that tonic water is the same thing as water, but it's actually basically just straight sugar water. It has as much sugar as soda. So, I would say either club soda, which is just carbonated water, doing a vodka club soda or you could do like vodka water and add in some fresh lemons and limes. Obviously, those are gonna be a lot healthier alternatives than like a Jack and Coke or something.

Josh: All right. This is from Ben Panji. He actually had the beer wine or liquor question. But he also was wondering, McDonald's or Wendy's, but I'll add to that, is there… Like, in my opinion, Taco Bell can be a fantastic healthy alternative if you get the right… Well, it just doesn't matter, it is...but is there, if you had to get some fast food, you finished exercises 10:00 at night, you're tired, you're starving, you're driving home, and you're driving past McDonalds, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Burger King, is there one that you've seen that has better quality food options...

Paul: At least something that's not horrible.

Angie: Can I vote Chipotle? Does that count?

Paul: No, they're not open late enough.

Josh: No, because they're not open late. Yeah, they're not...

Angie: Well, I'm gonna say, I'm gonna take your Taco Bell because Taco Bell has a very similar option to Chipotle. It's kind of like a make your own bowl, so you can do rice, and you can do a protein, you can do a vegetable to it. So, that'd probably be the one I'd go with. But I always do have to kind of laugh when I get a food log and it says something like, you know, the only thing open was McDonald's so I had to get a Big Mac. It's like, oh, that's the only option that was on.

But it's funny because there are so many grilled options. You could do grilled chicken, you could do, you know, anything that's basically not breaded and fried. You could do salad, you could, you know, substitute in a side salad for, you know, the french fries, or… It's funny, even places like Chick-fil-A now has a kale salad as a side. So, it's kind of cool to see how many healthy options are coming in to fast food chains. But yeah, it's just a matter of people ordering the right things than traditional fried… You know, what's considered fast foods.

Paul: Sure.

Josh: Yeah.

Paul: Definitely. So I mentioned a little bit ago that you have a bunch of awesome recipes on your website. And seriously, I'm gonna go through. I've already started making a meal plan based on them because they look really good.

Angie: Oh, great.

Paul: Do you have like… If you had to pick one main course and especially for me, one dessert off of your, like your favorite recipes, what would you say?

Angie: Well, I'll say Michael Bergen's favorite is the buffalo chicken tacos.

Paul: Oh, I looked at that. That looks amazing. That was top of my list.

Angie: Yes, yes. And I do have a lot of people that love the buffalo chicken pizza which is nice...

Paul: That was the other one too.

Josh: Excellence.

Angie: So what it is… Traditional buffalo sauce is made with a mix of hot sauce and butter. But Frank's red hot makes a buffalo wing sauce that's basically just hot sauce. So, you mix that with some shredded chicken. So, it's just plain old grilled, shredded up chicken, so not breaded and fried, and then you toss it into like corn taco shells, and then top it with some sliced up carrots and celery and then...to kind of give it the wings, taste to it.

And then there's a healthier alternative to, you know, like the Hidden Valley Ranch. It's called Simply Marzetti's, I think. And it just, basically, doesn't have an MSG in it. So it's still, you know, cream-based, but you got to have a little bit of ranch in your life too, and then that's fine. Just drizzle that on top, and, you know, then you're getting a slightly healthier version of ranch on there.

Paul: Well, I'm gonna have to disagree with you just for a second because putting ranch on wings or buffalo chicken, it's just not okay. It's got to be blue cheese. So, is there a healthy alternative to blue cheese?

Angie: No way.

Josh: Oh, yeah. Dude, there is. We have a ton of the… Like, my wife is allergic to dairy and wheat and eggs and soy, and like basically, air and everything. And I'm drawing a blank on the name of the dressings. But we have a blue cheese. There was like no fat, no calories. I assume it's just all made with chemicals, like it's actually, extremely, from health-wise, it's great with the exception of probably the chemicals that it's made of.

Paul: There's nothing else to it.

Josh: Yeah, we got one upstairs. I'm gonna have show you that.

Angie: Funny. Blue cheese without any fat. I'd be curious to see how that's made.

Paul: Yeah.

Josh: Yeah, it's delicious. I use it quite often in salad.

Paul: I'll go find it. We'll get you over a picture of it so you could take a look at it and tell me not to eat that one.

Josh: Yeah, it's like $9 at Whole Foods or more for a little bottle but, you know, it's a typical whole paycheck.

Angie: And then, as far as dessert, I would probably say, I have some raw cookie dough. That one is has been a hit with a lot of my athletes. So, how you make cookie dough is soaking cashews to make them nice and soft, and then you throw them in a food processor with some, a little bit of almond butter, a little bit of… I actually had to play around with it a little bit. But putting a touch of baking soda in it gives it that dough flavor. And then, you do just a tiny, just a dab of maple syrup in there for a little bit of sweetness, and some oats, and just blend it all together, and it makes this raw cookie dough, obviously the dark chocolate chips on top.

Paul: When I saw that raw cookie dough recipe, I got so excited actually called my wife from upstairs to come down and look at it because I couldn't wait to make it this weekend.

Angie: Oh, gosh, that's awesome. I love it.

