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LIFESTYLE

Spilling The Beans on Caffeine

in BLOGS/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY by

Hydrate, caffeinate, repeat. It’s a way of life for those with an active lifestyle. So what is it about caffeine? Can it really be that good for performance?

Who can benefit from caffeine?

Caffeine can have positive performance improvements across a range of different sports and in both males and females.

Performance improvements of ~3% have been found in the lab, however, it’s difficult to predict precisely the improvements we can expect from caffeine in ‘real life’ training and racing, as other factors such as tactics or weather conditions can influence results. It’s also important to know that individual responses to caffeine are highly varied. Some athletes may find that caffeine can have negative effects on performance while others find that caffeine offers them no benefit at all.

Why use caffeine?

It was once thought that caffeine increased the use of fat as a fuel thereby ‘sparing’ muscle glycogen. However, we now know that the most significant benefits of caffeine come from its effects on the brain. More specifically, caffeine is able to act as an adenosine receptor antagonist. By blocking the action of adenosine, caffeine influences the central nervous system. This can improve your perception of fatigue, resulting in a longer period of sustained work.

In simple terms – you can improve your ability to ‘go harder for longer’ before the effects of fatigue set in, improving your performance.

What caffeine product works best?

Coffee, cola drinks, caffeinated gels, caffeinated gum…the array of caffeine containing products available is huge. But is any one source better than another?

In general, no.

Studies have found that the beneficial effects of caffeine are seen across a variety of different products. Where it becomes tricky is that different products (and even different brands of the same product) have different amounts of caffeine. Knowing how much caffeine you are consuming is important as there can be a fine line between the amount which improves performance and the level at which negative side effects can occur.

It’s important to consider the diuretic effects of caffeine, always remember to stay hydrated with SOS Hydration 

The list below provides some examples of how much caffeine is found in a range of products – be aware though, formulations frequently change so it’s best to double check the packing to be sure.

Product Serve Caffeine per serve (mg)
Instant coffee 250ml cup 60 (range: 12-169)
Espresso Standard shot 107 (range: 25-214)
Iced coffee (commercial) 500ml bottle 30-200
Tea 250ml cup 27 (range: 9-51)
Hot chocolate 250ml cup 5-10
Coca-Cola 600ml bottle 58
Diet Coke 600ml bottle 77
Red Bull 250ml can 80

When to take caffeine?

Unlike some supplements, you often feel the benefits of caffeine soon after consumption (regardless of when levels peak in the blood). Performance improvements have been found regardless of whether the caffeine is taken one hour before an event, split in to doses over an event or taken only in the latter stages of an event when feelings of fatigue are most likely to really kick in.

The duration of the event will obviously have an impact on timing of caffeine intake. In shorter events (e.g. cycling criterium, sprint triathlon) where there is little opportunity to eat or drink during the event, having caffeine before the event is the most useful approach. On the other hand, during events lasting several hours (e.g. ironmanmarathon) having caffeine before the event and/or topping up during the event, or saving the caffeine for the final stages, is more likely to be beneficial. Individuals should practise a variety of different strategies to determine the approach that works best for them.

Regular coffee drinkers can relax – there is no need to stop having caffeine in the days leading up to an event if you want to use caffeine during an event. Withdrawing from caffeine offers no additional benefit and will more likely lead to negative effects associated with caffeine withdrawal (e.g. headaches, irritability).

SOS can be compared to an IV drip. It works just as rapidly but is safer and cheaper at combating mild to moderate dehydration. Try it here

How can I use caffeine during my training?

