Is the Detox, Cleanse, or Fast right for you?

Is the Detox, Cleanse, or Fast right for you?

It is inevitable that the December and January timeframes of each year bring a host of articles on how to get a “new you” by following some sort of detoxification, cleansing, or fasting nutritional program.  After all, you’ve likely eaten foods over the holiday season that weren’t in your usual routine, attended several social gatherings with tempting foods, and had neighbors or work associates who delivered to you the gift box of baked goods. Your system got polluted and now it’s in need of a cleanse, right? Or perhaps you are having troubles with your weight loss efforts and want to speed up the process? The lure and appeal of a simple nutritional supplement or program to clean out the system and drop quick body weight is sure to get your attention.  The marketing of these supplements convinces you this is the best thing you can do for your body and that it is completely safe. But does it work and is it really safe?  Here are some viewpoints for you to consider if you are thinking of doing some sort of detox or fasting program either now or in the future. Unless you live in a highly polluted and environmentally dangerous area or you are eating certain types (and large amounts) of seafood that contain high amounts of mercury, your body is not storing high levels of any toxins or metals. Remember, your body’s organs are continuously at work to filter and excrete what it does not need and always on the clock to keep your body in homeostasis (think “stable”).  Thank you, kidneys and liver! The detox...
The Short Scoop on Supplements – Part II

The Short Scoop on Supplements – Part II

In the last article, I covered the types of supplements available and listed some important questions you should ask yourself when making a decision on whether to start a supplement or how to choose supplements that are safe and cost-effective.  In this article, let us take a look at a few common supplements that many athletes inquire about or take on a regular basis without knowing their purpose. 1. Magnesium This is an important mineral and electrolyte for athletes. Magnesium has many roles, including bone metabolism, immune system health, muscle contraction, and carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It is not common to have magnesium levels tested as part of routine blood work unless we work with a functional medicine doctor or specifically request this lab to be drawn. However, it has been suggested that the majority of us are deficient in this micronutrient. Two common reasons for deficiency are that there is simply an inadequate intake of its food sources, and secondly, the soils in which the foods are grown are lacking in the mineral.  I do not recommend supplementing without first having a dietary assessment done by a dietitian who also considers your physical activity levels.  A dietitian will know the right dosage for you, the best absorbable forms, and can give you further guidance on nutrition to optimize your magnesium intake. Note that good food sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, beans, and whole grains. 2. Vitamin D Commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin”, the process to synthesize vitamin D in the body is quite complex. Its roles in the body are...
The Short Scoop on Supplements – Part I

The Short Scoop on Supplements – Part I

Use of supplements is a huge topic to address, as you can probably guess from taking a glance at the aisles of your local vitamin shop, pharmacy or natural grocer store. Not to mention that the supplement business is over a $20 billion dollar industry in the U.S.! Are you taking a supplement?  My guess is that most of you reading this use some form of supplementation.  Are you aware of the different kinds of supplements? If not, let us briefly review the three main categories: dietary – These are designed to enhance general health and to prevent or treat nutrient deficiencies. Examples of these include:  fish oils, iron, calcium, multivitamins, and probiotics. sport – Your sports nutrition products fall into this category and include gels, chews, bloks, beans, electrolytes, and sports drinks. ergogenic – These supplements claim to provide a performance-enhancing benefit, a few of which may be supported by valid scientific studies while the majority of these supplements may be hype or tested quite minimally. Some of the more popular and well-researched ergogenic aids include caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine. Now that we have established the types of supplements and you are able to identify what types you take, an important question to ask yourself for each one is “Why do I take this?”.  Particularly for dietary supplements, I find most athletes cannot answer this question confidently or we find the supplement may not do what it is purported to do. Additionally, many supplements are not necessary with a high quality daily nutrition plan which is customized to the athlete’s unique needs. Other important questions to ask regarding...

Strength training: exercises that pack a punch

Maintaining strength is important for both runners and triathletes. Off-season training is a great time to focus on increasing total body strength. As the holidays approach, we all get busier, and strength training sometimes gets put on the back burner. Looking ahead to next season can help increase motivation to work on strength. Stronger, balanced muscles decrease injury risk and increase performance. In between training cycles is a great time to zero in on correcting imbalances in the body and building a strong foundation for next race season. There are so many exercises we can do. It can be hard to know which ones are right. You coach can pinpoint specific exercises which will be right for you. As runners and triathletes, we are always thinking about efficiency. And as time gets tight during the holidays, here is a list of exercises which provide a lot of “bang for your buck.” 1) Push-ups. Push-ups are versatile, can be done anywhere, no weights required. Push-ups work the chest, shoulders, arm and core. They are great for any level of fitness. Beginners can start building strength with wall or knee push-ups. Proper form is important. Keep the core engaged. Here’s where the versatility comes in. Work up from the standard position to diamond push-ups, fingertip, plyometric and one-handed (to name a few). Vary how you do them. For example, one day do as many as you can in 60 seconds. Next time try a more difficult position, and do 3 sets of 15 with 30 seconds rest in between. You will be amazed at how quickly you improve. 2) Plank. Plank...

KR Endurance Philosophy

Running and triathlon are not “one size fits all” sports. Athletes come in all shapes, all sizes, all paces. Every single athlete is on their own journey. Every athlete has their own goal, their own relationship with their sport. No two athletes are alike. Some run hot, some cold. Some of us listen to music, some of us prefer the sounds of our stride or the enjoyment of moving meditation. Each athlete has their own body shape, life experiences, race experiences and own reasons they exercise. There is no “one” right piece of gear or “one” exact way to train. Yes, form is important. Equipment is important. Proper training is important. Nutrition is important. Above all, the INDIVIDUAL is important. What works for one person might not work for another. Find YOUR joy. Let go. Connect to the earth. Be grateful and feel the freedom of...