Josh: Make sure you bring some in Monday, Paul.

Paul: Absolutely.

Josh: all right, so, on the pre-race nutrition, we talked on this a little bit, Valerie Liberto, she has a question about carb loading before race. So, marathon in greater distance, just kind of focusing on the more ultra-endurance side of events. What's the breakdown of what you should be using in terms of calories to carbs, protein, fruits, fats, etc., and what is the carb loading period that you should focus on?

Angie: Okay, so carb loading. So, it sounds early, but honestly, I would start making a plan a full week before. So, you can really start take those, like day 7 and day 6 out, take those days to really plan ahead, figure out, you know, what you're going to do in terms of what types of carbs you're going to buy at the store, what meals you're going to prepare, and then start as early as five days prior to start increasing your carb intake.

And then, those final two days before the race are really the days that you start upping those carbohydrates. And if she wants specific numbers, my, I guess, recommendation is to try to aim for a carb intake anywhere between 3.6 grams to 5.5 grams per pound of body weight in those one to two days before a race.

And a lot of times... The hardest, I guess, issue that people have with carb loading is it's so many carbs, and just it's hard to get them all in. So, try to dense carbohydrates. Like bagels, for example, one bagel is the same amount of carbs as four slices of bread, but it's a lot less exhausting to eat than four slices of bread. So, a bagel, you know, pasta, tortillas.

Tortillas are another one of those foods where they're just really dense. So, think like wraps. You can add in like, for sources of protein, you could do plant-based protein because things like lentils and beans, they're also really rich in carbs, so that's another way to not only get in protein, but also getting more carbohydrates too without feeling like you're, you know, just eating non-stop rice.

And then, I... Like I mentioned earlier, I don't really go in terms of specific math grows as much as I do, like specific amounts. So, like with protein, 1.2 grams per kilogram would be an ideal amount of protein. And then, ultimately, obviously, your veggies, your fruits, they're gonna be, you know, hopefully very sufficient throughout every single day of the carb loading process. Fat kind of does take a little bit of a back burner just because your carbs are so high that you have to kind of decrease something in order to get in enough calories without feeling like you're binging non-stop.

So, ultimately, the types of fats you want to include are anti-inflammatory fats. So, think things that are, you know, rich in omega-3, is like fatty fish, salmon. You could do avocados, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds. The one thing I will say about chia and flax is they're very healthy, but they're very high in fiber, so I would try to cut them out, you know, probably even like the morning before, just so you don't have a ton of fiber in your diet that day before your race.

Josh: Is their kind of a rough ballpark to increase? And what I mean is, before an Ironman once, I i basically switched a week beforehand to my buddy's diet. And I don't know why. I guess we went up to the race a week ahead of time in St. George, and I literally gained, and no kidding, eight pounds that week, and it made my race horrible. And it was so stupid because he ate so much more than I ever do on a daily basis, and he's smaller than I am, so I don't even understand how he does it, but he obviously has a better metabolism than I do.

So, I knew better. And admittedly, that was just a dumb mistake of my part. But that being said, to you… I'm good at learning the hard way. But is there kind of like just 5% to 10% or, I don't know, is there some sort of metric. I mean, I know you reference grams per kilogram or per grams per pound increase, but I mean, I guess, I basically, over the years, adapted the... I don't change. I just eat like normal. But if someone was to kind of focus on, all right, if I X amount per day, say I consume 2500 calories today with whatever given break down, is it maybe safe just to bump it up 5%, 10, I don't know? Is there is there any metric like that?

Angie: It's hard to say with a percent. I'd have to look at your diet, honestly, as a whole and do the math on, you know, a piece of paper and figure that out. But I think that that raises a really good point is you do want to progress. Because obviously, if you're only eating, let's say, two grams of carbs per pound on an average daily basis, and then you jump up right away to 5.5, you know, that's probably not ideal. You kind of do want to progress that up.

So, you know, I could say maybe like 5% to 10%, but once again that percent is kind of hard. I'll say it this way instead. So here are some numbers in terms of training volume. And this is how I base, you know, how many carbs to have is really… Instead of, you know, looking at your total calories or looking at the macros, I look at your training volume.

So if you're running four hours or less per week, then you need about two grams of carbs per pound. And let's say your training is like 10 hours a week, well then, you'd be at closer to about 3 grams per pound. And then if your training is closer to 20 hours, then it actually bumps up to about 5 grams per pound.

So, it really does depend on that training volume, and you can see where if you're training volume is let's say, you know, on average you're doing 20 hours a week, well you're already at that five grams per pound a week. So going up from that to 5.5 grams per pound on those one to two days before a race isn't gonna be that big of a deal to you.

Josh: Yeah, okay. Fair enough. So, how about skipping ahead to race nutrition?

Angie: Okay.

Paul: So, well, I guess it's kind of race nutrition and also just general nutrition, but do you think is there something that you noticed that people are just the most deficient in most commonly deficient when it comes to vitamins and minerals and things like that when they're with their nutrition on a daily basis and on their race day nutrition?

