July 2004 - Issue 043
Hammer Recoverite : The right way to ensure superior recovery!
The wait is over! Recoverite is here! With the addition of this extraordinary product, the Hammer Nutrition line of fuels is complete. We now have everything you, the endurance athlete, need for all your fueling requirements prior to, during, and after all your workouts and races.
Recoverite eliminates all the guesswork regarding fuel quality and appropriate amounts because it contains the right kinds of carbohydrates and protein your body needs and in the ratios we believe will ensure complete recovery. Simply put, with Recoverite you'll satisfy your body's post-workout/post-race caloric needs precisely and completely. And, unlike far too many drink mixes available, Recoverite tastes really good! After a hard workout or race the last thing you want to do is choke down some overly sweet and heavy recovery drink. Well, you won't have to worry about that with Recoverite. Your body will appreciate the quality of the fuel and your taste buds will appreciate its light, refreshing citrus flavor.
More information about Recoverite is available in the ad found elsewhere in this issue and also on the E-CAPS website (www.e-caps.com) and we invite you to take a look. Better yet, why not get a container of Recoverite and put it to the test? It's exactly what your body demands after workouts and races. Consistent use of Recoverite will absolutely help you achieve better results in all your training sessions and races. Recover right, right now, with Recoverite!
Hammer Proteins : New and improved
New names, new labels, new containers, and best of all, NEW formulas!
2004 sure has been a busy year at Hammer Nutrition. Not only have we introduced Recoverite and HEED, our new sports drink (with the new Mandarin Orange flavor coming soon), we've also revamped our protein powders. When you order our whey or soy protein powders, you'll notice new names (we've deleted the "Pro" from the name), new labels, and new containers. Best of all, you'll notice an even better protein product.
We continually look for the best possible sources/suppliers for the raw materials that constitute E-CAPS and Hammer Nutrition products and, after months of searching, Brian and Dr. Bill have found a supplier that provides a superb, yet cost-effective source of both soy and whey protein. We're very excited to incorporate these proteins into our Hammer Soy and Hammer Whey.
What you'll probably notice first is that the substantially improved taste of both products. Quite frankly, most protein powders, unless they are "enhanced" with flavorings or sweeteners, don't taste very good. Even then, with all the added flavorings, etc., there's a good chance they still won't taste good (I know, I've tried far too many of them). We've always been much more interested in producing/providing a high-quality protein without all the added flavorings or sweeteners (and miniscule amounts of auxiliary nutrients, for that matter). Not only are these sweeteners unnecessary and unhealthy (see Brian's column and Dr. Bill's article for more on that) they, and the inconsequential amounts of added nutrients in many protein powders, only serve to increase the price. They provide no performance benefit. We've looked long, hard, and everywhere to find a protein powder that didn't compromise our standards and was at least somewhat palatable. We believe we've finally found two winners in the new Hammer Soy and Hammer Whey proteins.
Hammer Soy is a fantastic protein, a great all-around, general health protein, one we recommend as a pre-workout/race protein source, and one that's ideal for vegetarians. Our new Hammer Whey is of particular interest, because we've changed from a whey protein concentrate to a whey protein isolate. The difference is substantial in that whey protein from concentrate typically yields 70-80% actual protein, while isolate yields a purer product, 90-97% actual protein, and little, if any, lactose or fat. Even those with lactose intolerance may find it an easily digestible protein source.
In addition to Hammer Whey now being in the superior isolate form, another major plus is the inclusion of a whopping SIX GRAMS of the amino acid l-glutamine in each scoop. This extraordinary amino acid plays a critical role is many important bodily functions, primarily the health of the digestive tract and immune system. The results of one well-designed study (Castell LM, Poortmans JR, Newsholme EA. Does glutamine have a role in reducing infections in athletes? Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1996;73:488-490) involving 151 athletes undergoing strenuous exercise found that only 19% of the athletes taking supplemental glutamine got sick, whereas those in the placebo group had a sickness rate of 51%. In addition to its role in enhanced immune system function, glutamine is also a major player in the repair and preservation of lean muscle tissue. Needless to say, it's a vital component in supporting superior recovery between workout sessions and races.
The newly revised Hammer Soy and Hammer Whey are simply great products. We believe they're the best protein powders you can buy, and they're available now. For more information, visit their specific product pages at www.e-caps.com and for more information on protein requirements for endurance athletes please read the recently updated article, "The Importance of Protein For Endurance Athletes" in The Endurance Athlete's Guide To Success.
Welcome to the 43rd issue of Endurance News, and a special welcome to those of you who are reading this as your first issue. As always, EN is chock full of interesting news, including race coverage, human-interest stories, and motivational and educational information for you to ponder. Long-time client Robb Beams also debuts as a contributor in this issue.
We are staying busy in 2004 with growth, innovation, and further refinement of our service as our main themes. We have a new website (it'll be up in a few weeks), the "everything-in-one-book" new catalog, new products HEED and RECOVERITE, the expanded 6th edition of The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success, the Compex Sport electrical stimulator, the 3rd annual Highline Hammer Weekend, growing retail sales, and increasing international distribution, just to name a few of our advances.
Now it's time for me to hop on my soapbox and tell you about my latest crusade. It's not really new since I've been talking about this issue for twelve years now. I'm going all out against commercial refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, in the foods we eat generally and in "sports" products specifically. In 1992 we led the way in educating athletes about the importance of consuming protein during prolonged exercise, and in 1995 we were the lone voice advocating little or no simple sugar intake during exercise. Today you will find some products and companies claiming protein and low simple sugar content as selling points for their drinks and gels.