Here’s a quick summary of how you can use caffeine to help you go harder for longer:

  • More isn’t better. Usually ~1-3mg caffeine / kg body weight (e.g. 70-210mg caffeine for a 70kg person) improves performance. Higher intakes won’t offer an extra benefit and will more likely have negative side effects (e.g. shakiness or increased heart-rate)
  • You are unique! Individual responses to caffeine are highly varied – start small
  • Do the sums. Make sure you have a (rough) idea of how much you are consuming
  • Be flexible. Trial different amounts, types and timing of caffeine
  • Don’t sacrifice sleep. Will caffeine negatively impact your recovery?
  • Practise! Always trial during training to work out the best strategy for you

TRY SOS HYDRATION TODAY

The Future Of INDY CAR Has Arrived

in ATHLETES/BLOGS/INDY CAR/LIFESTYLE/SOS PRO'S by

In 2018, INDY CAR will enter a new era of design and performance.

The redesign without a new chassis was key for a few reasons. First, it saves team owners from the expense of having to buy an all-new chassis, which should keep car counts high. Second, it puts the $10 – 15 million spent on developing the aerokits back in Honda and Chevy’s pockets. Most importantly, third, it lowers the threshold for a third or fourth engine manufacturer to enter the series. Instead of having to develop an aerokit and an engine, they are just on the hook for an engine.

That’s a big help.

There are larger sidepods which sponsors will love, especially because the current sidepods can barely fit a name and other aero bits can cover the names. The LEDs to display position and push-to-pass data are more advanced and there are on-board cameras built-in all over the car.

 
It’s supposed to be even safer than before, with fewer pieces that can scatter in an incident. It’s also ready to accept a windscreen or some sort of cockpit protection. The aerokit is also made of fewer parts, which should help the bottom line of the team owners.

Honda and Chevy will still supply engines to the restyled cars, and the hope is that another supplier joins sooner than later.

How To Boost Your Post-Ride or Run Recovery in the Café

in BLOGS/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/RUNNING/TRIATHLON by

Cycling and running have become synonymous with a café culture that, for some, is the motivation for getting out the door in the first place.

No matter what type of rider or runner, nutrition is a hot topic of conversation rife with some of the most entertaining myths, choices, and habits. No matter who you talk to, social to elite athletes all seem to dive towards food choices they consider to be high in protein, second to their coffee order, as post-training habits.

What many don’t seem to have a grasp on is the portion size required to reach their protein needs, and the best ‘bang for buck’ items on café menus to achieve those needs.

What is recovery?

It’s true that post-training protein is important for muscle recovery after exercise. But so is carbohydrate, water, vitamins and minerals, and of course the most underestimated factor, portion size.

The rule of thumb is to aim for 20-25g protein within the first hour of finishing training with the more serious athletes able to quote it off by heart. Ask them about carbohydrate, however, and you will find a mixed response from those who avoid to those who consume it without consciously knowing it.

To help restore glycogen stores in the muscles a few ratio theories (carb:protein) exist to promote optimum recovery in the post-training hour window. They range from 2:1 up to 4:1. This means a range of carbohydrate from 40g – 80g.

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Eating to match energy needs

Depending on the intensity and duration of training, energy needs could be low to high and should be assessed for each individual.

Advice that won’t change is to select nutritious foods, lower in fat and in particular saturated fat, that are high in both carbohydrate and protein. In the first hour post-training, quickly absorbed carbohydrates (or high GI) have been associated with good recovery strategies.

Choosing from the café menu

With so much to think about when translating this into real food from café menus, here are some common options for you to see which ones fare best for optimal recovery:

Menu item Energy (kJ) Carbohydrate (g) Protein (g) Total fat (g) Saturated fat (g) Fibre (g)
Banana bread
(ave slice 85g)
1980 35 6.8 28.1 13.8 2
Raspberry/blueberry friand
(ave serve 85g, with fruit)
1370 28.6 7.1 20.1 8.8 1
Egg & bacon roll
(1 egg, bacon & BBQ sauce, Turkish bread)
2886 45.8 50.1 28 15 1.5
Berry smoothie
(no cream, reduced fat milk & natural yoghurt, 450ml cup)
1355 70 5 3 1.5 2.5
Egg on toast
(2 poached eggs on Turkish bread)
1540 27 20 15 5.7 2
Yoghurt cup with granola
(325ml cup)
1028 32 16.7 4.2 1 1.5
Regular latte coffee
(reduced fat milk)
504 12 10 2.4 0.6 0

 
And the winners are….