Angie: Well, honestly, the number one nutrient I see deficiencies in is vitamin D. I'd say probably 90% of the people that come to me are not meeting 90% of their vitamin D needs. And vitamin D is an antioxidant so it really does help fight inflammation. So, for athletes… And also, you know, vitamin D is good for bone health so, you know, making sure you have enough is gonna help prevent things like fractures, and injuries.

So, you know, it's not like you have to have vitamin D during a race by any means, but as far as planning ahead and making sure you have adequate amounts every day in your diet, I think that's really important. A lot of people don't have vitamin D in their diet. And it's hard because it's not one that's commonly found in food.

So, unless you live somewhere like Florida year-round and you're getting constant sunlight, you know, it's gonna be a little bit more challenging. You could always supplement with a D3, like a vitamin D3 pill of at least a thousand, I use, is what I usually recommend. Otherwise, eat egg yolks. Egg yolks are a really really rich source of vitamin d, and a lot of people just get in the mindset of, “Oh, egg whites are healthier because they don't have cholesterol. There's less fat.” But honestly, the yolk is where all the nutrients are. So yolks, salmon, fortified dairy, anything that's fortified with the vitamin D and calcium is going to be beneficial too.

Paul: It's kind of crazy to hear that, I mean coming from the endurance side and all these endurance athletes you see, the amount of time that we have to spend outside on the trails or on the roads, yet we're still vitamin D deficient even being outside as much as...far more than the general population is.

Angie: Totally. Well, and honestly, a lot of it comes because the UV index is highest around like 10 am to 2 pm, and many endurance athletes are made around that time. It's usually like either 5 am or like 5 pm. So, you know, you miss that. Even though you're outdoors, you don't get that that benefit from the vitamin D.

Paul: It makes sense. So, other than vitamin D, are there any other, I mean, over-the-counter vitamins that you recommend people need to kind of look into, be aware that they might be low on?

Angie: The other ones I see, you know, most frequently I'd have to say omega-3 is one that I often see is pretty low. Usually people don't have a problem with omega-6 because it's so prevalent in all, like packaged foods and basically think like soybean oils. So anything with soybean oil or vegetable oil is omega-6. Well, the omega-3s are typically low so increasing things like those fatty fish that I mentioned, walnuts, chia, flax, those kinds of things to boost omega-3.

The other ones, honestly, are electrolytes. And specifically, potassium. A lot of individuals struggle with potassium, magnesium, and calcium. And usually sodium isn't an issue for most people, but you'd be surprised, like Michael for example, if you're someone that's a heavy sweater or you just have a very high training load, then you might not even be meeting the sodium needs even if you're twice above what's recommended for general population.

So, you know, sitting down with the athlete and figuring out their sweat rate is really an important part of my education to them. So what I do is... To calculate your sweat rate, they just weigh themselves before a training run, and then they monitor exactly how much fluid, how many electrolytes, or anything else that they consumed during the run. And then, they weigh themselves immediately after.

They let me know everything from environmental situations like temperature, wind, those kinds of things that might have a factor or play a role and how much you sweat. And then I calculate an estimate of exactly how many, you know, carbohydrates, fluids, sodium, potassium, and electrolytes, basically, that they need to replenish every hour based on their sweat rate.

So, it's really important though to kind of plan ahead because a lot of people they just think, “Oh, I'll get my electrolytes during my workout.” Well, you also kind of want to have those types of foods throughout so that, you know, you're having proper recovery, and so that you don't go into a workout without any electrolytes. Because most people don't just pop a whole electrolyte supplement the second they start running.

So, it's a good idea to have some backups like foods that are rich in potassium, I mentioned coconut water, bananas. Another one that a lot of people don't think of is baked potatoes. So a regular baked potato has almost twice as much calcium as a banana. So yeah, incorporating more potatoes and… Sweet potatoes are a good source too, but... Yeah, avocados all those foods are rich in potassium.

And magnesium, think things like almonds. Almonds are a great source of magnesium. Calcium obviously is going to be found and, you know, dairy, but it's also found in a lot of leafy greens and broccoli vegetables like that. So, you know, trying to incorporate more of those foods throughout your diet so that you're more... I guess, your electrolytes are more balanced consistently rather than only focusing on it while you're running.

Josh: Very cool. You mentioned avocados. I've definitely seen an amazing amount of ultra-runners eating just raw avocados in an aid station in ultra-events. And to me, I like avocados too, but I really prefer guacamole. So, I know this sounds weird, but to me I feel like it's almost genius. I mean, I think I should be marketing guacamole in events. But I'd love to know your take on this.

So rather than eating an avocado at an aid station, which is kind of a pain in the butt to… Right, you gotta cut it open, you gotta get the seed out, eat around. What about just making guacamole? I mean you've got salt, you got… I don't know if tomatoes would impact your stomach with the acidity. But you got the salt, the lime, maybe some chips, but maybe even just eating it plain. So, how about guacamole as an alternative to avocados in ultra-racing?

Angie: I love the idea. I think you should start marketing it tomorrow.

Josh: Orange Mud's new product is coming.