However, there are still far, far too many companies using toxic ingredients in the drinks, bars, and gels they market and sell to athletes like you. More than likely you have one or more of these products on your shelf.
I'm telling you this with all sincerity. There is absolutely no way to justify the presence of any of these ingredients in our foods and especially in a sports drink, bar or gel. Manufacturers use these ingredients because they produce cheap, sweet, brightly colored appealing products-in other words, for the benefit of the seller, not the buyer. This is not just my opinion; research proves it. You see the effects of a high sugar/artificial additive diet every time you go out into the public.
As athletes we kid ourselves into thinking that because we burn so many calories, it doesn't matter what type of calories we consume. This foolhardy thinking could endanger your health and longevity. These are toxic, zero tolerance substances that you would be wise to avoid at all times, but especially when training and racing because these activities place your body under much stress.
Now, some of you may accuse me of using this "crusade" as a tactic to sell more product. If educating you about the known dangers of these toxic additives, being concerned for your better health, and offering products that don't contain junk, then I am certainly guilty. Honestly, whether you buy my products or others is secondary to getting you to stop using products contaminated with fructose and artificial ingredients.
What You Can Do
The most important two things for you to do are (1) continue educating yourself about sugar and artificial ingredients, and (2) read the labels of everything you buy. Whenever you encounter ingredients such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, aspartame, Nutrasweet®, Splenda®, sucralose, acesulfame K, FD&C color #1-99, avoid them like the plague and look for alternatives.
The articles on fructose and artificial sweeteners in this issue are a good start in the education process. We'll be bringing you more and more accurate, reliable information on one of the biggest unreported stories of our times on our website and in future issues of Endurance News. Our new website will also have a bookstore with this type of material offered. Last but not least, seek out non-establishment resources to continue educating yourself about this issue.
The question you have to ask yourself is: "Why am I eating junk food disguised as an energy drink, bar, or gel?" Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid, it should be easy for you get off the junk food habit, at least for your athletic fuels.
Remember, just say NO to fructose, in all of its forms, and to artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors! Your health and your the success of your next event may depend on it.
Why Eat Junk Food Disguised As Nutrition Bars?
The Organic Vegan Food Bar energy bar, introduced in 2002, has been a big seller, despite the fact that you can buy a variety of inexpensive energy bars on just about every street corner. The makers of these bars may have had a late start into the energy bar game, but they have proven that there is still room in the category for a premium quality organic product.
Their success has led them to other variations of the original bar. We don't offer these other versions of the Organic Vegan Food Bars, but you can find them with increasing ease at better health food stores and whole food markets.
When Steve first introduced me to Organic Vegan Food Bars a couple of years ago, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the ingredients, pleasant taste, and moistness. As the makers point out on their label, "Most 'health bars' are acid forming processed dead food with artificial sweeteners and ingredients. Organic Food Bar is your solution to eating healthy on the go. Our bar consists of enzymatically-live organic super foods that provide optimum nutrition for all." Their label also states "No preservatives, additives, salt, or refined sugars. Gluten Free."
The "Mini" Organic Food Bar is Here
My only reservation about the original bar was its size. At a full 300 calories in a 68-gram bar, it's 50-100 calories more than most bars and more than I usually eat as a snack. I would usually eat half of a bar and save the other half for my next snack time.
Whether my asking them to make a smaller bar had anything to do with it or not, my wish has been granted, in the form of a 170 calorie, 40 gram version. I think this is the perfect size for a snack bar. If you do elect to eat solid food during extended periods of exercise, this is a much more manageable size.
Of course the smaller size bar also carries a smaller price tag, just $1.50. We will continue to carry the original size also, at a great price of only $2.25 (SRP is $2.99).
Here's a run down of the original 300-calorie bar's premium ingredients: Organic Almond Butter, Organic Date Paste, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Raisins, Organic Flax Sprout Powder, Organic Soy Sprout Powder, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, Organic Sesame Seeds, and Lots of Love!
The only difference in the make-up of the "mini" bar is that they left out the soy and quinoa sprouts.
If you haven't tried these bars yet, you really should. If you've been enjoying the bars but wishing they were a little smaller, then the new mini bar is going to be perfect for you. You can order them from our website or by calling us. Yes, they are worth the trouble and extra expense. Actually, the point is that your health is worth the extra trouble and expense!
Half Empty Containers : What's going on?
The question of whether the glass is half full or half empty has been debated by optimists and pessimists for ages. In the case of Hammer Nutrition powdered products, it's not really a debate as much as it is a perception. This article offers an explanation and how we plan to solve the perceived problem of half-full containers.
When you buy something, you would normally expect a full container of product. What constitutes a full container could also be debated for some time, but I think we can all agree that a container filled only 50% or thereabouts is not understood to be "full." So it is entirely reasonable that you might be a little disappointed when you open a container and find it only half full of powder. You might even wonder if it's defective, or if you really are getting as much as is stated on the label.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid this may have happened to you if you purchased a container of Perpetuem, HEED, Hammer Whey, or Sustained Energy. We've even heard from a few clients who've suggested that we were doing this intentionally to try to deceive people into thinking they were getting more for their money or that we weren't putting as much product into the containers as the labels stated. Being accused of those types of business practices bothers me, but I can certainly understand their concern.
