Performance Recovery at the Airport

Many runners travel on planes to competitions, training camps, seasonal training destinations or to work with other coaches/athletes. The airport is the EASIEST place to start your recovery on your long travel journey. It doesn’t matter how far you are going, you can make a difference at the airport!

Important points:

1. Always move at the airport! Whether you are doing movement based exercises, general stretching, sport specific mobility, yoga or simply walking around.

2. Have water! You don’t need to eat much at all while traveling. Maintaining your hydration is of utmost importance due to the recycled, stale air on planes. Airplanes love sucking your skin and body dry. Drink H20!

 

Take a vacation from your problems!

Stressing your way to destruction?

Let’s say you are getting better at moving.

You have a greater understanding of your body.

You are eating healthy.

You “take care of yourself” movement based and nutrition based…. but, BUT

You still stress yourself out WAY TOO MUCH.

ALL. THE. TIME.

It doesn’t matter whether you have psychological, emotional, mental, or physical stress in your body, your cells will not know the difference. Eutress, distress, it’s ALL the same. It’s stress in your cells. Stress is stress. I am a ball-iever, a mover, and an advocate of the next position is the best position. AND AND AND no matter how gooood a mover you are, if you stress yourself out then your cells will keep on creating damage in the body at the micro level…. which can slowly, over the years manifest at the macro level.

If sometimes you are not able to move as much, or eat as healthy or do the things you want to do because of “Life circumstances”, it’s OKAY!!! For example: you need to work extra hours… and your office is set up by chair and desk (i.e. sitting all day long). You get upset, frustrated, mad, even irrate! This makes matters worse for the body. Trust me, I know! And I know you know too 🙂

Let’s be good to ourselves.

Nothing like a good ol’ look in the mirror and “SMILING”
It’s better than beating the shit out of yourself… wouldn’t you agree?
We are hardest on ourselves because it is so easy to be.
Our cultures teaches us so well.

Today, enjoy your day. Take a vacation from your “challenges” in life and just BE you.
Have you ever seen “What about Bob?” with Bill Murray, when Dr. Marvin prescribes Bob to:

Take a VACATION from your problems!

Yes, if you need a glass of wine or feel a chillin’ day is in order “Do it!”.
Enjoying life and have fun!!!!
Or if you need to yell profanities for one minute first-> a pillow or water work well 🙂

Have a wonderful, fabulous day, afternoon, night wherever you are in the world!!!!!

What to eat? What to supplement? ACK!!!!

I do not consult on nutrition nor do I talk about supplements; even though I took several courses in University, continuing education as an exercise physiologist and was a nutrition researcher at the Institute of Population Health. I spent an entire year researching chronic disease [i.e. type 2 diabetes] relating to culture, country, age, gender, and race associated with nutrition. Bringing it down to the nuts and bolts the results were clear~ drum roll please~~~ people who ate more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis were healthier and less likely to acquire chronic disease. Sounds familiar? Sounds simplistic? Yes; yet, it is true! No amount of foreign/human-made products you put in your body will all of a sudden make you healthier. Absolutely, if you are sick and need help… if you live somewhere impossible to find fresh produce, absolutely… there are exceptions to the rules all the time. However, if you eat like crap and take supplements what do you think will happen in your body? It is like the analogy of sitting at your desk all day and exercising for just one hour. Extensive, world wide research has shown: your daily (one hour) dose of exercise will NOT reverse the side effects of inactivity/lack of movement all day in your body. Hence, your risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic disease, obesity, cancer and death {just to name a few} will increase significantly…. Well, the same applies to your nutrition.

How much fresh produce do you have on a daily basis? Count up those fruits and veggies. If you are eating a certain way and don’t believe fruit is that good for you because of ‘sugar’ then how many veggies do you have a day? And, I’m not talking about all the extra calories from protein, fats or extra carbs, I am simply talking about your F and V = living foods. Try not to jam/juice/smoothie your way into one SHOT a day of your FV. Do your best to have it scattered throughout the day, just like your movement practice.