Angie: Yes, but really, I mean, you're adding salt in there so you're getting some more sodium. The tomatoes I feel like it's going to be a case-by-case basis. Hopefully, the acidity isn't too much, but it's something that hopefully they try out guacamole before their first, you know, time on the route. But you do get a little vitamin C in there too. And I'd probably leave the fried tortilla chips at home, but you could maybe do something like, you know, maybe dip it with, oh gosh, like pretzels. Something [inaudible 00:53:12] so then you're getting a little bit more carbs with it too.

Josh: Gummy bears?

Angie: Gummy bears and guacamole.

Paul: You'd probably be okay just throwing it right into a wrap, right?

Angie: Totally. There you go. Dense carbohydrates on your side.

Paul: We carry it with you.

Josh: Perfect. What is your favorite small snack recipe for races?

Angie: Like before or like during?

Paul: For during.

Josh: During.

Angie: During. I'd have to say… Okay, so, small snack. Well, if we're talking really small, I'd say banana. But otherwise, I'd probably have to say either a peanut butter and banana, a peanut butter and honey, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just because you're getting a little bit of protein in there.

You're getting mostly carbohydrates, especially, if you do like the honey or the jelly, it's a very quick, you know, quick digesting source of carbs too. The one thing I would say is, you know, race time is not the time to focus 100% on, you know, whole wheat and high fiber so I would go for, honestly, like a white or a low fiber bread for a PB&J.

Paul: Very cool. I always feel like when you're coming into an aid station, if it looks good, they'd eat it. If it doesn't move on, right?

Angie: Yeah. Another popular one with some of my racers too is they really like roasted potatoes that have been rolled. They're like Parmesan cheese or salt, so that's a [inaudible 00:54:36] too.

Paul: Potatoes dipped in salt are a godsend about anywhere after mile 60.

Angie: I think just any time in general, but yeah.

Paul: That's true, yeah. All right, so let's move a little bit past the during the race. All right, so now the race or your training run is over. So how important... I mean everybody talks about your post workout nutrition, and, you know, you hear different estimates on what that window is and what the optimal amount and ratios are to eat, what it what's your take on that?

Angie: So, post workout fueling is, honestly, extremely important and it's one of the probably the most neglected things that I see, just because a lot of people they struggle with like appetite immediately after a race. But ultimately, you want to get in some sort of carbohydrate and some sort of protein, ideally, somewhere around a four-to-one ratio, carbs to protein. And you want that to come in within an hour of finishing your workout. I'd say, at the absolute longest, two hours.

But after you wait after two hours, you're not gonna get that benefit. You're not gonna get, you know, the replenishing of the glycogen, the immediate restoring of the muscles. It's just you're going to have a lot of catabolic breakdown of your muscles, and you don't want that to happen. And it's harder to refill your glycogen when you wait that long. So, ultimately, getting some sort of nutrition within that first hour would be my recommendation for sure. So have good replenishment.

And another thing too, there's actually been a research study that shows those who have that proper post workout nutrition, not only does it help with recovery, but it also helps body fat composition. And those who consistent consistently fueled post-workout were actually leaner, had lower body fat percentages than their counterparts who did not. So, it could have an impact. Their idea is that your body's metabolism is that its highest. So, obviously after, right, finishing a race, so those calories are utilized, and it's I guess better for preventing fat gain than it would be if you prolonged that post-workout fueling.

Paul: Very cool.

Josh: Awesome. How about...

Paul: Go ahead.

Josh: I mean, how about, as far as some examples to eat, to assist in proper recovery, are there may be a few different key vegetables, fruits, etc., that you could tell our users?

Angie: Yeah, so to aid in recovery, I would automatically think anything that helps fight inflammation. So, anything that's rich in either antioxidants, or anti-inflammatory fatty acids so, you know, like you said any fruits and veggies, honestly. Tart cherry juice is another good one. Berries, nuts...

Paul: I've recently become addicted to that POM pomegranate juice.

Angie: Yeah, yeah.

Paul: It tastes so good after a workout. Is that actually pretty good thing to have or is it just because it tastes really good?

Angie: No, for sure. That's something you could definitely have. The one thing it does lack is protein, so I would have maybe like a hard-boiled egg or two hard-boiled eggs or something with it, so that you're incorporating a little bit more protein. Or you could throw it in a smoothie. I'm not sure of a pomegranate. I feel like pomegranate juice would be good in a smoothie, though.

Paul: It's gotta be.

Angie. Yeah, it's gotta be. It's pomegranate juice. But you can mix that in with maybe like a scoop of protein powder, or maybe like a big old, you know, spoonful of Greek yogurt and mix that together for a good combination of both carbs and protein.

Josh: All right. So we have a question here from Denny Hodge. She's wondering, is protein a factor during long endurance training? So actually during training or during racing?

Angie: So, yes, definitely. Protein does become a factor, and especially after you get past four hours, you'll really want to start taking in small amounts of protein to help reduce muscle breakdown as far as, you know, a half marathon or honestly even a full marathon, it's not really that necessary.

But for those, you know, long endurance trainings, the ultras, it's extremely important especially after four hours, and I would keep majority of the calories carbohydrates, but do that similar ratio of four parts carbs to one part protein. And I would also try not doing more than 100 to 200 calories at a time. Two hundred may be even pushing it for smaller athletes.

