Archive for: Sports diet

Sports Nutrition — A Game Changer

(Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)

As summer winds down, I’m noticing an interesting trend that has developed over the past few months — my pension for all things water-​​related.  From swimming to kayaking to paddle boarding, I’ve been on a mission to stay on or in the water as much as possible.  I now officially have the SUP (stand up paddle board) addiction!  Put me on the water with a paddle in my hand and I’m content for hours.  If you haven’t checked it out, SUP-​​ing is an awesome full body workout engaging your core for balance, increasing flexibility, upper & lower body strength and decreasing stress…seriously, is there anything more calming than dipping your paddle into a clear, tranquil lake or the invigorating rush of catching the surf?  My newly discovered passion has made me even more aware of how to tweak my nutrition to keep me on the water as long as possible this year. 

Crushing Cortisol

smile

Last weekend I returned to my parent’s home for a reunion with my mom’s family.  We spent our days relaxing by the lake, talking up a storm and laughing until our sides were about to split!  It took a couple of years for my mom to pull off this reunion as everyone’s schedules and circumstances were decidedly chaotic and stressful.  I’m sure my family will agree that it was one of the most fun times we’ve had together in a long while. In fact, any stress we may have carried into the weekend was quickly diminished.  When I left on Monday, everyone looked relaxed and happy.  It made me realize that stress can take its toll on all of us and yet there are simple ways we can all crush it.  

What Does It Matter?

STARS_NASA-IMAGE_605

I am an unabashed space nerd — galaxies, black holes, matter and anti-​​matter — you name it, I’m in especially when it coms to science fiction.  From reruns of Star Trek to my ongoing obsession with the Star Wars super saga, the whole idea of “Space, the final frontier…to boldly go where no man has gone before” blows my mind.  Whether you love to geek out over sci-​​fi, or not, isn’t it fascinating to imagine space travel?  If we could get to the moon and back on the equivalent computing power of a tiny little hand-​​held calculator, imagine what we are capable of when we tap into the “strange new world(s)” between our ears!  

Focus In

cameralens

I’m a bit of a photography buff and often find myself framing out pictures in my mind when I pass by a perfect sunset or a flower in bloom.  A few years ago, my family gave me a really cool camera with a 64X zoom lens.  That kind of focus gives me all kinds of creative freedom to capture images that I may otherwise miss.  The key to a perfect shot is a steady hand and a lack of distraction.   The same is true when it comes to our mental focus and sharpness.  As we continue to delve into a healthy brain, optimizing your focus and concentration can lead to a very pretty picture indeed.

Forget Something?

Brain

Has this ever happened to you?  You’re about to walk up to a friend you’ve known for a long time and suddenly your mind goes blank.  You’ve forgotten his or her name — I’m talking deer-​​in-​​headlights blank.  While at first you are mortified and embarrassed that you’ve suffered what feels like a complete brain dump, you then begin to wonder what exactly is wrong with you.  No matter your age or health, everyone experiences a mental gap once in a while for numerous reasons.  This week I met with CogSports Group who specialize in cognitive testing for Navy SEALs, corporate leaders and sports teams.  Their focus on mental toughness got me thinking (yes, I said that) about how to keep our brains as healthy as we keep our bodies.  Over the next few weeks we’ll explore tips and tools for the proper care and feeding of your gray matter.

United We Stand

HonorGuard

I come from a family of patriots.  We all support our Veterans, our military service men and women and our country regardless of the date on the calendar or the status of world events. My grandfather is part of the Greatest Generation as a WWII Veteran. My uncles are Veterans of the Vietnam War.  I am a the spouse of a GWOT Veteran who served our country valiantly during a career that saw both peace and conflict. So, during a time when we celebrate our Nation’s birth, it seems fitting to also thank those who graciously and unselfishly support our troops, respect our flag, and serve our Veterans.  This week, while we’re spending time with family and friends,  I want to introduce you to a couple of patriots & patriotic organizations that have inspired me. 

