Chasing The Shadow Of My Future Self

Jannine Myers

A friend shared with me a video clip which cleverly portrays a runner as two identical persons running at the same time, with one of the runners always slightly behind the other. The catch phrase at the end of the video says, “And so it goes on and on, chasing the person you want to become.”

Watching the video made me think about my own runs and how I often run the same paths and routes, alone with my thoughts, and every once in a while catching a glimpse of my shadow ahead of me.

My shadow, I realized, can potentially be a glimpse of the “me” I hope to become; a shadow of myself that’s wrapped up in all of my hopes and dreams. I can metaphorically choose the path my shadow will take, by setting for myself specific goals that can progressively be moved towards with each running step I take.

I challenge us all to make 2017 the year that we each chase after our future desired self!

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Switch to Japanese Washoku-Style Eating for Health and Longevity

Jannine Myers

This week’s post is a little unusual but I hope you enjoy it. I had lunch recently with some elderly Japanese ladies; these women have been friends of mine for more than ten years and they have become like family to me. I have learned so much from them over the years about Japanese history and culture, and at our lunch they had more to share with me. I learned about this year’s Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in Okinawa, and how several thousand Okinawans who live abroad returned to Okinawa to reunite with family members and enjoy a joint celebration (read this article for more information about Okinawa’s first wave of overseas migration).

The second thing I learned – which is the subject of this post – is about the traditional Japanese washoku diet. One of the ladies in the group attributes hers and her husband’s good health to the diet that they both follow; I asked her to describe for me what their daily meals typically consist of:

[Note: breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals generally include the same foods with the exception of protein source which alternates between tofu, lean cuts of meat, fish and seafood]

  • Genmai (brown rice) and beans – brown rice is high in fiber and has been linked with reduced cholesterol levels, while beans (of any kind) are really quite an amazing food with their long list of healthy nutrients.
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  • Natto – natto is fermented soybeans that have been soaked, steamed or boiled, then allowed time to ferment after the bacteria Bacillus subtilis has been added. Natto is most definitely an acquired taste, but it’s rich in both macro and micronutrients and it offers an extensive array of health benefits, hence the reason it’s enjoyed by many as a Japanese dietary staple.
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  • Miso soup – miso is also a fermented and nutritionally dense food. Lighter-colored miso is much milder (and generally sweeter) in taste than darker-colored miso, and the lighter colors indicate a shorter fermentation process. It’s probiotic properties aid in intestinal health but also help to build a stronger immune system.
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  • Other daily foods that are added to meals typically include small side servings of various kinds of seasonal vegetables (especially root vegetables) that are prepared and/or cooked in different ways. And of course, a lean protein source is always included.
  • Daily beverages include traditional Japanese teas, but two beverages my friend added to the list were Japanese black vinegar (which contains citric acid that supposedly benefits the brain and immune system by causing an increase in energy production), and hot water infused with fresh ginger and black Okinawan sugar (this beverage is especially helpful during the winter months as it is believed to warm the body from within and also promote better blood circulation).
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    Japanese Black Vinegar

And one last food that I’ve saved till last – since it’s quite interesting and I had never heard of it until now – is black garlic:

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According to my friend, she and her husband add rice and water to their rice cooker, then add several garlic bulbs on top of the rice before cooking. When the rice is done and the setting has moved to “Warm,” they leave the rice cooker unopened and untouched (no changes are made to the setting), for a minimum of two full weeks. The aroma is a little pungent at first, but it eventually settles down and when the garlic bulbs are removed two or three weeks later they look like those in the image above. The garlic cloves are peeled and eaten as is, and apparently taste very sweet and delicious; not bitter at all.

(Click this link and scroll down for a more detailed explanation of black garlic and why it is considered a health food).

Finally, if you’ve never eaten a traditional Japanese washoku meal, here’s an example of how it is typically plated:

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11 Things About Sara Blakely That Goal-Oriented Women Should Know

Jannine Myers

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I heard a podcast interview last week, between School of Greatness host, Lewis Howes, and his guest, Sara Blakely. For those of you who do not know who Sara Blakely is, she is the very successful founder and owner of Spanx, an American intimate apparel company. Named in 2012, by Forbes Magazine, as the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, Blakely talked about her life prior to and during her business expansion of Spanx. Listed below are what I believe were some of her most influential and must-read statements, as well as things she revealed about her success – which began with setting a firm vision and intentionally setting out to achieve it:

  • Blakely sold fax machines door-to-door for seven years before deciding to “re-script” her life. She wrote in her journal, “I’m going to invent a product and sell it to millions of people!” And then she asked the universe to give her a good idea! It took two years for the concept of Spanx to enter her mind, but when it did she ran with it.