And I mentioned before, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so the peanut butter does provide a little bit of the protein in there, and then you get the carbohydrates from the bread and the jelly. Otherwise, there's… Honestly, there's some sports drinks and some goos out there that help you take the guesswork out of what foods to prepare ahead of time that include protein in it.

Josh: I personally am a big liquid fan. I mean, and I've used it through a lot, and rarely ever had issues. And don't get me wrong. I love to eat real food during races. But over the years, I've largely transitioned to just drinking my food throughout the whole entire race with hardly any supplements. If anything, it's usually like it's because I want it. It's a pickle, maybe some gummy bears...

Paul: Chips.

Josh: But I I've really tried to stay away from even a lot of that. I mean, like, I ran the Hawk 50 last year, and I used Infinite Nutrition and I love it. I got a good balance and...

Angie: [inaudible 00:59:37]

Josh: Liquid works for me, but I I guess do you see a lot of people… Would you steer anybody one way or another versus going all liquid and or all real food? There's basically a divide and the tribes of people believe in one versus the other.

Angie: Totally, well, it's funny that you mentioned Infinite. I actually really like that brand. And I love that you can… I think it's so cool you can go in and customize your own mix based on your specific needs and, you know, figure out if you want caffeine, do you want, you know, how much electrolytes do you want, do you want it sweet, do you want it not so sweet. I think it's an awesome company.

But, you know, it really does depend on the person. If they do, it's kind of like how you found over time that you like doing the liquids better. It's whatever works for you. Honestly, as far as, you know, half marathons and full marathons, I probably wouldn't recommend much solid food past, maybe like bananas and oranges or like bars, but otherwise, you know, goos, and honey. Those are kind of the things.

But as far as ultra, you know, I feel like food does provide benefit. But it's kind of like you said. It just depends on, you know, the individual and how they feel with food. This is just a story of a couple of my clients just to kind of give you an example. I've had two completely separate occasions now where a client has come to me and their goal was to qualify for Boston, and both had terrible experiences with sports gels and goose.

And one of them had struggled throughout every past marathon with GI issues that left her in a Port-a-Potty around mile 20, adding in like four plus minutes to our time. So, after working with them, both had incredible success in adding a dry, high, carb, low, fiber cereal. And what they did was they did fourth cup servings in a little Ziploc bag and kept it in their belt and ate it four times throughout the marathon for a full cup. So they actually both qualified for Boston doing this.
So, now, I recommend everyone start eating cereal during marathon. But it's just an example of how, you know, everyone's nutrition in terms of what foods they can handle, what foods they can stomach, is so different. Like you mentioned, your wife, has so many different food allergies. So, obviously what works for one person would never work for her in a race. And so, it's just, it's very individualized.

Josh: Sure. So kind of on that similar vein of people doing things, like differently. One thing... Ryan Olson has a question about something that's been becoming more popular as these ketogenic diets. And I kind of like to get your thoughts on how you feel about the ketogenic and those super high fat diets. And then, if somebody is going to take that on, what are some of the best fats that, as a runner or an endurance athlete that you can be taken in during the process of being on a ketogenic diet?

Angie: Sure, so, I personally I would not recommend a ketogenic diet to someone. If I had an athlete come to me and say, “This has worked really great for me,” then, you know, I would help them with it for sure, and I would help maximize it to their potential that they're getting the best fats for running. But, you know, ultimately, it takes more oxygen to burn fat than it does carbohydrates.

And so to me, you know, it doesn't really make much sense, especially when the research is right there that, you know, obviously, that lack of oxygen is going to shift to carbohydrate utilization, and it just, in mental have to focus on what's your heart rate, and what if your heart rate goes above a certain percentage, and then you dip into those glycogen stores that aren't available. So it's a lot.

I mean, for someone who is, I mean, very, very… Because I know there are some very high up there athletes that are very successful on the ketogenic diet and it works great for them. But it's also something that requires a huge amount of time and commitment. And if someone is, you know, totally able to do it for the rest of their lives, then sure. I think that's great.

But otherwise, I personally have seen the benefits in research over years and years and years of research that show carbohydrates are really essential for endurance athletes. So, I just wouldn't feel comfortable saying. "Hey, I think you should try ketogenic," just because it's a fad right now.

So, yeah. And you also kind of have to look back at those top, like, I always look back at, you know, the Kenyan racers I talked about earlier, that have up to 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight on a daily basis. I mean, that's incredible so, you know, and then look there they're the top athletes in the world.

Paul: So, yeah, I actually just read something very recently about… It was very interesting. This guy went around the world basically and went with the Kenyan athletes and cyclists and all that. Basically the best of the best not just, you know, "elite" but the guys that were actually winning Olympic medals and winning world and setting world records and looked at their diets, and it was fascinating because… Well, first of all, they were all different. But nobody had any restrictions in their diets.

I mean, other than “just don't eat garbage.” You know, that was really kind of the only restriction that anybody had. It was so diverse, and it was everybody had many elements to what they were eating. Like the Kenyans, they're eating a ton of carbs because that's what they have available to them. They eat a lot of corn.