If you have noticed this and wondered the same, let me be the first to apologize. The last thing any of us wants is to deceive or trick you. Let me also assure you that no matter the size of the container, you always get the full amount of product and the stated number of servings you paid for.
Honestly, this is really a manufacturing issue. When the powders are run through the high speed bottling equipment, they "fluff up" with air. Once in the container, the powder gradually settles. This is why all of our powders (and most everyone else's, also), carry the following disclaimer: "Contents are packed by weight, not volume, and some settling may occur." The settling phenomenon also explains why the plastic scoop always ends up at the bottom of the container, even though it's inserted after the powder goes in. As the powder is settling down, and during shipping, the denser plastic scoop sinks through the powder to the bottom of the container.
Because this is a manufacturing issue, I have been working with our production facilities to encourage them to find smaller containers that do not hinder the manufacturing process and yet still allow the container to appear relatively full once it's settled. Despite previous assurances that the containers were as small as they could be, we have been able to reduce the container sizes by 25 to 33% on all Hammer Nutrition powdered products. It's amazing what you can get when you persist!
Soon, you'll notice the size of the HEED (32 servings), Perpetuem (8 & 32 servings), Sustained Energy (8 & 30 servings) and other powder products arriving in smaller containers, approximately 75% or more full. Please note: this is not the "smaller-package, virtual price increase" ploy used by so many food vendors. Only the container is smaller; the content amount and price remain unchanged. You will still be getting what you paid for without the over-sized container or any misperceptions. Also, smaller packaging means easier shipping, easier storage, and less waste.
Ask Dr. Bill, Bill Misner, Ph.D.
QUESTION : What are the causes of muscle cramps and how can I resolve them?
ANSWER : The general origin of muscle cramps as defined by sport scientists in human performance laboratories is not well investigated and is therefore not well understood. Clinically, "Exercise-Associated-Muscle-Cramps or EAMC's have several theoretical causes:
Anyone of the above or a combination of each could stage the physiological environment for a muscle cramp.
In studies, recent data from runners during EAMC do not support a single hypothetical cause from #1-2-3-4 above. Electromyographic (EMG) data collected during these cramp episodes reveals baseline activity is increased (between spasms). And, reduction of baseline EMG activity correlates well with clinical recovery. During acute cramping EMG activity is high. Passive stretching reduces EMG activity and the stimulus evoking cramp mechanism.
In animal studies, abnormal reflex activity in the muscle spindle (increased exercise) and the Golgi tendon organ (decreased activity) has been observed in fatigued muscle. Schwellnus et al.*, have hypothesized that EAMC is caused by sustained abnormal spinal which appears to be secondary to muscle fatigue. "Local muscle fatigue is responsible for increased muscle spindle afferent and decreased Golgi tendon organ afferent activity. Sustained abnormal reflex activity would explain increased baseline EMG activity between bouts of cramping. Passive stretching invokes afferent activity from the Golgi tendon organ, thereby relieving the cramp and decreasing EMG activity."* *Schwellnus MP, Derman EW, Noakes TD, "Aetiology of skeletal muscle 'cramps' during exercise: a novel hypothesis," J SPORTS SCI,1997 Jun,15:3,277-285.
Endurance Athletes' Cramp-Relative Resolutions
Therefore the origins of muscle cramping are multiple thus poorly understood. In review of the electrolyte, fluid, and fuel -related disturbances from athletes who resolved cramping problems the following individual resolutions were reported to us from 1996-2004:
What Are You Eating?
Introduction : Endurance athletes are encouraged to read the labels carefully questioning every ingredient listed. Just because an energy bar, gel, powdered potion, or drink is associated with and recommended for use during health-enhancing exercise, does NOT mean the substance consumed is also "healthy". Dr. Elson Haas M.D. and Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C., experts in this area, eloquently raise the question and identify several common not-so-healthy additives in manufactured food fuels that should be avoided.
Bill Misner, Ph.D., C.S.M.T.
Food Additives & Human Health
Elson M. Haas, M.D.
Why Are Chemicals Added To Our Food?
Originally, foods were grown and eaten directly from a relatively unpolluted Earth. Wild foods were sought and gathered. Cleaner oceans, lakes and rivers fed us nutritious fish. Animals in the wild provided protein foods to hunters and their tribes. As the human population multiplied, the world expanded, farming progressed, trade specialties developed, and town markets shared a variety of goods among a diversity of people. Techniques for food preparation and preservation, such as pickling, salting, and smoking, were developed to deal with the new problems of storage, waste, and food-borne illnesses. With advanced technology, our modern food industry's reliance on processing and additives continues to increase. Is this evolution, or are we sacrificing our health for the sake of technological "advances"?
For decades now, the food industry has continually created new chemicals to manipulate, preserve, and transform our food. With the use of chemicals, scientists are able to mimic natural flavors, color foods to make them look more "natural" or "fresh," preserve foods for longer and longer periods of time, and create altered versions of breads, crackers, fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products and many more commonly used foods. Now there are even "foods" that are made entirely from chemicals. Coffee creamers, sugar substitutes, and candies consist almost completely of artificial ingredients. Such manipulation of our food can have a profound effect on our body's unique biochemical balance.
But there is a method to the food industry's madness. They generally provide five main reasons for why chemicals must be added to our foods:
Which Food Additives Should You Avoid?