Poached eggs on toast with a regular latte coffee
Yoghurt cup with granola* and a regular latte coffee
Poached eggs on toast with a berry smoothie (high energy needs)

* Granola recipes vary as much as opinions on carbohydrates in cycling circles. Ask if the granola used is low fat as many can add a significant amount more energy that you may not need.

FINAL TIPS

Most cafes serve eggs on Turkish or white toast but if the option exists, wholegrain/multigrain or a seeded bread is always the more nutritious option.

The last thing to remember is spread on bread – ask to have it on the side and, where possible, go without or replace with avocado.

If there are no options that will suit for recovery, simply have a regular coffee and have breakfast as soon as you get home.

 

The Best Dogs For Distance Runners

in AUSTRALIA/BLOGS/LIFESTYLE/NEW ZEALAND/RUNNING/TRIATHLON/UK/USA by

Written for Runner’s Tribe & The Source by Sam Burke – Veterinarian, BVMS.

Lonely on those long runs? Want a training partner who doesn’t speak? Sounds awesome right?! A well-trained dog might be just what you are after. But buyers beware, not many dogs can handle long runs over hilly terrain, on a consistent basis.

I’ve read a lot of articles which list the best dogs for endurance running (not sprinting). As a veterinarian, I tend to disagree with many of the dogs listed in these articles. Vets are the ones who see the dogs when they pull up lame and require new hips or stifle (knee) surgery for cruciate ligament ruptures.

Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Boxers, Beagles, and Golden Retrievers are commonly listed as ideal endurance running partners. I am sure there may be some exceptions here, but as a whole these breeds can’t handle 90-minute runs at a brisk pace over rough terrain. And if they can, their longevity will be limited. Their hips, stifles, or carpal (wrist) joints will soon give way.

Running tends to unravel our biomechanical weaknesses and amplify them; dogs are no different and when you take a dog with underlying hip dysplasia or stifle biomechanical abnormalities, you are asking for trouble.  Orthopaedic surgery or long term use of anti-arthritis medications will more than likely be the result.

But there are many breeds that are incredibly hardy, that can handle 120km weeks or more, and rarely seem to break down with injury. Obviously there are, once again, exceptions. There are countless medical problems any breed can suffer from which will limit their running abilities. But as a general rule, the below breeds will serve you well during your tough, hilly, rocky, endurance runs.

Note: I have listed purebred dogs below for obvious reasons. Generally speaking, crosses of any of these breeds would also most likely result in awesome endurance running pooches. From a genetic perspective, 99.999% of veterinarians would advise a cross-bred dog over a purebred.

  • Weimaraner

Weimaraner’s were made to run. Whether it’s short, quick bursts or long distances. With a short coat they are not as susceptible to overheating as many other breeds. They are tough on rough terrain and trails, and tend to be fearless. Their only weakness is that some can be a little anxious, but with proper training this shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Border Collie

Border Collies belong on farms. But if you, like many, are determined to have a Border Collie, I sure as hell hope you are a good runner, as these guys will run many of our country’s best runners off their feet.  Some Border Collies are born with genetic carpal (wrist) abnormalities which can predispose to arthritis, but if you can avoid that, then good luck trying to keep up.

  • Hungarian Vizsla

Vizsla’s are amazing athletes. Probably my favourite running dog. They are amazing runners (speed and endurance), they can jump, navigate, and they are incredibly easy to train. Their short coat is ideal for temperature control and they are as loyal as can be. If there is a perfect breed, this is it.

