Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paleo is reaching its Tipping Point

The Paleo Diet is reaching its tipping point. You know that critical point that Malcom Gladwell talks about in his book? The movement started to gain momentum last year when I realized that a few of my co-workers were in a transformational program addressing workouts and nutrition - and guess what their nutrition plan was...yup basically Paleo. Next thing I knew 10 or more people I worked with were changing their diet to Paleo, Robb Wolf released his book The Paleo Solution and it made the New York Times Best Seller List, Art DeVaney and Robb Wolf were featured on Nightline, Paleo is listed on the US News report about diets, and this week Yahoo featured an article titled "Paleo Diet: Smart eating or latest fad?" "Paleo Diet: Smart eating or latest fad?"*

Image used in the Paleo article by Getty Images - Please note: baby corn = not Paleo and the sauce that is covering the ribs is probably not Paleo either
Why is Paleo on the tipping point? Simple answer: because it works and people are seeing results. They are feeling better, experiencing more energy, improving their body compesition, but most importantly they are noticing that they are getting clincially healthier too. Paleo practitioners are reducing inflammation in their body and noticing that they don't have headaches anymore. They are healing their gut which has been damaged by the constant onslaught of anti-nutrients that are found in grains, legumes, and dairy, and they are reducing their risk of lifestyle diseases (or syndrome X as it's also called) like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The 2011 Crossfit Games

This weekend kicks off the 2011 Crossfit Games - starting this weekend on July 29th - 31st.  The Games are held in Carson, CA at the Home Depot Center - the same place that they were held in 2010 when I was in attendance along with 5 other members of the Crossfit King of Prussia team.  Going to the Games last year to COMPETE was an amazing experience, one that for me was probably once in a life-time, so it's bittersweet that this year that Games are coming into a new level of legitimacy and this year I'm not a part of it.

What has elevated Crossfit to the next level - in a word Sponsorship.  Forbes magazine featured an article on Crossfit, CrossFit’s Relationship with Reebok Enhances Its Financial and Commercial Credibility by Patrick Rishe.  Reebok's sponsorship has gotten the Crossfit name out there, and the Games are now not something that is only on a Crossfitter's radar since Reebok is sponsoring the Games and offering the winner $250K with a total prize purse of $1 Million...yes, you read that correctly.  Last year the winners took home $25K...Kristan Clever and Graham Holmberg were the top woman and man from last year who are probably hoping to repeat that experience since they are both competitors for the 2011 Games and this year would be able to win ten times more money for the same title.  To date there hasn't been a repeat winner of the Games, but it is the Crossfit Games, where you are supposed to prepare the the unknown and the unknowable you never know what will happen at the Games.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Heat Wave

Much of the country is currently in the midst of a summer heatwave, when the mercury rises on the thermometer (do they even make thermometers with mercury in them anymore?) you need to make sure you are keeping yourself cool.  It's important to stay hydrated and really listen to your body in the heat to avoid injury and to avoid heat related illness - you don't want to sideline your performance or your weekend plans because you didn't take care of yourself in the heat.

Its especially important to take care of yourself if you've decided that you're going to continue working out in the heat - especially to all of the people that are running outside and doing Crossfit it's important that you know what heat related illnesses can feel like so if you start to feel any of the warning signs you can dial back your training or your workout.  Just because it's hot doesn't mean stop training, but it does mean train smarter and make sure you're prepared by hydrating throughout the day and staying in tune with your body.

What can you do to prevent the heat related illnesses?  Here are a few tips, this is by no means a comprehensive list, but simply a few things to think about over the next few heat filled days.

1. Stay hydrated - drink lots of water and if you're exercising make sure you replace electrolytes that you're losing.  You can do this without Gatorade (gasp) through Coconut Water - I recommend VitaCoco which you can get at Wegmans and Whole Foods, and through Electrolyte enhanced water available with that name at Trader Joe's or Smart Water in the grocery store.

2. Avoid things that dehydrate you - primarily watch out for caffeine and alcohol - if you are drinking either of these make sure that you're increasing your water consumption as well.

3. Avoid the direct sun and being outside during the hottest time of day (11am - 4pm) - if you're outside, seek out shade and if you can find a cool place to be during the hottest hours of the day.  Go to the movies, grocery store, or shopping mall if you don't have air conditioning at home.  If you are outside wet a towel or bandanna with cold water and drape it across the back of your neck - it will provide a nice cool feeling even if you're out in the heat.

To avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke make sure you are dialing back when you see the following signs. Signs of heat exhaustion are a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of severe weakness - if you are feeling any of these symptoms make sure you take a break, get out of the heat, and rehydrate!

Heat stroke can be fatal, it occurs when the your body can no longer regulate its temperature relating in severely elevated body temperature causes an altered mental state, dizziness and ultimately can lead to a loss of consciousness and potentially kidney failure

What are you doing to stay cool?  And how are the increased temperatures impacting your training, planning, and performance?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Philly Olympic Tri

Last weekend on June 26th I participated in the Philadelphia Insurance Olympic Distance Triathlon here at home in Philadelphia PA.  It was my first tri of the season, which I would have preferred to be a sprint but since I'm gearing up for the Half Ironman this October, I signed up for the local Olympic Distance (.9m swim, 24.8m (40K) bike, 6.2m(10K) run). 

I was a little bit nervous for this tri since usually I'm doing something shorter to start and I hadn't gotten too much training in on the bike.  I had done one 17 mile ride, 1 20 mile ride, and then 2 brick training sessions at Valley Forge National Park: 15 mile bike followed by a 5 mile run, and the second a 10 mile bike followed by a 3 mile run.  The sprint tri was on Saturday and the Olympic on Sunday, for the Sprint they had great weather and the river was below 78 degrees so it was wetsuit legal for the swim.