 

  • Initially there were a string of “No’s,” as one buyer after another rejected her idea, but instead of giving up, Blakely said she found the strength to persevere because she never gave herself any other options.

 

  • Blakely’s first major buyer was Neiman Marcus, and she landed that contract by taking the initiative to call and ask for just 10 minutes of their time. Later, when her product was in the stores and she became acquainted with some of the other vendors, she learned that her direct calling approach was the better one; the other vendors had taken a reactive approach that involved waiting and hoping for a Neiman Marcus buyer to view their products at a trade show.

 

  • Blakely stumbled through her first couple of years of business, but she’s grateful for the bumps along the way because she believes they helped her to do things more efficiently. She tells all new business owners that what they don’t know can be their greatest asset because it ensures that things will be done differently.

 

  • When Spanx undergarments first went on sale in several Neiman Marcus stores, Blakely paid friends and family members to go and buy her product; it was a strategic move that was extreme but effective. Blakely said, “You have to take extreme measures! You have to ensure your success!”

 

  • As a child, Blakely said her father encouraged her to fail. Each week at the dinner table, he would ask her to share one thing she had failed at that week. If she had nothing to report, her father would express disappointment, but if she said for example, “I tried out for an acting role but I didn’t get it,” her father would praise her and say, “Great job!” She says that he taught her to reframe what failure meant; failure meant trying, versus not succeeding.

 

  • Once at a party, two guy friends told Blakely that owning a business meant going to war; they asked her if she was ready for that. Their question – and perspective of business ownership – disturbed Blakely, and in a deliberate act of rebellion she made a choice to take a totally feminine approach to how she conducted her business. She said she prefers to project a “feminine” energy that relies largely on the trusting of her instincts. She also prefers to employ mostly women, because she believes that they are gifted at multi-tasking, and it’s also a personal goal of hers to use her status and financial gain to empower as many women as possible.

 

  • When asked how she feels about being a multi-billionaire, Blakely said she believes that “money just makes you more of who you are.” If you were kind before making money, you’ll be kinder. Alternatively, the opposite is also true.

 

  • Experiencing the loss of several loved ones has made Blakely realize that we only get one short life and that it isn’t a dress rehearsal; consequently it’s important that we try things even when we’re afraid to.

 

  • Several years ago, Blakely appeared on a reality TV show called The Rebel Billionaire, hosted by Richard Branson. In order to move on to subsequent episodes, the participants were required to take on some pretty daring challenges. One such challenge involved a bungy jump from the edge of a cliff into the arms of a “catcher.” If the jump was too short, the contestant would fall a few hundred feet before dangling in the air on the end of the bungy cord. Blakely says that most of the contestants fell short of the catcher, but she managed to land safely in his arms. What she later learned is something she now professes to be a major life lesson; she said that unlike her rivals, who aimed for the catcher’s arms, she set her eyes above the catcher’s headthinking that if she aimed higher she’d have a greater chance of succeeding.

 

  • These days Blakely is a mother of four children, all under the age of seven; she described how she used to waste a lot of mental energy on beating herself up whenever she felt like she wasn’t doing a good job at balancing her business and parental roles. Obviously her work and home responsibilities require equal and careful amounts of attention (that anyone in her position would find incredibly challenging), but she realized that a better way to address any personal shortcomings was to offer up kindness to herself and to cultivate a self-nurturing and accepting mindset.

 

Lewis Howes described Blakely as a legend among entrepreneurs, and I have to agree. She is exceptionally talented, brave, authentic, and inspirational! To hear the full podcast, and get an even greater sense of her character and influence, click this link.

