Pre-Race Nutrition

April 18, 2011

You registered for the race few months ago and finally the “big” day is coming. Just 24 hours and you’ll finally cross the starting line and (hopefully) also the finish line.
Truth is, those final 24 hours before the big race are always filled with nervous anticipation, especially if it’s your first time. Over time, that feeling slowly diminishes, but unfortunately never goes completely away even after years of racing (I can tell you from my experience that it never does!).
All the ‘what ifs’ fill your head. What if I get cramps? What if I feel sick? What if I run out of energy? These things are all part of the excitement of choosing to participate in a sport event versus hiding under the covers on a Sunday morning.
With all these thoughts flooding your head, there’s another critical component to your final countdown to the gun – what do I eat? This is a very easy question to answer, but I won’t be able to give you the answer, actually: you’re the one who has the answer!
Not one menu is a perfect fit for all athletes; but there are some general rules that everyone can use as a guide during the final 24 hours leading into your race.

Book Review: The 4-Hour Body

April 17, 2011

This is the first time we are reviewing a book on The Iron You but I feel this one is really worth doing it.
Why? Because when my roomie Alex got it she red it in less than a week, and you could tell she was really loving it. Also, when I borrowed it from her I seriously couldn’t stop reading what book are we talking about?
“The 4-Hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss

Pineapple: Nature's Most Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

April 15, 2011

Athletes have to deal with injures, unfortunately, quite often. The most common include hip bursitis, pulled hamstring, runner’s knee, shin splints,  ankle sprain, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, arch pain, tennis elbow, wrist injuries, SLAP lesion just to name few.
As far as I’m concerned when I get injured my first reaction is anger followed by a feeling of depression, normally I start to wonder “Why this has to happen to me?”, “I’m always so careful...” and so on.
If the injury is not too severe, and doesn't necessitates the intervention of a doctor, I usually rest for a few days, and maybe pop-up some of the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin).
However, as I don't like taking medications, I tend to resort to the most potent anti-inflammatory that mother nature has given us: pineapple.
Let’s discover why pineapple can be considered the best anti-inflammatory medicament.


Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast or No Breakfast?

The role of breakfast energy in total daily energy intake is a matter of debate. I recently red in the January issue of the Nutritional Journal an article entitled “Impact of breakfast on daily energy intake - an analysis of absolute versus relative breakfast calories”.
According to such research if you’re trying to lose weight than the answer to the question “Do you need breakfast?” is maybe not.
In fact, the study concludes that “reduced breakfast energy intake is associated with lower total daily intake”. Thus, overweight people should consider reducing breakfast calories as a simple option to improve their daily energy balance.
But what about all those studies and researches conducted over the years that have established that breakfast is the only meal you’re not supposed to skip?
Several experiments in the past have demonstrated that an energy-rich breakfast does not induce subsequent under-eating to compensate for the extra calories consumed in comparison to a day that started with a breakfast containing 45% less energy. But, on the other hand, different researches have demonstrated that an increasing percentage of breakfast to overall energy intake is associated with lower daily energy intake.
The results of these studies are apparently contradictory. However, these studies have most of the times a substantially different methodological approach. Their analysis is based either on absolute breakfast calories in relation to total daily intake or on the percentage of breakfast to total calories in relation to total daily intake on people.
So, let’s see more in detail what this ultimate study is about...

Sam Johnson | A Model's Workout

April 12, 2011

Yesterday I met with my friend Sam Johnson at Equinox in the Meatpacking district for a workout session.
Sam is an actor, a poet but most of all a model for a highly regarded agency in NYC (and, of course, he’s also represented in London, Paris and Milan).
Needless to say it, he always needs to be in perfect shape for his job.

But Sam is a very healthy person and to him training and exercising just represent a way to keep a good balance in his life and, also, improve the quality of it both physically and mentally.
Truth to be told, Sam is an athlete and loves sports. He played (and still plays) basketball, football, golf, volleyball, baseball and hockey just to name a few. He also like winter sports like cross country ski, snowboarding, etc...
So it’s not only about the look, there’s much more to it actually!
There’s no doubt that Sam fits perfectly the profile of the IronYou and that is why I thought it was a good idea to share with you some of his training tips.

