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Tips for Snacking

By Stephen G. John

Much has been said about snacking. Food experts attest to the benefits of taking food during snack time, which has become part and parcel of the daily eating pattern. Most people are familiar with taking snacks in between meals, while others prefer to have snacking during midnight. The problem with snacking, however, is that it has become a mindless and emotional habit eating for many. Satisfying food usually make up the menu for snacks, not merely to alleviate hunger pangs but to simply have something to munch on while taking a break from activities such as work or play.

Needless to say, health consciousness encompasses everything that eating is all about, including the type of snack food that you usually enjoy with family and friends. Ponder on some important points to make tasty, healthy snack ideas come to life.

Think nutritional value.

If you’ve been used to serving the crunchy, the salty or the sugary for snacks, it is high time to find out how the body – not just the taste buds – can benefit from these types of food. Do they contain any nutritional value? Everyone, especially kids, will need to be conscious about getting the right amount of nutrition in this era of tasty, zero-nutrient appetizers, dishes, desserts and refreshments.

 

Consider healthier substitutes.

People pay less attention to how snacking can affect the overall diet, and usually go for the typical bread, cookies, pastas, pies, pizzas, cakes, pastries, sandwiches, chocolates, popcorns chops, crackers, noodles or biscuits. Most serve these calorie-filled snacks because they taste good and take less preparation time. Aren’t fruits, nuts, salads, yogurts, real juices, low-sodium and sugar-free recipes just as equally tasty and easy to prepare?

 

Creativity counts!

Most people frown at the thought of having some boring fruit, veggie, wheat-based food or oatmeal for snacks. The quick remedy? Put in variety, experiment with pretty or fun plating, and recreate a recipe to make it your own. Give these items your own personal touch, and explore different ways to perk up your snack.

 

Bear in mind: portions matter in healthy snacking.

You may not give it much thought, but the moment you purchase that bag of fries to fry for snacks, you tend to go for the size XL packs because they are cheaper and provide value for money. While you weigh in how practical the savings are from these deals, it may also be reasonable for you to think about serving smart. Remember that your snack serving portions play a great role in keeping your healthy diet in check.

Paying attention to what your body needs – more than what it wants – is not easy. Such is the case with finding the perfect snack, with all the traditional choices that people have been used to.

Visit healthy snack ideas at http://www.foodplus.tv for some answers.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7993197


How to Pick Running Shoes

by Jasper Blake

Shoe selection used to be easy. Back inthe early days when the running shoe market was born there were only a few players on the field and their line up of products was simple and limited. Today however, choosing a running shoe is far more complicated. There are literally dozens of companies occupying the market and each of them makes dozens of different products.

Sometimes too much choice can be paralyzing. To help you navigate the running shoe landscape here are four critical shoe elements you should consider when making a purchase.

 

1- Foot Type

Most companies build their shoes for specific foot types. Although there is a considerable range within the population, a person’s arch can generally fall into one of three categories, flat, neutral and high. Basically this measure refers to the nature of a person’s arch and how well formed it is. Shoes will often come with varying degrees of arch support. However, if you fall into one of the extremes you may need to seek the advice of a foot specialist for alternative solutions.

The other factor often considered is the width of the foot. Some people have narrow feet and others have wider feet. Some companies make varying shoe widths to accommodate this. Some people prefer different shoe brands all together based on how wide their shoes are made. One brand of shoe may not have the range you need. Thankfully there is no shortage of brands and inevitably one will suit your needs.

 

2- Running Gait

Foot type and running gait are often intimately connected. Running gait simply refers to how a person actually moves and lands when running. The simplest analysis usually involves observing what happens to the person’s foot, ankle, hips and upper body upon landing. Some people have a tendency to collapse inward especially at the foot and ankle upon landing. Shoe companies will often have a shoe within their line up that acts to support this collapse through a more stable medial portion and/or higher arch support. Likewise, they will usually have a shoe in the line up that is neutral for the person who has limited or no inward collapse.

 

3- Heel to Toe Offset

Heel to toe offset simply refers to the difference in height from the heel of the shoe to the toe of the shoe. Shoes that are considered “barefoot” or “minimalist” will often have zero difference in height from heel to toe. Conversely, more traditional running shoes will have 12-14mm of difference between heel and toe.

Although heel to toe offset is not new to shoes themselves, advertising and promoting shoes in this way certainly is. Several shoe companies even include this number in the promotional material or on the shoe itself.

Heel to toe offset might be one of the single most important factors when considering a shoe. If you have been running in a shoe with a 14mm offset and suddenly start running in a shoe with a 0mm or 2mm or even a 4mm offset it will stress your body differently. Lower heel to toe offsets will stretch the Achilles tendon and calf muscles to a greater extent. If your body is not ready for this it can cause injury. If you want to progress to a barefoot or minimalist running shoe I highly recommend that you work your way there gradually.

 

4- Terrain

The fourth and final factor you will need to consider when choosing a shoe is the terrain you will be running on. This is perhaps the easiest of the four. Most companies make both road and trail versions in their line up. The most forward thinking companies usually line up the foot type, running gait and heel to toe offset factors into both a trail and road version of the same shoe. This makes it easy to select a trail shoe with all the key elements you need personally built into essentially the same shoe as your road version.

 

The brands that align themselves more deeply with trail running often take the terrain factor a few steps further integrating some great technology into a shoe that helps you maximize performance off road. Some examples of this technology include the following

  1. Impact plates made of carbon fiber or harder plastic that help protect the foot when landing on rocky terrain
  2. Vents at the bottom of the shoe that allow water to drain out should you be running in wetter environments
  3. Light cabling instead of laces to avoid waterlogged laces and to maintain the integrity of the snug fit if the shoe becomes wet
  4. Tread patterns that allow for more significant gripping when off road
  5. Lighter weight or water repellent materials that do not become water logged and heavy when wet.

 

Running shoe technology has come a long way since its’ birth. Too much choice can be daunting but if you stick to these four aspects you should come out with the right one for you.

 


eGames are here!

Think of the x-games but make the E stand for both “Endurance”, “Everyone” and “Excitement”. That’s the vision creators Graham Fraser and Simon Whitfield have for this new multisport concept!

eGames had their pilot on June 15 up in Barrie, Ontario.  With Subaru, Sportsnet and a host of other major sponsors already taking an active role this year, you can assume they are excited to see this become the next evolution of multi-sport!

What makes it so special?  It all takes place in the heart of Barrie, Ontario where the shores of Lake Simcoe lap against the mile long beach and the stores, restaurants and fitness clubs overlooking Kempenfelt Bay crowd along the town’s main street.  It’s an idealic setting for sports.  Could it become the next Penticton, Lake Placid or Mt Tremblant?  Very possibly…

At the heart of it all is an 800m loop that swings by the lake, up to main street and then sweeps back down to the lake.  At the centre of it all sits a grassy park and people line the entire course cheering friends and family on.  At no point do you feel your mind floating away…if you’re not paying attention to the corners, you’re enjoying the excitement that comes from the cheering crowds.