How many supplements do you take? Pills? Just curious. Now, I understand certain supplements/pills are required… let’s say it’s winter where you live and/or you just can’t get outside enough, and/or your cultural beliefs don’t allow you to show much skin to get those rays of sunshine allowing for production of vitamin D [your body converts ultra violet rays into vitamin D3]. Yes, in this case, a vitamin D supplement can be recommended to you! There are situations like these that have drastic implications on your health if you can’t consume a certain vitamin or mineral through food. I get it!

Our bodies don’t create all the vitamins and minerals needed for our health. A balanced food nutrition plan is needed. I understand that taking a pill is a whole lot easier than eating food from all the colours of the rainbow but that’s exactly what our problem is today. We rely on foreign objects for consumption and for movement! This is all to do with technology and human made products. Our cars, computers, phones, exercise machines, pills and supplements are essential to our daily lives!!! Quite fascinating really… when less than a century ago life was vastly different.

The MORE information we have today….. the LESS informed we actually are about our bodies and our health. Yes, health, fitness and wellness marketing has made us unhealthier and more dependent on “so called experts” than ever before. We need to take a stand! Some simple ways in doing this are eating more fruits and vegetables, moving more all day everyday and taking responsibility for our health in the first place. When we rely on others we tend to BLAME others. Blame is the most ineffective way to health. Blame is discharging anger, discomfort and pain. That is IT. It also happens to be inversely correlated to accountability [Blame research from Brene Brown]. Every one of us needs to accept ownership and responsibility for our bodies. Just a guess here… no one else lives in your body, do they?

My favourite is, as a society, we have this single study complex syndrome. What do I mean? Here’s one example (of a kazillion!): Beet juice increases endurance in athletes. OMgoodness people couldn’t get enough of beets, beet pills, beet everything for a few years! Chow down on the beets athletes!!!! The funny thing with initial research is just that: It’s Initial! What exactly constitutes beet juice? How much? How often? What is the definition of endurance? What sport? What type of athletes? What country/gender/race/age? Listen: the list is endless when it comes to the validity and reliability of research. The point here is that, in the end, systematic reviews of the research on “beet juice” and “endurance in athletes” proved to be insignificant. Yes, beet juice does not increase endurance in athletes. Sorry 🙁 We can’t jump on the band wagon of new research, new pills, new supplements. That’s not how it works. It takes time.

WELL!!! What can I do?

1. Eat all the colours of the rainbow (if not daily, can you do it weekly?). Yes, dependent on accessibility, availability and affordability. Do the best you can. Variety is the spice of life.

2. Move baby move! Movement is just as important a nutrient as micro and macronutrients in our diet. Lack of movement creates just as much, or more, dis-ease in our bodies than nutrition.

3. Accountability: If you know almonds are better than a chocolate bar, what is your choice? Be accountable for your actions.

4. You need supplements? Okay. Visit www.consumerlab.com. It is the BEST resource when it comes to supplements. It lists products from all over the world and tells you point blank what is good/valid/reliable and what is not! It does cost money. $36/year OR $59/2 years. Hey! If you are going to spend a boatload on supplements this isn’t that expensive. I’ll warn you though, if your supplement is new [within the past few years] the research will not be out. Consumerlabs is ridiculously thorough! Longitudinal studies (as well as cross-sectional, double blind, meta-analysis evidence based, etc) are imperative to provide effectiveness on the pills/supplements. SO= In light of this information, I would take heed of new products! You 100% do NOT know if they are good. Just because a study came out saying this is awesome Blah Blah BLAH. Take supplements that are shown to work (yes, it’s never going to be 100% effective because our bodies reactions, ability to absorb and utilize the supplements will always vary)! Be mindful of what you put into your body.

5. Do I need a nutritionist? That’s totally up to you. And, take everything with a grain of salt {just like this blog post!}. Take in the information you need and want, decide whether you will do an eating plan to a T or not. In the end it’s always up to you. It’s your body, your life. One year you might believe A, B, C, D… and then the next year you will believe M, N, O, P. It’s ALL fine. Really!!! Just be good to yourself. And keep on eating those fruits and veggies. [Now, obviously, if you are allergic to something or more serious, for example, you are a celiac, there are certain foods you can’t have. Period.]

6. Smile: Reducing your stress levels and increasing your dopamine and serotonin levels surely help in the “feeling good” process while you figure out this whole nutrition/supplement thing! One day at a time. All I want from you is: Enjoy e.v.e.r.y. single thing that goes into your mouth, your mind, your body. 🙂

Now, look into a mirror and say: “I love myself!” Come on!!!!! Seriously. I dare you. Laughing is just as powerful as smiling! Get those self-made fun-loving drugs working inside you! At least I made you giggle. Huh?!

Have a W O N D E R F U L day!!!!!!

The Iron Truth

A couple of weeks ago I got my blood tested due to my fatigue level. Low and behold I was iron deficient (as well as low in vitamin D and B). To be honest, I was disgusted with myself. How could I do this yet again! [4th time is a charm?] Well, I moved to a new country this year and have kinda sorta been on vacation from my regular food intake. Reality check!!! Today, I am slowly getting back to health, bite by bite, through proper nutrition.

Yes, nutrition, aka real food, trumps all supplements when it comes to iron absorption. It may take a little longer than getting your butt injected with massive amounts of iron but it is the safest, most effective and efficient way to get your iron levels back to normal. Why, you ask? Iron is EXTREMELY toxic. If you’ve ever had a pill or liquid or injection on an empty stomach and felt like crap after (ranging from headache, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, etc) you now know the reason. It’s also horrific on your teeth. When you do actually absorb iron it is hard to excrete… black poo! I am not saying NO to iron supplements, I am just cautioning you on the implications. Iron overload can be worse than deficiency (not advocating either).

You see, when our bodies are deficient in a vitamin or mineral drug companies do their best to give you a quick fix. Cue music: PILL! When you take a supplement on its own, our bodies are not used to this massive overdose of one nutrient; and, it can potentially lead to other nutritional imbalances. It’s important to treat your deficiencies as holistically as possible. Yes, you can do supplementation; but also please change your diet to include real foods (adding the iron-rich ones too!).

Iron has an incredible job to do= it’s the oxygen transporter. Roughly 70% of your body’s iron is found in the red blood cells of your blood (hemoglobin) and your muscle cells (myoglobin). Hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the tissues in your body; and, myoglobin transports oxygen through muscle tissue. Let me tell you, it’s tough to workout, let alone function on a daily basis, when your tissues and muscles aren’t properly oxygenated! The additional 30% of iron in the body is used for producing new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters. Wow! That is cool.

Low iron (equating to little oxygen) translates to exhaustion, potential brain function abnormalities, and decreased immunity for fighting off infections. One man had such low iron his doctor thought he had leukemia, turns out he was a junk food addict. Let food be thy medicine has never been so clear. Of equal importance, did you know that one of the first things psychiatrists and psychologists look at when a patient is depressed/has mood changes or is irritable? IRON. Yes, they look at your blood work.

Causes of Iron Deficiency* = FYI the most common nutritional deficiency globally

1. Inadequate intake (or you eat crap foods to allow for proper absorption= me)

2. Inability to replace blood loss

i. Heavy menstruation

ii. GI tract issues

iii. Inflammation

iv. Hemorrhoids

v. Parasitic infections in developing countries [most common reason worldwide]

Iron Killers* [What prevents you from absorbing iron]

1. Coffee and Tea (they both have tannins which essentially sucks out your iron 😉

2. Dairy products

3. Whole grains (containing phytates)

Iron rich foods*

If you are a meat eater there are plenty of meats rich in iron

If you are a plant eater, there are plenty of plants rich in iron- the only difference is I urge you to take plants foods with vitamin C. It will triple the absorption rate of iron!!!

*Information taken from Dr. Ellen Hughes, MD, PhD

I am not going to tell you to be a carnivore or a herbivore, I will just say eat well. Quotes from conversations I’ve had in the past that made me wince: “I only eat meat and potatoes, everything else is crap” or “I’m a vegan; but, I don’t eat fruits or vegetables.” Once again, EAT WELL… and, remember that absolutely no human made supplement can compare with mother natures work.