Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Proper Nutrition for the Beast

      Proper nutrition is essential to any training program. You will need to adequately prepare with food before you work out, during your workout, and after your workout for recovery. By breaking your sessions down into durations, you can plan your pre-workout meals more easily and effectively.  Your nutrition plan should be measured by the amount of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) you consume. Along with macronutrients, are micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), electrolytes (sodium and potassium), and water. We’ll start with carbs and work our way to hydration.
     Carbs are the primary source of energy for endurance activities and should be the focus of your diet when your workouts are at least an hour in duration.  Carbs are broken down into glucose during digestion and then stored in the form of glycogen in your muscles and liver. It is the broken down form of carbs that is most important for your training session and should be consumed the day prior. Here’s a list of healthy carbohydrate sources:
Whole Grain/Wheat Breads
Sweet Potatoes
Brown Rice
Fruits (bananas, blueberries)
Whole Wheat or Gluten-Free Pasta (quinoa, brown rice)

     The following table can be used as a guide for determining grams of carbs you should consume the day before a training session. If you’re running more than 8 miles, you should consume a simple sugar (gel, GU chomp, gummi bears) during your run every 45-60 minutes. Water intake should be before you feel thirsty (8 ounces) and taken regularly (10-30 minutes) throughout the session.


     Healthy fats are next on the list of importance for endurance activities. Fats can be divided into groups of saturated (animal fat, and tropical oils like coconut), monounsaturated (olive oil, and peanuts), and polyunsaturated (soy, corn, sunflower, and safflower oils). Fats should constitute between 20% and 35% of the total calories consumed per day, with less than 10% coming from saturated fat sources. If your daily fat consumption is below 15%, you may experience a decrease in metabolic rate and muscle development. Here’s a list of foods consisting of healthy fats:

Peanut Butter
Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Safflower Oil
Sunflower Seeds
Almond Butter

     Protein is imperative for muscle development and preservation. Daily recommended intake for protein ranges from 0.8 g/kg – 2.0 g/kg of body weight, depending on activity level of the individual. The key is to start at the low range of the spectrum, see how your body responds for a couple weeks and then increase gradually. Here’s a list of healthy protein sources:

Sirloin Steak
Ground Turkey 94%-99% Lean
Tofu or Tempeh
Protein Powders (Whey, Casein,
Split-Pea, Brown Rice)
Fish (Salmon, Tilapia, White Fish)
Shellfish (Shrimp, Crab, Scallops)

     Water intake for men should be at least 3.7 L/day and 2.7/day for women. I recommend drinking up to a quart of water before you go to sleep and up to a quart as soon as you wake up. Electrolyte consumption should be 2 – 4 g/day for sodium, and 2 – 4 g/day for potassium. Coconut water has 18% of your daily potassium requirements and bananas have 14%. Drink 1 pint of water for every pound of weight lost during your session for fluid replacement. Every body is different, so it’s important to transition gradually into any nutrition program.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016


     Plyometric exercise refers to quick, powerful movements, using both the natural elastic components of muscle and tendon, and the stretch reflex. By integrating plyometrics into your training program, you will enhance your ability to successfully complete the obstacles in the Beast on the Bay. You will be jumping up and over obstacles, which will then require you to safely land on the other side. In order to safely perform these movements, you need to be adept with takeoffs and landings in a training setting. So, I’ve put together a number of warm-up drills and exercises that will address these skills. The following table consists of examples of plyometric warm-up drills.

Mimics running movements
Emphasizes posture and movement technique
Toe Jogging
Heel doesn’t touch ground
Straight-Leg Jogging
Minimize knee bending
Allow heels to reach glutes
Emphasis on quick takeoff and landing
May be multidirectional (forward, back, side, diagonal)

Plyometric Exercises for the Lower Body
Jumps in Place
Jumping and landing in the same spot without resting between jumps
Emphasis on vertical component
Standing Jumps
Emphasis on vertical and horizontal component
Maximal effort with rest between jumps
Multiple Hops and Jumps
Emphasis on horizontal component
May form a zigzag
Multidirectional movement
May be single-leg or double-leg
Box Drills
Jumping on the box or stepping off and landing
May be single-leg, double-leg, or alternating legs
Depth Jumps
Emphasis on landing, then immediately jumping vertically, horizontally, or onto another box
May be single-leg or double-leg

     To establish a plyometric training regimen, we have to address frequency, recovery, volume, program length, and progression. Frequency refers to the number of training sessions per week and can range from 1-3, with 48-72 hours between sessions. Due to the nature of plyometrics requiring maximal effort to improve anaerobic power, it is imperative to have adequate recovery between repetitions and sets. For example, recovery for depth jumps may be 5-10 seconds between repetitions and 2-3 minutes between sets. Work-to-rest ratios are a great way to determine recovery time between sets. Ratios of 1:5 to 1:10 are common for plyometric training. So, if the drill requires 30 seconds of work, you should rest anywhere from 2 ½ -5 minutes until you perform another set. Training volume refers to sets and repetitions per workout session and is expressed as foot contacts on a surface, or distance covered.

Plyometric Experience
Volume in Contacts Per Session
Beginner (no experience)
80 – 100
Intermediate (some experience)
100 – 120
Advanced (considerable experience)
120 - 140

     The length of your plyometric program should range from 6-10 weeks, which gives you plenty of time between now and the Beast on the Bay. Throughout your program, you should be increasing training frequency, volume, and intensity by way of progressive overload. As intensity increases, volume decreases. Reassess these aspects of your program every 2-3 weeks, to ensure that you are improving either the number of foot contacts, or distance covered per session. I know that you will enhance your performance in the Beast on the Bay by employing the drills and exercises I’ve listed. Please contact me with any questions.