Monthly Archives: August 2013

Round up of Interesting Bits

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Here are a few points of interests I perused around the world wide web. Find out how you can live the life of a cave man (man cave not required).

Ancestral Athlete  Not quite sure if you’re listening to your primal instincts? Read on to see how you can keep yourself in check without ignoring signs of boredom, fatigue, stress, or overtraining. Learn how to walk the fine line of comfort and discomfort and find the sweet spot between over and under doing it. (Think goldilocks strategy). Most importantly, try to be present……in the present.

10 of the worst drinks and foods for anyone with a pulse (athletes especially)

Here’s a slideshow of 10 drinks (including food items) which will wreak havoc on your adrenals, insulin and overall energy levels. Forget the mocha-frappa-whatever-latte and opt for water (yes, just water, not vitamin water or gatorade), sparkling water or tea (with just the tea bag) to fuel athletic or professional performance. If the food or drink in question comes with a label detailing ingredients, take a pass on it.  If you’re still not sure, ask yourself if it grows out of the ground or off of a tree or comes from a live animal.

If you’re still not convinced how what you put in affects and reflects what you put out, look no further than this article. In order to achieve the greek ideal (strong mind and body) there’s no escaping that the fuel you load up on will influence how you perform. Simply put, you can’t out run, exercise, or lift your way out of a bad diet. More importantly, what you ingest impacts cognitive function. Optimal fuel is key to optimal mental and physical performance.

Serve to Win

Serve to Win

Novak Djokovic’s new book, “Serve to Win”.

I’m pumped to get into the mind of the world’s #1 tennis player. I can’t help but admire his personal journey of discovering his own gluten intolerance as well as his determination to reach the top of the Tennis world. He knows better than most how much mental and physical grit is required to be the best. We could all learn a thing or two from him.

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DAILY ROUNDUP OF INTERESTING BITS

New factoids I found that are of particular interest.

Are you eating and training right, but just can’t seem to figure out why you aren’t reaping the benefits of your labor? Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple outlines factors which may be derailing your efforts to achieve peak performance, in and out of the weight room or track.  When you consider how the 100 m dash comes down to hundredths of a second or the balance beam comes down to hundredths of a point, can anyone afford to overlook any one factor? (By the way, I’m guilty of this. I need to foam roll more and go to bed earlier. I guess now would be a good time to start.)

Another article explaining why almond butter trumps peanut butter. Loaded with fiber, iron, Vitamin E and monounsaturated fat (the good kind of fat), almond butter pairs up nicely with celery, apples, bananas as a midday snack. (I personally have a penchant for dunking carrots into a jar of almond butter.) Most importantly, almond butter is not a legume (unlike peanut butter which is).

Lessons from the G.O.A.T

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Eaton, 2012 Olympic Decathlon Champion, competes in the penultimate event, the javelin throw.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get free advice from the greatest athlete on the planet? (GOAT for those who are stumped refers to the Greatest of All Time, not the farm animal.)  Well here are some tips from Ashton Eaton2012 Olympic Champion and World Record Holder in the Decathlon, the grandaddy of all Track & Field events.

Forget all this talk about WODS, burpees, followed by double unders and 20 power cleans. Try this WOD over two days. First day: run 100 meters, long jump, throw a shot put, high jump, and then run 400 meters. Sound not too terrible? If you’re crawling after day one, just remember you’re only half way done. Get ready for tomorrow: Run 110 meter hurdles, throw the discus, pole vault, throw a javelin and run the torturous 1500 meters. This last event is sort of an oddball one for decathletes, who possess and develop skills more suited for speed and strength related events.

I think I’m more fatigued just rattling off those events than actually partaking in them. I had enough trouble mastering one event in my hammer throwing days in college. The sport of Weightlifting seems to sort of mirror multi-event competitions, in that both require tremendous mental and physical endurance necessary to succeed, but it doesn’t compare to the diversity in a decathlon. (And I thought completing 6 lifts in a meet was not unlike a decathlon, boy was I wrong.)

