Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Scoop on "The Athlete's Food Guide to Metabolic Efficiency"

"The Athlete's Food Guide to Metabolic Efficiency" is an e-book I co-authored with my Fuel4mance colleague, Bob Seebohar.  I want to give you a quick "top 10 list" why this book would be a great addition to your personal library.  Ready?  Here we go!
  1. You want to reduce body fat or improve body composition. By improving your body's metabolic efficiency through manipulating your daily and training nutrition patterns, you teach your body to burn fat efficiently... even when you are not training or exercising. When followed properly, the recommendations in the book support your weight loss and body composition goals.
  2. You experience energy lulls during your day, such as the 3pm "I need a pick me up right now or I'm going to fall asleep" feeling. When you implement the principles of metabolic efficiency training, energy lulls disappear. This is one of the first things my athletes report:  "I felt great energy levels through the whole day!".  And you don't have to resort to the 3pm cookie or cola calling.
  3. You have frequent sugar cravings or "carb cravings". If you notice you are one to grab classic snacky foods such as candy, crackers, pretzels on a daily basis, we need to address how you are putting together your other meals and snacks throughout the day. Sometimes, small adjustments to your other meals lead to big changes in your snacking tendencies and cravings!
  4. You want to improve your health. That's a fairly broad statement and can also fit with the goal in #1 above but let's say you also have received a bad report from your doctor regarding your bloodwork (triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, elevated fasting blood glucose, etc.). You may not need to resort to medications if you are willing to tackle your nutrition patterns first. I've seen many successes with all kinds of athletes after they consistently implement the recommendations in this book.
  5. You want to improve your training and racing performance. We have endless stories from athletes who have set new personal bests and undertaken events they didn't think possible with the recommendations set forth in this book. I dare you to push the envelope further.
  6. You have tried calorie counting to get your nutrition in order but it hasn't worked and/or you got frustrated. This is a different approach to modifying your daily nutrition that doesn't require calorie counting.  Instead you learn how to apply ratios of carbohydrate to protein in your foods to reveal quality of your meals and snacks. This is a simpler way than calorie counting and does so much more for you.
  7. You have experienced gastrointestinal distress during previous races. It does not need to happen, athletes. It actually can be conquered and it starts with implementing... you guessed it, metabolic efficiency training principles with your nutrition and your training.
  8. No matter what kind of athlete you are (fitness enthusiast to endurance athlete), this book has helped so many different kinds of athletes and of all ages. No need to say more about this.
  9. You want to learn more about how to tie the principles of Metabolic Efficiency Training and nutrition periodization to your personal nutrition patterns...all on your own. This e-book brings it together in an easy to understand approach.  It also gives you the tools to implement this with your own nutrition.
  10. And last but not least.... the e-book is ON SALE (20% discount) THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2012! Go here to get your copy now.
There you have it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

I broke up with you, Mr. Caffeine.

I remember the Saturday morning when I denied you my bloodstream, Mr. Caffeine. I thought you were going to bring me days of heart-broken distress. Tears. Headaches. Ups and downs.  You were essential to my everyday well-being and productivity. I loved you so.

But I got over you fast.  Like lightning fast.  Even I was surprised. I may have loved you, but I didn't need you.

I'm still talking about my long affair with caffeine, namely coffee (in case any of my past heartthrobs should be reading this).

All of this is true.  I stopped my daily consumption of (at least) 16 oz of strong coffee. The kind that moves your bowels within seconds. The kind to which my mom would add enormous amounts of sugar and cream in order to make it taste "palatable".

The reasons were basically threefold:

  1. I developed a neurological condition this year that affects my eyes.  I'll write more on that later, but I wanted to see if I would experience relief by removing ingested stimulants.  Bottom line here is that removing caffeine did not help this condition, as far as I can tell.
  2. Did I really "need" caffeine to function?  I provide nutrition coaching to athletes of all levels with all sorts of goals. In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary to make behavioral changes to support the goals. This means changing the mindset, changing habits, doing some experimentation to find what works in a positive manner. Aside from whether you believe coffee is "good" or "bad" for our health and what the (mixed) research shows, I wanted to go through the process of breaking a habit to see what would happen and how I would endure the process.
  3. For sport performance reasons. I like to use caffeine for its ergogenic benefits during racing. We know that the more habitual caffeine we consume, the more caffeine we must consume to provide ergogenic benefits. Since I'm not in big training mode right now, it made sense to cut the caffeine so that next year I won't need as much to give me the boost.
Not only has the daily habit of coffee consumption been broken, but my emotional tie to it has been severed. It turns out it wasn't that strong of a tie as I thought.

I challenge you to think about some of your habits... or things you think you need in order to do your work, or your training or exercise.  Maybe you don't even realize what your habits are! And sometimes, we put too much feeling into things just because we have done them for a very long time. The thought of not doing that "thing" anymore can be scary but once you decide to make a change and you commit, you experience a new sense of freedom and a redefined relationship with that "thing" that had control over you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Caffeine "Lover"

I have considered myself a coffee drinker since my dad let me have his first sip of Folgers at the ripe old age of 8.  My stomach flips thinking about that now (for many reasons), but that's where my coffee beginnings occurred.

When I attended my first round of college in Bloomington, Indiana, my caffeine habits developed further.  I didn't delve into caffeine pills or consume copious amounts of soda, but I was known to put down a diet Coke in less than 90 seconds.  Like nobody's business.  I remember a time my freshman roommate and I went to one of the coffee shops to get "real" coffee before our long weekend of studying. We downed our Cafe Viennas feeling so hip and cool. The buzz we got from that coffee made our hearts pound, vision blur, and concentration suffer. But somehow it was good enough to become an addiction of sorts.

When I moved to Colorado years later and discovered the multiple groovy coffee shops in Denver and Boulder, I became the chronic espresso-cappuccino-americano lover.  I continued to love that sensation of my heart pounding to the point where I couldn't function without at least a couple coffee beverages in the morning. I could do a morning training session without calories, but never would I consider starting my training without a cup of java.  And if there was a break while out for a long bike ride, why drink more water when there was a coffee shop around the corner?

In October of this year, I decided to STOP. A cold turkey kind of a stop.  No more caffeinated beverages.  Why and what happened?  Next post.