Angie: Totally. And the problem with low carb diets is they often tend to completely mix whole grains and beans, which beans and like lentils, for example, those are... Yeah, they have carbohydrates, but there's such great plant-based proteins, and they often make you rely on all these supplements just to make sure you're getting B vitamins and magnesium, and you kind of have to ask yourself, I mean, is it really the healthiest diet if you have to consistently rely on supplements to get what you need?

So I think, you know, it's just… It's a battle for sure, and it's just one of those things that you have to look at those athletes to that are doing a ketogenic and see, you know, what are their genes? Have they always been an incredible athlete? Like maybe it just, you know, works for them and it's not like the ketogenic diet made them a great athlete. They were probably a great athlete before and they are just very regimen and stick to this diet, and it works for them.

But for people that... You know, it's kind of like the Atkins diet. It's very similar to Atkins diet because people will be on this high saturated fat, just extreme fat diet, and then they'll splurge. Well, then anytime you have any sort of carbohydrates, your body just automatically stores up to about three ounces of water for every gram or for every ounce. So then, you know, you're automatically gaining weight back and you're like, “Oh gosh, it's the carbs.”

Well, no, not necessarily. And it's just too discouraging thing to go back and forth. And so, I feel like you're exactly right in the sense of these other countries, they don't have restrictions. They just, you know, they cut out the junk for the most part and, you know, they allow themselves what they want when they want it and it works well for them. When you restrict yourself so much is when you start to struggle.

But going back on your question, I have to say, the fats I'd recommend, if you were on a ketogenic diet while running is some type of fat that's also low in fiber. So, like I mentioned chia and flax seeds, those are so healthy for you, but I wouldn't recommend having them in the middle of your run. The fiber can be a lot on your GI system, and that, along with the high fat content, would just be too much. So, I would say something like salted nut butters, like peanut butter, almond butter, cashew, or salted almonds, would be good fats, and they're also a great source of electrolytes.

Avocados, we've talked about a few times. And honestly, whatever works best for your GI system. And if that's something like dried bananas that are cooked in coconut oil then, you know, by all means, go for it.

Paul: Very cool. Okay, I guess… I kind of I'd like to get your thought on this, but real quick, but it seems like, I mean, you've mentioned the Whole 30 and the Paleo, my wife and I, actually, about a year ago, we did the Whole 30. And for me, and for us, it was great because it was kind of more of just a reset than like a huge life change. But I feel like when people do that and they do see a positive result whether it's Whole 30 or any of these restrictive diets, it's really just because, like they are too restrictive for me at least to be on daily for the rest of my life.

But when you do it, you see immediate results just because you're cutting out all this junk. And for me, at least, it just kind of taught me, all right, just limit the amount of junk I'm eating. But I can still eat bread once in a while, you know, I don't have to completely eliminate it from my diet.

Angie: Totally, so you did it the right way. A lot of people, unfortunately, they're not in that mindset, and so they get into this trap where they think, you know, “Oh, gosh, like I can never have, you know, legumes again, I can never have grains again, because they're gonna just make me puff up,” or whatever, you know, the Whole 30 says.

And the thing that I don't like about the Whole 30 is it's very restricted to the point that if you "cheat", you have to start over again, and that is just... I mean, that's an issue for me. I have a lot of athletes too that struggle with... You know, especially my aesthetic sports like figure skating, and gymnastics, they struggle with body image.

So for them to ever come to me and say, you know, oh I want to do this Whole 30, well, that's the last thing I would recommend because it really does, you know, mess up your whole mind and your whole thoughts about food and what's the...

Paul: Well, there's such an emotional relationship for, I think, everybody with food, you know, some people have it stronger than other. I have a very emotional relationship with food, and I love it. And I feel like, yeah, when you get those tight restrictions, it plays on that in a negative light.

Angie: [inaudible 01:09:05]

Paul: That is true too. Very cool. This has been amazing. So before we wrap up, we just have a couple last-minute questions for you that we just kind of want to get them some thoughts from you. So, for example, what's the most memorable moment from your personal athletic career and endeavors?

Angie: So, I'd have to say, probably my first ever triathlon. Because I had never swam in open water before despite many people telling me that I should probably try it at least once before an actual race, so… And it was it was two years ago, so like I said, I'm very new to triathlons, but I'm already hooked. But I'll forever remember when I jumped into Lake Michigan. It was in Chicago. It was in August, and the water was like 46 degrees. Oh, my gosh. I had a FitBit monitor on, and I kid you not, it went up to 170 the second I got in that water.

Paul: I don't doubt it.

Angie: I'm doomed. I'm doomed, so...

Josh: Nice. Were you wearing earplugs?

Angie: I wasn't, no. And I was definitely I should have worn those little like foot things too.

Paul: Oh, booties. Yes, the booties are money when it's that cold.

Josh: Did you not feel, like the water freezing your inner cortex because you weren't wearing earplugs?

Angie: I did. Yeah, I felt like, well, my entire body is just... I'm shocked. I swam so fast because I want to get out of the water so… But, yeah.

