Investing In Nutrition For Race Day

There are so many things that need to go right for an athlete on race day to have the amazing day they visualize over and over in their minds.

Most athletes thrive on the physical training, with its immediate feedback; a pounding heart, endorphins, searing muscles, sweat and feel good brain chemicals. It’s this elixir of sensations that keeps most of us hungry for the next workout. If anything, it’s the dialing back and rest days that most athletes need help with, letting the adaptations take place to gain strength for key races throughout the season.

While most athletes don’t tend to fall short on physical training, too many put nutrition on the back burner in comparison, when the reality is, nutrition can quickly make what could have been your best day, your worst day. With all the physical time athletes put into training, it doesn’t make sense to not optimize that training with great nutrition.

By practicing all of the following; good recovery meals, optimal hydration strategies during training, timing of meals before race like efforts, composition of daily nutrition, caffeine’s impact on your performance and GI tract, beet root juice timing, efficacy and how well it is tolerated, trying new sports drinks, using gels or ride foods you’ll race with; you learn a lot about your body. You’ll learn how your GI tract reacts to all of the above scenarios, how to time your nutrition and what you enjoy eating before and after hard training sessions, how much energy you need to execute your program at your best, day in and day out.

Why would anyone who takes their athletic success seriously want to leave any of this to chance? GI upset can stop you in your tracks and as far as any ergogenic aids, wouldn’t you want to make sure you maximized their potential or avoided any negative digestive consequences they may cause you? Yes! Just like you train your body, you need to practice your nutrition so that come race day, it’s dialed in and just a matter of execution.

Everyone gets a bit nervous and excited lining up for a race. You want to show up with all the tools you can to give you all the confidence you can have. Preparation precedes confidence.

The next time you are heading for a training ride that has race like efforts, ask yourself “what am I doing with my nutrition today, to practice and prepare for race day?” There should be at least one thing per workout. Write down any observations in a journal. Here are a few examples:

1-Figure out your favorite pre-race meal for when you have 1,2 or 3 hours before the race.

2-Find out what you can stomach on day 4 of a 6 day stage race in the scorching heat? Maybe your favorite hot oats won’t be so enjoyable and a cold smoothie that you’ve customized during hot training sessions is the ticket in that scenario.

3-Experiment with different volumes of sports drink in different temperatures (cool days vs hot humid summer scorchers). Since nutrition practice is yearly, you can learn how winter vs summer hydration differs for you.

4-Try eating in 30 vs 45 minute intervals on long hard rides. Set your Garmin to beep every 30 minutes and see if that serves you well? Or is it annoying? Do you typically remember to eat regularly?

There are so many nutrition strategies to practice. Everyone will have unique scenarios, however these ones are the most common things we should all have a good grasp on.

There are no guarantees in sport. A lot of things are out of our control. Even if you do everything right, things happen, the body responds differently under pressure, weather is unpredictable and equipment can fail. But that’s just part of sport. You still prepare as if everything is going to go just as you visualized it – amazingly well.

I know you don’t get endorphins from drinking a sports drink or timing your breakfast. It may seem like too much detail for you right now. But I’ll assure you, when you line up with that extra twinkle of confidence in your eyes because you know your nutrition plan will take you the distance and enable you to leave your best ride or run out there, you’ll be grateful you invested the time.

NSAG.CA Move Well – Think Well – Age Well

Does Your Size Determine Your Carbohydrate Intake During Endurance Sports?

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A common question among athletes is whether a larger athlete should eat more carbohydrates hourly during training than their smaller counterpart?

It may seem counter intuitive that carbohydrate requirements could be the same for athletes of different sizes. Most would assume that if you are bigger with more muscle, you would need more carbohydrates during training.

Unlike daily nutrition, where we determine macro-nutrient needs based on an athlete’s weight, training intensity and duration, when it comes to training nutrition, carbohydrate intake is determined based on absorption rates of carbohydrates through the intestines. Basically, most adults have similar sized intestines, therefor their stature will not be the determining factor in their nutrition during training.

I’ve worked with 120lb athletes who consumed 80-90g/hour during 3-5 hour races and also worked with  180 pound  athletes who consumed 60-70g/hour during 3-5 hour races. Both had done trial and error and found their sweet spot and the carbohydrate needs that worked for them.