Avoiding toxins in your diet is an important initial step toward enhancing your health and lowering your risk of disease. Since foods represent a source of these toxins, let's look at the key additives that may undermine your health. Those with immediate effects may cause headaches or alter your energy level, or they may affect your mental concentration, behavior, or immune response. Those with long-term effects could increase your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other degenerative conditions.
Begin by avoiding the most questionable additives, no longer consuming them on any regular basis. Make a decision to either cut down on or cut out altogether those food additives that may be hazardous to your health. Although it may seem difficult to change habits and find substitutes for foods you enjoy, remind yourself that you will be adding to your diet some wholesome new flavors and foods that you may come to like even more. Avoidance and discrimination are crucial proactive steps in most natural health care programs.
Food Waxes (protective coating of produce, as in cucumbers, peppers, and apples)-may trigger allergies, can contain pesticides, fungicide sprays or animal byproducts.
Is It Necessary To Give Up All Processed Foods & Food Additives?
When you begin to realize the health risks associated with processed foods and food additives, it makes good sense to start eating less of them. But this doesn't mean you need to take an alarmist approach. Here is a sensible rule to start with: If there are special treats that you just can't imagine living without, have them only on occasion. But be aware of what those special treats contain. Think about the possible wholesome alternatives that might taste just as good and which don't put your health at risk. Also, consider changing your consumer habits. Are there farmer's markets in your area where you could shop frequently? Is there a natural foods market with organic produce nearby that you've never bothered to check out? Changing your shopping and eating routines isn't something you can easily do overnight. The first step is to sharpen your awareness about what you're currently eating. Then you can take steps to make the changes you desire.
Dr. Christine H. Farlow's "Food Additive Safety Codes" chart (2) summarizes some of the additives in a variety of products with which consumers should be aware.
Food Additive Safety Codes
The following codes indicate the safety of the additives in the table below. Many additives have more than one code used to describe their safety.
Common Food Additives
Aspartame Lawsuits Point Fingers At Food Giants
Reprinted with permission from Acres USA
The old controversy over aspartame, a substance approved for use as a sweetener in food products over 20 years ago despite clear evidence of its being a neurotoxin, might heat up again. Lawsuits filed in early April against 12 companies allege that the food companies committed fraud and breach of warranty by marketing products to the public such as diet Coke, diet Pepsi, sugar free gum, Flintstones vitamins, yogurt and children's aspirin with the full knowledge that aspartame, the sweetener in them, is neurotoxic.
The plaintiffs, including the National Justice League and two other anti-aspartame activists, have asked for an injunction to stop companies from producing, manufacturing, processing, selling or using aspartame and, in all three cases have sought a jury trial. The suits, filed in three California courts, contend that aspartame is a drug masquerading as an additive.
Aspartame liberates free methyl alcohol. The resulting chronic methanol poisoning affects the dopamine system of the brain causing addiction. Methanol, or wood alcohol, constitutes one-third of the aspartame molecule and is classified as a severe metabolic poison and narcotic.
A plethora of FDA documents released under the Freedom of Information Act in the 1990's revealed that the agency knew about the dangers of aspartame and only approved it after then-CEO of Searle Laboratories, Don Rumsfeld, pulled political strings in the Reagan administration.
This report appeared in the June 2004 issue of Acres USA. For subscription information, visit the web site acresusa.com, call 1-800-355-5313 or write P.O. Box 91299, Austin, Tex. 78709
Endurance News Goes Electronic
Inbox or Mailbox, Your Choice
It only took us 43 issues over the course of 12 years, but I am pleased to announce that we can now offer you Endurance News as an HTML e-mail newsletter. Co-produced by our talented graphic artist Angela Nock and web wizard Mandy Hallos, you can be sure that your electronic version will be just as readable as our printed version.
If you are wondering why you should sign up to receive Endurance News electronically, let me let me give you a couple of compelling reasons. The first is consistency. You may have noticed that even though we publish quarterly, sometimes you get one and sometimes you don't. This is because the size of our client base has become so large that we can only mail to those of you who have ordered within the past four months. We used to go back an entire year, but due to ever escalating printing and postage costs and the aforementioned size of our mailing list, we've had to cut back.
Of course we wouldn't mind if you made a point of ordering every 120 days or so, but we don't expect you to just so you can receive every issue of Endurance News, especially with an increasing number of you buying our Hammer products from your local retailer. So, you can be sure to get all the news in every issue by subscribing to the e-version. If you prefer to read on paper instead of the computer screen, each issue will have a "printer friendly" button that will allow you to print out your copy to read and pass along to friends.
The second reason is our desire to conserve natural resources in all that we do. 15,000 issues at 12 to 16 pages each means a lot of paper, and that means a lot of trees. If even 50% of you sign up to receive EN electronically, we'll be able to save a lot of trees.
Of course, we save money when we send an issue electronically instead of mailing a paper copy to you, but really, this is not our primary motivation. All savings will go right back into improving the publication and circulation. We can reach clients who are more than four months out from their last order, increase the content of each issue, and possibly increase from four to six issues per year in 2005.
Lastly, let me assure you that by subscribing to Endurance News in HTML e-mail form, you are not agreeing to let us spam you daily with junk mail or sell your address to a third party. We take your in-box very seriously and we'll put Endurance News in it only if you click on this link and subscribe.
As you can see, there are several good reasons to subscribe, and I can't think of any not to. Do it today; you'll be glad you did.