Heal Faster, Go Farther

Fitness Center

After a couple of days soaking my foot in epson salt and sporting flip flops until the swelling diminished, my foot injury from last weekend is healing up remarkably well.  It’s a good thing, too, since my list of outdoor projects and activities is growing as long as the days are this summer.  Since I’ve never been one to rush to the doctor post-​​injury or minor accident, I hobbled to the web instead to find some home remedies and explanations for my throbbing foot pain.  While I don’t advocate that you should always seek your own medical advice especially when many sources are unreliable, there are some homegrown staples and supplies that may help heal the bumps and bruises that often accompany an active lifestyle.  

Eggsceptionally Good

Easter eggs

Easter is the one time of year that I wish I could borrow my niece & nephews to help me dye hard-​​boiled eggs, fill baskets full of plastic grass and candy, and then enjoy the simple thrill of watching them race all over the house Easter morning searching for that last illusive egg — did we hide 11 or 12?  Unfortunately, for my husband, he ends up being the one who patiently humors me while I make him do the Easter egg hunt.  This year I ran out of time to hard-​​boil the eggs so he got off easy!  Unfortunately, I’ve found myself missing the colorful bounty that typically resides in the refrigerator long after Easter Sunday.  For most people, especially those watching their fat and cholesterol, eggs are off-​​limits even during the holidays.  If that’s you, you may enjoy some news to put you on the sunny side of eggs.

Plyometrics and Vertical Jumps

Plyometrics became popular for Olympic-​​bound athletes. And many professional and elite athletes are familiar with workouts that include vertical jump training to improve their performance on the track or on the court. But you’re a soldier. Is it possible that plyometric training can provide some value for the military?

The short answer is yes. Let’s talk about what plyometrics is, and isn’t, and how you can use it to improve your performance on the battle field.

A New Superhero

Superman

I seem to be on a superhero kick lately, if you haven’t noticed already!  It’s hard to talk about Mighty Mouse one week without paying homage to Superman — a favorite of my family, by the way, as the image of this classic cartoon was born the same year as my dad.  On Krypton, Superman would have been just another kid growing up on a planet with a red sun.  According to his fictitious history, Superman’s kryptonian cells absorbed and metabolized the energy from our yellow sun giving him superpowers like leaping tall buildings, running faster than speeding bullet, and having more power than a locomotive.   Beyond that, he even possessed a super-​​human ability to heal, to repel earthly diseases with super-​​duper immunity, super intelligence and that cool x-​​ray vision thing.  Would it surprise you to know that you may be more super than you ever imagined?

The ABC’s of Getting Ripped

building muscle

Here’s a question: Is there a supplement you can take to get ripped and get better results from your workouts?

Anyone who has spent time researching fitness and athletic performance has heard about nutritional supplementation. By providing your body with additional amounts of certain natural nutrients you can promote performance, boost your immune system, and aid muscle recovery. This combo allows the body to function at a higher level. It also leads to improved workouts and muscle growth. However, it can be difficult to determine which supplements are effective. Here are some of the most popular supplements to get ripped.

Have a Heart

Heart Health Hand

Living in a rural state like Maine, it’s easy to get spoiled by the solitude.  With no traffic to speak of, nights are still and silent which makes for a perfect sleeping environment.  It also makes it easier to get startled when an errant noise jolts you out of bed with your pounding heart leading the way.  Isn’t it amazing how much we don’t think about our hard-​​working hearts until they remind us in a big way?  Since February is a month in which we celebrate the decadence of Valentine’s Day along with the prudence of heart health month, let’s find a happy medium to enjoy both!

Can Vegan Bodybuilders Win Competitions?

benefit of a vegan diet

Are Vegan Bodybuilders at a disadvantage?

Many bodybuilders may avoid vegan diets because they believe that it will prevent them from winning any bodybuilding competitions. After all, how can you possibly compete against a bunch of meat-​​eating “meat heads?” However, vegan bodybuilders say that their vegetable-​​based diet actually enhances their training program because going vegan improves their overall health and decreases fatigue. This has all sorts of beneficial side affects when you’re training!

