Nutrition Experiment Week 4: Protein

 Posted by on September 17, 2012  1 Response »
Sep 172012

Week four is here and it’s time to delve into the fun and exciting world of protein!  So what the heck is protein, and what does it really do?  Personally, protein brings to mind images of body builders at the gym slamming weights, drinking Muscle Milk, and yelling as they do curls.  But it’s not just about building muscle.  Proteins are the Lego sets of the biology world, that your body can use to build almost anything it needs.

To start, proteins are made up of amino acids (Legos).  Our bodies break down the proteins we eat and use these amino acids to build other proteins our bodies need, just like when you use Legos from one set to build something totally different.  We use these proteins to do everything from build muscle, form DNA and RNA and boost our immune systems, to creating hormones and enzymes, and a host of other cool stuff. Continue reading »

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Sep 072012

My week of carboliciousness has given me a lot to think about.  Carbs have a reputation of being the Jeckle and Hyde of the nutrition world: you either love them as a super-fuel, or you shy away from them in fear.  So how do I feel after my dualistic encounter? Lets find out.

Following my stellar last week of upping healthy fats, I’m making an effort to  stick with the more natural, less processed foods.  Chips, cookies, cake, and other assorted processed treats are not totally off limits, but last week, it seemed to make a huge difference incorporating more “whole” options.  So, I followed suit this week, basing my meals on rice, quinoa, bagels, and pasta.  I also brought back cereal, and added whole grain waffles for breakfast. Continue reading »

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Your Brain on Running

 Posted by on September 6, 2012  2 Responses »
Sep 062012

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what’s really going on inside my head when I go for a run. When you consider running in terms of the technology you utilize during a run–your MP3 player, heart rate monitor, GPS, etc.–your brain is likely the most advanced piece of equipment you take along with you. From controlling every movement you make, to determining your level of fatigue (and how to deal with it), to pumping out endorphins and other chemicals to stimulate your mind and body, running is converted from a seemingly simple task to a surprisingly complex one! Continue reading »

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Aug 102012

Week 1 Control

Average nutrient breakdown per day:

Fat: 69g  Carbs: 198g  Protein: 95g

I am at the end of week 1 and it has been both interesting, and tough, to track my normal eating habits.  I never fully realized all the crap I ate until I started tracking things.  Not that I indulge in a lot of fast food, but I’m not one to go after salads, either.  I recommend tracking your intake to everyone at least for a few days just to get a real sense of how you eat.  You could even try a tool like the FitBit to help provide you with an easier place/system to track your diet and activity.  The results may surprise you.

I tend to eat three straight meals a day, and then snack at night or on days off.  Unfortunately, this sometimes forces me to go long periods of time without eating before I would go running, or, on the other hand, to go running fairly close to breakfast before the temperature begins to rise. Continue reading »

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Aug 012012

I want to start by talking a bit about my purpose and goals for this experiment.  The main purpose is to see how different nutrients effect my performance, energy levels, and overall mood during my runs.  Week 1 was a control week in which I ate what I would normally would.  In week 2, I will increase my intake of healthy fats.  Week 3 will focus on carbs, and then, finally, week 4 will be all about protein.

Throughout this process, I will try to be as detailed and scientific as possible. I will track everything single thing I eat, and break down the nutrient count using MyFitnessPal.  I will also be keeping a daily journal tracking how I react to different dietary changes.

This being said, I still want to have a life. I know there are a lot of variables that I cannot take into account, but that’s not the point.  Life happens, and so, keeping that in mind, the goal is to get a real world idea of how diet effects running performance. Continue reading »

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Jul 242012

Hitting the wall: A state of physical and/or mental exhaustion, accompanied by pain and nausea, synonymous with endurance sports.

For a long time after I started running, I truly believed that you could only hit the wall on really long runs.  I mean really, really long runs, like at mile 19 of a marathon, when your body and mind are totally exhausted and you can’t go on.  To me, the wall was this mythical force that only the most hardcore encountered.

The Ironman triathlon is a great example.  The Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, and is a true test of human endurance, lasting over 12 hours on average.  It is still nuts to see the incredible videos of runners collapsing and crawling across the finish line. One of the most famous collapses occurred in 1982 on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, as Julie Moss fought to reach the finish. Her body was pushed to its absolute limits and she physically couldn’t go any further. Continue reading »

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May 022012

Although we, the TR Crew, are continuously talking about proper running form, we have yet to address another important piece of the sport: breathing.  Breathing is defined as “the process of taking air into and expelling it from the lungs”, and although we seem to believe this process is something we should all have under control, a great percentage of runners suffer from energy loss due to incorrect breathing form. In order to understand why proper breathing habits are important we must first take into account how oxygen affects our muscles.

Continue reading »

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