Dear Fit Professionals,
Two questions for you. First, I just signed up for my first half Ironman, and the workouts are getting longer and more intense. I find myself lagging toward the end of the workout and in need of an extra boost. What should I drink for superpower hydration? Second, I always see people downing protein drinks post-workout. Are recovery drinks legit? And which one should I try? (No chalky drinks, please!) Oh, and can you tell me a cool electrolyte fact? I’m trying to impress this super cute girl who just joined our Wednesday morning swim group, and I’m pretty sure an electrolyte fact will do the trick.
Give Love A Tri
Dear Give Love A Tri,
Wow! Your questions cover a lot of ground! The good news is we’re endurance athletes, and covering a lot of ground is what we do best. (We’re like grass. Only more fun. And mobile.) We asked 9-time Ironman Brian Schoenholz his opinion on the matters at hand, and he gave us some GU-ood advice. (Get it?) Cheers!
The Fit Professionals
GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink (Available in Lemon-Lime, Grape, and Tropical Fruit. $2.90 per single-serve packet.)
It’s a simple equation. When you ask your body to give more, your body is going to need more. And half-hearted hydration won’t cut it. The gurus at GU understand this concept better than anyone else in the industry. That’s why they created GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink. With 59 grams of “strategic” complex and simple carbs balanced for optimal absorption, this superpower drink marries the electrolyte benefits of GU Brew with the citrates, histidine, amino acids, and energy-giving carbohydrates of GU Roctane Gel. Taurine is added for improved heart and skeletal muscle function, caffeine for increased power output (and lower perceived effort), and amino acids for reduced muscle damage and improved focus. GU Roctane Ultra Endurance drink can serve as both your hydration and your energy source for workouts lasting up to 2 hours. For workouts longer than that, simply supplement it with a GU gel or chew.
GU Recovery Brew (Available in Orange-Pineapple, Strawberry-Watermelon, and Chocolate Smoothie. $2.70 per single-serve packet.)
Tough workouts overload muscles. Muscles break down. Muscles rebuild themselves to withstand a greater load. Another tough workout breaks down the muscles again. Muscles rebuild, this time to be even stronger. This is the fitness cycle. Break down. Rebuild. Break down. Rebuild. Fitness, then, is absolutely contingent on a key concept: the ability to rebuild (or recover).
Recovery drinks are made to help your body do just that: recover. And as Brian puts it, “Why feel bad if you don’t have to?” He suggests GU Recovery Brew. First and foremost, it’s not chalky or grainy. (WOOP!) And not only does it taste good, but GU Recovery Brew is specially formulated to replenish energy stores and accelerate the muscle rebuilding process after an intense workout. The proper blend of complex and simple carbs recharges glycogen levels, while high quality whey protein speeds up muscle reconstruction. Amino acids support your immune system (which temporarily drops after tough workouts, making you more susceptible to illness). Sodium and potassium balance depleted electrolyte levels. And Vitamins C and E combat tissue breakdown, reducing your risk of injury.
Carry easy, single-serve packets of GU Recovery Brew in your bag (along with a bottle of water) so you can drink it within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. We suggest mixing the Chocolate flavor with milk for an extra yummy, higher protein treat!
Fun Electrolyte Fact?
Pure water does not, in fact, conduct electricity.
We all know how the ladies love electrolyte facts! Contrary to popular belief, pure H2O doesn’t conduct electricity. It’s actually the particles (often in the form of sodium and other electrolytes) floating in the water that make water conductive. From your bathtub to a mountain stream to that $3 bottle of Aquafina, water always has something in it besides pure H2O and thus will conduct electricity to some degree. (That means that trying to toast a bagel while you’re sitting in an ice bath is still a bad idea.)
We’re certain the lovely lady in your swim group will be impressed by your electrolyte knowledge! (Good luck!)
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During training, recovery is the name of the game. Post-race, it’s no different. Once your goal race has come and gone, your next objective should be to treat your body to the rest and nutrition it deserves. Whether you are rocking the proud, post-marathon hobble or feeling as spritely as ever, your body needs some post-race tender loving care. Follow these steps, and you’ll be back in tip-top form (read: no hobbling) in no time!
We all know that unseasonably warm temperatures can wreak havoc on your body’s electrolyte stores, but proper hydration isn’t limited to mid-race water stations. Hydration is a three-part production, taking place before, during, and after your race. Now is not the time to ditch the GU Brew and NUUN tabs! Instead, be mindful to consume plenty of electrolyte-enhanced water over the next few days. Why? Not only will you replenish electrolyte levels, but you’ll actually reduce muscle soreness. (Say what?) Yep, fluids are vital to flushing out the toxins that build up in your muscles during a hard effort. Plus, muscles need water to stay pliable and elastic. Dehydrated muscles are stiff and sore muscles. (No bueno.) Moral of the story: Drink up!