Josh: I did Ironman at St. George when it was 50. Like the water was 51 and it was 48 outside or vice versa. And I just remember the water, every rotation, it went in like my right ear and froze my inner cortex, and then as I rotate it away to my left ear and froze my inner cortex. And every turn, it was just like, this is this is horrible. Every bit about that was horrible. So yeah, 46.

Angie: I'm gonna take that advice. I'm gonna wear earplugs.

Josh: Yeah, ear plugs, booties. Yeah, that makes life better. I didn't wear ear plugs, but if I ever am dumb enough to do that again, I certainly will.

Angie: I thankfully had the full body suit with the sleeves, but still I felt...

Josh: How about, what's the best piece of advice you've received during your athletic career?

Angie: Probably that your body needs rest, that your body won't function properly without rest. I really did struggle, especially when I was younger, with allowing my body to take a rest day, so I had to find out the hard way by running on an injury that resulted in me having to get hip surgery. So, you know, I thought at that age, you know, if my body feels fine, why not just, you know, keep pushing it hard every day?

And the problem was I wasn't giving myself a break, so, you know, since then I take the advice from PTs and doctors very seriously about the importance of rest and recovery, and foam rolling and stretching and, you know, utilizing all of those tactics on, you know, a weekly basis and letting your body rest.

Josh: Perfect.

Paul: So other than, you know, helping people change their lives through nutrition, what do you what do you actually do for fun?

Josh: Small things.

Angie: What do I do for fun? I love to travel. So based on my husband's job, we live in three states a year, so I love traveling, touring new places, especially anything that involves being active and outdoors. Like we were in Colorado, where you guys are at. So I got to go, you know, run the stairs at Red Rocks and got to go do that when I was in… So I try to make an effort of any time I go somewhere new to see, you know, what's outside and kind of be a tourist, I guess.

I also love visiting, like farmer's markets, local farmers' markets when I travel, and seeing what little specialties they have in different states, and being a small business owner myself, there's just something so rewarding to me about buying fresh fruits and veggies and eggs from a local family farm. So, I try to make a point to do that when I travel too.

Josh: Nice.

Paul: Perfect.

Josh: How about any final thoughts for our listeners today?

Angie: I guess, you know, just make quality food a priority, and give your body the proper nutrients it needs to perform, and I promise you that it will perform at its best if you if you keep giving your body quality foods.

Josh: Awesome. Well, thanks so much today. This has been fantastic. I know I'm over here, I've been jotting down tons of notes, and I'm going to have to listen to our own podcast again to take even some more of these on the…the metrics to focus on, but...

Paul: I can't wait to dive into those recipes.

Josh: Yeah, that too. The peanut butter.

Angie: Oh gosh, I don't know if you'll like them.

Paul: Oh, I will.

Josh: Yeah, peanut butter shake thing, and yeah, there's a lot. So your website is eleatnutrition.com, E-L-E-A-T nutrition dot com. And Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all the same. As far as, if someone wanted to reach out to you, obviously they could go to eleatnutrition.com, especially with you traveling, and anymore, honestly, it seems that most people don't want to go anywhere other than online anyway to get so many things done.

Do you consult well over… Is it easy I guess to do nutritional consult and help to make people like Paul and I more well-rounded nutritional focus through… I'm trying to say and over the phone, or over the Internet, you know, if we're in Colorado and you're in wherever?

Angie: Yeah, so actually my practice is 100% virtual. So everything is Skype, FaceTime. It's funny because even when I am home in my… I have an actual office and Lincoln, Nebraska, and sometimes when I'm home when… Because usually I'm home in the winter time there, and so people will be like, you know, stuck in their homes and so they'll be like, "You know, I can I just call you instead?" and they kind of get used to the whole calling on FaceTime, and it's just so much easier to meet on your couch at home and whatnot.

So yeah, it's never been an issue to do it all virtually. And it's it's very easy because I'm always on the road and lot of my athletes are usually on the road or traveling, so it works out really well because they can reach out to me anytime and, yeah.

Josh: Awesome. That's great to know. All right, Angie. Well, it was great to have you on the call today. So again, everybody, it's Angie Asche of Eleat Nutrition in...wherever, Lincoln, Nebraska, Arizona, and other parts of the world. We really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today, and we'll have to have you again on soon. I know there was a lot of other things that I actually would have loved to pick your brain on, but we ran out of time.

But this was awesome. I think our listeners are going to learn a ton from this about nutrition, and hopefully, learning maybe some good steps to move things forward and possibly contacting you as well. So, we really appreciate the time, and can't wait to have you on again.

Angie: Thank you for having me.

Paul: Thanks, Angie.

April 13, 2017 — Josh Sprague
Change your Diet, Change your Life!

Change your Diet, Change your Life!

There is a stigma in our society that says we must eat meat for protein, that we were designed to eat meat because we have canine teeth! The fact of the matter is we don't have canine teeth.

As stated in an article by Michael Bluejay, "The lower jaw of a meat-eating animal has very little side-to-side motion – it is fixed to open and close, which adds strength and stability to its powerful bite.  Like other plant-eating animals our jaw can move forwards and backwards, and side-to-side, as well as open and close, for biting off pieces of plant matter, and then grinding them into smaller pieces with our flat molars.

