Archive for: Sports diet
Today is one of those glorious days that every Mainer pines for after a very brutal winter. Azure blue sky, a light breeze and balmy temps make it easier to forget frigid wind chills and frosty windows. Of course, you can’t have warm days without a few pesky annoyances like biting bugs, blankets of pollen and an occasional skirmish with other nasty irritants. While my healthy lifestyle has slain my seasonal allergies, I still seem to battle with poison ivy and oak. After a weekend of gardening, mowing and brush hauling, a nice itchy rash has developed on my calf. Maddening to say the least as it has been inching its way up my leg despite my best efforts to keep it at bay. While I apply the calamine lotion, it reminds me of how our bodies adapt and overcome all sorts of inflammation.
It’s a well-known fact that grandfathers do no wrong. They can fix anything and know everything, at least in the eyes of their grandchildren. I was certainly no exception. My grandpas were as tough as nails and always pushed me to be the best I could be. “Grandpa T” was a police officer and a former boxer. He had a speed bag in the basement and I remember watching with wide-eyed fascination as he pummeled away on that bag, not missing a single shot. Apparently, that wasn’t the case for Manny Pacquiao in his bout against Floyd Mayweather. Rumor has it that inflammation from a shoulder injury may have knocked Manny out before he even entered the ring. Is inflammation keeping you from your best shot?
When I was a child, I was a very finicky eater. I remember sitting at the kitchen table staring at an uneaten sandwich and a bowl of chicken soup for what seemed like an eternity. My siblings had long since cleaned their plates and were outside playing while I felt imprisoned by slimy noodles and sandwich meat. I pleaded with my mother that I was full and showed evidence of my compliance by the empty glass of milk on the table. Later, she caught onto my little ploy by keeping the milk out of reach until my meal was consumed to her satisfaction. Even as adults, we all have foods we choose to avoid for one reason or another — even those foods that are really good for our health. Maybe it’s time to rethink your “no” list.
Did you ever have one of those aggravating days when things seemed to conspire against you? I had that day yesterday when everything from email to both printers to my phone stopped functioning simultaneously. It was as if they had formed some sort of electronic coupe against me to halt my productivity in its track. In that moment of sheer frustration, my mother called. Amazing, isn’t it, how mothers call at the very moment you need them most? She talked me down from the ceiling and shared the “good old days” when you went to a printer to run off copies and sat by the phone because the cord was so short. It made me wonder how we can truly wrap our brains around technology’s role in the future of our health.
While I’ve never considered myself a fanatical football fan, I did grow up in Wisconsin where every Sunday a mandatory migration occurs away from weekend chores to sanctum sanctorum itself…Lambeau Field. Since my Packers collapsed during the playoffs (ugh!), I was pleased to find my second string team ready for the task. It was especially gratifying watching a rookie’s determination to intercept a pass in the last 26 seconds of the game securing the Patriot’s Superbowl victory. In his post-game interview, Malcolm Butler said the play was all about focus and preparation. While you may not find yourself in the middle of a clutch play of that magnitude, focus and preparation can get you to your goals faster that you may think.
I’m writing this article on the eve of a blizzard bearing down on the East Coast. Having spent a majority of my life in northern climates, I’ve come to expect whatever Mother Nature chooses to throw my way. However, I also believe in the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” so a little time spent preparing for power outages and snowpack is certainly well spent. We now have extra supplies of water and batteries with a row of flashlights and candles set up on the kitchen counter. The cell phones and tablets — definite necessities! - are fully charged and an emergency radio is also nearby. Isn’t it funny how so many of us heed the warnings of an imminent threat but fail to properly prepare for catastrophes that may be far more devastating when it comes to our health? Over the next few weeks, we’ll focus on how to prevent diseases with proper planning.
We have a new family who just moved in next door. They are from California so our harsh Maine winter is beginning to take it’s toll. Fortunately, they love to entertain and to cook. Those traits gain them big points in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, the daughters are half Greek and make a decadent baklava. Needless to say, I’m spending the better part of the New Year on the treadmill! Actually, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions and fad diets or exercise programs that are unsustainable for most folks by February. It may sound bland, but consistent exercise and a balanced diet are always the best long term approach to good health and weight maintenance. There may be other factors in play, however, that may help you revamp your resolutions once and for all.
