Sunday, November 24, 2013

Holiday Eating Tips

It's pretty easy to go overboard and gain a few pounds over the next 5 weeks. It starts with Thanksgiving and then with the constant parties during December, there are way too many opportunities to either over-eat or eat junk that you normally wouldn't. Don't worry, I'm realistic - I know that completely staying away from sugars and processed carbs is not going to happen (if you can - good for you!). So with that in mind, here are a few practical tips for getting through the holidays...

  • Exercise - keeping up with your current workouts or even adding in a few over the holidays is never a bad idea. Sign up for a Turkey Trot race or even just take a walk with some family members before the big meal!
  • Focus on Your Fav's - Before loading up your plate with a little bit of every casserole and pie on the table, look at the options and decide which ones your really want. We all have our favorite foods that we want to eat during the holidays, so just eat those. Maybe put a little bit of Grandma's fruit cake on your plate so you don't hurt her feelings!
  • Make Your Own - If you know a healthy alternative to a traditional food, make it and take it. Then give it a little extra real-estate on your plate (did you enjoy the multiple rhymes?)!
  • Eat Slowly - This is one that I struggle with. If you take the time to taste each bite, you are less
    likely to eat until you are stuffed. Once you start to feel full, stop eating. 
  • Don't Take Left Overs Home - Try to eat your normal, healthy diet for all of your non-holiday events. If you take home lots of left overs of less-than-healthy food, that means that you will have several more meals in the following days that are doing damage. 
  • Don't Starve Yourself - Some people like to not eat at all before a big meal. Like skipping breakfast and/or lunch on the day that you know you will have a big dinner. Don't do this. In fact, I suggest that you eat a healthy meal or two before you belly-up to the table for a feast. Going long periods of time without eating and then stuffing yourself is a recipe for disaster.
  • Bitter Melon - Buy some Bitter Melon extract in pill form and pop a few before indulging in a large meal. It contains insulin-like properties and can really help in keeping your blood-sugar from spiking like it normally would after a meal full of carbs and sugars.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Be sure and visit all of my sponsor's websites. I sought out these companies because they provide great products and services.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Off-Season

Some years I'm not quite ready for my triathlon season to be over. This was one of those years. I finished my 'A' race for 2013, Ironman Louisville, at the end of August. I had already begun to think about my 2014 race calendar and I knew that I was NOT going to be doing Ironman again, so I needed a big race to build my season around.

I had qualified for the USAT Age Group National Championship in 2012 and 2013, but for various reasons, I never actually made it to the race either year. So I decided that I would try to qualify again and actually race the Championships in 2014. The problem was...I hadn't qualified yet. So I started to look for a race that I could do in September or early October that would work as a qualifier. I did the Tri For Sight a few weeks after Ironman and with the exception of an embarrassingly slow swim, I was happy with my race. I was 12th Overall out of 290 people, but I was 4th in my Age Group...and I needed to be Top 3 to qualify for Nationals. So I thought that maybe going to Nationals in 2014 was just not in the cards and I would look for another 'big' race to do instead. Then I started talking with a friend about races and he mentioned a race he did once before near Columbus, OH. So I looked it up and it seemed like a fun race and based on the previous year's results, I thought that I might be able to finish high enough to qualify. After dragging the whole family up to the middle of Ohio, I felt some pressure to finish high and accomplish my goal of qualifying for the 2014 National Championship. Fortunately, I had a good race at the Deer Creek Fall Challenge and finished 2nd in my Age Group and 5th Overall - good enough to get an invite to the USAT National Championship!

So once I had that out of the way, my off-season official started. I took about a week off and literally did nothing. Then once I let my body recover a little bit, I stated into my off-season plan. My plan this year consists of a few goals:

1. Allow my muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and fascia to heal from the stress of a 9 month season.
2. Lift weights to increase strength and power
3. Work on muscular imbalances
4. Enjoy life and eat whatever I want (to a certain extent, of course!)

Goofy makes everything look fun and easy!

So while trying to keep number 1 in mind by getting more sleep and not pushing my SBR workouts, I've been working on numbers 2 and 3 in the gym over the last five weeks. 

My routine looks like this:

Squats* - 3 x 6 with heavy weight
Between sets -  60 count single leg jump-rope (30 on each leg)

Dead lifts* - 3 x 6 with heavy weight
Between sets - 20 count push-ups (vary between flat, raised legs, raised chest)

Clean and Jerk* - 3 x 6 with heavy weight
Between sets - 10 count body weight pull-ups

Hip Abductors - 3 x 10
Between sets - single leg box jumps

Cable trunk rotations - 3 x 10 on each side
Between sets - 60 to 90 second planks

*Do not attempt these lifts without consulting with a personal trainer to make sure your form is correct. You can seriously mess yourself up if you do these wrong!

I'm doing this whole-body approach to weight lifting/plyometrics routine twice a week. I'm only biking, running and swimming once a week and those are pretty easy efforts. I'll stay with this until probably the end of January and then I'll get back into a more triathlon-specific training plan. Hopefully I will notice some gains in my bike power and run speed once I get back into the swing of things...that's the plan anyway!

As for number 4 on my list...I've managed to gain around 15 pounds since Ironman (and not much of it is muscle), so I'm definitely achieving this goal.

I also wanted to say congrats to Carrie Brown and Aaron Roberson, winners of my Garden of Life vitamin give-away!

Be sure and visit all of my sponsor's websites. I sought out these companies because they provide great products and services.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Reader Give-Away

Time again to give away some supplements to two lucky readers. One of my sponsors, Garden of Life has been generous enough to provide me with a few things to give away.

The first is a Men's Multivitamin. Their Vitamin Code RAW One for Men is a once-a-day supplement designed especially for men. As with everything that they make, Garden of Life uses premium, raw, whole food ingredients in this vitamin. The ingredients are all uncooked, untreated and unadulterated. No need to worry about fillers and binders that you find in cheap vitamins on the shelf at the grocery store. These are free of fructose, maltodextrin, magnesium stearate and corn starch.

The men's specific formula is designed to address and support prostrate health, a healthy heart, reduction in stress, optimal digestion, eye health and increased energy.

It's also gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO certified, and vegetarian. You can find more details here.

The second give-away is a bottle of Vitamin Code RAW B-12. Being deficient in B-12 is becoming more and more common these days, especially in women. The body uses B-12 to make blood and to maintain a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is characterized by anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. People at a higher risk of being deficient are vegetarians and pregnant/lactating women.

The Garden of Life RAW B-12 supplement is made from raw food-created nutrients. And just like Men's Multivitamin, it is uncooked, untreated and unadulterated. No binders and fillers either. This is the best raw form of the vitamin that you can get aside from getting directly through a whole food source. You can get more info on it here.

I'll give the Multivitamin away to a male and the B-12 to a female. If you want your name to be thrown in the hat for the drawing, simply comment at the bottom of this post, comment on Faceboook or retweet on Twitter.

Be sure and visit all of my sponsor's websites. I sought out these companies because they provide great products and services.

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