International Update : Where in the world is Hammer Nutrition
Hammer Nutrition products are becoming available to athletes all over the globe. We began thinking about expanding into international markets a couple of years ago and started with our friends up north in Canada. Things have progressed nicely, and Hammer Gel (and in some areas other products, too) can be found throughout Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Israel, and South Africa. We have also just begun distribution in Malaysia that will reach several other Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, India, and the Philippines. In 2005 we expect to begin distribution New Zealand, Italy, Germany, and possibly other EU countries.
If you happen to be in any of these countries soon, you might find Hammer Gel in a local bike shop, tri shop, or running store. Also, if you have any solid connections in these countries, or others that we might be interested in, please give us a call!
Mostly, we just wanted to let you know what's going on.
Get FREE Product!
The Athlete Referral Program
Don't miss out on the opportunity to get free product! You heard correctly, you can get FREE Hammer Nutrition or E-CAPS product simply by spreading the good news about the advancement these products have brought to your training and racing. We put money in your account with us every time you refer a FIRST TIME customer to us for ordering. You get to use this money toward any product we sell, anytime. If you haven't taken advantage of our referral program read on.
When a friend you refer to us places his or her FIRST order with us, either online or on the phone, and they mention your name and client number, everybody wins!
It's a win-win-win offer.
To make this even easier, we have created a few tools for you. Next time you order, whether online or on the phone, request referral cards to be sent to you. They are free of charge. These cards explain the entire program and give you four perforated cards that you can write your name and customer number then start handing them out. If you're like me and prefer the e-mail method, we have a tool for you as well. Get online at www.e-caps.com and select the Get FREE Product graphic right on the home page. This convenient tool will allow you to e-mail your friends and family five at a time!
As always, we appreciate your patronage. Now you can tell your friends and reap the rewards of free product and the knowledge that you've set up your friend to achieve their endurance goals.
Mid-Season Burn Out and How To Recover From It - by Robb Beams
Have you reached the month of July and noticed that you just don't have the motivation you had back in January? Are you falling asleep earlier in the evening and having to force yourself to get out of bed in the morning? Does it seem that you are no longer the first one to arrive for morning swims and one of the last to show up for long runs and rides? If these symptoms sound familiar, you are probably facing a case of mid-season burnout.
As endurance athletes we can withstand a lot of stress and high load levels, but we reach a point where we need take a step back and recover, both mentally and physically. Let's consider each characteristic of burnout and suggest some strategies to help you turn it around:
A. The first thing you must do is evaluate your short, mid, and long-term goals and honestly assess whether they are realistic given your other responsibilities, such as family and work. Do you have enough time to get the necessary workouts in to meet your goals, or do you find that the workouts add another stress to your lifestyle? If you find that you are cramming everything in to get it all done, you need to re-evaluate your race goals. Remember, you don't have to drop out of a race just because you couldn't train exactly the way you intended. Instead, realign your expectations in light of the available training time. Don't let the likelihood of failing to meet your expected or desired time for the event rob you of the pleasure of participation.
B. Look over your time trial and field-testing results and analyze how far you have come since the beginning of the year. If you haven't improved as much as you would have liked, then you need to look into your training protocols; something is obviously missing. If you currently don't have a coach to develop and analyze your weekly progress, then take your training log to a reputable coach and ask him or her for an analysis. Having an outside opinion of your protocols will help you more readily identify your missing workouts and physical weaknesses.
C. Take a week off from training and ask yourself what drew you to this sport in the first place. Remember how excited you were about completing your first race? Take each day of your week off and spend it going over old photos and revisiting your most memorable events. Rekindle that feeling by going back to your first race venue. Even if there is no longer an event there, relive it on your own (safety pending) and re-create the experience.
D. Change your training courses to include a variety of routes, or at least do your regular courses backwards. The key here is to be creative and break the boredom that leads to burnout. When did you start identifying your workouts as "training" instead of "exercise?" Think about it!
E. Hire a qualified coach who will swim (open water), bike (outside), and run with you to help you increase your efficiencies in all three disciplines. The key to enjoying your workouts again is to learn how to be as efficient as possible and how to maintain that efficiency throughout the entire race distance(s). Our motto is "Work smart, not hard."
Tired all the time
Endurance athletes tend to train at levels much harder than they perceive them to be. This leads to many long-term deficiencies ranging from blood chemistry values to mental outlook. Each athlete needs to know their Max HR levels for all three disciplines (especially the bike and the run), and these need to be determined by field-testing, not generic formulas. With proper testing, you can establish training zones based on specific HR levels to ensure that you train the appropriate energy systems on any given day. Remember, if you have set realistic goals and you have the appropriate training protocols in place, you only need to increase duration and intensity levels. By training within the correct HR zones, you will eliminate the tendency to train too hard.
Pushing the envelope for extended periods of time depletes vital nutrients such as creatine and cytochrome C. Chronic neglect of sleep and nutrition only compounds depletion issues.
Tips to regaining your energy
1. Have your blood chemistry evaluated for any deficiencies before completing any Max HR assessments.
You need to identify any deficiencies that may inhibit performance, and more importantly, your overall health. Some of the common deficiencies we see with our clients are low iron and CoQ10 levels. With some adjustments to your diet and simply eating nutritional meals on a regular basis, your blood chemistry will return to normal. Keep in mind that it takes six months to completely replace all of your muscle tissue; the body you have today is literally a reflection of what you have been consuming over the last six months.