Single and Multiple Carbohydrate Sources:

Oxidation rates of single carbohydrates; for example glucose; consumed alone, max out at about 60g/hour.

Oxidation rates of multiple transportable carbohydrates; ex.glucose + fructose, glucose + maltodextrin; max out closer to approximately 100g/hour. There are some recent studies looking at additional intakes which haven’t seemed to improve performance. Higher intakes could also lead to GI (gastrointestinal) distress.

The majority of sports nutrition products have been produced using multiple carbohydrate sources: gels, chews, quality sports drinks. As a practical example, the average gel has 30g of carbohydrates and the average sports drink has anywhere from 20g-30g of carbohydrates. Alternatively a whole food such as a medium banana has approximately 25g of carbohydrates.

 

How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need?

The recommended range of intake falls between 30-100g of carbohydrates hourly. The duration and intensity of your workout, as well as your fitness level, will all factor into what works best for you.

For moderate to intense “training sessions” over 90 minutes in duration, consuming carbohydrates does delay the onset of glycogen depletion and improve performance. Research has shown significant improvements in time to completion during 40km time trial performances by doing a repeated mouth rinse with a carbohydrate sports drink, which means carbohydrates can even improve performance in high intensity efforts as short as one hour. This is related to the brain and carbohydrate receptors in the mouth, not glycogen stores. The mechanism is not completely understood, however it appears the brain gets the message that sugar is coming and the muscles respond positively.  This gives you good reason to start that 60-90 minute criterium or time trial with a few mouthfuls of sports drink or a gel and a water bottle on hand.

You can completely deplete your glycogen stores in 90 minutes of hard training. That would be even shorter if you went into an event with fairly low stores to begin with and if the event is very high intensity.

Focus On What Works For You, Not Your Training Partner:

Find a fueling strategy that works for you during training and execute it during competition for optimal performance. Practice what you will try on race day during training. Race day is never the time to experiment. You can train your gut to absorb carbohydrates better with practice.  It’s not only your legs and arms that can respond to training, your gut does as well.

Start a journal with your hourly carbohydrate intake during different types of training rides, along with how you felt by the end of your session. Assuming all other things were in place (daily nutrition included the proper macronutrient intakes and hydration), work from here. If you were fading during the session or as it was ending, up your hourly intake for the next session. If you were strong until the end, did you need as much as you consumed? By paying attention, you will find what works for you for each particular type of workout.

Keep in mind, the more intense your training is, the higher the oxidation rate of carbohydrates. One hour of high intensity training will use more carbohydrates than the same time training at moderate intensity. Not all workouts will be equal in their fuel requirements.

Remember, don’t look to your left and right on a training ride to determine what your carbohydrate intakes should be, because that lightweight rider beside you may actually need more carbohydrates than you do for a majority of reasons. Focus on yourself and your own nutritional needs.

 

NSAG – Next Level Performance Nutrition

 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640414.2011.610348

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Asker_Jeukendrup/publication/43202065_Oxidation_of_Solid_versus_Liquid_CHO_Sources_during_Exercise/links/0f3175339bfd03c667000000.pdf

http://jap.physiology.org/content/108/6/1520.short

 

 

Overeating After Long Training Rides – Time To Change Your Strategy?

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You come in the door from a  4 hour group ride, salt on your helmet straps, feeling like a raisin, sucked dry from sweating all day under the hot sun; you barely drank, but you made it! Your brain isn’t functioning so well after barely eating and drinking out there. The fridge is looking so far away. Once you muster the legs to get over to the seemingly heavy? fridge door, you open the carton of OJ, look around, then go for it, downing it right from the jug. You’re way too tired to grab a glass. Besides, imagine the energy required to do the dishes?

You’re popping frozen waffles in the toaster, asking yourself why you didn’t get the 4 slot toaster instead of the 2? That would be convenient right now, because this waffle ‘skyscraper’ you’re about to create is going to be much taller than a measly 2 floors, that’s childsplay.

As you wait anxiously and crank the toaster intensity up to max, you reach into the fridge for the maple syrup, thankful you got the liter instead of the smaller glass bottle on your last grocery shop. Insert pat on the back here.