No-Bake Seasonal Cranberry-Chocolate-Chia Slice

Jannine Myers

I thought this week I’d take the opportunity to share a recipe that some of you might like to make in place of other traditional Thanksgiving desserts such as pumpkin and pecan pie. In one of the social media groups that I belong to, we were asked earlier this week to share a “revamped” fall recipe; revamped in the sense that it contains less sugar, calories, and fat, and more wholesome ingredients. So I took a recipe that I shared some time ago, and tweaked it a little to make it more fall-appropriate (by using as the main ingredient cranberries). I hope you will try my No-Bake Cranberry-Chocolate-Chia Slice:

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Ingredients

for the base:

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons IsaLean Chocolate Powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the berry layer:

  • 1 cup organic dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons water, plus additional if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

for the chocolate topping:

  • 1/4 cup Hersheys Special Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted

Directions

  1. Grease a small square baking pan with coconut oil.
  2. Process the oatmeal and shredded coconut in a food processor, then transfer to a small bowl. Add the IsaLean powder and salt, and stir to combine. Melt the coconut oil and whisk together with the agave syrup and vanilla extract, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Press the mixture into the baking pan and set aside in the freezer.
  3. To make the berry layer, place the cranberries, frozen blackberries, and coconut oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. As the mixture starts to warm, add the chia seeds and water, and stir everything together. Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer, continuing to stir regularly and adding more water if necessary. The mixture should thicken as the chia seeds absorb the liquid. Once the mixture has thickened into a paste-like consistency, take it off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the baking pan from the freezer and pour the berry mixture over the base; return pan back to freezer.
  4. To make the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring to combine. Remove the slice from the freezer and pour the chocolate mixture over the top of the berries; spread evenly. Place the baking pan in the fridge to set for an hour or so. Once set, leave the slice at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting into squares. [I recommend storing in the freezer, and letting it sit at room temperature for several minutes before eating].

[Nutrition Info – per slice: Calories 110; Carbohydrates 16g; Sugars 9g; Protein 2.25g; Fat 4.5g; Saturated Fat 2.25g; Fiber 2.8g]

Runners With Recurrent Injuries Should Try Active Release Technique (ART)

Jannine Myers

A new form of injury treatment that I have been trying lately is ART (Active Release Technique); it’s actually been around for a while (and you can read about it’s inception here), but up until recently I had never met a local practitioner. In this post I’ll attempt to explain, as briefly as possible, what ART is and how it may help you if you are a runner with a history of recurrent injuries.

Unlike acute injuries, which are the result of a single event, recurrent injuries are the result of putting the same muscle groups through the same motion, over and over. Runners are particularly prone to these types of over-use injuries because the nature of the sport is a high-impact one, and additionally, most runners fail to practice complimentary exercises that help to maintain healthy levels of mobility, as well as adequate strength, balance, and endurance of the leg muscles.

The injury process begins with overuse, repetitive forces eventually straining the ligaments, muscles, and joints. If poor form – in the way of limited mobility and stride compensations – is also added to the mix, the damage is worse. The injured runner may at first experience mild aches or tightness in the muscles and joints – which the body will try to fix by laying down scar tissue – but as exercise continues, the same muscles are repeatedly strained and healed until adhesions result. It’s when adhesions result that normal muscle function declines and symptoms such as pain, tightness, limited mobility, and diminished blood flow begin to become the norm.

Worse still, if the injuries are never really treated properly – as with traditional treatment methods that generally provide slow and temporary relief – and if running continues, multiple scar tissue adhesions eventually produce significant strains down the entire length of the kinetic chain. Hence a repetitive injury cycle is set up, with muscle functionality, range of movement, and greater levels of pain being the end result.

Traditional forms of treatment by the way, include such measures as anti-inflammatory medications, ice, rest, muscle stimulation, steroid injections, and physical therapy stretches and exercises; they generally don’t work because they don’t target the scar tissue adhesions. ART on the other hand, is a treatment that attempts to go directly to the source of injury and treat it accordingly, thereby producing faster and more effective results.

As a patient visiting an ART practitioner for the first time, here is a little of what you can expect during a session:

  1. the practitioner will attempt to locate scar tissue adhesions;
  2. once adhesions have been located, the tendon, muscle, or ligament will be moved in such a way as to shorten it;
  3. and then firm pressure while be applied while the tissues are actively stretched and lengthened. As the tissue is lengthened, the practitioner can then determine if the texture and tension is healthy, or if scar tissue is still present and therefore more treatment required.