2. Eat more food and more often.
The most common scenario seen with our athletes is that due to such a full schedule, they are often too busy to eat. To get a better idea of your caloric intake, simply keep a food log for four days (preferably two weekend days and two week days) and then evaluate the total grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat that you have consumed for each day. There are many different theories as to which combinations work the best. However, each athlete responds to foods differently-carbohydrate sensitivity, slow metabolism, etc. Don't take on one diet or another; instead, document and evaluate to make sure that you are doing what is right for you. Having your blood tested at regular intervals will help determine if you are getting enough of the necessary macro and micronutrients. The most consistent finding we have seen has been that athletes do not consume enough calories. This not only leads to fatigue, but also hinders performance levels because the necessary nutrients to rebuild muscle are inadequate.
3. Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water
When you realize that the average human body contains ninety-six pints of water and that sixty-four of these are intracellular, you quickly see the importance of hydration to the survival of an endurance athlete. When a muscle becomes dehydrated by only three percent, that muscle loses ten percent of its contractile strength and also incurs an eight percent loss of speed. Imagine undermining all of your hard work by starting your workout under-hydrated and then making the situation worse by not consuming adequate fluids and electrolytes (to facilitate the absorption of the water). Most athletes don't pay attention to how much body weight they lose in a regular workout, so they are not able to determine their hydration needs in an important hard workout or race. Remember, knowledge is power. Know what your typical losses are and how to replenish them.
4. Complete a Max HR assessment and establish specific HR training zones
Endurance athletes don't have problems "going hard," but rather "going easy." To many athletes, this would seem counterproductive, given all of the hard work of a weekly schedule. However, active recovery days are just as beneficial as hard training days because they help get fresh blood flow into broken-down muscle tissue and also help loosen muscles for slow, passive stretching. What is the highest HR at which you can exercise and still get the benefits of active recovery? This training zone is a combination of your true Max HR and your resting HR levels. Determining all of your training zones (from easiest to the hardest) requires capturing your resting HR for a minimum of four weeks to establish an up-to-date average and completing a Max HR test every for eight to ten weeks to determine if your Max HR has changed (the actual calculations of HR zones involve some additional calculations outside the scope of this article). Keep in mind that the heart is a muscle, and the stronger it gets, the lower your Max HR because it can push the necessary amount of blood and oxygen at a lower HR. Don't worry about a low HR affecting your training levels, because your resting HR usually falls accordingly.
5. Add one hour a night to your sleep and add a nap on the weekends
Though this is the tip that costs nothing (other than your time) and is the most comfortable (if you can calm your mind), it is the most overlooked. Rest is your body's opportunity to rebuild and repair muscle tissue (which is the purpose of training in the first place) and replenish the blood chemistry with foods you have consumed. If you break down a typical twenty-four hour day, you immediately lose 8-10 hours a day for work, an hour for traveling to and from work, four hours to family and friends and you have nine hours left (ideally). However, nothing is perfect in the world and things come up that shift the above numbers, so be flexible! Striving to get the necessary sleep is step number one; arranging your schedule to allow for it is more difficult. I would challenge you to set your day up around your sleep versus fitting it in around your activities.
6. Take one day off per week
Don't be afraid to take a day off from training. This means no training whatsoever, no short 20 minute runs or short swims. If at all possible, don't wake up to an alarm. Start your day off with a good-sized breakfast full of low glycemic carbohydrates, clean and lean proteins, and healthy fats. If you have been consistent with your weekly and monthly workouts, you have nothing to fear. If you can, arrange to get a massage or a session of facilitated stretching from an experienced trainer. This will help you relax and decrease your chances of a pulled muscle.
USAT Level II Certified Triathlon Coach
Owner of Athletic Endurance Masters (AEM), Inc.
Robb has nine years experience coaching endurance athletes all over the country in various sports. AEM, Inc. has some of the most comprehensive training services and packages in the country.
Complete and personalized periodization training programs for all race distances
For more information, please contact Robb at www.enduranceacademy.com or by phone at 407.701.7586
From The Saddle Of Steve Born : On The Road
Welcome to the mid-summer edition of Endurance News! Although my column is normally entitled "From the Saddle of Steve Born" this month's edition would probably be more appropriate with the title "From the Road with Steve Born." That's because, for a portion of May and a good chunk of June, I've been on the road, working at event expos, giving clinics, or attending races. I have to be honest in saying that life on the road can be get old after awhile but that's always overshadowed by the fact that I love being at these events, doing expos, giving clinics, and, best of all, meeting athletes. Still, after two-plus weeks of driving the Hammer van and living out of a suitcase (for the most part) it was time to come back home. Even though it was all a lot of fun it's definitely good to be back. Also, with our Montana summer now firmly upon us, I'm able to be on my bike a lot more (and I'm enjoying the heck out of it... it stays light until darn near 10:00 PM!). Like Joe once told me while we were riding, "When it's like this (meaning a sunny, warm day in Montana) there is NO better place to be in the world." You know, I think he's right.
I am so excited about the introduction of this outstanding product because I believe it will very easily, precisely, and deliciously fulfill such an important component of athletic performance, namely, your recovery. I firmly believe (and am fond of saying) that how well you recover today greatly determines how well you perform tomorrow. To put it bluntly, if you want to get the very most out of all the time and effort you put into training, and if you want to achieve the best possible race results, you must subscribe to the concept that when the workout's done, it's not done-not until you put the finishing touches on it by "refilling the tank" with proper amounts and ratios of quality carbohydrates and protein.
