Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Vega, A Natural Replacement

Vega training: part one of four from Vega on Vimeo.

If you are a vegan and are looking for that edge as a performance athlete than Vega could be the product for you.

The Vega Story

Told from the onset that a plant-based diet wouldn't cut it on the professional Ironman circuit, Brendan Brazier's nutritional journey began with unpromising results. Several months of chronic hunger, the need to constantly eat and a decline in energy culminated in a decline in athletic performance.

Brendan's stubborn curiosity persevered however, and after many years of research, trials and tribulations, he created a plant-based whole food diet that worked better than he had ever expected. Since then, Brendan has become one of the top professional Ironman triathletes in Canada, crediting his diet for his success competing in one of the world's most demanding sports.

For years Brendan has packed plant-based whole foods into a daily blended shake to supply his body with premium fuel in liquid form for easy digestion. It worked great at home but when he traveled it became troublesome dragging around a blender and shopping for or packing along his favourite whole foods. Brendan began searching for a convenient healthy, plant-based whole food meal replacement but was disappointed in his findings.

He found most meal replacements on the market were whey protein based "“ off limits for a vegan. Though some vegetarian options existed, they were all soy protein based, an ingredient Brendan was trying to cut back on due to concerns regarding GMO's and phytoestrogens. All meal replacements he found were deficient in essential fatty acids, especially Omega 3's and most contained large quantities of low quality carbohydrates (eg. maltodextrin), artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners.

Brendan realized there was a need for a meal replacement that did not compromise food quality for convenience. He approached several nutritional supplement manufacturers but everyone told him it wouldn't work "“ "you can't put whole foods into a commercial meal replacement" , they said, "too short a shelf life, low product demand, poor taste and texture, too high a cost" they said. There were too many negatives and not enough positives to warrant such a product. So Brendan put his idea on the back burner and continued to lug his trusty blender and cooler full of whole foods wherever he traveled

A couple of years later, Brendan was struck by a car while training on his bike and injured his leg. Told by his doctor to take 6 months off from training and competing, Brendan sought alternative options. He underwent intense physiotherapy and began taking a product his naturopath recommended called ChlorEssence, hoping the high level of growth factors in it would help heal his injury. At the same time, Brendan also began taking a supplement called MacaSure, for adrenal support, helping him deal with the physical and emotional stress of his injury.

Within 8 weeks of rehabilitation, all the while taking 10g of ChlorEssence and 10g of MacaSure a day, Brendan made a full recovery. Though he was not in his top form, remarkably, he was able to compete professionally again participating in the Ironman Canada triathlon event and finishing the gruelling race despite his recent injury. Brendan was so pleased with his rapid recovery that he contacted Sequel Naturals, makers of ChlorEssence and MacaSure, and shared his success story with Charles Chang, President of Sequel Naturals.

Brendan and Charles also discussed the concept of producing a complete whole food meal replacement that was made from 100% plant-based ingredients. Only now, Brendan wanted to have a full dose of ChlorEssence and MacaSure in every serving of this meal replacement as well. Charles was intrigued by the passion of this young athlete and he loved the idea of the whole food meal replacement. Aware of the many challenges that developing such a product would present, Charles was confident that together they would be able to overcome them.

Brendan was given the job of product formulator and Sequel Naturals would take care of the ingredient sourcing, production, packaging and marketing. They agreed that this product would be made without compromises and had to meet several key criteria, including:

1) Complete meal, meeting all Canadian meal replacement guidelines when mixed in plain water
2) Made primarily with whole foods in their freshest, least processed form possible
3) Made with all natural, plant-based ingredients (absolutely no animal products)
4) Target nutritional profile of 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 30% essential fats
5) Proteins must come from a diverse variety of vegetarian sources, including a minimum of one third raw protein
6) All carbohydrates must be naturally occurring, complex and low glycemic with no added sugars or simple carbohydrates
7) Essential fats must be of high quality, with the majority being Omega 3's; no trans fats or cholesterol
8) No common allergens such as dairy, gluten, soy or wheat
9) No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners and GMO & pesticide-free
10) Must taste good with pleasant texture and flavor

After a year of product formulation and testing, Vega is a replica of Brendan's favourite shake. All the ingredients in Vega were chosen by Brendan to work synergistically to nourish the body and reduce nutritional stress. And now Brendan doesn't have to lug his old blender with him when he travels anymore.

Providing sustaining energy, enhanced mental focus and increased aerobic and anaerobic capacity, Vega Sport Performance Optimizer beverage also replenishes electrolytes and reduces inflammation, joint and muscle pain to assist recovery. Sporting a synergistic array of organic plant-based ingredients and free of common allergens such as gluten, dairy and soy, Vega Sport will help take you to the next level, safely and naturally.

Vega Sport was formulated by Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman triathlete and bestselling author, to significantly enhance physical and mental performance for anyone seeking athletic improvement.

Vega Sport Performance Optimizer provides a complete array of key performance enhancing benefits including:

  • Immediate and sustaining energy
  • Increases endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Enhances mental focus and motor performance
  • Reduces stress and enhances immune system function
  • Replenishes electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Reduces inflammation, joint and muscle pain
  • Improves body composition and reduces body fat
  • Supports healthy weight management

Vega Sport Performance Optimizer is available in lemon-lime and acai-berry flavours in convenient single serving pouches and economical 30 serving bottles.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Survive Cold Water Swimming

Dave Erickson filed this report from Boise after he took a very frigid dip in Lucky Peak Reservoir.