The events have also been designed to be spectator friendly and accessible to everyone.  This year’s pilot started with a 2 miler followed by a 2 loop high School running race.  Then came the 45 minute bike criterium, a 1 loop kids run (with Simon of course) and finally a new triathlon format called F1.  The F1 is a Simon Whitfield favourite with non-stop action beginning with a 400m swim, then a 5km bike (6 loops), a quick transition to a 2.5km run (3 loops), then back on the bike for another 6 loops before a final 3 loop run.

Everyone can choose to do 1, a few, or all of the events.  For those trying to conquer multiple events, getting your nutrition right is key!  I used Klean Athlete Electrolyte pills as well as theirD-rhibose Endurance tablets to keep me going along with a banana and a sandwich.  It was enough to get me through the 3 events I did but I will probably take a gel with me on the F1 triathlon next year.

Speaking of next year, Graham and Simon are stoked about adding a few extra multisport events and stretching it out over more than just an afternoon.  They want to create a true all-family feel to this eGames festival!  I’m signing up for sure with my family because unlike so many other events, ‘Everyone’ really does get to participate at the eGames.

I’ve got to hand it to Graham and Simon for bringing something new to the world of endurance, multi-sport events in Canada…in fact I think it’s a game-changer!

 


2013 FEATURED EVENTS

7SYSTEMS IS PROUD TO SUPPORT THESE GREAT EVENTS THIS YEAR

 

24 hours of adrenalin

Canmore, Canada, July 20, 2013

Mountain bikers enjoy 24 hours of mountain biking in one of Canada’s greatest mountain locations.   It’s a weekend that is healthy for participants and families while being good to the environment and wildlife that surounds the event.  For over 20 years, it has been one of North America’s greatest mountain biking festivals with over 1,500 participants. 

 

 


The 4 Best Self-Myofascial Release Products

By Jeff Kuhland

The market is full of hundreds of different products. It can be hard to know what is worth your time and what is a waste of money. So, I’ve handpicked four self-myofascial release products to review for you: the Trigger Point Ultimate 6 Kit and GRID Foam Roller, the Theracane, the Power Stick, and the Acuball Kit. I chose these because of personal experience and market research.

I’ve used all of the products now for several weeks and am excited to report increased mobility, faster recovery after workouts, and increased performance in all my lifts. All four have some great advantages, but for most people you simply can’t afford to buy everything. Use the guide below to find out what will work best for you.

Trigger Point Ultimate 6 Kit & GRID Foam Roller – $154.99 & $39.99

Best for: Quads, hamstrings, and IT bands using the quadballer. The footballer was best for triceps, and the massage ball for the chest.


Theracane – $39.95
Best for: Neck, traps, and trigger points around the shoulder blades.

Power Stick – $47.95

Best for: Calves and tibia, providing better relief here than any other product. Also good for quads, hamstrings, and neck.

Acuball Kit – $59.99

Best for: Improving posture and opening up spinal mobility. Access foot trigger points with the Acuball-mini.


Peanut butter coconut oatmeal cookies

7SYSTEMS DO MORE team member Louis Therien is a huge peanut butter freak and even more of a cookie freak!

These cookies are amazing and also healthy…….well, for cookies!

 Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup ground coconut
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Beat together oil and peanut butter then beat in eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in coconut.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together oats, flour, powder and soda.
  4. Stir into peanut butter mixture but do not over mix.
  5. Drop onto a baking sheet in 1 1/2 tablespoons round.
  6. Gently press to flatten and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

WARNING: If you have a peanut allergy please don’t be an idiot and make these!

 


Louis Therien

louis t_post

Louis lives in Ottawa and works for the government of Canada as a Senior Human Resource advisor.  He’s an avid athlete who has traveled extensively to enjoy and compete in triathlons and is a member of our DO MORE Team.

He sent us this note after coming back from training:

“As you know I’m a huge believer in the product and haven’t stopped using it since day 1!  Always talk about it. Just came back from Maui with my coach Phil Bertrand at the beginning of Jan.  What a crazy place!!”

Last year, Louis placed third overall in the amateur field at the Rev3 Half Iron.  He also finished in 04:36:56 at Mt. Tremblant 70.3, placing him 4th in the highly competitive M25-29 category. The season has started early this year having already raced the San Juan 70.3.

You can read more about Chasing the Dream at: loutherien.blogspot.ca

We’ve also posted his favourite snack: Peanut butter coconut oatmeal cookies

Louis manages to DO MORE with the help of 7SYSTEMS.


Even the Kenyans do Drills

By Jasper Blake

I recently read an article written by someone who spent some time at one of the hot beds for running in Kenya. I was happily surprised to read that the author noted the strong presence of drills in their daily training programs. Happy because I also make a habit of incorporating drills into my own training and let’s be honest, it’s always nice to hear that you are doing something similar to the Kenyans when it comes to running. And surprised because I suppose like many people I thought the basic elements of running technique may go by the wayside at such a high level.

Drills are an essential part of any sport. They take often complex movements and break them down into manageable chunks. They can also be used to elicit certain neuro-muscular responses in an athlete. Running drills are a great way to generate desired technical outcomes that may not be easily executed when actually running.

Some of the most common drills I use during workouts are the following:

Tall Hops
Reach your arms as high as you can above your head and hop on both feet (mid to forefoot landing). Forward motion is negligible. The primary goal of this drill is to promote a tall posture (the arms above head help this) and to promote mid to forefoot landing. Do this for ten seconds then immediately start into a 50m acceleration while maintaining the desired landing surface on your foot and the tall, proud posture.

The Lean
Standing in one spot balance on one leg while lifting the other foot off the ground towards your buttocks. Hamstring engagement is required to left the leg. Hands should be in a natural running position. Balance in this position with tall posture and allow your entire body to fall forward. Just as you reach the point of no return put down the raised foot and lift up the foot on the ground- balance here and repeat. This is a drill used frequently in the POSE method of running. The POSE method was developed by Dr. Nicholas Romanov and you can check out more on POSE here.

Arm Circles
While running swing both arms in a circular motion in front of your body (as if you were going to draw a giant circle on a chalk board in front of you with both hands). This drill is designed to generate stability through the core. Your arms are heavy and throwing them out of the normal vertical plane while still moving forward is a great way to force core activation. If you do not activate you will find it difficult to keep running forward. This drill is great for people who experience too much upper body movement while they are running. The effect should be to create some separation between upper body movements and the action of the legs.

There are literally dozens of examples of great drills that can be incorporated into your run training. They are a fun and effective way to make positive changes as well as simply warm up for a workout. Have fun!


Crawling, Joe Rizzi still finishes Ironman Hawaii in 10:21

Despite a race that didn’t go so well from the start, Joe still finished in 10:21.  A long time users of 7SYSTEMS, he showed a true DO MORE attitude.  You need to read his full story to understand how this incredible story unfolded, and finished.
“I knew on the start line it was going to be a long day. I started to throw up towards the end of the bike, I think I rode the last 20-30 km out of the aero position, I didn’t think it was a good idea to start the run because I was getting dizzy spells and my ears were ringing w/ less than 10k to go on the bike. But I did anyways, the first couple miles were tough but at the third aid station I took in some coke (something I never do during a race) that made all the difference and I was off and running 7:20 – 7:40 miles for the next 13–14 miles. Then it all fell part again, crawled in to a disappointing 10:21. Oh well next year.”
“Going into the race I was in better shape than I was in Tremblant, my taper was bang on, so I was expecting around the same result or a bit faster, depending on weather conditions of course, the wind can be brutal. The race is so long you never know what to expect.”