While the rest of the world may rationalize away this season as a homogenized, hectic and hassle-filled holiday, I, on the other hand, confess my allegiance as an unapologetic, unabashed, unrelenting fan of Santa Claus. That’s right, I love that rosy cheeked big boy with all the toys…which may explain my obsession with all things Christmas, especially the perpetual parade of holiday movies that re-rack every December. From the quintessential struggle of a family man finding purpose in “It’s a Wonderful Life” to a reluctant father whose fate intersects with misfortune in “The Santa Clause,” I’m certain I can recite every line by heart. What’s interesting about both of these men is that they find themselves at the end of their tether and something magical happens that changes their lives and the lives of the people they love forever. The good news is that your change of fortune may be easier to attain than you believe.
I come from a long line of bargain hunters and deal-makers which is why I’m not getting much sleep this time of year as I scour the internet for the end-of-the-year bargains like I did last night. It seems that beyond the traditional black friday bargains, stores are constantly enticing us all with deep discounts and slashed prices on items that we previously never needed but now can’t afford not to buy! While this logic makes perfect sense to self-confessed shopaholics like myself, it also has some unintended consequences beyond a ballooning credit card bill. A season overloaded with Christmas gift shopping lists, catalog-stuffed mailboxes, holiday party crammed schedules, and the crush of crowds traveling this time of year, long days inevitably lead to short, sleepless nights. If you’re having trouble catching your ZZZ’s, check out these five simple tips to power down before you have to gear up again.
With the Thanksgiving holiday upcoming, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate to do, that is, before you have a lot on your plate to eat! For most, Thanksgiving is a great time to get together with family and friends, eat too much, and move too little. While I don’t begrudge your well-deserved R&R, taking too much time off from your workout regimen and healthy eating habits can take its toll. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to stick with your program, keep inflammation at bay, and reduce injury.
We just put the finishing touches on our latest project…a custom-built bar made out of reclaimed barn boards, posts, and a massive slab of live-edge pine as the bar top. Mark can now boast that he has an official man-cave! The project required a lot of mental energy and more than a few trips up and down the stairs to get it done. In the end and by some miracle of construction and design prowess which comes naturally to neither of us, everything ended up level, plumb, and square. No small feat when you’re dealing with 100+ year old lumber, a tile floor and unskilled labor! The keys to our success were patience and preparation. Those qualities rarely translate to others areas of my life especially when it comes to working out. If you find yourself diving in too fast, you may be surprised by the latest research.
Like most football fans around the country, I took some time out of a busy weekend to catch some college and professional football games. Since I married a Buckeye, please forgive the indulgence when I brag on his favorite team for a moment. On Saturday night, the Buckeyes dominated one of their top rivals, Michigan State. Now, the biggest challenge here is that Mark’s parents and brother are Michigan State alumnus. Fortunately, the family enjoys healthy competition and,win or lose, everyone appreciates a good competition. The Buckeyes knew their opponent well and despite a more seasoned challenger, this young and agile football team stuck with their game plan and executed it nearly flawlessly. This season, it’s good to know your opponents well and have a strong plan to keep you and your immune system in the game.
Over the weekend, we experienced our first snow of the season — yikes! While the harsh weather stripped most of the remaining leaves from our trees, we have a pear tree outside of our front windows which remains in defiance of the looming winter weather. Despite the storms, its leaves have yet to turn and all of its fruit remains on the branches. That proved to be a sleep wrecker last night as the blustery winds caused it to sway against the bedroom window knocking us awake at unfortunate regular intervals. This morning it got a much-needed trim and hopefully a gentle nudge that it’s time to hunker down. Like nature, we all can get a little out of sync when the seasons change especially when we’re not prepared. Here are three simple ways to put up your best defenses against winter and beyond.
Have you ever heard that expression, “I had a gut feeling”? Maybe you’re about to make an important decision and you stop to do a “gut check.” For those of you in combat situations or as first-responders, you may find yourselves going with your “gut instincts”. The phrase “gut check” is even defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “an evaluation or test of a person’s resolve, commitment, or priorities.” Merriam-Webster calls it “a test of courage, character, or determination.” It’s no accident that our gut seems to have the ability to guide us through challenging situations. You may be surprised at just how important your gut is to your physical stamina, mental sharpness and emotional health.
Have you ever enjoyed a summer day that you wish would never end? Labor Day was one of those days for us here in Maine. Usually, by this time of the season, the crisp chill of autumn has set in and I’m reaching for my fleece. Instead, this week has ushered in steamy, hot weather and brilliant sunshine. So, you guessed it, I’m spending as much time as possible outdoors to soak up every ounce of warmth before it becomes a fleeting memory in a few short months. Last week we talked about peaking your performance with a better approach to sports nutrition. Whether you’re at the gym, on a bike, in the water or at home, this week we’ll continue to shed the light on overcoming inflammation to keep you moving.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.