Sunday, February 18, 2018

F2C Nutrition Makeover

Eight years ago, if someone had told me the nutrition I reserved solely for racing would one day bleed into my daily nutrition, I probably would have smiled, shrugged my shoulders, and responded with a significant amount of uncertainty and sarcasm. I think back to some of the gels I used to consume, protein powders I used to mix, and hydration products I would drink in my efforts to make it through my bike ride and eventually my run to the finish line. I cringe just thinking about them. Grainy, clumpy, and off-putting. I won't even begin to describe the stomach upset and indigestion some of these products induced.

When a triathlon team of which I called myself a member introduced me to F2C Nutrition five years ago, I decided they probably could not taste any worse than the products I had grown so accustomed to using. I started using Glycodurance, and much to my surprise, the more I used it, and the more I experimented with their other products, the more I realized how much my everyday nutrition changed in addition to that of my training and racing.

For instance, I used to drink juice every morning. Now, I drink F2C Pharmagreens. It seemed like an obvious decision to replace an albeit thirst-quenching drink laden with sugar with a much healthier one derived from 20+ vegetables and sweetened lightly with Stevia. Where once, upon waking up in the morning, I would first reach for a cup of coffee, I now down eight ounces of vegetables before hopping on my bike or heading out the door for a run. (No, I don't taste broccoli, brussle sprouts, or spinach.) As a result of consistently incorporating Pharmagreens into my daily diet, I have successfully staved off what once felt like routine, seasonal head colds, chest congestion, and sinus infections.

**My suggestion: Mix Pharmagreens in a pitcher once or twice a week for easy access to a glass of vegetables, which will make you more likely to reach for it when it sits in the refrigerator ready to use.

Like I mentioned above, I first started using Glycodurance when I transitioned to using F2C. Where once I struggled with gastric "disturbances" on the bike ride and run, I now struggle more with chaffing under my race kit. Flavored and unflavored options allow me to find the right level of sweetness for bottles of nutrition I concentrate to four- to five hundred calories. Because Glycodurance has successfully met my nutritional needs during my races, I no longer use solids as sources for calories.

**My suggestion: In one sixteen ounce bottle, mix 1:1 ratio of flavored to unflavored Glycodurance (up to 400 calories) or a 1:2 ratio of flavored to unflavored (up to 800 calories) Glycodurance. I have had the best luck with mixing these the night before my race or long training day in a blender, pouring the contents into my bottle(s), and then topping them off before I go in the morning. For a hot day of training or racing, I add a couple scoops of Electrodurance, too.

Finally, one of the staples I am generally craving toward the end of my training involves a blender, frozen fruit, and one of F2C's protein powder mixes. While F2C has many options, I do not think I have ever regretted any choice I made in which protein powder to mix into my smoothies. Never gritty or off-putting, switching to F2C's protein mixes has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made, especially when I compare the nutrition labels of other popular protein drinks to those of F2C's products. I challenge anyone to read the labels of their protein powders and, aside from a few others besides F2C, find a product as clean as F2C. Good luck!

**My suggestion: The ultimate post-workout recovery smoothie! In a high-speed blender, I like to add some leftover coffee from the morning plus enough water to make approximately 2 cups of liquid at the bottom of the blender. Then, I add about six ice cubes, one frozen banana cut up into pieces, one scoop F2C protein powder (my favorite post-workout in Rehab 3:1), a handful of nuts or a scoop of peanut butter, and a splash of cinnamon. If I have some unflavored Pharmagreens, I'll add a scoop of that, too. Blend until smooth, and consume with care. You'll be tempted to make yourself another smoothie.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

SilverStar Mountain Ski Resort Rendezvous

I found myself marching through each day of every week for the past couple of months in a routine I really cannot complain about, but I wonder if I should feel differently. Up until this past Thursday afternoon, I appreciated this normalcy that allowed for consistency in my training. Yet when I think about how comfortable I have grown to feel with arriving at the YMCA five to six mornings of every week to swim, I realized I might have developed a bit of an illness. Or, perhaps, a screw had wiggled loose. Is not this type of "love" for the pool and all its qualities meant only for devoted swimmers? You mean, I'm not supposed to get out of the pool, shower in TriSwim products meant to counter the effects of chlorine, only to dry off from the shower and slather on (I mean, coat myself in) lotion so I can go to work and still smell like chlorine?

Wow. I've grown accustomed to constantly scratching myself as a result of drying out like a human version of fruit leather. My back, however, has developed into muscle with which I have never yet been acquainted. Even so, I still have a long way to go to even remotely resemble a legitimate swimmer. I keep swimming.

This past Thursday we swam, but shortly thereafter, Bryan and I packed the car and met up with a couple friends to escape the state and find snowy solace in one of Canada's beautiful provinces: British Columbia.

We spent five and a half hours together in our new Subaru Outback (quality time, no less) to arrive at SilverStar Mountain Ski Resort for a weekend of skiing. One cannot possibly describe the beauty hidden in this small, perfect place that Bryan and I first learned about when we attended the Supercamp held here last year. Not a single moment of these past three days of skiing have we not felt elated by the potential to explore the 100 kilometers of perfectly groomed trails and scenery made possible by efficient groomers and clear skies, respectively. Though our bodies (particularly my feet) perhaps feel otherwise.

On this Sunday evening, I feel accomplished to have ticked off nearly every trail we had the potential to ski. Yet even after having had the time to carve our way across the trails at both SilverStar and Sovereign Lake Nordic Center, we anticipate we will have just enough time tomorrow morning to eek out another hour and a half of skiing before we depart for home. (I hear my feet screaming at me as I type this).

If I learned one fact this past weekend, I will admit my renewed appreciation for strong feet. While I will not discount how well skate skiing targets the hip abductors, glutes, core, and latissimus, I will give complete, one hundred percent, credit to this sport for my sorenesses. The demands on my feet required just to stay upright and glide on each ski, I have never simulated with any other endeavor. For that alone, I am grateful. Now, I can return home and continue to rehabilitate my ankle, find rejuvenated motivation to return to my chlorinated sanctuary, and continue to eat my way toward the goals I have established for this stellar year of 2018.