BARRIE SHEPLEY’S FINAL POST OLYMPIC ANALYSIS

WHAT CANADA DID WELL AT THESE LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES

It would be easy with only one gold medal to consider these Olympics somewhat of a disappointment even though we got 18 total medals.  The Canadian officials had wanted 20+ medals and a top 12 finish.   That didn’t occur and there are a number of reasons that I will discuss below.   We have to properly assess what Canada did well (and we did some things very well), and what we need to improve upon to move up in the overall rankings by Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Brazil.   Below are some of the things that I think the Canadian Olympic Committee, Sports Canada and Own the Podium did very well at these Olympic Games.

  • PROPERLY FINANCED OUR BEST ATHLETES:  Top Canadian Olympians were the best financed they have ever been in our history (training camps, equipment, and competitions).  Later on I will discuss the problem with not funding younger development athletes (but the top athletes were well funded and money should not have been an excuse why they did not win).

 

  • INJURY PREVENTION OF “MOST” OF OUR BEST ATHLETES:   In general our athletes showed up at these Olympic games with very few injuries.  This is a huge tribute to the Canadian Sports Medical Services across the country (physios, massage, chiro, osteopaths).   As athletes are training at a higher and higher level, Sports Medicine moves from being optional  to being absolutely mandatory for them to have a chance to win.    Without being able to train healthy and consistently our future athletes will not be able to be competitive on an international stage.

 

  • SUPPORT FOR OLYMPIC PARENTS:  Companies like P & G (with their “THANK YOU MOM” program) and PETRO CANADA (with their FAMILY SUPPORT program) were important to our athletes.  Simon Whitfield and others talked about how valuable it was that their parents were taken care of (so that the athlete could just focus on their sporting needs).

 

  • TOP 10 FINISHES:  I will talk about getting gold medals later on, but Canada had its deepest Olympic Games when it comes to top 10 finishes.  We had many life-time bests (4th-10th place finishes that don’t show up on the medal count, but are an indication that we are becoming more competitive internationally. Our challenge now is to covert top 10’s to podiums and to convert our many bronze medals to GOLD!

 

  • DESIRE TO INSPIRE OUR COUNTRY:  Virtually every single athlete on our Olympic Team, were terrific, articulate kids who want to be great role models in the Canada.  Our Olympians have done many talks to schools and groups and want to do more in the future.

 

  • DEDICATED COACHES:  I know many of the coaches and I am amazed at how hard they work and how dedicated they are to their athletes.  These coaches are paid a very modest income and the number of hours they are away from their families and homes in a year (particularly the Olympic year) is massive.  

THINGS THAT I BELIEVE CANADA NEEDS TO IMPROVE UPON TO BE COMPETITIVE 

  1. HELP FINANCE DEVELOPMENTAL ATHLETES:  Right now the vast majority of any government carding, and corporate sponsorship is going to the already established small group of Olympic athletes.  The Clara Hughes and Adam Van Koverden type names are currently reasonably well financed (right now), but the future champions are starving to death and in many cases dropping out of sport.  If Canada wants to have great athletes in 2016 and 2020, we have to support those kids now (because many of them will be gone from sport long before they are world-class simply due to financial stress).  I have seen first hand, how the modest amount of money I am able to raise keeps elite athletes in sport until they are able to be better sponsored by the Federal Government and other private Sponsors.  I guarantee you that there are Olympic medalists from 2016 and 2020 in the country, right now, who we will lose simply due to them not being able to afford to stay in competitive sport.  Your money (whether its through donations, sponsorships) does make a difference.   If you can, I encourage your money and time to go to smaller organizations.  Larger groups like the Canadian Olympic Committee and others do have money in the bank (which they usually save for a rainy day and rarely spend it on developing athletes). Putting your money into smaller programs where the active clubs and coaches are directly helping Canada’s future star athletes it will make a direct impact.  The Burl Oak Canoe Club that Adam Van Koverden & Mark Oldershaw belong to have created those paddling champions and your small donations to organizations like Burl Oak or my C3 Canadian Cross Training Club have direct impact on creating future champions.   Obviously I am not saying DON’T SUPPORT THE COC OR CANFUND, but I am simply saying that to significantly help future Olympic Champs, the COC, SPORTS CANADA and OWN THE PODIUM make little or no attempt to help the younger athletes who are not on the international stage yet and this is a great place where Canadians can make a direct impact.

 

2.  SHARE ATHLETES BETWEEN SPORTS: I have fought tirelessly for four or five years and will work even harder in the years to come, to get athletes to move into the sport they can ultimately be best at.  You see some ex-gymnastic athletes now getting into diving.  You see some ex-sprint athletes (like Jesse Lumsden from football, or track runners) becoming bobsled team athletes.  Essentially, athletes need to be encouraged to move from a sport where they will have modest national success, into a sport where they can have International success for Canada (perhaps even win major titles in the new sport).  My sport of triathlon is a perfect example.   There are likely 20-30 swimmers and runners in Canada right now who should be directed to triathlon from their single sports.  The level of running against the Kenyans and swimming against the Americans is so ridiculously high, that very few Canadians will ever even make it to the Olympic Games (and if they beat those odds to make our Olympic swim or run team they would have a very very low hope of an Olympic medal).  Swim Canada or Athletics Canada can pretty much already identify their 1-2 future Ryan Cochrane or Dylan Armstrong superstars and keep them in swimming and athletics.  Bu there are many athletes in Swim Canada and Athletics Canada who already swim  or run fast enough to beat the triathlon champions we saw in London this past week and if we work on their other skills, they could be a champion by Rio Brazil 2016.   American Gwen Jorgensen was a collegiate swimmer and runner in Wisconsin just three years ago.  After graduating and starting into her accounting career,  USA Triathlon recruited her into triathlon even though she had never done a triathlon in her life. Within 2 years Gwen made the American Olympic Triathlon Team and has won major races in her first 2 years in the sport.  That would have been virtually impossible for her to accomplish in swimming or running.  Universities, Colleges, and National Teams should be working together to push athletes into sports that they are more physically suited for (and which Canada could be successful at in the future).

3.   BETTER SUPPORT FOR OUR COACHES:   While I don’t want to get into specifics in this newsletter, I personally believe there were elite coaches, heading to London, that needed some extra help and mentoring themselves.  In general, coaches believe they are an endless battery that has to continually support their athletes and have all the answers.  Over 1, 2, 3+ years coaches wear down and become less effective.  Under the stress of an Olympic campaign, I believe some coaches become less effective.  We are spending more resources on our athletes, but I believe the coaches need some “coaching” and “mentoring” themselves.  I personally would like to see a resource team be put together to focus just on our high performance coaches (and how the coaches can be more effective to help our elite athletes).  Their role would be to interact with the Olympic coaches (not the Olympic athletes).  If we want better athletes, we need better coaches (and resources for those coaches).

4.  STREAMLINE THE SPORTS WE ARE COMMITTED TO:  The great Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Alex Baumann 100% believed that Canada should focus on less sports at the Olympic Games.  This is a controversial topic that will have some people loving me (if I keep their sport) and hating me (if I drop their sport).  Canada only has 30 million people.  There are some activities that we have never been successful at and the chances are very slim that we will ever be successful at them.  To keep pretending that we will be a power in certain sports is unreasonable and low probability.  We have to prioritize which sports we fund.  This prioritization should take into consideration some of the following items.