  • German Shorthaired Pointer

Bred for hunting, German shorthaired pointers (GSP’s) are true endurance athletes and require a lot of exercise. They are the sort of breed that seems to get stronger the longer the run goes. Some GSP’s can be a little anxious, but this tends to not be a problem when they are both well exercised and well trained.  Their short coat is perfect for temperature control.

  • Kelpie

I have a mate who ran 2:23 at the Boston marathon a few years back. For the 6 months leading into the race his trusty Australian Kelpie did every training run with him.  Another farm dog, they are as tough as nails, easy to train and so loyal they make you feel guilty when you look at another dog.

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred many years ago to hunt lions in Africa, so naturally they are pretty decent runners. I’ve seen a lot of snappy, aggressive Ridgebacks, but this is more often than not the result of idiot owners, so let’s not hold that against them. When in a good home, these dogs are just beaut.

  • Australian Shepherd

Another dog that belongs on a farm. These dogs were actually bred in the United States, but hey, they obviously prefer to be called Aussies, damn smart dogs I say.  These dogs can run all day. Their only downside is their longer coat can lead to overheating on those really hot days.

  • Dalmatian

Dalmatians are awesome runners if well looked after. They tend to land heavier than many of the other dogs listed and are therefore more suited to trails than the road. Their short coat is ideal for temperature control.

  • Siberian Husky

As a general rule having Siberian Huskies in hot climates is pretty stupid and at times cruel. As the name suggests, these dogs were bred in Siberia, yes…Siberia. Their thick coats were thus designed to keep them warm, in SIBERIA. Still, these dogs are popular, and the fact that they can run all day is indisputable. I think a perfect solution is to keep their coat short by getting them groomed on a regular basis. Don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s cruel to groom them, I mean just think about it for a second, a groom is just a haircut, and I tend to think that dogs aren’t overly vain.

  • Australian Cattle Dog

I’ve seen a lot of Australian Cattle dogs with hip and stifle problems, so a cross-bred Cattle dog is preferable. But if you are lucky enough to get one with fortunate genetics, then these dogs are awesome for long, steady runs. A little shorter and compact than many of the breeds listed above, but don’t let this fool you, they are machines.

Other Notable Breeds

There are many other breeds that can cover a marathon no problem. Some Belgian Shepherds and various other Shepherd breeds, English Setters, Staffordshire Terriers, some Whippets and Italian Greyhounds, some Malamutes, some Spaniels, some Jack Russell’s for example, and various other breeds. But the above list is a good place to start.

 

Party Like A Pro: Cocktails With A Bourbon Berry-Hydration Twist

in COLLEGE/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/USA by

In the United States July 4 is a day to enjoy the Nectar of the Gods in the sunshine. Unfortunately, that often makes for a rather rough July 5.

The main culprit behind a hangover is dehydration, so why not avoid the next-day disaster by rehydrating while you drink? That’s why the lovely Rachael Robbins the Chickologist helped us to create 4 delicious cocktails: one for each colour of the SOS flavor-rainbow.

To celebrate America’s birthday (spoiler: Independence day should actually be July 2) we’re sharing our favorite way to enjoy Berry SOS big-kid style.

Bourbon Berry Bomb

  • 1 mixed berry SOS
  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • .5 oz raspberry liqueur
  • 2 oz blackberry purée
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • Fresh mixed berries
  • Fresh mint

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and chill!

Strain over crushed ice in a rocks glass and garnish with mixed berries and mint… I like Giffard Creme De Framboise. And the BEST fruit purée company is called Funkin Pro.

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Covered Up: The Effect Of Tattoos On Sweat Rates

in BLOGS/COLLEGE/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/RUGBY/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/USA by

The following is the abstract from The Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 

Skin Tattoos Alter Sweat Rate and Sodium Concentration

LUETKEMEIER, MAURIE JOE; HANISKO, JOSEPH MICHAEL; AHO, KYLE MATHIEW

Abstract 

The popularity of tattoos has increased tremendously in the last 10 years, particularly among athletes and military personnel. The tattooing process involves permanently depositing ink under the skin at a similar depth as eccrine sweat glands (3–5 mm).