The butter is out, you find a knife and muster the energy to slice some bananas, and then pop, up comes the first 2 floors of the waffle tower and in go the next two. Oh, peanut butter, you want peanut butter too, the salty kind and a lot of it.

Finally, your skyscraper recovery meal is ready. 4 floors of waffles, held tightly together by masses of peanut butter. It appears to be drowning in maple syrup, oh no, hold on, it’s floating! – well done. Bananas scatter the plate, your plunk yourself down in front of your fave Netflix show and you are a little concerned, you may never get up again.

You are beyond trashed. Just like every weekend. You’ll over eat, feel like going to sleep for the day and assume that’s just how it is for everyone.

But it’s not.

Eating during long training rides serves many purposes. Assuming you have shown up on the ride properly fueled, your goal is to keep your glycogen stores up and avoid running out of energy to get the most out of your ride and finish strong. There won’t be any quality finishing sprint if your glycogen is depleted. The longer and harder the ride is, the better your strategy needs to be.

By consuming carbohydrates during long training rides you’ll reduce the likelihood of being ridiculously ravenous afterwards, which often leads to overeating and poor choices. You simply end up too hungry and you won’t wait to prepare anything decent. Staying hydrated will also help you to feel human and energetic for the remainder of the day (not all of us have the luxury of retreating to a marathon of Netflix while marinating in our carb coma!).

Training nutrition requires some trial and error. Generally someone with a good daily nutrition plan will do just fine on most rides under 1.5 hours drinking just water, assuming that’s the only ride of the day and you’re not in the middle of a stage race; context really is everything in sports nutrition.

Once your rides are 2,3,4 + hours in duration, you should have a strategy. How many grams of carbohydrates will you eat hourly? The range can be anywhere from 30g up to approximately 100g of multiple types of carbohydrates -think glucose, sucrose, fructose etc.- depending on the duration and intensity of your ride. Most sports products like gels and chews have many different types of sugars in them, which allows you to absorb more carbohydrate hourly, vs glucose alone.

Learn what works best for you by practicing during training rides. Some of your carbohydrates will come from your sports drink, which makes it easier to reach your total hourly intake. Most drinks have approximately 20-30g of carbohydrates per serving.

Ideas for on the bike could include like gels, chews, home made rice bars, white potatoes, white bread with jam or bananas. Take note of what you consume hourly and how you feel at the end of your ride, then adjust if needed on your next similar training ride.

When heading out on a 3-4 hour ride, remember the words “start early and often.” Don’t wait until hour 3 when you are falling apart to start eating. Start within the first hour, you’ll be expending a lot of energy in the coming hours, assuming you are not out on an easy spin to smell the roses. Consider brining a portable baggie with some extra sports drink so you can fill your bottles with water if there is a ride stop and add powder. Alternatively, bring an extra bottle in your jersey pocket. You won’t regret it if the temps are high and there is no planned stop.

For the most part, you shouldn’t feel completely trashed after every long ride! By going into rides properly fueled and having a training nutrition plan for fuel and hydration, you may be surprised that you’re not even super hungry after a longer training ride. Of course you’ll want a good recovery meal, but the difference is you won’t over do it and make poor choices while being totally trashed with a foggy brain.

Like everything in life, plan ahead for succes on the road and success is exactly what you’ll create.
NSAG – Powerful Nutrition Powerful Results

Why Nutrition Is Harder To Stick To Than Training?

You have no problem getting out training, but man, taking the time to make that stir fry……just can’t seem to make it happen. How can you be so good at one thing and have such difficulty with another?
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Training gives you instant gratification, even the shortest workout can boost your endorphins and change your brain chemistry. It’s easy to remember why you should do it again, it’s awesome! The choice becomes easier because you know it makes you feel good, and done properly, makes you stronger and faster. It’s also typically it’s fun, often in some strange sadistic way, even it it’s hard. Sure some days you want to skip, but overall, you love your sport.
 
Nutrition, doesn’t give you instant gratification in the same way. Sure there is comfort food, but generally you are not riding on a high for an hour after a healthy meal in the same way you would after an awesome ride. 
 