It was 2010 and I was in the process of getting test after test after test to try and find out why I had Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). Having IBS is literally a pain in the butt! No pun intended. Whenever I ate I knew I had exactly thirty minutes to find a restroom or be at the comfort of my own home. It was like clockwork. I went to doctors, but tests couldn’t give me any answers, so I decided to make a change. I cut my dairy intake down and started using Lactaid milk. It helped, and I felt a change in my system, and my pit stops to restrooms became less frequent.

Moving ahead now to 2013, my fiancé and children were out of the house. I made breakfast and took my daily allergy pill. I've had horrible allergies and sinus infections since the age of three. I got tested years later and started going for allergy shots. I was allergic to grass, mold, dust, trees, cats, and at least twenty other things not worth listing. I went for allergy shots twice a week for three years and then down to once a week for seven more. The shots would help time to time, but I was still getting sinus infections almost every other week. I decided I did not want to continue the shots and stopped. My routine was to take an allergy pill in the morning and then at night. 

Sorry, I rambled off the subject. I don't remember the exact date. But I do remember it was February of 2013. This is the day I turned on Netflix and watched the documentary "Vegucated" and “Food Inc.”.  What I watched made sense, and it inspired me to do an experiment. I went to the local store and bought organic vegetables and a product from Gardenia that looked like chicken, but was made out of soy and grains. I made an amazing stir fry with no dairy and no meat products. 

I can still remember to this day the kids and my fiancé saying, "This meal is amazing and the chicken is so tasty and tender." After everyone had seconds and thirds, that's when I dropped the bomb! It's not meat, it’s soy and grain products! Obviously no one believed me, so I had to dig the packaging out of the garbage can to show the proof. It was decided then and there that we would try it again with another meal. So four years later we are still "Plant Based”.  I sometimes say Vegan, but Veganism gets a bad rap at times. It's like we're hippies or in a cult! 

 What I have learned from making the switch to "Plant Based" foods is that it's really not that hard to do! We make most of our food and if we do decide to go out to a restaurant there are usually vegetarian options which we can alter. I do have to say though, if something has an egg in it or milk we suck it up and eat it. We aren't going to be ignorant if someone made something and it's not suitable for our diet. We do this to be healthier, and when I say that, I mean for us. Let me explain the changes I’ve seen in myself before I get into the benefits my now wife and children have experienced.

Since changing to a Plant Based diet I have lost weight, thirty-five pounds to be exact, and have kept it off. I no longer experience adult acne. I can't remember a time prior when I was ever pimple free. I also had rosacea really bad and yes being the self conscious person I was I bought foundation powder to help tone down the redness. My need to take allergy pills is gone. In the last three to four years I have taken three allergy pills, compared to my twice a day most of my teenage and adult life. Huge money saver right there! I no longer suffer from IBS and sad to say, the times I spent hitting the Bob Evans Restaurant restroom on my way to work is not missed, but I do miss saying good morning to the sweet elderly hostess I saw on my morning visits. I can also say I've probably gotten sick three times since being Plant Based.  I'm full of energy and no longer lethargic after I eat. I can taste food better than I use too. It's amazing the flavors vegetables actually have. I always looked at my vegetables as the filler side dish next to my meat platter. Not the case if you think about it. It's a direct source of vitamins and minerals. If you eat the proper foods, there really is no need to take supplements or vitamins every day. We're already being infused with those nutrients with every meal.

If anything here is the prize, my doctor stated at my last physical he's not sure what I'm doing, but keep at it because I'm healthier now than I ever have been.  As a family, our sick days are pretty much gone. The kids have been sick maybe a total of four days since being Plant Based, and if we do feel a sickness coming on it's in our system for a couple hours. Kids are petri dishes when it comes to school and catching things. Not so much anymore for us, thank goodness!

It's great to know I'm not participating in giving the medical industry any more money than they already get. What I have learned since becoming Plant Based or Vegan is that I have gained more energy, and my recovery times have decreased. I partake in various rituals when it comes to easy runs or my longer runs. The recovery process is typically the same throughout. I drink a protein based smoothie usually consisting of chocolate almond milk, Vega or Hammer Nutrition Protein powder, a scoop of peanut butter or almond butter, and topped off with some unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk. I try to drink this no longer than 30 minutes after my run. The days I decide to endure more mileage I will drink Tart Cherry juice to help with the inflammation and lactic build up in the muscles. It's an antioxidant from a natural source that has been proved to help alleviate soreness and cramping after strenuous endurance activities. So there you learned a few hidden secrets, some health benefits, and some pretty amazing stories of how my body has benefited from a Plant Based diet. Obviously, you should always talk to your physician and make sure it's something right for you. At the end of the day, the decision is going to be yours. Take a challenge and try going Plant Based for a few weeks, watch documentaries, and most importantly just being aware of what goes into your body. I hope you found this insightful and useful. 

 Perhaps a continuation of the nutritional valves and benefits I have noticed or experienced will come at a later date. Thank you for letting me share!

Jeff Madiro 

(Madrunner)

www.youtube.com/c/madrunner70

 www.facebook.com/madrunner70

www.instagram.com/madrunner70

www.twitter.com/johnmadiro

April 12, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg