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Bobby Biles
@b_biles

TABATA Revisited - for Advanced Athletes

20/02/2014 0 Comments

After my last blog about Tabata training I had some great questions come up, so I thought it would be beneficial to share those here:

After one session I was barely sweating.

As mentioned in the earlier blog, the initial study was conducted in a physiology lab (e.g. controlled setting).  The groups were given a specific exercise to complete, with the results showing the group completing the Tabata sessions gaining a significant increase in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.  Note that the study was conducted over a six week period of time.  With that, I doubt any of the elite athletes broke a sweat on the first day.  What I do believe is that each athlete in that group learned how to push his or her body further with each session, as I think it is difficult to work at 170% capacity on the first try.  So, I recommend doing the Tabata method five times/week for six weeks.  That is the only way to know if it works for you.

It was difficult to change gears on my bike for the 10 second rest.

This one is simple.  Don’t change gears, as 10 seconds goes so quickly one doesn’t really have time to do so.  Rather than changing gears, just relax.  As soon as the 10 second period is up get out of the saddle for the first 5-7 seconds of each 20 second ALL OUT.

If one session at a time is good, is two or three better?

I cannot find anything stating if the groups were sequestered or not.  Given the study was conducted over a six week period of time let’s make the assumption they were not.  With that, who is to say the group using the Tabata method in the controlled setting didn’t work out more than the recommended time.  No one really knows, but again, I recommend completing this Tabata method in the same manner as Dr. Tabata had his study group complete it. 

I also understand a lot of athletes (myself included) like mileage.  I simply enjoy being outside, so 100-115 km of running a week is something I enjoy doing.  So, if you are a mileage junky like I am try doubling or tripling the sessions.  However, realize the only thing that will definitely occur is muscle fatigue.  With that, you may not see similar gains in anaerobic and aerobic capacity as the controlled study group saw, as you may not be able to sustain the 170% capacity.

If you choose to do more the workouts should look something like this:

Double (5 minute warm-up and cool-down periods, so each session will be completed in 20 minutes):

  • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence
  • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
  • 2 minute easy spin – high cadence
  • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
  • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence

Triple (5 minute warm-up and cool-down periods, so each session will be completed in 25 minutes):

  • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence
  • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
  • 2 minute easy spin – high cadence
  • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
  • 2 minute easy spin – high cadence
  • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
  • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence
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Bobby Biles
@b_biles

TABATA: 14 insane minutes to warm those cool winter days

10/02/2014 0 Comments

“There is no bad weather, only timid souls.”

I’ve often relied on this great quote to keep me motivated to get out the door for some exercise, but we’ve entered into the time of year when the days are slowly getting longer, but the frigid air and the constant threat of snow still linger.  This is a time that can make almost anyone timid.  With that, we need to think of other ways to stay fit and active when our souls turn timid.  A perfect late winter work-out can be accomplished right in your home.  All you need is a bike and a bike trainer.

TABATA: A workout protocol that provides similar health benefits to that of cardio workouts, but Tabata has a bit more spice.  Instead of hours upon hours or exercise, Tabata can be completed in 4 minutes.  No, that isn’t a typo…4 minutes, but I do recommend warm-up and cool-down periods.  Tabata falls under the category of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and completed correctly it will have you bent over gasping for air.

The Tabata protocol is one of the most brutal forms of HIIT, but it is also one of the most effective.  It will do wondrous things for your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and also develop outstanding mental toughness, all while helping you rid your body of unwanted fat!

The protocol was created by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese physiologist, as part of a study designed to compare the effects of traditional cardio exercise and HIIT on elite-level athletes. The study lasted six weeks, and test subjects completed five training sessions per week – those using the Tabata protocol worked out for a mere 4 minutes per session at 170% intensity, while the traditional cardio group were prescribed hour-long sessions at 70% intensity. Despite this, the first group experienced superior gains in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity, with a 28% average increase in the latter!  

So, set up your trainer, grab a bottle of water and a towel (you will sweat) and let’s get moving.  I recommend 5 minute warm-up and cool-down periods, so each session will be completed in 14 minutes:

  • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence
  • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
  • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence

Have fun and let us know your results!

 

About Bobby Biles
Bobby is an ultrarunner and triathlete who covers an extreme range. He loves Sprint distance tri, and he completed the infamously challenging Leadville 100 ultra in 26:40:24. His favorite race though was the Last Chance Beer Mile, where he placed first with 6:28.3 using the Kingston Rules (Bobby takes pride in his ability to drink beer and run). His real passion though is getting outside… period. He recently moved to Colorado with his bride and daughter to spend more time in the Rockies, where he climbs 14ers (14,000 ft peaks) in his spare time. Sunny, rainy, snowy… getting outside makes any day better for Bobby Biles.

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Sean Young
@bonkstopper

Wahoo! The KICKR is the most fun you'll have in your basement.

08/06/2013 2 Comments

If you enjoy training indoors on your bicycle and you are a technology buff, you will fall in love with the Wahoo Fitness KICKR. It is truly an amazing and elegant bike trainer, and it will take your training to a whole new level. 
Three things set the KICKR apart from any other trainer: Power (watts), Bluetooth, and ANT+. In addition, it is very quiet and incredibly simple to setup and operate. Bluetooth support means you can control the KICKR from a computer, tablet, or mobile device such as an iPhone or iPad. 
Two free Wahoo Fitness iOS apps (for the iPhone or iPad) enable you get started quickly: The Wahoo Utility enables you to quickly check the health of your KICKR and calibrate it. The Wahoo Fitness app controls the KICKR and reads Cadence and Heart Rate from an ANT+ (requires an ANT+ adapter for your iPhone/iPad) or Bluetooth device.
The KICKR also sends data, via ANT+, to your Garmin Edge or Garmin Forerunner so you can monitor and record your ride, and upload to Garmin Connect.
Training with Power adds an entire new dimension to your focus and ability, because it sets a concrete and concise target for your effort. Now you can set specific quantitative goals, and factor out slope, speed, and gearing in the process. Your Power training session is focused on Cadence and Power, the latter is controlled by the KICKR (when you set a target), and the former is variable and controlled by you.
There are so many directions to explore your KICKR training, and you really start to get a sense of how powerful the KICKR is with Trainer Road software (for Mac or PC) which supports the KICKR perfectly. Trainer Road includes access to dozens of workouts, of varying length and difficulty. The workouts essentially control the KICKR's Power, and you control the cadence. As you pedal you can see all the vital statistics of your ride on your compueter screen, including your heart rate and cadence which Trainer Road can read through either Bluetooth or ANT+ (with an ANT+ USB stick connected to your Mac or PC).
Just when you thought you were in cycling bliss, it gets even better: you can actually download cycle training videos that are synchronized to Trainer Road workouts, and are integrated directly into the Trainer Road display. The entire series of Sufferfest videos are available for Trainer Road. 
Here's one more tip: if you have a Mac, purchase an Apple TV for $99 so you can broadcast Trainer Road wirelessly from your Mac to a large screen TV or Projector via AirPlay, for a more immersive experience.
With the Wahoo Fitness KICKR, Trainer Road software, and Sufferfest videos, you will never want to leave your basement again!
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Caroline Allen
carolineallen.ca

Eat to win: secrets of success

11/05/2013 0 Comments

What does it take to fuel your engine like a champion? If you’d like get the 'real deal' on nurturing success and live a day in an athlete’s shoes (and food pantry), read on… Here’s a sneak peak at some feeding rituals that allow fellow sport enthusiasts to savour the benefits of an athletic lifestyle and sound nutrition!




  • When asked about the must-haves in the fridge and lunch box, our panel of interviewees responded (in order of importance) : greek yogurt, oatmeal and bagels, bananas and dried mangoes, veggies and rice crackers with hummus and tofu dip, fish, peanut butter and maple syrup, caffeine (!), dark chocolate and fruit chews (!!). What are your favorite items at the grocery store?

  • In sharing advice with regards to eating/exercise, the group suggested: not being fearful of eating to give the body what it needs to excel, breaking down barriers and going beyond the limits we may set for ourselves (nothing is impossible…) and considering consulting a professional dietitian get tips to support training and everyday life. Are you optimizing your chances for success?


  • As for tracking down credible and user-friendly information on sports nutrition, this select sample of clients recommended: going straight to the source and finding a dietitian to team up with, websites (www.active.com, www.ironman.com), magazines (Triathlon Magazine Canada), amongst other sources. What are your favorites?
  • In order to give in to their guilty pleasures without giving up and keeping hunger under control, these gurus tend to: make sure not to skip meals nor snacks and keep to a tight routine, treat themselves only after events (as a reward!), have nutritious foods at arm’s reach, consume foods in moderation, maintain adequate hydration… Readers: do you have any tips to share?


  • Finally, with regards to sports supplements, the athletes gave 5 stars to the following products : bars (Clif, PowerBar and Kronobar were the favorites), protein powder (Vega came in first), chews (Clif and Power Bar were worthy of their attention), gels (Honey Stinger was the first choice) and brews (such as First Endurance EFS). Check out the wide selection of sports nutrition products on athleti.ca!