Good nutrition requires conscious choices, planning and daily decisions between some processed not so healthy foods and more wholesome healthy options to support your vitality and performance. Good nutrition often requires changing engrained habits, becoming aware of emotional patterns and creating new behaviours.  It also requires learning and understanding some basic premises of why you need what you need, as well as being able to sift through the BS of social media, which perpetuates some pretty ridiculous diet ideas week after week, that many fall victim to; it’s confusing. (In fairness there’s some pretty ridiculous training advice out there too). 
 
With training at a recreational level, many people just want to put their heads down and hammer group rides. Truth be told for many it often doesn’t require a lot of thought, sometimes that’s where the fun lies.  Not getting too caught up in the details at a rec level can often keep things more enjoyable. Having a coach to guide you can make this even easier, so you are putting in the work but not necessarily twisted about every little reason why. So the training remains a fun outlet, a joy.
 
Nutrition isn’t like that. There aren’t  hard days and easy days in the same sense, or rest weeks. Sure there are adjustments to volume of food and there’s periodization more so at the elite level, but even still, nutrition is more about creating consistent habits and patterns that are sustainable based on a knowledge of what’s good for your body. The ups and downs of energy intake are an aside, you need the good habits. You also need to understand nutrition to some degree, in order to be motivated to do what you are doing, otherwise it’s too easy to stop when the going get’s tough; as in you are faced with a choice in a moment of emotion; the cake or the fruit. When you can remind yourself WHY you are doing something, it’s a lot easier to stick with it. 
 
It’s no suprise it’s easier to get out and train. I’ve never become elated while making a bowl of chili. I don’t get excited to prep for my stir fry and doing dishes ranks low on my list of fun activities. Feeling energetic however and having energy for everything I want to do in my life, ranks high on my list and is my WHY.
You need to find a different type of reward for healthy eating. Why are you making this change and how this will impact your life positively? Food may not give you a runner’s high, but 
your runner’ s high may certainly be more amazing if you’re properly fuelled. 
You’re not crazy. There are logical reasons why it’s easier to stick to training than good nutrition. There’s more emotion attached to food, it’s attached to a lot of behaviour, largely impacted by your envinronment and you don’t get that immediate positive feedback. But there are also logical reasons why you should prioritize good nutrition; energy, cardiovascular health, mental health, body composition, being a role model to your kids and improving your performance – to name a few.
Training is training and nutrition is nutrition. Accept them for their differences. Take both on as different goals to improve upon and know that you won’t have the same experience with both, even if they both bring you goodness and energy, albeit through different avenues.
 
NSAG – Next Level Nutrition For Life.

9 Sports Nutrition Tips for a Powerful P2A Race Weekend!

P2A Time!

Only ONE DAY until the Paris to Ancaster Criterium and 2 until the epic “Spring Classic!’

Here are a simple list of 9 NUTRITION TIPS to guide you through:

1. Start back 3-4 hours before your start time, that’s about when your last full meal should be. Hopefully you have tested this during training. For the Sunday race you can simply have a smaller breakfast and have it 2 hours before if the start is too early. The closer the breakfast gets to the race, the less fat and protein and fiber and the more carbohydrate rich it becomes. Assuming you have eaten appropriately the day before the ‘spring classic’, a smaller breakfast should suffice to top up your glycogen stores, as well as your on the bike strategy.

2. Within 1 hour from your start time for the criterium, after you have fully digested your last meal, you should focus on consuming a low fat, fiber and protein source of carbohydrate and or sports drink if you are hungry. You can digest up to 90- 100g of multiple carbohydrate types (glucose, fructose, maltodextrin etc.) per hour maximum. 30-60 ish grams will do you fine if you are not accustomed to eating much before you start. You can also simply sip your sports drink and keep it cold if it’s hot out.  A typical sports drink is 20-30g of carbohydrates per serving and a large banana is 25grams for example.

3. Caffeine intake should be 45 to 60 minutes pre start time, as that is the range of time when it will peak in your blood. Never TEST caffeine intake for the first time on race day. If you have not practiced it, don’t try something new today, you may regret it. Bring it with you to the ‘spring classic’ race instead of consuming when you roll out of bed if you do plan on having your ‘cuppa’.

4. Beet juice is best consumed anywhere from 1.5-3 hours pre event. If you are doing juiced beets, consume 500ml. Otherwise use a concentrate such as Beetit, Pureclean powder or Beetboost. Never try beet juice for the first time on race day, if you haven’t practiced this I don’t recommend race day for “testing”.