There are other aspects of treatment that you’ll likely experience when you visit an ART practitioner, but the thing I really love about it – besides the fact that it enables practitioners to identify other problem areas in the kinetic chain – is that it delivers quick results. Most running injuries seem to respond well to ART treatment, and combined with at-home stretching and exercises, significant improvement is often experienced after just 4 to 6 visits.

[The following before and after pictures show significant adhesions to the left of my spine, and the amazing results after just one treatment with ART Practitioner, Kathleen Bridget. Treatment involved engaging the intra-abdominal muscles and applying pressure, and then separating the adhesions to increase strength, range of motion and blood flow.]

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A few weeks after first treatment, and feeling much better!

If you are here in Okinawa, and would like to book an appointment with Kathleen Bridget, you can go directly to her online appointment schedule, or contact her via email at Kathleenburke1776@gmail.com, or by phone at 080-6480-3110.

For State-side residents, you can search here for an ART provider.

For Auckland, NZ residents, Calder Chiropractic Centre in Browns Bay uses a range of treatment techniques, including ART.

The Best Stride Is The Self-Selected Stride

Jannine Myers

It’s always great to hear the views of different running experts, and today’s brief post, which features the training philosophy of Coach Pete Magill, is no exception. Magill, a now 55-year-old Masters runner, holds the world record for fastest 5k for age 49+ (fastest time of 14:45), and is the co-author of Build Your Running Body, and author of recently released book The Born Again Runner.

In an interview with RunnersConnect host Tina Muir, Magill made the statement that the “best stride is the self-selected stride.” What he meant is that we can’t simply make a conscious effort to improve our form by attempting for example, to shorten or lengthen our stride. That is a ridiculous notion, he says, because our bodies, while in motion, are firing off thousands of nerve impulses per second that couldn’t possibly be influenced by just a few messages from the brain to the legs. However, practicing regular form drills – an act which does not require conscious thinking – will naturally teach your body the motion of a better stride.

Unfortunately many runners are opposed to doing form drills because of the extra time that needs to be factored in to their usual running routine. And this is why Magill believes that a lot of runners are not meeting their full potential, and why injury rates are so high. They run the same runs day after day, using the same motion – but maybe changing up pace, intensity, or distance – yet fail to recruit other important muscle fibers. A similar scenario would be one in which a farmer owned a giant field, and expected to produce a full harvest despite having watered only a third of the field.

When you neglect to use all of your muscle fibers, explains Magill, the unused muscles eventually atrophy and create muscle imbalances that in turn result in injuries. In doing form drills, you learn how to recruit and use all your muscles together in the most efficient way; that’s what self-selected stride is, and it’s the most optimal stride for faster, stronger, and injury-free running.

[Check out this post for some great form drill video demonstrations by Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein]

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Training, Nutrition, And Your Menstrual Cycle

Jannine Myers

Here’s a post that will most definitely resonate with the female athletes reading this; it’s a post that addresses the issue of a woman’s menstrual cycle and how it impacts her ability and desire to train. For the purpose of keeping it nice and simple, I’ll be omitting all of the   scientific stuff and giving you just the stuff you need to know.

First, let’s take a look at the menstrual cycle:

menstrual-cycle

The average cycle lasts around 28 days for most women, and it includes four phases which are addressed below:

1. Menstrual and Follicular Phases

During days 1 to 5, the uterus lining breaks down and menstruation begins, then, over the next eight days the uterus gradually thickens again. Pain-tolerance is greater during these two phases, which makes it the most ideal time to focus on higher intensity workouts. Your body will tend to rely more on available glycogen stores, so now is a good time to enjoy some extra carbs – quality carbs, mind you!

2. Ovulation Phase (may include the 5 days leading up to day 14)

This is the time to go for it; if you have a race during this phase, shoot for a PR!

One consideration you need to take into account during this phase, is that estrogen levels will be higher, putting you at greater risk of injury. Elevated estrogen levels adversely affect neuromuscular control, as well as impair collagen synthesis, thereby compromising joint strength. So, give it your all but be mindful of form and technique!