Let yourself get carried away in the health-nut craze: it’s worth a taste! You’ll feel better and optimize your performance. Every bit and each bite matters, your body should be treated as a temple. Eating sensibly is contagious, spread the word!!! 

*Special thanks to Bruno Langevin, Marc Bonds and Jimmy Gosselin for their insight, their time and trust as well as their inspiring stories.


www.carolineallen.ca

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Sean Young
@bonkstopper

New for 2013: Garmin Edge 510 and 810 GPS Bike Computers

06/01/2013 0 Comments

The world’s leading GPS bike computers just got even better. New for 2013, Garmin announced the Garmin Edge 510 and the Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computers.

Now both the Edge 510 and Edge 810 feature a glove-friendly touchscreen, 17-20 hour battery life, real-time weather, custom activity profiles, personal records, and are waterproof to IPX7.

With new Bluetooth wireless connectivity, both the Garmin Edge 510 and the Garmin Edge 810 can wirelessly connect to a Mac, PC, iOS device, or Android device, anytime, with no additional hardware. 

With the new LiveTrack feature, your friends and family can follow your progress in real-time on a Garmin Connect tracking page. They can even see your stats and location on a map.

The Edge 810 includes a built-in basemap with basic navigation capabilities, plus it’s compatible with optional detailed street or topographic maps for navigation and guidance on and off-road.

Both the Garmin 510 and the Edge 810 are available in standalone models and performance bundle editions. The bundles include speed/cadence sensor, heart-rate monitor, and out-front mount. The Garmin 810 Performance and Navigation Bundle also includes North America city maps.

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Sean Young
@bonkstopper

The new Garmin Forerunner 10: perfect for the runners on your shopping list

19/11/2012 0 Comments

This holiday season Garmin is introducing the Garmin Forerunner 10 — a very affordable, and very capable GPS watch for the runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts on your shopping list. Garmin did a great job at making this watch very easy to use, yet very versatile. The Forerunner 10 is available in 3 different color combinations, including pink and white, green and white, and black and red. 

The Forerunner 10 has a very handy run/walk feature, which is perfect for those just getting started with running.  This feature allows you to set a run duration, followed by a walk duration, and the Forerunner 10 will alert you when it is time to switch. Run/walk fitness programs have grown in popularity over the years, and are now commonly used by beginners training for their first marathon or half-marathon. 

There are a number of other exciting and useful functions included with the Garmin Forerunner 10, such as Virtual Pacer, Auto Pause, and Auto Lap. The Virtual Pacer compares your current pace to a target pace, to either motivate you to speed up, or remind you to slow down. Auto Pause automatically pauses the recording function when you are stopped, for example at a traffic light, and restarts when you start moving again. The Auto Lap feature records a marker at pre-determined distance intervals, as defined by you. With Auto Lap, for example, you can set markers for every kilometer, so that you can evaluate your progressive performance on Garmin Connect.

Garmin Connect is a free online service provided by Garmin for monitoring and analyzing the data captured with your Garmin fitness devices. With Garmin Connect, you can view your running route on a map, view all your past runs on a calendar, analyze any given run, and share your best runs and routes with your friends. Connecting the Forerunner 10 to Garmin Connect is very simple, using the included USB connector and free software from Garmin.

Also, just in time for the holiday season, are the Garmin 610 multicolor watch, and the Garmin Forerunner 210 multicolor watch. The Forerunner 610 is available in white and blue with green highlights, and the Forerunner 210 is available in white and green with blue accents. The Forerunner 610 is one of the best-selling Garmin running models. It features touchscreen control, advanced training functions, heart rate, GPS based speed and distance, cycling support, vibration alert, and support for Garmin Connect. 

With the Christmas holiday season approaching, there is no better time to consider adding a Garmin Fitness product to your holiday shopping list, and to your personal wish list. Just in time for the holidays, Garmin has introduced new fitness products that are perfect for runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts of all ages and calibers.

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Sean Young
@bonkstopper

TRX Suspension Training: Add Strength and Flexibility to Your Routine

28/10/2012 0 Comments

TRX is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to build strength and flexibility, and for good reason. TRX was invented by former US Navy Seal Randy Hetrick, who wanted to keep in top shape when he was in the field. The TRX Suspension Training system is a portable, lightweight unit, made from heavy-duty nylon webbing that attaches to a fixed anchor such as a door, a tree, or an outdoor swing (a permanent installation is not required).