As evidenced by this photo taken at the 2013 IAAF Track & Field World Championships in Moscow, the best decathletes in the world are showing signs of exhaustion, falling to the track after crossing the line in final event, the 1500 meters. Keep in mind, these guys have trained for this two day physical fest for years. (Notice Eaton is still smiling and standing – I suppose being crowned World Champion gave him a slight jolt of adrenaline.)

I’d be willing to bet the world’s greatest athlete is also the world’s fittest human. (Not the other way around though.) It’d be quite a matchup to see how Rich Froning, three time winner of the CrossFit Games would fare in a decathlon with Ashton Eaton. Or to see how Annie Thorsdottir would fare in a heptathlon against 2012 Olympic Champion Jessica Ennis.

Both Froning and Thorsdottir are tremendous athletes in their own right, but I find it hard to believe either one would be able to top Eaton and Ennis. Having said that, I think both CrossFit Champions would still do relatively well if they had the chance to become multi-event athletes.

How do you think the world’s best CrossFitters would fare against the world’s best Multi-event athletes?

More importantly, Eaton’s meteoric rise in the decathlon is equally attributed to his mental outlook and approach toward competition. Ironically, Eaton doesn’t put an estimate on what he’s capable of running, jumping or throwing and instead let’s the process of preparation take care of the eventual outcome.

Eaton states unequivocally, “I don’t set goals. Competing with a number in your head can be limiting, and I don’t know what my capabilities are yet. If I reach a goal, I’ll feel happy without knowing how much more I might have been able to accomplish. One of my really good coaches used to say, ‘Don’t run for the time, just compete and the times will come.”

As much as we outline goals and set expectations, there comes in a point where there’s not much else we can do prior to a competition. At this point the toughest part is accepting the work put in and trusting the process which will determine the outcome. I’ll admit, that’s not easy to do. Athletes and coaches have a general idea of what is well within their reach, but no one really knows if their goals will actually be met. At what point do we trust what we have done and let the rest take care of itself?

As the world’s greatest athlete, who do you compete against? Eaton says his biggest competitor is himself. In an event where you can stack yourself against the field of other athletes, the clock, the bar or the tape measure, the only person guaranteed to show up at every opportunity is you. The only person you can look to better is yourself.

Competition can be stressful but if we learn to perceive its value in a constructive way we can grow athletically, professionally and personally. By constantly competing, we gain confidence, composure and develop character. In other words, learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Stepping up to the competition platform can be a bitter pill to swallow, but I know it is necessary if I want to attain a certain level of success. How do you make yourself better? Do you try to do the things you fear most?

Weekly Roundup of Interesting Bits

Here a few articles that struck a chord with me throughout my internet travels.

Has anyone ever asked why you compete? Is it self torture? This is a great read regarding the importance of competition. Dresdin Archibald, a seasoned Olympic lifter, sheds light on the immense value of competition and how to extract the most of one’s abilities on the strength and conditioning site, BreakingMuscle.com. Every athlete, in a sense, is competing against their doppelganger, that is, the lifter in the gym versus the lifter in competition. We compete to see if we can outdo that ‘other lifter’ on any particular day.

Archibald sums up by stating, “You only have one opponent, ever – and that is you and the fears you want to defeat. But you cannot really defeat this opponent lifting in your gym. You can only do it on the competition platform. You win on this day by setting a new personal record.”

This will be the last item I post about Novak Djokovic. This Wall Street Journal article gives readers some food for thought (gluten free food, that is) and reveals some of Djokovic’s quirky and curious habits. A good preview into his forthcoming book to be released next week.

Looking for a sweet thirst quenching snack that won’t leave you guilty afterward? Grab a handful of blueberries. These flavonoids are known for not only lowering LDL levels (bad cholesterol) but combat cognitive problems such as alzheimer’s and dementia.

Gluten Free Diet Key to Wimbledon

Gluten Free Diet Key to Wimbledon

More ink has been spilled over Novak Djokovic’s attributed success to a gluten free diet. The tennis player himself has come out with a book detailing not only how a gluten free diet has catapulted him from being merely a very good tennis player to one of the best of his era, but how it has changed his outlook as a player and person. It’s hard not to respect Djokovic for what he’s accomplished not only on the court but off of it, with his foundation.

The book is hitting the shelves next week, August 20th.