           A.      Are we currently showing success in this sport (or have we).   Obviously we will always be great at ice-hockey but perhaps not cricket (just an example)
            B.      Do we have the infrastructure to do well in this sport.  That includes buildings, coaches, clubs, participants and likely (or proven) sponsors.
            C.      How many other power house countries are already excelling in the sport.   The more big countries already doing well in the sport will make it tougher for us in the future.
            D.      Are there sports that most nations don’t care about (we could move up quickly in that sport with some extra focus/attention).  
            E,      Do we have some “special” thing that makes us successful in that sport (ie. our culture of paddling and water in Canada = many successes and past medals)
            F.      Do we have an abundance of coaches or resources in that sport (i.e.. A very deep competitive development program of Canadian female soccer players or ice hockey players).  

5.  FOCUS MORE ON FEMALE SPORTS:  Wow I am going to get gang tackled for this one, and it might sound sexist.  But if you look at the past trend, Canada is getting more and more medals from our female athletes (and our team is now made up of more then 50% females).  This is not because our male athletes are weak, its because the entire world does not treat their female athletes as fairly and equitably as Canada does.  As a result, relative to the rest of the world, our Canadian female athletes are better funded and resultantly staying in sport longer and performing better at the Olympic Games.    I have known for a decade that the same amount of time and money I invest in one male athlete will not get me the same number of medals as if I invest the exact same time  and money into a female athlete.  So if we are looking for medals, we should be giving more opportunities and encouraging our Canadian females even more.  This is not to say stop supporting male sports, its just to realize that the same amount of time and money we invest in our male athletes, will give less medals than our female athletes.   With Milton building a new world-class cycling velodrome for the 2015 Pan American Games, I would personally recruit and hugely support a group of female track cyclists.  There are not many female track cyclists in the world (due to the need for a great track).  I believe we could become very competitive in a short time in women’s track cycling.

 

6.  BRING OUR BEST ELITE ATHLETES TOGETHER MORE OFTEN:  There is a great energy and learning that the top athletes have when they are around each other. In my mind, we have not taken full advantage of this resource and they only see each other every four years when they are under great stress.  Perhaps every 18-24 months (half way between Olympics), bring a group of our top current summer and winter athletes (and best future prospects) together to learn, share and challenge each other.  Adam Van Koverden may have some wisdom he can share with our younger track sprinters and Clara Hughes could certainly help and improve Paula Findlay’s competitive package.   You can’t tell me that having ex-NHL hockey player Mark Messier could not teach Dylan Armstrong something that might have made the difference in moving from 5th to 3rd or 2nd.  While I understand the practical challenges (location, time of the year within your sport’s competitive time, cost), I do believe it could be worth while on many levels and is worthy of considering.

 

7.      BETTER EXECUTION OF OUR TAPERING & PERFORMANCE ON DEMAND REQUIREMENTS:  Many athletes can perform well once or twice a year when it really doesn’t matter, but they are not capable of executing as well “on demand”   “ON DEMAND PERFORMANCE” is performing on the day of your Olympic Final (even when you don’t feel 100%).  I believe a number of our athletes/teams were over-cooked and missed their tapers. In some cases I believe this may have occurred based on poor Olympic Team selection criteria set up by their sport leaders/federations.   Simply picking 1st, ,2nd and 3rd athletes across the finishing line at a National Championship may leave your best athletes off the team (due to the flu, a flat tire, or some bad luck).   I have seen National Federations nearly kill their athletes putting them through the “hoops” just to make the Canadian Olympic Team and in the end, they were so tired and exhausted chasing the selection criteria that they had nothing left to compete against the other competitors on race/competition day.  Make sure that the selection and the resultant taper is more optimal for the athletes to actually perform well on race day.

8.  BETTER – MORE COMPETENT GYM CLASS IN SCHOOL:  The grade schools and high schools are the breading grounds for Future Champions.   We need to do a much (much) better job at encouraging and supporting more and better physical activity in schools.  While some schools in Canada have great gym classes and varsity teams, it is declining and every senior retiring teacher I speak to tells me its significantly worse than it was 20 years ago.  That does not bode well for us having many future star athletes.   Simon Whitfield was a great soccer and basketball player and because of that he created extraordinary sprinting power and agility.   We need more kids with higher skill levels graduating from grade 8 into high school and from grade 12 into college.  

9.  WE NEED TO MAKE THE PEAK ATHLETIC EXPERIENCE FOR MOST KIDS TO BE AT UNIVERSITY  / COLLEGE AGE:  Far too many sports have a major “peak” at about 12-14 years of age.  That is to say, they try to have very very competitive athletes by 12-14 years of age and if your not winning at that time, you generally drop out of the sport completely (I could write a full paper on just this topic).  With few exceptions, I believe that the age we are trying to get GREAT PERFORMANCES out of many athletes should be significantly pushed up to older ages (19-24) while at University.  By making the University age a high priority, we delay drop out of sport to a much later time and catch late developing kids.   Olympic Swimmer Rick Say  (2000 Sydney) was a summer swim club athlete in BC until he was 17 years of age.   American Gwen Jorgensen didn’t do her first triathlon till 3 years ago.   To have more kids involved in sport at a later age, means a healthier population AND more kids to eventually pick from for future Olympic Teams.

10.  CONTINUE TO MAKE SPORT MORE ACCESSIBLE:   Organizations like JUMP START (with Canadian Tire) and KIDSPORT and other organizations are trying to help make it cheaper and easier for kids to get involved in sport.   We know how much money it cost to lockup  juvenile criminals up in a detention center or prison.  A fraction of that amount of money can be spent to keep more kids (particularly kids in high risk areas) involved in sport.

 

11.     BETTER MENTAL PREPARATION:  While this was hit and miss in London, I definitely believe numerous top Olympic athletes WERE NOT fully prepared to deal with the stress.  Look at how many of our much talked about medal hopefuls came up short of the podium.   While some of the athletes had a bad day (or bad luck), there were numerous ones that appeared to me to be overly (or under) stimulated.  Many of the top OWN THE PODIUM ATHLETES seemed to be overly stimulated by the burden of being one of Canada’s medal threats (and faces of the team).  Dylan Armstrong openly talked about how nervous he was and how much pressure he felt being in that role.  Instead of seeing it as a privilege, some only felt the pressure of having to bring home a medal.  I 100% believe in the value of the OWN THE PODIUM program, but I think there are some holes and areas where we need to enhance our athlete support and MENTAL PREPARATION is one of those areas.  

12.  BETTER  PERIODIZATION:   I have sort of discussed this in other areas, but in general we had some athletes who were too old or improperly prepared.  That is they to stay they were stars 1-2 years ago, but they were headed in the wrong direction by the time the Olympic Games came along.  Or, they may have won their big tournament or competition 1-2 years ago (that got them recognized for OWN THE PODIUM).  In numerous cases our best athletes who did not perform in London, had their best performances 12+ months ago and did not come close to their best performances at the Olympic Game.  Because some of these athletes were earlier identified as our MEDAL THREATS (Mary Spencer, Dylan Armstrong, Paula Findlay) and the media continued to write about them as medal threats, there was a growing pressure on those athletes.   While World Championship or Circuit Championships are valuable, I saw athletes like Dylan Armstrong be injured in early 2012 due to pushing too hard to win  titles in 2011.  It would be interesting to see how many of our 18 medal people were on top of their game in 2011 (or did they peak in 2012 when it was most important).   