You just asked your body to complete one heck of a challenge, and it did! But just as you had to dig deep to complete those final miles, your body had to dig deep into its glycogen and energy stores to keep up with your determination. Now your body needs nutritional fuel to recover properly, and the key is in quality, not just quantity. Focus on power foods such as salmon, quinoa, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, tree nuts, fruits, and vegetables to provide the protein, amino acids, and complex carbohydrates you need to repair your broken-down muscles and replenish glycogen stores.
Believe it or not, you don’t want to become a permanent fixture on your couch in the days post-marathon. Blood circulation is key for muscle recovery, flushing out toxins and speeding the healing process. Break up your workday with short walks or head out in the evening for an after-dinner stroll. Some easy yoga, a few relaxed laps at the pool, or a cruise-control bike ride are also good. Just remember to keep it easy and non-strenuous.
A miracle worker. If your legs are feeling sluggish and sore overall, take the plunge and spend 10-12 minutes in an ice bath. We know. It sounds scary, but it’s worth it. You’ll be amazed by how much an ice bath can reduce soreness, swelling, and inflammation and inject your legs with the pop they’ve been missing. (Seriously.) Not ready for the plunge? Use ice packs on sore areas to reduce inflammation and accelerate healing.
You don’t have to be running to reap the benefits of compression, and pulling on your CEP socks or Zensah sleeves just may be the easiest thing you can do to reduce swelling, increase blood flow, encourage the elimination of toxins, and accelerate recovery. Wear them at work. Wear them at home. Wear them to bed. (And picture all that healing blood flow nursing your legs back to health!)
So, what exactly happens when you overwork your muscles… say, in a race, for instance? Well, the fascia covering the muscles and the muscles themselves become tight and rigid, causing stiffness and disrupting skeletal alignment. Adhesions and knots can form between the muscle fibers, creating painful dense spots—or “trigger points.” Blood and oxygen supply to the muscles is severely reduced, impairing nutrient delivery and lymphatic drainage. And the metabolic waste that was produced during your race becomes “trapped.” (Hence the “heavy” feeling in your legs.) In other words, your muscles are a bit beaten up, and the battle wounds can make it hard for them to recover on their own. The good news? Do-it-yourself massage tools such as roller massagers and foam rollers are specially designed to stretch the muscle tissue and fascia (“myofascial release”), flush out metabolic waste, eliminate trigger points, and improve blood circulation. In other words: Massage = Recovery.
Stop by any FLEET FEET to ask a Fit Professional any questions and to see all the awesome products to help you recover.
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My name is Carl Bost. I am an ordinary, 47-year-old guy who has done some extraordinary things over the past few years. Like many people in my generation, I have had a weight problem most of my life. My love for calorically dense foods, habitual late night TV watching, and a tendency towards laziness was a bad combination for my personal health. Being obese has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. In fact, by the time I graduated high school in 1982, I was already an expert at the weight loss game.
In 1985, I lost 50 pounds to be eligible to enlist into the United States Navy. I lost the weight by working out at a gym three days a week, running four days a week, and staying faithful to a low-fat diet. I served a total of six years in the US Navy. Even though I had a decent fitness level, could run a ten-minute mile, and do sit-ups and push-ups, every single year I was considered overweight by US Navy standards.
Carl started regaining weight after he was honorably discharged from the Navy. By 1995, he reached 225 pounds. He began Weight Watchers and joined a gym. Even though he was once more able to lose the weight, the roller coaster continued. In 2000, he took a job that requires sitting in front of a PC for eight hours a day. Over the next ten years, he gained 10 pounds a year, despite joining different gyms and working hard to keep his weight below 300 pounds.
He hit his lowest point in 2009, when his weight peaked at 350 pounds. He was suffering from chronic fatigue, severe depression, and acute sleep apnea, which caused him to wake up sixty to seventy times per hour. Treating his sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, Carl started sleeping better. He no longer ate simple sugary carbohydrates for energy all day long, and he began to walk 10-15 minutes a day.