When you do that consistently, your body responds by recovering more thoroughly (your immune system gets a boost and your muscle tissue rebuilds stronger and more completely). It's "soaking up" all the hard work you've done in training, which will allow you to be at your physical peak come race day. In addition, as part of the adaptation process to your training, your body will store more and more of a premium fuel known as muscle glycogen. If you replenish your body adequately, and as soon as possible after each and every workout, it will build up a nice 60-90 minutes worth of this precious fuel, which is the first fuel your body will use for tomorrow's workout or race. I don't know about you, but I'd definitely want to start a race with as much "on board" fuel as possible! And it's really pretty easy to make this a reality. All you need to do is replenish the body with the right amounts of quality fuel as soon as possible after all your workouts, when glycogen synthase activity is at its highest. We make that important task even easier with Recoverite. How? Because Recoverite has the right amounts and the proper ratios of the right kind of carbohydrates and protein all in one product... all the guesswork has been eliminated. Recoverite is definitely the easiest way to replenish your body with the right fuel in the right amounts and it absolutely fulfills a crucial aspect of athletic performance: recovery. Not only that, Recoverite tastes good too! No doubt about it, this is definitely a product you need to have in your "arsenal."
The 6th Edition of "The Endurance Athlete's Guide To Success" is Here!
One of the first requests Brian asked of me when I started at E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition in 2000 was to finish an article he had started entitled, "The 10 Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make." Little did we know back then that this little article would provide the foundation for a body of work that we tentatively called "The Fueling Handbook," a manual that Brian had wanted to provide that wouldn't be misconstrued as a glorified product catalog.
Though this fueling handbook was a top-level project and one we were committed to completing, we were not yet 100% sure in what direction we wanted to take it. During this time I had already written a couple articles based on great information that Dr. Bill had provided me over the years (I must have well over 3000 emails of his in my email folder) as well as my own experiences (both positive and disastrous) as an endurance athlete. Then it hit me: Why don't we make this handbook a compilation of these current (and future) fueling-specific articles? Brian concurred and we were on our way. We needed a new name for this expanded vision, and Brian hit the nail squarely on the head with The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success.
The Guide has itself been an overwhelming success, with well over 100,000 copies distributed and/or downloaded within the past two years. Thousands of athletes are achieving better performances in their training and racing from the application of the concepts provided in The Guide. In this issue of Endurance News I am very excited to tell you that we have again updated this fueling-specific handbook with additional text and information on our newest Hammer Nutrition products. Now in its 6th edition, The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success is larger than ever at 64 pages, and it's ready to help you achieve your very best performance by taking the guesswork out of the oft-confusing topic of endurance fueling.
You can receive your copy of the newly revised The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success free from our web site at http://e-caps.com/downloads/fuelinghandbook.pdf or you can obtain a nice, glossy print copy for $2.50 with your next order.
Per usual, there's so much more I could talk about but space prevents me from doing so here. Instead, I invite you to explore and enjoy this month's Endurance News. In particular, I would ask that you take to heart what Brian says in his column about refined sugars, and artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors, and devote some quality time to reading and retaining the information in Dr. Bill's/Dr. Haas's sobering article "What Are You Eating?" This is important stuff and I truly believe the information they have to share is absolutely crucial if you're at all interested in maintaining optimal athletic performance and health.
I hope you're having a great summer and enjoy this issue of Endurance News!
Senior Technical Advisor
John Cobb and Hammer Nutrition : A Perfect Partnership
If you've been at any of the well-known duathlons or triathlons such as the Powerman Alabama, Wildflower Triathlon, Californiaman Triathlon, Great Floridian Triathlon, Ironman Florida, or any of the Tri America series events, you've probably seen the huge18-wheeler in the expo area. That's "The Big Red Truck" of John Cobb's Bicycle Sports, a nationally recognized, innovative, and highly technical cycling-specific resource/company. In addition to this impossible-to-miss expo "booth," John Cobb's Bicycle Sports is also a complete online store with seven additional storefront locations throughout the country.
John Cobb is arguably the guru when it comes to aerodynamics, and he's the inventor of the SYSTEM ONE™ bicycle fit technology. As their website (www.bicyclesports.com) states: "Hundreds of hours of wind tunnel testing, numerous physiological studies, and advising countless professional and amateur triathletes and cyclists have culminated in Bicycle Sports' SYSTEM ONE™. The SYSTEM ONE™ experience combines our extensive analysis of your physiology, bio-mechanics and riding technique with your riding history and goals to help you find new speed and become one with your bike." Needless to say, John Cobb's Bicycle Sports has their "finger firmly on the pulse" of advanced technology for the improvement of athletic performance.
While at Powerman Alabama earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Cody Smith, John Cobb's partner. He expressed his tremendous interest in the Hammer Nutrition line of fuels and our immense knowledge (he was very impressed by The Endurance Athlete's Guide To Success), and I was impressed with the extremely professional approach of their organization, the presentation of the Big Red Truck, and all the products they were representing, displaying, and selling. After that initial meeting, one thing led to another and we're now very pleased to announce a partnership with John Cobb's Bicycle Sports.
So if you're at any of the following events (I've listed only those that are upcoming, they'll have already been at nearly 20 events prior to the printing of this edition of Endurance News) take a moment to stop by and say "Hi" to the great staff manning The Big Red Truck. Some of us from Hammer Nutrition will be joining them at selected events as well. The Big Red Truck will be fully stocked with all the Hammer Nutrition fuels, should you need to purchase anything for the race, and they'll have our "Hammer Gel taste test bar" set up as well. See you at the races!