5. During the criterium, chances are you won’t need to consume anything, however I ALWAYS bring a half bottle with me in case it’s hot or very dry and I get that tongue stuck to the top of the mouth thing in the first 5-10 laps! There is some data to show that even rinsing your mouth with a carbohydrate drink in an 1 hour effort can improve performance. Although this is not glycogen related it is CNS related. There is no harm bringing a bottle if you are capable of safely drinking in the peloton. (PS I’m not suggesting you spit out your sports drink during the criterium, your fellow racers won’t appreciate that :))!

6. During the P2A ‘Spring Classic’ Start drinking and eating early, within the first 30 minutes. Assuming you have eaten adequately leading into the event and have PRACTICED your race day nutrition while training 🙂 (always ideal so you know what foods sit will with your GI system!), you will know what and how much to consume.  If not, the range to consume would be from 30g up to 90g of carbohydrates per hour. Chances are most would fall in the 60-90g range but again, this is individual and determined by trial and error while training. Having this range can help you to at least  fill your pockets with enough to get you through, and having an extra something never hurts in case your teammate is bonking :). One gel is around 30 grams of carbohydrate, 1 banana is 20-25g, 2 medjool dates is 18g of carbohydrate, 1/2 cup of white rice made into a rice bar has 20g of carbohydrate, etc.  One serving of sports drink can range from 20g to 30g. A sports drink should have at least 250mg of sodium per serving and will be useful on a course like P2A.

7. THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU WILL EAT AND DRINK DURING THE P2A Spring Classic. Many parts of the course are easier to take your hands off the bars than others. Think ahead, PLAN this. I don’t recommend trying to eat and drink on the MUD SLIDE!

8. Set your garmin or watch to beep every 30 minutes to remind you to eat and drink if you are notorious for finishing a 3 hour ride with 2 full bottles on your bike and all of your food in your pockets, bonked :). You have trained hard for this event, let’s get the most out of that training by backing it up with sound nutrition.

9. LAST TIP. Turn the edges of your lips upward often during the race. SMILE 🙂 DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!!!

 

NSAG- Have a Nutrition Strategy and Execute on RACE DAY!

Twitter: @guzmannutrition

IG: @guzmananne

NSAG.CA

Red Pepper, Strawberry, Cantaloupe & Cayenne Smoothie…Hold on…RED PEPPER!? Yes.. a MUST TRY!

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Wondering what to do with that lonely red pepper in your fridge? Is it a day away from starting to wrinkle? You know what I mean. You find it in the back and it’s like an old wrinkly thing…and you kick yourself for wasting it? We’ve likely all done it.

Well! I have the solution! Whether it’s because you love red peppers and their incredible nutrition profiles or you need to use a red pepper or need more colorful vegetables to enter into your nutrition plan. THIS STRAWBERRY RED PEPPER CANTALOUPE SMOOTHIE!

Now, trust me, the ingredients seem a bit odd…but it’s actually very fresh..with a kick, from the cayenne. It’s also loaded with nutrition, of course.  Just try it.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen strawberries…heaping

1 cup chopped ripe cantaloupe (pick a ripe one, the flavor addition is important!)

1 small red pepper, cored and chopped

1 tbsp hemp hearts

1 scoop North Coast Naturals vanilla whey protein (option to sub a vegetarian protein here but of course my recipe is based on the taste from this one)

1 pinch of cayenne pepper (yes it’s a great addition to have a kick to your smoothie and really finishes this one off nicely)

1 cup of unsweetened or home made almond milk

Ok this thing is LOADED with goodness. Essential Omega 3 fats from the hemp hearts. Boundless Vitamin C as cantaloupe and red peppers are 2 of the fruits and vegetables highest in vitamin C.  Red peppers are also a source of over 30 different members of the carotenoid family. Both the vitamin C and carotenoid content of bell peppers increases with ripening. So that very ripe pepper is perfect! Red peppers are also a good source of B6, vitamin A and folate. Strawberries provide antioxidants and vitamin C as well. Hold on, maybe this should be the smoothie you reach for if you are feeling a cold coming on with all this vitamin C!Quality protein to top it off (I bet this would also work with yogurt, however I have not kitchen tested that YET!)