Sam in an editorial

Sweet Potato: Hollywood's Stars Favorite Food

April 11, 2011

Today I’m going to talk about one of my absolute favorite foods: sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are not only delicious, they are one of the best foods on the planet. Lately they got a lot of coverage especially after a bunch of Hollywood stars have confessed to be heavy consumers of this food.
For instance Glee’s star Matthew Morrison claims, in England’s Mirror newspaper, that he accentuated his six-pack abs for a Details magazine photo shoot with a strange diet trick: for three days, he ate only sweet potatoes.  “I had to have a six-pack on the show,” he said. “The potato acts as a sponge and your body literally shrinks and gets ripped and tight.
Also, singer Usher, confessed that in order to get a six pack, he will throw in his diet a limited amount of carbs only in the form of  sweet potatoes.
Are you curious now? Let’s dig a little bit more into sweet potato and discover what’s the magic about it!

You Can Binge On Dark Chocolate!

April 10, 2011

This is one of the best news in years, well, at least for me. Several studies published in prestigious scientific journals say that dark chocolate (and only dark chocolate, not white chocolate or milk chocolate) is good for you. Very good for you.
I know, you probably have already heard about this, but today we’re going to explain you exactly why dark chocolate makes it into the healthy food list.

Physique 57?

April 8, 2011

My friend - and international renowned model Kerstin M. - told me the other day, while we were having coffee at Starbucks, about this new workout routine called Physique 57®. Since she seemed really into it (and told me a lot of deal about it) I got curious, did some research and then decided to give it a try.

The Magic of Oatmeal

April 6, 2011

Today I want to give some room to my favorite cereal, one that makes all my mornings a little bit better: oatmeal!
I like to say that oatmeal is it’s a perfect 10. You can eat it at breakfast to propel you through sluggish mornings, a couple of hours before a workout to feel fully energized by the time you hit the weights, or at night to avoid a late-night binge.
Oatmeal can be far more than just your breakfast cereal, it can help you make it through your day no matter what you're up to.

Triathlon & Yoga: Two Worlds Apart?

April 3, 2011

Already for some time I wanted to write something on the interaction between Bikram Yoga (but I might add yoga in general) and triathlon (or any endurance sport): two worlds that look so far apart but that are in reality so close.
So now the time has come and here’s what I have to say about it.
Let’s start by reminding ourselves that triathlon is a multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events that in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed "transitions" between the individual swim, bike, and run components.
While Bikram is is a system of yoga that consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (more or less 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%. For more info you should read this article “The Awesomeness of Bikram Yoga
So at this point you might think: “Ok, dude what is the link between this two very different forms of exercising?”
I know, that sounds a little bit like a stretch but I will explain you why and how those two worlds are actually very close!

Training for triathlons

As a triathlete, I spend anywhere between 15-25 hours each week swimming, biking and running in order to prepare for my triathlon races.
Consequently, I am constantly stressing my body physically. I do not have the time, the energy or even the motivation to do something “extra” just for the sake of doing it.
Bikram Yoga classes are 90 minutes long and since I have a very high metabolism I will sweat out 9 pounds of water in a class (no kidding, they call me waterfall at the studio where I pratice!). When you count travel time along with the need to arrive a few minutes early and stay a few minutes late, each class becomes a minimum 2 ½ hour time commitment. On top of my swimming, biking and running, I make the time to take 2 to 4 yoga classes each week – a 4 to 8 hour time commitment.
So why do I still do Bikram Yoga?

Last year, I competed in several triathlons with very good results (actually some of the best in my career)  andI attribute my success in a large part to regular Bikram Yoga practice.
Because of the high volume of repetitive movements, it is not uncommon for triathletes (like me) to frequently sustain overuse injuries such as Achilles tendinitis, rotator cuff issues, knee tendinitis and back pain (from the bike). Because I live for triathlon, I want to minimize any incidence of injury. And let me tell you I haven’t missed a day of training due to injury in a very long time.
In my opinion, there are three primary reasons why endurance sports athletes should consider practicing yoga:
(1) Increased flexibility. As a multisport athlete, we need a full range of motion in order to be more efficient in our movements.
(2) Improved core and stabilizer muscle strength. Because we maintain the same positions for extended periods of time, we need a strong core and strong joints to support our bodies.
(3) Both of the above will help reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries.
Consistency in training is a key success factor in endurance sports. It’s difficult to be consistent when injured.
At the end of the day, I truly believe that the 4 to 8 hours of time that I invest in the studio each week pays itself back many times over through improved overall health, which directly translates into improved performance for my passion: triathlon.

Bikram Yoga may not be the right yoga for everyone, but I would strongly recommend some form of yoga to anyone. And especially if you’re an endurance sport athlete you should seriously give it a thought!