3. Luteal Phase (days 15 to 28)

It’s during the luteal phase that you’ll likely have a higher-than-usual temperature, and that will affect your ability to produce efficient cardio output results. You’ll feel a lot more fatigued and less inclined to workout, especially with the discomfort of greater fluid retention. Hence, this is the best time to focus on fat loss – instead of performance – by reducing the intensity of your workouts and leaning more towards low-impact exercise and easy-paced runs. Since fat will be your body’s main source of fuel, this would also be a good time to cut back on carbs and calories to optimize fat loss efforts.

And there you have it; a simplified approach on how best to train and eat in a way that gets your menstrual cycle working for you, and not against you.

Q & A With Abiola Beckley

Jannine Myers

Abiola Beckley is one of New Zealand’s up-and-coming Olympic level sprinters; at least, that is his hope. In a recent interview with him I was able to document not only some interesting personal details, but also aspects of his training that although mostly relevant to short distance running, would nonetheless be insightful reading for longer-distance runners.

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Q & A with New Zealand sprinter, Abiola Beckley

Can you provide a brief bio, as well as any other personal details you might like to share?

I was born in Nigeria, and I am 25 years old. I moved to NZ in 2008 and have been living here since then. I served in the military back home called the (MAN – O – WAR). This is the military services for under 18s.

I work as a sport scientist/ fitness trainer at the moment, working with footballers/football teams, rugby players and sprinters mainly.

What is your running history? When did you start running and why? At what point did you realize your potential and start moving towards a professional sprinting career?
I played and trained for football mainly in Nigeria, but I always did athletics just as a social sport, which I always medalled in. Both my parents and grandparents were athletes back in their days too, so maybe it’s just the good genetics :)

I decided to start running properly in early 2013, after doing a time trial, and clocking a 10.44 (100m). The motivation however mainly came after watching the Olympics in 2012.

Are you self-trained, or do you have a coach? 

I started off self-trained for about 4 months, getting strength training help from Dylan McLaughlin who was one of the fitness trainers in the gym that I trained at. I however did my own track work. I joined Bay Cougars (a high performance sport club) in April 2013, where I competed for a season. I changed clubs in February 2014, and signed with HPC Athletics Club under Coach Suin, who is still currently my coach.

At what point would you recommend that a runner – serious about training and achieving goals – seek out a coach?

I reckon a runner should seek coaching as soon as they decide to be serious with it. We are all like cars… to keep it working, we gotta fuel it, put oil in it and  some other things. Oil and fuel for humans is what we consume. However, to get a car faster, the engine has to be fine tuned and a few things have to be done; this is the job of a coach for us human beings.

What are your race distances and which is your favourite or strongest? Do you currently hold any records? What are your current and long-term goals?

I currently race 100m and 200m, but I’m planning to go back into long jump this season, after 7 years. My strongest distance is 200m, but I prefer the 100m because it is a very short powerful burst and I am relatively quick off the blocks.

All my records from 100m and long jump have been crushed as of last year I believe, but more records are coming soon I assure you.

My current goal is to run some really fast times this coming season; this goal is looking really good, as the off-season training we had this year has been awesome and I’m feeling very strong. We included some gymnastics sessions this year with two-time Commonwealth athlete Mark Holyoake, and the core, glutes, and hip flexors are feeling great! Long-term goals are Commonwealth in Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo Olympics 2020.

What motivates you to train each day? And how do you push yourself on days that you don’t feel like training?

I am self-motivated to train because I have my eyes on the prize and I like to go to bed knowing that I am better than I was the day before. I know missing one day of training can delay my end goal for up to 6 months, so I like to make every day, every hour, and every rep count. Just like every other person, I have days that I struggle to stay motivated, but I have random alarms through my day that go off in my mind and remind me of why I train. The tone of this alarm is Dr Eric Thomas’ voice; Dr Thomas is the top inspirational speaker in the world at the moment.

What does a typical training day look like for you? I’m curious to know how much time is allocated to track workouts versus strength workouts. Can you give an example of both a track workout as well as a strength workout, and how long each takes?

Training days change depending on the cycle we are on, how close to season, and what sessions we have on. Closer to season, we train twice a day: one early morning workout – mostly track or grass work for up to 2 hours – and another training in the evening – mostly plyometric, strength or power – for up to 2 hours again.