13.  GOOD LUCK:  Sometimes you simply need some good luck to go your way.  I like the old saying “the harder I worked the luckier I became”.  Canada is a small country (relative size to the world) and we try to be very competitive in winter and summer Olympics (very few countries try to do this).  So when you add summer & winter Olympic participation, with just 30 million people, and a cooler climate, you need to be wise in your decision making and resource allocation to ultimately be successful at Olympic sport AND to ultimately win medals (preferably Gold).


Incredible Medal Success in London 2012

 

Of the ten 7SYSTEMS athletes who competed in the London Olympics, an incredible 30% medaled. 

We are so proud to have helped them to the podium with 7SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement.  They are:

  • Silver: Adam van Koeverden
  • Bronze: Gillian Carleton
  • Silver: Malcolm Howard

 

 

There were lots of stories, pain, tears, joy and victory for all of the athletes.  They all have stories to share and are such great examples of people who have a passion to DO MORE.  Thanks to all of them for being such an inspiration regardless of the outcome you achieved. 

Follow the full story of the athletes at http://www.facebook.com/DoMoreWith7systems 


10 Canadian Olympic Athletes know they can DO MORE with 7SYSTEMS

  • 7SYSTEMS is helping 10 Canadian Olympic Team athletes DO MORE

  • We’re helping them stay healthy so they can bring home Gold again

  • And helping them strike Gold for the first time

  • Canada’s Flag Bearer is definitely DOing MORE

  • 7SYSTEMS is for those who believe they can DO MORE

  • Developed by athletes for athletes

 

  

 

Watch our 10 athletes in action at the following times or friend us for daily updates at http://www.facebook.com/DoMoreWith7systems

Name Sport Day Time
       
Malcolm Howard Rowing Wednesday August 1st 7:30am EST
Gillian Carleton Track Cycling Saturday August 4th 12:42pm EST
Paula Findlay Triathlon Saturday August 4th 4:00am EST
Kyle Jones Triathlon Tuesday August 7th 6:30am EST
Simon Whitfield Triathlon Tuesday August 7th 6:30am EST
Adam Van Koueverden K1 1000m Wednesday August 8th 4:30am EST
  K1 200m Saturday August 11th 4:30am EST
Reid Coolsaet Marathon Sunday, August 12 6:00am EST
Dylan Wykes Marathon Sunday, August 12 6:00am EST
Eric Gilles Marathon Sunday, August 12 6:00am EST
Max Plaxton Mountain Biking Sunday, August 12 8:30am EST

 

 


10 Canadian Olympic Team athletes DO MORE in London with 7SYSTEMS

7SYSTEMS, the endurance sports supplementchosen by Olympians and recreational athletes all over Canada, is pleased to announce 10 of their athletes will be participating in the 2012 Olympic Games. These athletes are not paid for their endorsement of 7SYTEMS but have been chosen by the company.

“7SYSTEMS is extremely proud to be supporting 10 athletes on their way to the 2012 London Olympic Games,’ said Jasper Blake, founder of 7SYSTEMS and Ironman Champion. “Created by world-class athletes, for world-class athletes, 7SYSTEMS was developed to ensure athletes’ nutritional requirements are being met during training and recovery.  Never has that been as important as the lead-up to the 2012 Olympic Games.”

The 2012 7SYSTEMS Team:

  1. Gillian Carleton, first-time Olympian, Track Cycling
  2. Reid Coolsaet, first-time Olympian, Marathon
  3. Paula Findlay, first-time Olympian, Triathlon
  4. Eric Gillis, first-time Olympian, Marathon
  5. Malcolm Howard, gold medallist (2008), Rowing
  6. Kyle Jones, first-time Olympian, Triathlon
  7. Max Plaxton, first-time Olympian, Mountain Biking
  8. Adam Van Koeverden, gold, silver, bronze medallist (2004, 2008, 2004) Kayaking
  9. Simon Whitfield, gold and silver medallist (2000, 2008), Triathlon
  10. Dylan Wykes, first-time Olympian, Marathon

For athlete updates, information on their training and research notes please friend us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/DoMoreWith7systems


Scones with Strawberries and whip cream

 

What is more British than scones with strawberries and whipped cream? Well, nothing is really, especially if you are a regular Wimbledon Tennis fan.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 20):

  •     4 cups self-raising flour
  •    1 tablespoon caster sugar
  •    1 cup thickened cream
  •    1 cup milk
  •    2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  •    2 tablespoons icing sugar mixture, to serve
  •    Strawberry cream
  •    1/4 cup strawberry jam
  •    1 1/2 cups thickened cream, whipped
  •    150g strawberries, diced

 

Directions:

  1. Make sure you have the ingredients!
  2. Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper. Sift flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  3. Combine cream, milk and vanilla in a jug. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir with a flat-bladed knife to combine. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth.
  4. Pat dough out to a 2.5cm-thick round.Using a 5cm scone cutter, cut 12 scones from dough. Gently press remaining dough together and repeat. Place scones on prepared tray, allowing a little room for spreading. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven. Cover with a clean tea towel and stand scones on tray for 10 minutes.
  5. Make strawberry cream: Stir jam in a bowl until softened slightly. Add cream and half the strawberries. Gently fold through until just combined.
  6. Split scones in half. Top bases with a dollop of strawberry cream, remaining strawberries and scone tops. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Source: www.taste.com; Super Food Ideas- June 2006, Page 24. The recipe is by Julie Jansen


The Power of Presence- A Mental Strategy for Best Performances

The ability to deal with the mental stress of important situations is critical if you want to do the very best job you can on race day. Even if you are a beginner, you still want to do your best. So how come it is so difficult for people to do this? Why do so many people break down or “choke” when it matters the most?

 

I personally think it’s because our approach to what we think is mental toughness has largely been flawed. In the past we have always focused on things like visualization and simply saying “you need to be more mentally tough” but what does that actually mean?

 

The goal is to put yourself in a mind space that allows you to perform freely and at your best. Visualization can backfire for people who are already in an overly heightened state of mental energy. Visualization is also more or less important depending on the nature of the activity. Diving for example likely requires a very high degree of visualization because the elements are so technical. Simply saying to someone “be more mentally tough” can also backfire if it creates a situation where someone “over-tries”. I’ve found these strategies often fail to lead to a useful headspace. Perhaps the very notion of trying to be mentally tough is the problem.

 

Perhaps we need to adopt a softer approach, one that allows full engagement without actually trying to engage fully in the task. Being “in the zone” is something athletes refer to on occasion but what does that actually mean and why is it so hard to get there if you try to get there? After several decades of competing I think “the zone” is simply nothing more than the ability to stay present. On rare occasions we get there without trying and have one of those magical days and wonder how on earth everything flowed so effortlessly. Inevitably we try hard to get back there the next time but the very act of trying is the problem and quite often we end up choking instead.