 

Blend it up well until it’s smooth and enjoy! How can you not feel healthy and clean after this meal!?

 

NSAG – Real Food Real People Real Health

 

A Clear Picture of Why You Cannot Carb Load for an Endurance Race at Dinner

I’ve heard comments like this often enough about prep for a race when chatting with athletes near the start line, “oh I’m ready, I had a big dinner last night”.  Or perhaps while chatting before hand they will note their huge pasta meal they had at dinner or the massive breakfast they just consumed (sometimes way to close to the start!)  Unfortunately one cannot carb load for an endurance event of 3+ hours at dinner or in one meal at breakfast. Not an event where results are expected.

Take for example a 130lb female cyclist prepping for a 130km event. Through trial and error we discover that she feels good on a carb load of 8.5g/kg, her weight in kilos being 59kg.

On top of this she will execute her practiced nutrition and hydration strategy DURING the event, starting within the first 20-30 minutes, or perhaps even in the hours before with her beet juice and caffeine.

In this case her carb load would be approximately 500 grams of carbohydrates the day before. She spreads her lower fiber carbohydrates out evenly, with lean proteins and less fat than usual, in order to make digestion a bit quicker and to leave room for the carbohydrates that are going to help her perform the next day.

Here is an example of what 500 grams of carbohydrates can look like. Now you can see why you can’t do a carb load like this with “a big dinner”.

You need to plan ahead, practice in training and know what works for you and sits best with your digestive tract.

Like your training, your nutrition is an important part of your athletic performance and success. Prepare for the event in training and then execute over the course of the day before your race.

 

carb load final

 

NSAG- Real food, real people, real results

Lettuce “less” Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

 

 

Lettuce less salad - full of goodness!

Lettuce less salad – full of goodness!

 

Ah I love my lettuce ‘less’ salads! Why? They just have so much MORE to chew on. What a great way to load in the veggies. Ok lettuce is great too, but you can get a lot more food on your plate and it’s a nice change. I also like how the dressing sticks to everything so well.

It’s spring and colors are in full effect. Flowers are blooming, things are coming to life. I even saw my strawberry plants showing signs of life this week in the back yard. Oh I love what’s coming :), warmth, growth and blooming everything.

I felt motivated to chop up some of my favorite colorful veggies, and some strawberries :), sprinkle some soft goat’s cheese and cranberries and drizzle it all with a home made lemon tahini dressing! This one is a no brainer. Just take;

  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pepper

Blend in a food processor. Keeps for up to a week. I sometimes add extra lemon, as I”m a bit of a lemon addict!? It’s a simple keeper. Even for a veggie dip it works.

Pour and mix your veggies and voila a wholesome, healthy salad to go with your lean protein of choice. I served mine with a breaded, grilled piece of sole. Of course with lemon on top of that too :).

I used broccoli as the bottom layer, steamed. The rest was fresh yellow peppers, tomato, strawberries, goat cheese and cranberries. The touch of sweetness from the berries was perfect and mixed well with the lemon in the dressing.

Vegetables are so full of nourishment. The antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients and carotenoids. Broccoli in particular is a huge favorite of mine that I almost eat daily. It has anti inflammatory properties, carotenoids, high levels of vitamin C and K as well as folate, to name a few of its assets. The primary anti inflammatory isothiocyanate in broccoli is sulforaphane, found in the heading part of the broccoli. Although the entire broccoli contains all of the other nutrients listed. Let’s just say it’s a great bang for your buck vegetable for any salad. Also amazing in broccoli fritters (check out my IG post for those at guzmananne! kids love them! https://www.instagram.com/p/BSlYTfZlFTK/?taken-by=guzmananne&hl=en )

So go ahead, pick your veggies of choice and make a colorful plate of goodness :).

 

NSAG – Real Food Real People Real Health

WHY AM I DOING THIS: Ask the question…feel the answer

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Often we ask ourselves why are we training so hard? Working so hard? Prioritizing our time into something so all consuming? For what?

We are frustrated and on the brink of giving up what we once thought was a great idea.

Why put in all the time to be faster, jump higher, climb better, get better bike position, grow your business, be a better speaker, eat healthier, become more energetic, get your PhD? Why?