Also, closer to season track work takes more priority over strength, and track sessions can be speed endurance, speed, fitness or acceleration. Depending on what session it is, we can take up to 2 hours or under 1.5 hours. Strength work however generally takes up to 2 hours and the exercises typically include the three big lifts (squat, bench press, and deadlifts) and some other accessory work.

A common practice among successful athletes and entrepreneurs is going to bed early and rising at the same time every day? Is that the norm for you too?

I get up around 5am every week morning but the time I go to sleep varies, depending if I have to cook or not haha. On weekends I get up around 6am, so I get a bit of sleep in.

Do you have time for a social life?

I try to make some time for social life, but I never let it disturb my training. I cancel on people quite a bit, because if I plan to do something with someone and I later get a message from Coach to train around the same time, I cancel and reschedule. Sacrifices have to be made; time for social life will always come.

How important is nutrition to you? Can you describe what a typical day’s meals and snacks might be, and if timing is important to you with regards to pre and post-training?

Nutrition is important to me, especially closer to season when the work load increases. I feel like I don’t recover enough for the next session if I don’t eat well. A typical day of eating for me is:

Breakfast

About 4 slices of fruit bread with lots of bacon and egg, and chocolate milk

Lunch

Rice with stew and lots of steak, and some vegetables

Dinner

Kumara (sweet potato) with more steak or chicken, and vegetables

I consume lots of fluid through my day and eat lots of snacks through the day. Snacks like nuts or chocolate milk mainly, and I also have small meals through the day.

I think timing is quite important pre and post training. I try to consume my food at least 2 hours before training, and I would have some snacks or a banana about 30-45mins before training. I would also have a meal within 45mins after training in order to replenish my body. I don’t like the taste of protein shakes, so it’s all meals for me and I’m sure I get enough protein from my meals.

Do you ever eat “junk food” or drink alcohol?

I eat junk sometimes when I’m out with my friends… but not very often at all. KFC is my weakness 😂😂😂. I’ve never consumed alcohol in my life. I’m the one sober driver you can count on haha.

Do you think endurance runners can learn anything from sprinters? Maybe in terms of drills, biomechanics/form etc.? And are there any specific track workouts that you think would benefit endurance runners?

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I think endurance runners can learn a few things from sprinters in terms of drills, form, and biomechanics, in order to be more efficient runners. Though the running form of a sprinter is different from an endurance runner, I think endurance runners can still learn some useful exercises, for example, exercises that help them learn how to fire the necessary muscles when running, as well as glute activation drills.

I have seen a number of endurance runners that don’t activate their glutes when they run; it is understandable that they try to minimize any unnecessary energy expenditure, but in doing so they lack the ability to “kick” during the last few kilometres. I’m no distance running expert, but I am just looking at it from a general biomechanics point of view. Maybe that is what a normal running form should look like for an endurance runner?

You’re featured in a Rebel Sports ad that shows you sprinting 100m, and the ad says that you’re practically airborne for 88 of those 100m – is that true? And if so, what do you attribute that to? How did you get so strong and agile?

Yes, I am air-borne for about 88 meters of those 100m. This is why I like to sprint and long jump. I’m addicted to speed and being air-borne. Sprinting has a few key attributes that need to be trained. Some of these include stride length (optimal), stride rate (maximal), ground contact time (minimal) and hang time (minimal). But also, the strength and power comes from training, hard work, persistence and consistency.

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 Some useful links:

running.competitor.com/2014/03/training/don’t-separate-mental-training-from-physical-training_27280

janninemyers.com/2016/02/why-regulating-your-sleep-and-getting-up-earlier-is-a-winning-formula.html

Energy-Loaded Chia-Coco-Walnut Cookies

Jannine Myers

I’m “that person” who never lets any food or ingredient go to waste. I will find a way to use pretty much everything in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, even if what needs to be used up doesn’t seem to go with anything else I have on hand. Earlier this week for example, I had about a 1/4 cup red miso paste left, so after a quick scan of my refrigerator I knew I had enough vegetables to make an easy coconut-miso curry. Yesterday, as I was taking something out of the pantry, I saw a few almost-empty packages and jars and decided to get busy baking :)

The end result: these energy-loaded Chia-Coco-Walnut cookies!!! Delicious!