 

Choking is the term used to describe someone who has a significant mental and physical breakdown when it counts. Choking is usually a result of “mind noise” or fear based thought patterns that manifest in the body.  The thinking mind or “ego” takes over and the result is often a disastrous performance. The problem with the thinking mind is that it is concerned mainly with outcome and during times of stress it can become consumed by a fear of not realizing that outcome. The unfortunate thing is that choking tends to perpetuate itself.  Fear or worry about an outcome creates tension in the body, which causes physical malfunction, which generally causes failure in execution, which creates more fear of failure, which in turn creates more choking.

 

Here are some signs that you may be overthinking your current situation or in danger of choking:

  • Tightness
  • Anxiety
  • Mind noise
  • Worrying about the outcome (thinking too much about the past or future)
  • Doubt
  • Fear

 

Doubt, fear, anxiety and worry are all emotions and thoughts that most humans experiences when a race is approaching.  It doesn’t matter how good someone gets, he/she will always have to deal at some level with ones own mental sabotage.

 

What separates great performances from mediocre performances is the ability to deal with the onslaught of destructive or debilitating thought patterns that can be generated by the brain when a competition draws near. The most important strategy you can implement is learning to stay present. There have been many great books written on the power of this idea. Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now is a great example of how powerful the present moment can be and has some great strategies on how to be present.

 

Ideally we give the brain something to think about that exists in the present moment, is relevant to the task and is positive. Timothy Galloway’s “Inner Game” book series has great strategies for staying present when it matters the most. Examples include technical, motivational or strategic thoughts that remove the thinking mind from the actual act of doing. When the thinking mind tries to control the body, choking is usually inevitable.

 

We can learn from very young children and animals because they don’t choke.  They may not always win or execute a task perfectly but they don’t choke because the thinking mind does not exist in their brains.  They simply do, they don’t think about doing and by and large they are always engaged in the present moment.

 

But why is the ability to be present so important in a sport like triathlon? Part of the challenge in a long distance event is to be fully engaged throughout and to be able to endure deep amounts of discomfort. Someone who can either distract the thinking mind from the current state of discomfort or simply learn to observe the present moment without judgment will have a mental edge every time. A triathlon or long distance event can seem overwhelming if we project into the future and think about how long it is but quite often if we are fully engaged in what’s happening now we can handle the now.

 

Learning to become more present takes practice. Here are some steps to help.

 

Step 1

Learn to observe your thoughts and become aware of the fact that you are having them. More often than not we are so deeply entrenched in thought we are not actually aware we are having a thought. Thought patterns can take over and will manifest themselves as physical tension.

 

Step 2

Learn to observe those thoughts without judgment. By attaching negative meaning to thoughts we are placing judgment on something, which is pointless. If it’s raining on race day don’t view it as a positive or negative thing, just a thing that may require adjustments to your execution. (Judgment often creates a spiral of more negative thinking)

 

Step 3

Know that your brain can only occupy one thought at a time. Knowing this is very powerful because it allows you to give your brain something constructive and useful to do that exists in the present moment.

 

Step 4

Learn to bring yourself back to the present moment as much as you can. By focusing on things like breathing we are engaging the brain in a useful activity that exists now.
Step 5

Practice

 


The Transition

The Transition

 

The transition is often considered the fourth event of a triathlon.  The transition refers to the time spent between swimming and biking (T1) and between biking and running (T2). Quite simply it is when you have to “transition” from one sport to the next.

 

Transitions are usually timed and will show up on the final results sheet so it’s important to practice them and get as good as you can in order to have extra bragging rights!

 

Having a great transition can set the tone for the event you are transitioning to and can improve your overall time.  Here are some tips on how to nail your transition.

 

Know the flow

It’s incredibly important to know how the transition “flows”. Part of your warm up should include a walk through the transition area so you have a mental picture of where you are supposed to go.

 

During your walk through, start as if you were exiting the swim and follow the path you will have to take during the race. Walk into transition and practice finding your bike. Spotting your bike among the masses can be challenging but if you have walked the path a few times before you will nail it.  Counting bike racks or using other identification markers like a sponsors banner near your bike can really help.

 

The next step is to pretend you are exiting with your bike.  Again, follow the exact path you will have to take and note where the mount line is (the line where you are safely and legally allowed to get on your bike).

 

Next, you will need to walk as if you are coming back in from the bike.  Notice where the dismount line is (the line where you are required to be off your bike or you will face a penalty and possible disqualification). Walk back into transition and back to where you will have to rack your bike. The second transition can be tougher to negotiate because your bike is not there as a strong visible marker. Picking some identification markers will really help you during the second transition. The last step in your walk through is to follow the path you will have to take in order to exit the run.

 

Visualize

There are a few key things you will have to do during a transition and visualizing them can help train your brain so they become automatic. After you have done a walk through take some time to visualize not only the flow of transition but also what you will need to do.

 

Key Aspects of Transition 1 (T1) (Swim to Bike)

Exit the water

  1. Take off your wetsuit (take the top half down while you are running to your bike)
  2. Remove your cap and goggles
  3. Take the bottom half of your wetstuit off at your bike rack
  4. Put your helmet and glasses on on (**MUST BE DONE BEFORE YOU TOUCH YOUR BIKE)
  5. Put your shoes on (if you are not comfortable leaving your shoes attached to your bike)
  6. Put your number belt on (if it’s not already on)
  7. Take your bike off the rack and walk or run with it out of transition
  8. Mount your bike after the mount line

 

Key Aspects of Transition 2 (T2) (Bike to Run)

  1. Dismount your bike before the mount line
  2. Walk or run with your bike to your transition rack (**DO NOT REMOVE YOUR HELMET UNTIL YOUR BIKE IS RACKED!)
  3. Rack your bike
  4. Remove your helmet
  5. Remove your bike shoes (unless you left them on your bike)
  6. Put on your running shoes
  7. Put on your running hat or visor (if you are a hat or visor wearing type)
  8. Walk or run out of transition

 

Skills you should practice

Taking your helmet on and off is simple enough when you are not under pressure but this can be a problematic part of your first transition. When you add in the fact that you may be dealing with cold hands that don’t work properly it can be down right frustrating. You can practice taking your helmet on and off at home while watching TV if you really want to nerd out! The more you do it, the more your hands will automatically go to the right place when it counts.

 

Taking your wetsuit off can be practiced whenever you finish an open water swim. Practicing this skill is not as easily done at home while watching TV so make a habit of getting out of your suit in a hurry after your open water swim practices.

 

Putting your running shoes on during the second transition is an important skill to practice. Elastic laces or toggles with your laces will really improve your second transition time. Fiddling with normal laces and trying to tie them up is simply unnecessary, there are numerous products available specifically to help you get into your running shoes without having to tie them up.

 

Other Considerations

Every race will have different transition rules.  Most races allow you to have all of your gear at your bike rack and you can create your own small space to manage it. Many of the larger races like Ironman and 70.3 events have a bag system that requires all of your gear to be in a bag that you collect and manage in a change tent. Some races will supply a bin that you must keep all of your gear in that is then placed at your transition rack.