Building Muscle without Meat or Milk

weight training

What’s up with a Vegan Bodybuilding Diet? Many people worldwide have a vegan diet. However, in other places (such as the States) becoming vegan is something new. It’s also something becoming more common, especially as specialty grocery stores pop up like Whole Foods. Even so, there are still lots of misconceptions about this diet and lifestyle.

Primarily…where’s the protein?

Troubleshooting TBI: How to Beat the Odds

helmet

As a kid, I had a propensity towards injury for some reason.  Maybe it was the daredevil in me that led to compromising predicaments which ultimately ended in scrapes, cuts and an assortment of broken bones.  I was either doing stunts on my banana-​​seated bicycle, or climbing on top of the refrigerator when inclement weather kept me from my favorite backyard tree.  While those antics served me well in adulthood — I’m not afraid to try something new — several knocks to my noggin resulted in minor concussions and one major one requiring dozens of painful stitches.  My past antics have certainly made me more aware of protecting my cranium inside and out.  Recently, there has been more attention focused on brain trauma from concussions to traumatic brain injury (TBI) especially in sports and in military service due to some alarming survivability trends.

Myth: Vegan Diets Lack Muscle-​​Building Protein

vegan bodybuilding

A common myth is that Vegans don’t get enough protein. For a bodybuilder and athlete, lack of protein could make all the difference in the world! So, does that mean that you have to resort to eating animal based products in order to achieve the results you want in Previewthe gym, on the sports field and even on the field of battle?

Not at all! The reality is that plant-​​based products possess an abundance of proteins. You just have to know which ones will give you the most bang for your buck.

Drink This Not That!

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Bendet

Early in the 2013–2014 football season, I had every confidence that I would be watching my beloved Packers play in the Superbowl this Sunday only to see my hopes fade as Aaron Rodgers was out with an injury for several games and, of course, a playoff loss that quickly ended their season.  So, I turned to my runner up, the Patriots, and, yet again, my dreams were dashed as were theirs when they lost to the Broncos.  Undaunted, I pinned my faith to the fast & furious 49ers.  As you can tell, I don’t place any bets on my predictions!  At least my fourth favorite is playing in the Superbowl this year, although, I’d better not say to whom I betroth my allegiance for fear of jinxing the outcome.  The reason for my football rant is seated in what you’ll be doing this Sunday and beyond.  Drinks and snacks will be the norm for Superbowl Sunday and, while it’s okay to share good cheer, you may want to rethink your cocktail concoctions.

Keep it Running: Nutrition Tips for Endurance

nutrition for runners

What Do Runner’s Eat? Whether you’re new to running or a competitive marathon athlete; endurance –based exercises like running require you to pay attention to your extra nutritional needs. If you don’t, you’ll notice changes in your body structure that may not be what you hoped for (like getting way too thin) or even worse, you’ll experience a lack of energy after your workout.

Although running may not seem as physically intense as weightlifting or martial arts; runners of all levels need to be pay close attention to vitamins and minerals as well as caloric intake. Your quality of nutrition will ensure optimal performance and help you avoid over training.

Army Bootcamp: Training before the Training

military training

Training for Army Bootcamp requires mental preparation and physical preparation.

Even though most people don’t think about physical exercise providing any mental benefits…it does. Why? Because exercise allows you be physically prepared for your Army Bootcamp training. And, the more physically prepared you feel, the less mental stress you will experience. The less mental stress, the better you will be able to engage and focus in the “classroom” style learning as well as the “field” adaptations and problem solving you will encounter physically and mentally.

Between the E’s

sunflowers

Did your grandmother ever have a tried-​​and-​​true remedy for whatever ailed you?  It usually came from ingredients she gathered from her backyard garden or root cellar that transformed into a stinky, sticky  concoction she would rub on your chest or stick under your tongue, right?  My grandmother’s cure-​​alls were cocoa butter and Vitamin E.  Regardless of the nature and severity of your complaint, she’d say,  “Just rub some Vitamin E on it and you’ll be all set,” with such a commanding tone that you were convinced it would work.  And, actually, it did more often than not!  Maybe Grandma was onto something after all and science is backing up her home remedies with even more E-​​vidence.