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the sweat rate and sweat Na+ concentration of tattooed versus nontattooed skin.

Methods: The participants were 10 healthy men (age = 21 ± 1 yr), all with a unilateral tattoo covering a circular area at least 5.2 cm2. Sweat was stimulated by iontophoresis using agar gel disks impregnated with 0.5% pilocarpine nitrate. The nontattooed skin was located contralateral to the position of the tattooed skin. The disks used to collect sweat were composed of Tygon® tubing wound into a spiral so that the sweat was pulled into the tubing by capillary action. The sweat rate was determined by weighing the disk before and after sweat collection. The sweat Na+ concentration was determined by flame photometry.

Results: The mean sweat rate from tattooed skin was significantly less than nontattooed skin (0.18 ± 0.15 vs 0.35 ± 0.25 mg·cm−2·min−1; P = 0.001). All 10 participants generated less sweat from tattooed skin than nontattooed skin and the effect size was −0.79. The mean sweat Na+ concentration from tattooed skin was significantly higher than nontattooed skin (69.1 ± 28.9 vs 42.6 ± 15.2 mmol·L−1; P = 0.02). Nine of 10 participants had higher sweat Na+ concentration from tattooed skin than nontattooed skin, and the effect size was 1.01.

Conclusions: Tattooed skin generated less sweat and a higher Na+ concentration than nontattooed skin when stimulated by pilocarpine iontophoresis.

 

AUDIO: There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?

in INTERVIEWS/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/USA by

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes…

Many experts believe that we are currently in a ‘Big Tobacco moment for the Sugar industry’, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the parallels warrant warning.

However, given that nutrition studies are not very robust compared to many other fields in biological science, some still claim that the ‘jury is still out’ on the issue of sugar and its effects.

Less than two months ago, this subject was the topic of investigation and discussion by Freakonomics co-author, Stephen J. Dunber.

How much sense does this all make? Dunber discusses the topic with a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner, and others.

The full audio is available below. Click HERE for a link to the full transcript.

5 Reasons Why You’re Hungry On Rest Days

in BLOGS/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/RUNNING/TRIATHLON by

WHY AM I SO HUNGRY? 

It would seem logical that exercise is associated with increased energy expenditure and therefore increased hunger and drive to eat, so why is it that we often feel extra hungry on days off training?

Firstly, let’s revisit some basics of metabolic physiology. Several factors contribute to your hunger levels, not just the amount of activity that you do. There are a number of major players in appetite regulation including:

  • Your body composition (especially muscle mass)
  • Resting metabolic rate
  • Gastric response to ingested food
  • Changes in appetite hormones (e.g. insulin, ghrelin, cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide-1 and Peptide YY, leptin)

Here are some possible explanations to consider why we feel hungrier on rest days.

HUNGER HORMONES AND EXERCISE

There is evidence that exercise influences all of these components. For example, during times of energy deficit (e.g. the day after a big training day), our appetite hormones are signalling for us to eat more, and this may contribute to increased hunger levels.

POST-EXERCISE SATIETY

On days of high training load/volume, hunger is often suppressed after exercise (especially after vigorous exercise), most likely due to redistribution of blood flow to the extremities, away from the gastrointestinal tract.

There appears to be a delayed compensatory response, whereby a lag of 1-2 days, or longer, seems apparent in order to ‘even out’ days of high(er) energy expenditure. Interestingly, some people are compensators and others not. That is, some eat habitually (the same thing which doesn’t change from day to day) while others eat according to hunger and/or based on the activity completed (or not).