 

Tricks used by speedy transition masters

  1. Keep your sunglasses on your bike- you don’t need to put your sunglasses on in transition. Keeping one arm of your eyewear under the Velcro part of the arm pads on your time trial bars allows you to get up to speed on your bike before removing them and putting them on.
  2. Wearing a race belt under your wetsuit is a great way to avoid having to put one on in transition. The less you have to do in transition the better **NOTE** some races do NOT allow you to do this so make sure you know the rules.
  3. If you are tying your shoes up in transition then you are missing out on one of the easies ways to make your transition faster. Invest in some elastic laces or some toggles for your normal laces. There is no need to be tying up shoes in transition
  4. Putting your helmet and/or glasses on while you are taking off the bottom half of your wetsuit is a great way to save some time. Again this type of multitasking requires some practice.
  5. Cut the legs on your wetsuit a bit shorter so it’s easier to get off (DO NOT CUT BEYOND THE TAPE SEEMS)- We highly recommend you do this in the presence of someone with experience so you don’t ruin a perfectly good suit!
  6. Another great way to save time in transition is to practice leaving your shoes on your bike. This is a huge time saver because not only do you avoid having to stop in transition to put on bike shoes but you also avoid running, often on pavement, in a slick carbon or plastic sole. This strategy also allows you to be moving forward while you are putting your shoes on.
  7. Always be moving forward- any time you are not moving forward you are losing time. Think of things you can do that will allow you to keep moving forward. For example, when exiting onto the run you can be running while putting on visor, your number belt and sunglasses. You don’t need to do these things while you are standing still.

 

Keep it simple!

Despite all of the information in this article, the transition is actually very simple.  The phrase “simple is better” certainly applies to a transition. The less you have to do, the faster you will be and the less likely you are to forget something. It’s amazing sometimes to see the amount of gear that people have at their transition. From swim to bike all you should really have to do is take your wetsuit off and put your helmet on (once you have mastered the art of keeping your shoes on the bike). From bike to run all you should have to do is rack your bike, take your helmet off and put your running shoes one (possibly a hat or visor as well)

 

Practice makes perfect

At least one of your weekly workouts should include transitions.  It is often more realistic to practice bike to run transitions simply because of the wetness factor but you should also practice the swim to bike particularly if it involves taking a wetsuit off.

 


Ron Slack- Escape from Alcatraz race report from WIN MORE STUFF Winner

THANK YOU to 7SYSTEMS for the opportunity to run in San Francisco.

It was definitely a check mark on the bucket list which I would do it again. On race day the water temps that I was worried about were gone once in the water. It was a different way to start a swim most definitely (jumping off a boat). As most, I found the bike course very challenging due to the hills and sharp turns on the bottom of some. Which limited the speed one could obtain on the back side. The run was the most fun for me with the beach run and sand stairs. I will take all the ups and downs of this race and use them for  the next, which is next weekend here in Edmonton and then on to Ironman Canada.


2012 PRO TEAM

NEWS RELEASE 

We’re not saying it’s because of 7SYSTEMS, we’re just saying…

Three 7SYSTEMS athletes named to Canadian Olympic Team

April 26th, 2012, TORONTO, ON: The team at 7SYSTEMS congratulates the Canadian Olympic Marathon team announced today at Alumni Stadium, University of Guelph.

Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis and most recently Dylan Wykes have all met the qualifying standard for London 2012, and they are all 7SYSTEMS athletes! Wykes and Gillis are relatively new additions to the 7SYSTEMS team and we are so happy we were able to support them on the Road to London. Canada will be well represented at this year’s marathon and we are proud to be providing the supplement needs of all three marathoners.

The Canadians presence in London will mark the first time Canada has had three entries in the Olympic marathon since Peter Fonseca, Carey Nelson and Bruce Deacon ran the marathon for Canada in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

 “We’re very excited about the number of 7SYSTEMS athletes that will be competing at the upcoming games. London 2012 is going to be a great event for Canada and for many of our athletes,” said Jasper Blake, 7SYSTEMS founder and Pro Ironman™ Triathlete. “We work with many of the top-ranked athletes in the country to ensure their nutritional requirements are being met. And, considering we don’t pay our athletes to endorse us, we must be doing a good job! All of our athletes consider 7SYSTEMS an important part of their training regimen and we’re just happy to do our part for this Olympic year and many more to come!”

Reid Coolsaet, from Hamilton, and Eric Gillis, from Guelph, qualified for the Games at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, 2011. Dylan Wykes, from Kingston, ran a 2:10:47 in Rotterdam, Netherlands last week.

These three 7SYSTEMS athletes are the first of certainly many more to be named to the Canadian Olympic Team. Simon Whitfield, Paula Findlay and Malcolm Howard have all met the Canadian Olympic standard in their sports. As well, Adam Van Koueverden and Lauren Groves are still racing for a spot on the London 2012 team.

For a full list of the 7SYSTEMS athletes that have met the Canadian Olympic standard, and for athlete updates, information on their training and research notes please visit: www.7SYSTEMS.ca

About 7SYSTEMS

 7SYSTEMS endurance sport supplement contains over 60 key ingredients to help athletes recover faster and stay healthy. Developed by athletes for athletes, 7SYSTEMS contributes to basic body health and supports the body’s critical systems. 7SYSTEMS is more complete, more capable and available in more convenient daily supplement pouches. 

Tested by high performance athletes, 7SYSTEMS endurance sport supplement is being credited by many athletes as a factor in their success.  7SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement is manufactured by Douglas Laboratories, a well known and respected company that meets or exceeds Health Canada’s Good Manufacturing Practices in its operations and is one of only a few ISO certified nutritional supplement manufacturers in North America. Douglas Labs does not handle any of the raw compounds on the WADA banned substance list.

 In a comparative study, 7SYSTEMS manufacturer ranked 9.4 on a 10 point effectiveness scale, one of only a few supplements that scored over the 8.0 ‘excellent’ rating. The effectiveness score considers factors like: potency, bio-availability, potency, composition and synergistic effect. Most store bought ‘sport’ brands scored 4.0 or less.

For more information and research notes please visit: www.7SYSTEMS.ca

 – 30 -

 

For More Information:

Stacie Smith, Smith Communications, Stacie@smithcommunications.ca, (416) 910-8112

 

 


Richard Weber- Kite Skiing to the South Pole

On Nov 16, 2011 a team of six adventurers flew to the continent of Antarctica. The team led by Richard Weber (Canada), and included Chris De Lapuente (Britain); Kathy Braegger and Ruth Storm (USA); Michael Archer (New Zealand). On November 22, the team started skiing from the Ronne Ice Shelf at a location called the “Messner Start”, 900 km from the South Pole. The team pulled all their supplies in sleds. Kathy Braegger had really bad luck when she developed an internal infection on the second day and had to be evacuated.  The team took the most direct route that crossed two crevasse areas. Both these regions were crossed without any incident. On day 23, Chris fell and injured his leg. He struggled on, limping badly for five more days. It became clear that not only the injury was getting worse but it was becoming extremely serious. He was evacuated after skiing about 600 km. One month later, he is still walking with crutches. After 38 days, Richard, Michael and Ruth reached the Pole. Ruth returned from the Pole by aircraft.

