Top 5 Foods For Endurance Athletes

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BananasBefore beginning any sort of intense physical activity, bananas are among the very best foods to eat to ensure safety to your body. Their high potassium makes them a necessity in any pre-work-out snack. On top of the loads of potassium, you're also getting Vitamin B6, which is good for the heart and maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Bananas also take on the role of replenishing lost electrolytes, so put down your Gatorade and eat a banana! Bananas, despite being a very healthy food, are also tasty and extremely easy to eat. They have a natural “wrapper” which means them appropriate to eat anywhere and anytime, as well as being easy to chop up and mix into a shake or smoothie.

Kale – A member of the cabbage family, kale ranks at the very top for necessary consumption for any endurance athlete. Kale contains extremely high levels of a range of vitamins: Vitamin A, K, and B6. Kale also possesses the ability to act as a daily source of iron and calcium. A popular substitute to milk could be a kale shake. Kale is mostly known for being the best food for your digestive system as well as being a way to lower cholesterol. If kale can't do enough for you, it contains two very essential antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress. 

ultragen-recovery-drinkWhey – With the rise of endurance supplements and additional protein to many athlete's lives, whey protein just became all that more essential. Whey is successful in containing all the important amino acids while being absent of fat and cholesterol. Whey is the quickest digesting protein out there which makes it a popular candidate for endurance athletes who are in desperate need of fast-acting muscle-repair. There are different levels of quality in whey protein products, and we recommend the Ultragen recovery drink by First Endurance.

Salmon – And here is the meat that is so crucial to building endurance. Wild salmon is among many nutritionist's ranks as being the best meat for your body. It's protein-rich chemistry makes it perfect as being the main course of a dinner after a big marathon or work-out session. Full of Omega-3 acids, salmon prevents muscle cramping and inflammation throughout our bodies which makes it an important food for intense athletes. Wild salmon is also one of the few meats out there that really benefit your cardiovascular system, and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure. 

Oatmeal – A breakfast of champions could be made up of about anything: bacon, pizza, nails, wood- chippings, etc. But a breakfast of athletes should definitely take the place of oatmeal. Oatmeal is rich in fiber, Vitamin B, and antioxidants which make it a great food to start off your day. It's low glycemic index makes it imperative for runners as it efficiently releases energy into the bloodstream in a sustained fashion, as opposed to other breakfast options which act more suddenly. But don't stop with just oatmeal. Top it off with fresh cherries and maybe a splash of sugar to really get your day going. After all, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.

The Best Fruits For a Healthy Lifestyle

Fruits and vegetables galore

Healthy living with healthy foods

We’ve all heard the expression, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away”, but what we may not have known is that apples aren’t the only fruit that will do the trick. In fact, the apple isn’t even close to being the healthiest fruit out there. Given, apples have their own appropriate strengths, but these 5 other fruits are what you should be eating if you want to achieve/maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Acai Berries

Grown in South America, the acai berry is a marvel when it comes down to the contents inside. Known for a slightly tart and bitter taste, the acai berry is popular as toppings for desserts, but also its extract is made to make many nutritious juices and shakes (as most fruits are). The acai berry dominates the antioxidant spectrum compared to other fruits like blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. If you want to boost your immune system, I highly recommend buying/making a shake or smoothie that contains lots of acai berries. Being that they’re only found in Brazil, they are hard to find and can be expensive, but it’s totally worth it.

  • Bananas

Bananas made an appearance on my other blog about foods that endurance athletes should eat. Not only do they benefit athletes with its high amounts of potassium, but it also boosts your metabolism and is a common source of preventing high blood pressure. Bananas prevent cramping, provide cardiovascular support, and are good for your muscles. If you’re a physical person, I highly recommend eating lots of bananas.

  • Cherries

No, this does not mean eat lots of cherry pie, but cherries are one of the healthiest “super-fruits” out there. Even though the acai berry dominates all other berries and cherries in terms of antioxidant supply, cherries have their own strengths when it comes to lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cherries are a delicious snack that can top off pretty much any pastry or dessert, but eating them alone is perfectly find too. Studies have shown that cherries are also one of the few fruits that are linked to weight loss.

  • Grapes

My personal favorite, the grape, makes it on this list for being extremely good for the heart and also being linked to preventing diseases. Studies have shown that those who eat grapes have lower chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease as well cancer in the head and neck region. Grapes also provide a healthy dose of antioxidants, and they’re just plain delicious. Grapes are a good fruit that go with any meal, and can also be mixed into any smoothie or shake.

  • Kiwi

Kiwi is a good fruit to have because the perks you get from it are unlike any other fruit. For antioxidants, you want to eat acai berries, for potassium you want bananas, etc., but if you want large amounts of fiber and carbohydrates, you want to eat kiwis (especially the skin). On top of getting fiber and carbs, kiwis supply way more Vitamin C than oranges do. Kiwis have a “love or hate” flavor to them, but if you like them, you’ll most likely find some very unique uses for them.