EXERCISE MAY IMPROVE THE SENSITIVITY OF SIGNALLING SYSTEMS TO EAT

The theory (called the ‘glycogenostatis theory’) suggests that glycogen availability has a central role in feedback signals to the body to restore energy balance. After glycogen depletion (which occurs during exercise), one of the body’s priorities is to restore carbohydrate levels in the body. This theory suggests that after exercise the glycogen depletion of the muscles exerts a signal to the body to trigger compensatory eating, which in turn, restocks carbohydrate in the body. The specifics of this signalling pathway are currently relatively unknown and further research is required to fully understand the mechanisms involved.

EXERCISE COULD ALTER MACRONUTRIENT PREFERENCES AND FOOD CHOICES 

Another prominent theory suggests that there is a biological drive to seek particular foods to replenish blood sugars or glycogen. This effect could also relate to preferences for particular tastes associated with certain nutrients (e.g. sweetness which is often associated with carbohydrate rich foods).

CATCHING UP FOR MISSED TIME 

Some research says that often people don’t always feel hungrier in the couple of days following a bout of exercise, but do feel hungry if they have missed a meal. Translate this to real life and we have the scenario where training may replace time spent eating food, which then leads to an increase in appetite and drive to eat in the days afterwards.

So the good news is that fluctuations in appetite are completely normal. For best health and wellness, it’s a good idea to tune in to your hunger levels and then adjust your eating accordingly.

How to Recover Like a Pro

in LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE by

How listening less to college coaches and more to Lance Armstrong will help you run faster… legally.

There is a timeless saying, “you don’t get fit when you’re running; you get fit when you’re recovering”. If training was only about running then you’d barely stop, and Dean Karnazes would win every event from the 5,000m to the marathon at the Olympics. Thankfully, that isn’t the case.

EAT

The current obsession about weight in running is incredibly disconcerting. When female athletes become fixated on becoming as thin as possible it is rightly seen as a health concern, yet amongst males it is becoming an expression of masochism and bravado.

The head cross-country coach at Colorado State Art Siemers has become one of many coaches in the NCAA known for fixating on the weight and appearance of his athletes.

Heidi See

“Thin to win” is his catch phrase, and it’s a terrifying precedent to set on young, highly impressionable athletes.

Weight is just one variable in the training equation of stress, recovery, and adaptation. This is a delicate equilibrium that if thrown off balance can have devastating effects. Weight should not be used as a catalyst to precipitate training adaptations; rather it should be a carefully managed bi-product.

If we accept that fitness gains are made during recovery, then carrying less weight through diet restriction to complete a workout faster will only result in an inability to recover properly.

Eat good food; you need it.

 

HYDRATE

There are plenty of ways to skin a cat. Some are more effective than others, but the point stands – hydration has to be taken care of before all else.

Products used for recovery like chocolate milk are crucial for repairing muscle damage through protein synthesis, yet for this process to be as efficient as possible the muscles must be well hydrated. Without hydrating, protein synthesis will be less effective and increase the time needed for recovery.

Balance is also crucial, as our bodies endocrine system is affected by electrolyte losses. If one electrolyte is consumed in high volumes without the correct balance of the hormonal processes will be disrupted.

 

SLEEP

In a 2015 interview with Joe Rogan, Lance Armstrong stated, “naps are performance enhancing”. He’s not wrong. Sleep is when the magic happens, where the money is made, and most of us aren’t getting enough of it.

When we sleep, our body repairs damaged tissue. During the deeper stages of sleep, human growth hormone (HGH) is released into the bloodstream where it helps rebuild muscles and convert fat to fuel.SOS Hydration

The point is simple; when we don’t get enough quality sleep it becomes harder for our body to recover. The modern world isn’t making it easier; it is now commonplace to be looking at your phone in bed, with the emitted light telling your brain to remain awake and vigilant.

Try to avoid your phone, tablet, laptop or anything emitting that kind of light for an hour before you want to be asleep. A good rule of thumb would be 9hrs before you need to wake up. This can have an exponential effect on your ability to have quality sleep and recover.

Train hard.

Eat a lot of good food.

Hydrate.

Go to sleep.

Easier said than done, apparently.

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