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Here’s how I think I made them (hard to remember since I didn’t follow a recipe, but I’m pretty sure the following ingredients and directions are accurate):

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 cup Bob Redmill’s Gluten Free 1-to-1 baking flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 cup Bob Redmill’s Gluten Free oats, plus an additional cup pulsed into flour
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup organic raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup black chia seeds

[You don’t need to use gluten free or organic products; that’s just what I had on hand]

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Heat coconut oil and agave nectar in a microwaveable bowl, then mix well and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Combine all remaining ingredients (reserving 1/4 cup oat flour) in a large bowl.
  4. Add the slightly cooled coconut oil and agave to the dry ingredients and mix well. If the mixture is too moist and sticky, add more of the oat flour until you reach a dough-like consistency that holds well.
  5. Roll mixture into balls and place on baking trays and press the balls down using the bottom of a glass.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. After the cookies have been out of the oven for about 10 minutes, place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Book Review – Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

Jannine Myers

Have you ever considered that maybe the only difference between you and your closest competitor/s is nutrition? That even though your athletic ability is near-equal, she has the edge on you because she’s got her nutrition down and you don’t. Well no need to fret; Matt Kadey‘s book Rocket Fuel is exactly what you need to take the guess work out of all your meals!

A James Beard award-winner and Registered Dietitian, as well as avid cyclist, Kadey says that his motivation in writing Rocket Fuel was to give ideas for quick meals that support athletic lifestyles. He hopes his book will encourage athletes to get excited about making their own meals and snacks and less inclined to buy pre-packaged and processed foods.

Broken down into before, during, and after-workout recipes – that have been carefully developed with a “simple-to-make” goal in mind – Rocket Fuel makes it easy for you transition from store-bought to home-made meals. But it offers much more too:

  • 126 recipe ideas for power-packed foods, snacks, and light meals including bowls, puddings, wraps, sandwiches, bites, balls, squares, bars, drinks, patties, cakes, stacks, drinks, smoothies, shakes, soups, muffins, sliders, pies, rolls, DIY energy shots, and all-natural sports drinks.
  • 33 Before, 43 During, and 50 After Exercise recipes
  • 79 dairy free, 85 gluten free, 76 vegetarian, and 33 paleo-friendly recipes
  • Smart-yet-simple sports nutrition guidelines for before, during, and after exercise
  • Complete nutrition facts for every recipe

If you want to gain the competitive edge on your competitor/s, get your copy of Rocket Fuel now.

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

Rocket Fuel by Matt Kadey

A few interesting comments by Kadey:

  • Regarding all the hype lately about fasted workouts, i.e. the idea that running/cycling in a fasted state helps your body to rely more on fats as a fuel, Kadey believes there’s no harm in trying it. However, he suggests that you keep in context what your goal is; if your intent is to push the pace at some point, you probably won’t be able to handle the higher intensity for very long in a fasted state. Athletes who would benefit more from this type of training are those who are training at more moderate and lower intensities.
  • Early onset of fatigue during a run can be due to low blood sugar levels, as in the case of a runner starting out in a fasted state. In some cases however, a runner may experience early onset of fatigue despite eating just 30 or 40 minutes prior to running. The reason for this is likely because the choice of fuel was some type of easily digested simple carb, and since there was a gap of “waiting” time, the runner may have experienced a drop in blood sugar right before she started to run. Kadey recommends eating something with a little more substance that doesn’t have a high glycemic response, hence the reason most of his pre-workout recipes contain a little fat and protein (to promote more of a drawn-out versus rapid energy release). Note: if you wish to take a gel prior to a long run or race, it’s best to take it within minutes of starting to run; taking it right before shouldn’t cause an adverse reaction because your muscles will use up the sugar as soon as you start running.
  • And finally, a little fun fact: Kadey debunks the myth that bananas help to avoid or stop cramps. Many athletes, he says, think that bananas help to alleviate cramps because they contain potassium. But the latest research suggests instead that it’s really to do with muscles being put under more tension than what they’re used to. In races for example, athletes often go harder than what they have conditioned themselves to handle during training workouts. So no, bananas won’t take away your cramps….