The 4th Annual Ironman 70.3 Boise triathlon is Saturday, June 11th. The water temperature in the Lucky Peak Reservoir as of Thursday was 53 degrees. That’s cold by any definition for a triathlon. Now imagine swimming in it for 1.2 miles!? Not my idea of a good time but as my coach told me today, swim like your being chased by a shark and you’ll be out of there in no time.

Wetsuits are strongly recommended for this body of water, heck, booties and neoprene caps are highly encouraged too. Since the water isn’t going to swim itself, an athlete must have a plan. So, how can you survive a 1.2 mile swim in 53 degree water? Harold Frobisher is a ‘Performance Physiologist’ and ‘Triathlon Coach’ in Boise, Idaho. His own athletic career includes seven Hawaiian Ironman races. You can find him at Tri TOWN at 1517 1/2 N. 13th Street in the Hyde Park district of Boise.

Harold explains how to best acclimate to cold water swimming as quickly as possible, how the body reacts when your face hits frigid water, how your heart reacts and tips for athletes who’ve never raced in water this cold.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The barefoot running debate: Born to run, shoes & injury: the latest thinking

The barefoot running debate: Born to run, shoes & injury: the latest thinking

One of the more interesting, and certainly topical presentations at the recent meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Denver was a symposium on barefoot running. It was led by Irene Davis and Daniel Lieberman, both advocates for barefoot running and top scientists in this field. Lieberman in particular is something of a 'legend' in the field, and two years ago, he gave the prestigious keynote address at the ACSM meeting.

Since then, the area has moved on, thankfully. Most recently, Lieberman's group did some fascinating work on the barefoot running concept in runners accustomed to shoes or running barefoot, and that's the focus of this post, along with some thoughts on the concepts underlying barefoot running. A lot of the time, I'll play devil's advocate, because I believe in Lieberman's findings, and the theory behind barefoot running is sound. But there are some "loopholes", and I'll end with those.

Not just a fad, and certainly not only for the niche

There are more than a few people who have dismissed barefoot running as a fad. And many will have labeled it a niche concept, practiced by a very small percentage of runners. That's only partly true. If you think that barefoot running has nothing to do with you, think again. You may not have discarded your shoes, but the truth is the the shoes you are running in have already been influenced by the concepts that drive the barefoot running movement.

That is, the last decade, which has seen more and more evidence come out AGAINST shoes, has also seen a shift in the shoe industry. Gone are the heavy, bulky motion-control shoes, replaced by shoes that are now marketed to simulate barefoot running. Nike were apparently the first to do this, though I remember Adidas bringing out "feet you wear" in the 1990s. But it was the Nike Free that was the first "barefoot shoe", and Irene Davis, in her ACSM presentation, told the story that a famous college coach in the USA was responsible for this because he told a Nike rep who had come to watch his team train that his runners were more comfortable being barefoot.

The rep rushed back to HQ, reported on the athlete's preference, and it heralded the shift. Now, almost all the companies are focusing on the 'minimalist concept' of shoes. There are even new companies (Vibram, Newton). Of course, there are a few stubborn survivors, but the whole market has shifted, there is no doubt about it. Why? Because of the current thinking around running, and the role of footstrike, and our feet, in injury risk during running. So we're all affected, even if we run in shoes, and here's the theory.

Route 29 36KM TT(T)

Get in shape and get fast for the tri season. The Route 29 36km time trail, fast and relatively flat.

About PA/NJ Bike Racing

After living in Indiana for a number of year’s, I decided to move to central PA to raise my family. If you drive with three kids in the car from IN to Philly to visit family, you would understand the desire to live a bit closer than 10 hours. Within a relatively short period of time, I was able to find some excellent time trial venues. I had experience putting on bike races back in IN and felt that PA needed a structured monthly TT series. The Carlisle TT and SMHC venues were easy to find as these were my old training routes when I went to school at Shippensburg University. A great place to get started bike riding btw. I met Joanne there and we biked all over Cumberland County together.

The Carlisle TT has a great flow to it and has been well received and the South Mountain Hill Climb is one of the best climbs in Central PA…Nothing too steep but the climb with its long distance takes its toll on you…The Clarks Valley venue is simply awesome. A road that goes on for 25 miles without a traffic light or stop sign is ok by me. The new proposed state tt venue is even better, hopefully I will be awarded that event.

The Route 29 35 KM TT(T) is a sweet place to ride your bike and to TT on. I originally wanted to do a tt on the PA side of the border near New Hope, PA as I typically ride around there when I get a chance. I took some bridge across to the NJ side and I stumbled across Route 29. It was like are you kidding me, shoulders that are wider than most bike roads and fairly flat terrain begged for a long TT to happen here on a monthly basis. It was a natural fit. A bit of drive from Carlisle, PA but we get a great turnout and the riders have been so supportive and nice. I also get a chance to see my family and all which has been a positive experience for me and the kids. We look forward to them each month.