In January 2010, Carl made a resolution to lose weight. He joined Jenny Craig and learned how to eat a more healthful diet. He started walking regularly, increasing both the distance and frequency on a weekly basis. (“The results of a simple diet and walking were remarkable. I was able to get below 300 pounds and was amazed at how much better I felt not carrying around that extra 50 pounds!” he says.) Carl read an article about the importance of a good walking shoe and decided it was time he was fitted for a proper shoe.
I went to a local shoe store and spent $160 on a pair of walking shoes that absolutely tore my feet up. I never had so many blisters in my life! I had a horrible experience with them. I purchased their top of the line shoe, but I was not fitted correctly. When I went back, all they wanted me to do was buy another pair of shoes. I walked out of their store and never returned.
It was not all bad, though, because my bad experience with one shoe store drove me to another specialty shoe store, FLEET FEET. That is how I became a FLEET FEET customer. I was properly fitted with shoes and supports, and I was able to continue my good walking habits. By the end of the summer, I had hired a personal trainer, was walking 20-25 miles per week, and was down to 270 pounds.
In September 2009, Carl had minor leg surgery and was unable to work out for a month. (“I hit the holiday season unprepared and without the personal discipline to say no,” Carl explains. “I quickly regained 60 pounds in just three short months. I was very discouraged starting 2011 back at 330 pounds, but I had no one to blame but myself.”)
At the beginning of 2011, I made a commitment to myself to be responsible for what I do. And I knew what I had to do. I simply applied all I had learned the previous year and set out to do it again. I worked my butt off to get back to 270 pounds by July. It took six months just to get back to where I had been the year before. I was fairly disciplined with my eating. I walked daily, increasing my daily mileage whenever and however possible.
In April, I started keeping track of my mileage so I would know when to replace my shoes. I walked over 1,800 miles in less than eight months. My personal record for a long walk was 18 miles. In December, I beat that by walking over 27 miles. Once I knew I could walk a marathon, all I really needed to do was work on improving my time! By the end of the year, my weekly walking totals were exceeding 50 miles.
I began playing around with the idea of completing a marathon in less than six hours by adding some running to my walking. I signed up for a marathon in Portland, Oregon, which will take place in October of 2012. This is what brought me to the FLEET FEET training program.
I also met with Tim Detmer from Finish It Fitness, who provided me with a framework for diet and exercise that included two training sessions per week. He thought it best that I continue to supplement my running with walking. I had earned all those miles on my feet. He said my body would adjust accordingly. It did.
While I have lost “only” ten pounds over the past couple of months, I have lost 6% body fat, which equals about 20 pounds of adipose tissue! I learned an important lesson about the limitations of a bathroom scale. I also underappreciated how running and weight training stimulated the growth of lean muscle and increased bone density. I am now stronger and fitter than ever! My resting heart rate has dropped. While I started out being able to run 3 miles without stopping, I can now run 6 miles without stopping. And if I incorporate recovery walks into my run, I can run 12 miles with a lot of fuel left in the tank.
My favorite thing about the FLEET FEET Training Team is the sense of community and acceptance. I go into the Chesterfield FLEET FEET location, and everyone there knows me by name. Amanda and Jess sought me out at those early social runs and ran 3 miles with me to make sure I was okay. My coach, Jen Hamm, is as cheerful and optimistic as anyone I have ever met. It was so uplifting to see David Spetnagel, the owner of FLEET FEET, at the Run For The Helmet cheering me on when I crossed the finish line. And working out with Tim Detmer and his trainers at Finish It Fitness has been a rewarding experience.
Losing over 100 pounds is a life-changing event. It is not something a person can do without other people noticing. I still have good days and bad days, just as I have good runs and bad runs. I am still prone to overeat and make bad choices from time to time. But I do not let those things derail me or keep me from my goals.
One thing that stands out in my mind is a Bible passage that says people are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” This passage resonates with me and makes me both thankful and humble. I was a person who weighed 350 pounds and could barely walk from my truck to my desk. I now weigh 245 pounds and can run over 12 miles.
I have come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. I tell people that walking may have saved my life, but in learning to run, I am finding my life all over again.
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Running GO! next month? Brian suggests the Elite Marathon Top (available in men’s and women’s), especially if it’s “a roaster… or a typical St. Louis summer”).
Feetures socks were designed to feel as if they’re “almost not there,” and now they look like they’re almost not there.
We’ve just added two new no-show styles (our most popular height) to our sock wall: Feetures Elite Ultra Light and Feetures Elite Light Cushion. As always, the patented “Sock-Lock” and “Power Arch” support systems provide the incomparable compression fit you love.
Ultra Light No Show Tab: $13.99
Light Cushion No Show Tab: $14.99