If you really think about it, most everything we do in life, really comes down to making yourself feel GOOD ABOUT YOU. You want to feel accomplished, which builds confidence and generally makes us feel good about ourselves. That’s not being self absorbed, we need to feel good about ourselves in order to gain self confidence and with that confidence we can gain momentum to continue learning and taking on new challenges. If you feel good about yourself, your positive energy will rub off on others and now you are good for the world. By feel good about yourself, let’s be careful that I don’t mean being narcissistic or arrogant, rather more like proud of your accomplishments and happy to share your passion and positive energy with others.

You don’t just train hard to win a race. You train hard to win a race because when you win the race you will feel satisfied with your efforts and in turn you will feel good about yourself – answers the age old “why do I bother training so hard”

You don’t just perfect your power point, just because. No, you do that because you want to present well, be organized and have flow, so that when you are up there speaking, you are confident and when you are done…guess what, you will feel good about yourself then too – which answers “why am I spending so much time on these slides!”

You don’t just start paying attention to your nutrition to say “I eat well”, no, you change your habits to perform better, reduce pain, manage weight, increase energy…all of which will make you feel better about yourself – which answers “why am I eating so much more produce when I can just grab a fast food sandwich and soda?”

If you look hard enough and deep enough you will soon realize if you keep asking the question WHY am I doing this, EVERYTHING comes down to feeling good about you and who you are and what you are doing and what you have accomplished. All of your efforts lead to confidence.

Helping others is another common example. Why am I spending so much time helping this person? you may ask. We don’t want to do things expecting things in return from others, however, truly taking  the time to help others with no agenda, without knowing it, deep down makes you feel good about yourself. You are a good person.

So, am I suggesting you need to go and win a race? No, it’s not about WINNING. Prepare as best as you can so that you better your last race, business venture or power point presentation? Yep, you got it. You have to compare to you, and your last effort and look for improvement. Have personal benchmarks to surpass, regardless of what you are aspiring to do. Be your own best competitor. As you keep outdoing yourself, next thing you know, you may just be an expert at whatever it is you are aiming to achieve in time. Contrary to if you only compare yourself to the best and are someone who may beat themselves up for how far they still have to go. You can see how one focus can change how you feel about yourself. You know what they say, “comparison is the thief of joy”.

I work with people of all kinds with their nutrition. At the end of the day, every one of them, has sought me out, because they have a goal and that goal in some capacity is going to make them feel better about themselves. Often it’s that they will learn how to fuel properly for performance, or improve their energy levels so that they can work more productively or have energy for their kids when they get home from work. Now look at those 3 outcomes. What do they all have in common? Yes, you nailed it, each one of those people, will feel better about themselves if they can achieve those goals.

I was inspired to think about this, when questioning where I spend my time and why I was spending it where I do. And so I ask you to do the same. It’s a great activity to do, because when you have an obvious, self fulfilling purpose to what you are doing and it makes sense, you are more likely to continue.

If you have a goal that is going to take years to attain, you really need to close your eyes and picture yourself there, accomplishing that goal and then associate the feelings that go along with that image of you, 2,3 years from now or 2,3 months from now. How will it feel? How will you feel about yourself? I bet you will feel proud, accomplished and empowered.

That doesn’t mean the path will be clear, straight and with no hiccups. Who are we kidding :). But it means it can help you on those stressful days when you question WHY AM I DOING THIS.

And so I ask you to ask yourself the question WHY, and then picture the outcome, and associate feelings with that outcome by seeing yourself THERE in your mind. Then, you will have answered your own question. Does it feel amazing? Then PRESS ON.

 

NSAG – Empowering you to be YOUR BEST YOU

Functional Foods and The Athletic Edge – Tart Cherry Juice

Check out my latest write up in Pezcycling news where cycling meets science. The focus of the article is on athletic recovery using tart cherry juice. From beet juice to tart cherry juice, it seems these functional foods are a real asset to the athlete looking for the extra performance and recovery edge. With science backing up the claims, I know I will be adding these to my arsenal!

Click the link below to be brought to the article. Feel free to leave comments or contact me at nutritionsolutionsag@hotmail.com.

If you are looking for a source for Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice, check out Eden Organics at the link below. Sold at Whole Foods. http://www.edenfoods.com/store/montmorency-tart-cherry-juice-organic.html

Toolbox: Tart Cherries as a Functional Food