Some Stretches To Help Your Back

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Now she’s got a healthy back!

I know I'm not alone in having back pain from time to time. I can blame it on my diet, or the chairs inmy home, or perhaps my job, but most back pain originates from neither of those. Your black contains lots of muscles that don't get used all too often, which makes them fairly fragile. The best way to avoid back pain and correct your posture is not to STOP doing anything, but to BEGIN stretching it. Here are a few stretches you can do to re-correct your posture and give yourself a healthy back, something that most adults today (especially elderly) do not have.

The first stretch you can do is what I call, the “Cat Pose”. First, you want to get down on your knees and lean over with your palms on the ground. I recommend using a mat of some sort, or perhaps something carpeted to avoid hurting your knees. Then, you want to move your head downward, while raising your back up. This should stretch out your spine by rounding it out. Keep in mind, if you have a neck injury or have any history of a neck injury, you may want to do this with caution.

The next stretch you can do is what many of you know as a “Trunk Lift”. You're going to want to lay down on your belly and face the ground. Then, position your palms flat on the ground in front of you, in line with your armpits (NOT like you're going to do a push-up). Your arm should be making a 90-degree angle during this. Then, simply push off of the ground with your arms, lifting your head and chest off the ground. Regular breathing is crucial during this to prevent adding additional stress.

The last stretch I want to cover is a spinal twist. This is taught in gym class at school, and is one of the most common stretches out there for your back, but most forget to use it. Sit on the the floor with one leg out-stretched, flat on the ground, with the other stepping over it. This should naturally force your body to turn a little bit towards the way you are stepping over, but that's not the direction you're going to twist. Take the arm opposite of the leg that is crossed over and position your elbow against the thigh of the crossed leg and twist your body against the natural pull. Flip the position to stretch the other side.

These are three easy stretches that don't require any sort of equipment. They're easy to do and don't require a whole of flexible to be about to pull off. If you feel any sort of ache or pain after doing these stretches, you could be doing them too hard. When stretching, it's important not to cause any further injury, but rather loosen your muscles up to relieve stress.

Best Exercises for Endurance Training

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	Many of you reading this have probably vowed to yourself that you are going to “get into shape” by increasing your endurance. Endurance training is for those who want to be able to do physical activities for long periods of time – longer than the average Joe, that is. In this blog I will go through a few exercises I have found to be most helpful in getting your body to that next level.

Jogging – Believe it or not, jogging/running is still the number one way to increase your endurance because of its simplicity. Depending on your current fitness level, this could be jogging a mile to several miles; it all depends on what you're comfortable with and what your own body can handle. Jogging is the easiest because you don't need a whole of fancy equipment or anything to do it; you just strap on a rugged pair of sneakers, grab some mobile tunes, and head out the door. The only problem with jogging is that is really tests your own commitment to a healthy life style. Many people WANT to start a regular jogging routine, but if you don't personally like jogging, it makes it very difficult to get yourself off the couch and out the door. If this is you, keep reading because there are other ways to do this.

Cycling – Maybe jogging isn't for you because you don't like the impact of the ground on your feet, so cycling could be a viable substitute. Cycling requires a bit more however, as you need a decent bicycle, and a good route to go on. The bike can get to be very expensive, depending on how serious you are about cycling, and finding a good route could mean a bit of “going out of your way”. Nevertheless, people have produced the same results from cycling as they have from jogging/running, and I personally believe cycling is a bit more enjoyable. Rather than the huffing-and-puffing you get from a long run, cycling is more of a passive burning that you endure while taking in some gorgeous views of nature.

Swimming – Swimming lies as one of the most physically demanding activities today. You may think your body functions to near perfection, but if you put it underwater you'll be shocked to see how much harder your muscles have to work in order for you to move. Swimming isn't for everybody, I'll admit that, but it is one of the most enjoying activities out there and the results you get from swimming exercises is astonishing. Finding a nice sized Olympic pool to do your exercises is can be difficult, but if you find a gym that offers one, it'll be very beneficial.

Lifting – All of the three ways to build your endurance that I listed above are all aerobic, but there are several anaerobic exercises you can do to build endurance. The problem with this is that anaerobic exercises do a lot better job at building muscle mass as opposed to increasing your endurance. More muscles means more oxygen and blood needed to fuel the which means the faster your heart needs to work which leads to a quicker fatigue. Keeping a lean amount of muscle is crucial to building high endurance. You don't see any marathon runners that looked like balls of muscle now do you? Lifting can build endurance as long as you go for as many reps as possible. Rather than maxing out at the gym every visit, go for less weight, but more reps. There is another way to anaerobically build endurance, and that's without any weights. Exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, crunches, and other exercises where weight is not needed do a lot better job at building endurance as they also focus on your core.