Sports Performance

Beer for Recovery After Exercise

Triathlon Beer“Mmmmm, Beer…”

It’s no secret. Many endurance athletes love to have a beer “for recovery,” after a long day of exercise, training, or a race. It affords the opportunity to slow down the pace of life and socialize with others. Although alcoholic beer is known to have many negative effects on an athlete’s physiology, recently released research also shows favorable effects – for non-alcoholic and perhaps even alcoholic wheat beer. This article in no way argues the negative effects alcohol has on performance and recovery. It merely points out, that drinking a specific type of beer may also have positive effects very relevant to endurance athletes.

Creatine Supplementation: Is it Worthwhile?

Creatine SupplementsAccording to the Mayo Clinic, creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular supplements taken among athletes. It occurs naturally in the body, and helps muscles to release energy. (1) Surprisingly, just as in the 90s, only speculation exists as to whether high doses of creatine can potentially cause damage to the kidneys or liver. This stems from the fact that both are used to eliminate excess amounts not utilized by the body. As with the use of any supplement, side effects may occur, including cramping of the stomach, muscle cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and weight gain resulting from either water retention – or actual gains in muscle mass. (2)

Burnout: Avoid it By Maintaining Balance

Athlete BurnoutBurnout is a term used for long-term mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It can be caused by work, exercise, sport, or one’s lifestyle, and may even be influenced by certain personality traits such as being a narcissist, perfectionist, or pessimist (1, 2). Symptoms of burnout include apathy, disengagement, feelings of helplessness, lack of motivation, detachment, and depression. In sport, it can occur as a result of stale habits, too much racing, too much training, or repeated letdown. Burnout can often lead to departure from the sport, overtraining syndrome, and in extreme cases even suicide.

Some celebrity athletes that suffered from burnout include Andre Agassi, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods. These top athletes were so deeply consumed within their respective sport, that they had trouble striking a balance between their personal and professional lives.

Shin Splints: Prevention and Battle

Shin SplintsIf you’re new to exercise, and decided running would be a great way to get fit, you may have run into a few roadblocks here and there. Hopefully, shin splints weren’t one of them. In case they were, here is a way to rule out if your footwear caused them, and keep them from coming back!

Are You at Risk of Developing Shin Splints?

Check your feet and footwear. Do your shoes look overly worn on one side versus the other? And do you have flat, natural, or high arches? If you have flat feet, you should be wearing shoes that provide some medial posting for stability. Take a look at your shoes, and see if there is a small piece of plastic or harder material on the medial side of the shoes. If there isn’t, the chance exists you’re running in shoes that provide too much cushion, and not enough support for your arches. Every time your feet strike the ground, your arches fall unsupported; and, cause the various muscles involved to work less efficiently. Eventually, this leads to pain and injury.

The Benefits of Compression Clothing

Compression ClothingA few years ago there was an enormous surge behind wearing compression clothing in the endurance and multisport communities. Compression clothing’s immense popularity eventually bled into other fitness niches, whether for function or fashion, as often seen with Crossfit, Football, Soccer, Swimming, and other Fitness Enthusiasts. Even as a techno-savvy triathlete, the compression clothing was something I always wondered about, and after some research, even utilized. A big question has always been whether the compression clothing provides form over function, or vice-versa. If you ever watch a triathlon, you’ll wonder whether the extent that some  endurance athletes wear this is even necessary or effective. Sure, I have a pair of socks that I wear after long training sessions, or tough races, but does it really work? Some great research was published, and the answer is “yes.”