Resistance Training

The TRX Canada Suspension Trainingsystem uses your own bodyweight with ‘resistance’ exercises. Resistance is a very low-impact form of strength training, which makes the TRX perfect for anyone, in any physical condition. Balance and agility are required for resistance exercises, and these skills are developed progressively in TRX fitness training programs. Exercise routines based on resistance training can result in increased power and agility, and reduced risk of injury in all your physical activities.

Because of its portability, low impact, and focus on muscular endurance, TRX is the ideal strength training solution for runners, swimmers, triathletes, cyclists, cross-country skiers, and endurance athletes of all types. TRX Suspension Training resistance routines typically incorporate high repetition, low weight exercises, which are perfect for building power and agility, and increasing your muscles’ ability to withstand fatigue.

TRX for Athletes

The cyclists on Team RadioShack Nissan Trek, and many other top professional athletes, are using TRX as a key element in their training routine. Injury prevention is a key selling point for top athletes. According to elite-level physical therapist Chris Nentarz, TRX “will enhance stability and core strength, ultimately improving the foundation from which cyclists generate and sustain their power". 

The portability of the TRX Suspension Training system is another key benefit for pro athletes, who need to keep up their training routine when they travel to compete. Even mountain bikers see the benefits of TRX. James Wilson, owner of MTB Strength Training Systems, says that using a TRX “allows you to take exercise that you have grown strong on and add a degree of instability, which increases the core and body control demands”.

TRX Suspension Training Models

There are three models from TRX to choose from. The most popular model is the TRX Pro Kit, which includes the TRX Suspension Trainer, a door anchor for attaching the TRX to any door, a carrying case, a 65-minute workout DVD, and a 35-page workout guide. The TRX Canada Rip Trainer utilizes a lever bar and resistance cord to provide a simple method for adding rotational movements to your TRX training program. The Rip Trainer and Pro Kit can be purchased together in a bundle.

TRX Pro KitTRX Rip Trainer

The TRX FORCE Kit: Tactical is the military version of the TRX Pro Kit, but it can be used by anybody. It has everything that is included with the TRX Pro Kit, but it comes in military green colours instead of black and yellow, and also includes an anchor Xtender. Instead of the basic training DVD, the TRX FORCE Kit: Tactical includes a 12-week comprehensive training program, and a waterproof and tearproof workout guide.

TRX FORCE Kit: Tactical

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Caroline Allen
carolineallen.ca

3 Steps to Recovery

08/09/2012 0 Comments

Many of you are getting ready for D-day, the event that you wouldn’t want to miss for anything in the world. You train hard, putting in time and effort, and thus you deserve to reap the rewards. Nutrition plays a huge part both in your success and your health. It’s known that you are what you eat and this is true not only during exercise but between bouts of physical activity. Follow these 3R’s to keep going without running low on fuel or hitting any roadblocks!

  1. Rethink everyday meals and snacks to make sure they offer their fair share of nutritive carbohydrates (such as couscous, whole-wheat pasta, multigrain bread, fresh fruits with edible peels) and quality protein (lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy or soy products, fish and seafood, eggs and legumes). Although carb-loading can be useful prior to race day, carb-depletion is never a good idea, causing fatigue and muscle wasting. As for protein, endurance athletes (meat-lovers and vegetarians alike) need to take in adequate amounts of precious amino acids for tissue repair and immune function.

  2. Reduce the oxidative stress and acidic burden caused by exertion (without meaning to take away from the benefits of working out…). Exercise increases the need for certain vitamins (C and the B family), minerals (iron and zinc particularly) and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) as these nutrients are lost in sweat and urine. Also, levels of acidity rise (corresponding to a drop in pH…) with effort, which can cause bone loss and other minor ills in the long run. Checking labels and ingredient lists is a smart way to load up on antioxidants and alkaline foods, either in edible or supplement form.

  3. Refrain from consuming too much alcohol (a predictable statement!), fat and fiber (this one may come as a surprise?!), as these can become a nuisance to athletes. The first substance will not only blur physical and mental alertness but also slow lipolysis (the use and burning of body fat for energy) and contributes empty calories. A second possible offender is fat, especially if predominant in the diet, which slows digestion and affects weight management. Finally, too much fiber (although important for digestion/ elimination) overstimulates the intestinal tract and causes bloating, cramping and diarrhea.

Once this is tried and tested, there’s one last rule of thumb : Repeat! If the formula feels right and the shoe fits, all that’s left to do is go out and play. Cheers to a great training season!!!