The 2004 Insight Race Across America : Proving Itself As The World's Toughest Endurance Event
This year's edition of what many consider to be the world's toughest endurance contest was recently completed. And, true to form, RAAM, a race that E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition enthusiastically sponsors, proved once again why it is such a difficult race to complete. Of the 19 solo competitors who began the race June 20 in San Diego, only 8 completed the 2958.5-mile course. One noticeable non-entrant was last year's winner Allen Larsen who, citing personal reasons, withdrew from the race during the week prior to the start.
This year's winner was Slovenian Jure Robic, who finished 3rd in 2003, with an outstanding time of 8 days, 9 hours, 51 minutes, an average speed of 14.66 mph. Unlike a stage race, the clock never stops once the race begins, even during sleep breaks, making this a phenomenally fast average speed, one of the fastest ever recorded. I talked with Jure and his crew just before the start, helping them finalize his nutrition program, and I know that he used Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, and Endurolytes during his speedy crossing.
Rookie Michael Trevino of San Diego took second with an impressive time of 8 days, 21 hours, 6 minutes. Usually, first time entrants in RAAM aren't considered favorites for the victory, but Trevino matched Robic's pace for most of the race. Trevino is also an accomplished ultra-runner with wins in such prestigious races as the Badwater Ultra, the San Diego One-Day Ultra, the Lost Boy's 50-mile ultra, and several others.
Rounding out the finishers were former champion Wolfgang Fasching of Austria in 3rd, then Enrico DeAngeli of Italy in 4th, Rob Kish of Port Orange, FL (who completed his 19th consecutive RAAM, an absolutely unheard of feat) in 5th, Andrew Otto of San Francisco, CA in 6th, Guus Moonen of Holland in 7th, and Randy Van Zee of Sheldon, IA in 8th. Interesting to note that both Moonen and Van Zee are 52 years old.
E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition was again well represented in RAAM with race winner Robic using some of the Hammer Nutrition products during his effort. Other solo finishers using E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition were Otto, Moonen, and Van Zee.
E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition was also well represented in the team divisions, most notably with sponsored athletes George Thomas and Terri Gooch, who took the win in the two-person mixed team division in a time of 7 days, 18 hours, 5 minutes. In the eight-person corporate division, Team R2R-Kaiser Permanente came in first, with many of the team using a variety of E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition products.
A complete list of race results and several articles can be found at the RAAM website at www.raceacrossamerica.org
Join the T.E.A.M. : The E-CAPS Auto-Ship Method
If you have ever run out of your favorite Hammer Nutrition or E-CAPS products then come on and join the team. We'll do the work; you relax and know your product will be there on time when you need it with free shipping to boot.
Benefits of T.E.A.M. membership:
Joining is easy and free. Next time you place an order with products that you would like to receive every three months, just let your client service representative know. They will ensure that you get the right amount of product to last three months and provide you with the details of the membership. If you just placed your order you can write to us at email@example.com. Anytime you want to add items to your auto ship order, you can either e-mail us or call us before the shipment and we will gladly add the items with free shipping. You can cancel your membership at any time.
Wear Proper Attire When Cycling by David Levin
Although I rarely see a lidless cyclist anymore, I know there are still some of you out there cycling sans helmet. If you had the experience I had last summer, you'd never ride again without one.
Riding well to the right on a striped, wide enough road, I took a 30 mph, four-ton dope slap from the side-view mirror of a passing delivery truck. The force literally drove me headfirst into the asphalt. Cracked helmet? For sure. Able to finish the ride after getting checked out by the ambulance crew? Also yes. Same result if no helmet? Hardly. Not being one to ever ride without a helmet, I didn't really thank my lucky stars (of which I was seeing plenty) that I had it on. But I sure was glad the bike and I escaped serious damage.
The point is that even on wide, well-marked roads, even if you're a great bike-handler and always a safe rider, a truck's gonna get you some day. Don't let your arrogance about dorky helmets ruin your life.
This year, after a less-consequential bump from a flatbed truck, I've also gone to a clip-on rear-view mirror and a flasher on my backside. If you use Hammer Nutrition products because you care about your health, you ought to also consider the health implications of head trauma.
2. Hammer-Logo Apparel
This adventure befell me on the infamously unmarked, mismarked, and just downright confusing roads of rural North Carolina ("If you need a map to drive in North Carolina, you shouldn't be driving in North Carolina" says my nephew, an NC resident). Riding from my wife's ancestral family home in southern Virginia, I attempted to rendezvous with her (in the car) on the way to visit our daughter in Raleigh. A nice ride, but not unsurprisingly, I fell victim to the notorious back roads. I was where I thought should be, but even after an hour, no spouse in sight. Clearly, our meeting point did not share the coordinates erroneously stated on the map.
Then a chap happens by, sees my Hammer Gel jersey, and offers me his cell phone. "You use Hammer Gel? That's great stuff. No messy pouches." A couple of quick calls, a little more waiting, and joyful reunion with my wife followed. As he drove off, I saw he had a Hammer Nutrition decal on his window.
This was pork rind and tobacco country, not a locale where one would expect to find an athlete of any stripe, let alone another Hammer Gel fan. Made for a great story when we finally made it to my daughter's apartment later that night.
So be safe, wear your helmet, and if you don't carry a cell phone, at least wear a friendly Hammer Gel jersey!