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Sean Young
@bonkstopper

Montreal Esprit Triathlon (Sept 8) is great fun for triathletes and fans

09/08/2012 0 Comments


The Montreal Esprit Triathlon (September 8th, 2012) is held on ÎLE NOTRE-DAME, the beautiful man-made island in the St-Lawrence River created for Montreal's EXPO 67'. The magnificent facilities of the OLYMPIC BASIN were the site of the Olympic rowing events during the 1976 Olympic Games.

The CIRCUIT GILLES-VILLENEUVE is the site of Montreal's FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX. The MONTREAL CASINO on Île Notre-Dame rounds out this island as Montreal's playground. The location and facilities on Île Notre-Dame are all proven WORLD CLASS venues.

Family, friends and spectators can watch triathletes continuously, thanks to a course designed for spectating. Those who want to have that personal accomplishment will enjoy the ESPRIT experience.

For more information, and for registration, visit: www.esprittriathlon.com

CURRENT WATER TEMPERATURE:

71° F / 22° C

TRIATHLON BREAKDOWN

Esprit Triathlon
Ironman Distance

3.8km /
2.4mi
180km /
112mi
42.2km /
26.2mi

Demi-Esprit Triathlon
Half Ironman Distance

1.9km 90km 21.1km

Esprit Olympic Triathlon
Olympic Distance

1.5km 40km 10km

Esprit Sprint Triathlon
Sprint Distance

750m 20km 5km

Esprit Duathlon
Olympic Distance

10km 40km 5km
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Caroline Allen
carolineallen.ca

Sports Nutrition Myths: Busted!

27/07/2012 4 Comments


One can’t help wonder if the nutrition information provided by fitness gurus, nutrition companies and healthcare specialists is trustworthy. There is a sea of contradictory news on the best fuels for our hard-at-work bodies. At the end of the day (or training session), how are you supposed to know what to believe? Here are 3 common myths, and the real truth you need to know:

MYTH #1: Protein is for gym fanatics rather than endurance athletes.

This statement makes no sense at all. Everybody needs their fair share of amino acids (the building blocks of protein), even those people who are inactive. All cells are made up of protein (including skin, organs, muscle, hair, nails and other tissues), which means that every kilogram of body weight requires at least one gram of protein. Active individuals who average 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis need more protein (roughly 1.4 grams per kilo of weight) and endurance athletes will require as much as 1.6 grams of the precious nutrient per kilogram body weight. Don’t skimp on protein at meals and snacks, and read labels carefully to choose foods with at least 10 grams of protein per serving. Add sports supplements composed of protein or amino acids (such as protein powders and bars, for example) after 2 hours of continuous physical effort to heal muscular wear and tear during a longer training, and to starve off hunger. 

MYTH #2: Drinking too much water is risky business.

This statement is running wild and making sports magazine covers. Of course, drinking many gallons of water is useless and can cause a burden on your kidneys and other organs. Also, excessive water intake can lead to hyponatremia, a case of over-dilution of sodium in the blood, with unpleasant symptoms like weakness and confusion. The bottom line, however, is that most sports enthusiasts don’t drink enough water throughout the day and during training. This is worrisome considering that a 1% drop in body hydration (which amounts to just a few ounces of water) can decrease alertness, bring on fatigue and impair physical performance. H2O is a must to replace sweat and urine, keep the body cool (or warm in colder weather) and increase endurance. I swear by the following rule-of-thirst : 10 millilitres per minute of exercising, in addition to the recommended 2 liters daily if you are a woman and 2.5 liters a day if you are a man. When you feel thirsty, it’s usually too late, so drink up ahead of time!

MYTH #3: Multivitamins are heal-alls and energy boosters.

Rumour has it that industrial processing is impacting our food sources, and putting us all at risk of nutritional deficiencies. No doubt, our forks are quite far from the farms and fields, but this doesn’t justify our collective vitamin and mineral addiction. Some individuals have greater-than-usual nutritional needs: this is true for athletes, vegans, and people with allergies or other food restrictions, and those with very low-calorie diets, for example. Since any lack of one or another nutrient can cause immune deficiency and fatigue in the long run, supplementation with a multivitamin may be useful in some cases (speak with your doctor and/or nutritionist to evaluate your own specific vitamin/mineral profile).  It is important to realize however that multivitamins do not provide calories, therefore they are not sources of energy. Rather, they serve as metabolic aids for bodily functions, such as energy metabolism and tissue repair. Smart eating and wise fueling are the pillars of healthy living and productive training, so learn to recognize fact from fiction, and consult a professional when in doubt.



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