At the Pole, there was a re-supply of equipment. Richard and Michael spent two days re-arranging their equipment. After a frustrating period waiting four days for wind, Michael and Richard started their kite-skiing journey 1130 km back to the edge of the continent. The South Pole is at an altitude of almost 10,000 feet. Cold air flows from the Pole down toward sea level. But in the area of the Pole with are unpredictable. Richard and Michael spent ten days kiting and another three days waiting for wind. Most kiting days they covered about one degree of latitude. Their best day was 240km. They reached Hercules Inlet on the 57th day, January 17, 2012.

Travelling across Antarctica is in many ways boring; endless white, no wildlife, the Messner Route has almost no mountain scenery. Yet, Antarctica is so vast, huge, pristine (except for the US base at the South Pole), and snow surfaces are always changing. From the start to the South Pole the climb is almost 10,000 feet but it is mind boggling to think that all that climb is on top of ice. The South Pole is located on 10,000 feet of ice. It is an amazing journey. It is a long way, yet we touched just a small section of the continent.

The kite-skiiing was often frustrating because of a lack of wind and the fact we did not have all the correct equipment. At the same time, when the wind was good, flying across the surface of Antarctica was an amazing exhilarating experience. We are a couple of men aged 50 plus, with limited kite-skiing experience yet we covered over 1100 km in ten days of kiting. This year other kiting expeditions completed amazing treks, thousand of kilometres in short periods to time. No questions kite-skiing will become more and more popular in Antarctic and other parts of the world were conditions are right. I feel that I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to traverse this unique landscape at the bottom of the world

Richard Weber is a world leader in polar expeditions. He has trekked to the North Pole more times than anyone in history. In 1995, he completed the only expedition to reach the North Pole and return with no outside assistance. He holds the records for the fastest North and South Pole expeditions in the Guinness Book of Records.

Read more about Richard’s adventure and the 7 items that were most critical to his Polar Expedition including 7SYSTEMS>>>

 


Lentil Licious

From Jasper Blake

Ingredients:

  • Can of Annies Organic Lentils
  • Large onion
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Saute a large onion with a table spoon of coconut oil; salt and pepper
  2. Rinse lentils and add them to pan
  3. Let warm and enjoy; serves 2


Rebar Salad

From Jasper Blake

Salad Ingredients:

  • Dark leefy greens
  • Shredded beats
  • Pea shoots
  • Shredded carrots
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Goat Fetta
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Garbonzo beans

Basil Vinagerrete dressing Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 oz (45g) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. For the Salad: Wash the raw ingredients and then combine them in a bowl
  2. For the Dressing: Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor and blend. Slowly add olive oil in a thin stream until thick. Season to taste and refrigerate up to 3 days. 
  3.  Serves 4


Simple Salmon

From Jasper Blake

Ingredients:

  • Salmon fillet
  • Lemon
  • Season salt
  • Tinfoil

Directions

  1. Wrap a filet in tinfoil with a couple slices of lemon and some season salt
  2. Cook on the BBQ on medium heat for 20 minutes
  3. Check inside wrap occasionally to make sure juices have not dried up
  4. Fish is ready when strips flake away with gentle nudge by fork
  5. Serve with basmati rice or quinoa


Run Economy & Resistance Training

By Megan Brown

As runners, our main goal is to get the finish line as fast as we can and in most cases, ahead of as many people as possible. To achieve this goal, we set up complex training plans which include: long runs, shorter aerobic runs, tempo/threshold intervals, speed intervals and hill repeats.

 

Now, what if I told you that you could also get faster by investing some extra time in ‘NON-running’ workouts?

 

No, I am not referring to hitting the pool or jumping on your bike! I am suggesting that you can get faster as a runner by hitting the gym for strength and resistance training.

 

You have probably heard many times that RESISTANCE TRAINING can improve run performance. Some cite reasons such as ‘increased strength’ or ‘increased power’ or even ‘fatigue resistance’ for improved performance. Although many of these outcomes do lead to performance enhancement, resistance training, if done properly, has the most profound impact on performance because of its effect on run economy.

 

RUN ECONOMY is formally defined as the amount of oxygen consumed to run a given speed for a given distance. To illustrate: Erin may require 49ml of oxygen to run a 4:30 km, while it may cost Wes 54ml of oxygen to run his 4:30 km, making him ‘less economical’. With all things being equal, who do you expect to get to the finish line first? I bet you wish you were Erin!

 

You can also understand this concept by comparing your body to a car, and oxygen to gas; the more economical your car, the less gas you require to get from A to B at a given speed. And since gas (oxygen) is one of the limiting factors of performance, you want be as economical as possible.

 

Interestingly, most recreational (and even professional) runners loose a great deal of economy through their RUN MECHANICS. Below are some of the more common mechanical flaws:

  1. Hip instability
  2. Slow foot contact time
  3. Poor hamstring activation
  4. Insufficient knee drive

Therefore, a sound (run-specific) strength and resistance program that focuses on improving hip & core strength, foot contract time, hamstring activation and knee drive will inevitably make you a faster, more economical runner.

Below are examples of exercises that might be seen in such a program:

1)     Hip raise with hip abduction against resistance

– lie on you back, knees bent and feet firmly planted on the ground with resistance band around your knees

– raise your hips forming an incline bridge while pushing your knees out against resistance

*Start with 1 set of 12, move to 2 sets of 12-10 then 3 sets of 12-10-8

2)   Plank on swiss ball – “Stir the pot”

– form a plank on your elbows on a medium sized swiss ball

– contract your core while ensuring the integrity of your back stays strong

– use your forearms to ‘stir’ the swiss ball to the right and then to left while keep plank stable

* Start with 1 sets of 6xeach way; 2 sets of 6x each way; 3 sets of 6x each way 

3)     Hip raise with single straight leg

–        Lie on your back with your left knee bent and foot firm planted on the ground and right leg straight on the ground

–        Raise your hip (as in #1) while keeping your right leg straight; focus on leading the movement with your right leg so that your right hip is parallel with left hip and the end of the movement

–        Lower hip (and right leg) + repeat

–        To add a challenge, you can have the foot of your bent leg on a medicine ball creating an unstable surface

*Start with 1 set of 12x each leg then 2sets of 12xeach leg + 10xeach leg

4)     Running A’s against resistance 

–        Anchor a strong looped resistance band around a stable pole or piece of equipment  

–        With your back to equipment and the resistance band at waist level, run as hard as you can forward against the resistance

–        If done properly, the resistance band should keep you running in one spot despite your efforts to power forward

–        Continue to lean slightly forward and drive your knees, executing a perfect running motion

–        5-8 sets of 10sec; powerful running with high knees and perfect body condition

Thanks Megan Brown for providing us with this awesome article about run economy. Megan is a multiple-time Canadian cross country running champion and the current Canadian 1/2 marathon championShe coaches a wide array of runners in Toronto as part of MB Performance and can be reached at megan.brown2012@gmail.com


Immune system takes beating at this time- by Jasper Blake

Your immune system can take a beating this time of year.  One of the reasons is that it is typically under more stress.  Shorter days, less sunlight, colder temperatures and varied eating habits can contribute to a higher prevalence of colds and flus.  Sometimes it’s simply a matter of bad luck when you get sick but there are things you can do to at least give us more of a fighting chance.

Here are seven simple things you can do to decrease the chances you will get sick.

 

1. Get More Sleep

It sounds simple but we seem to be moving away from the one fundamental type of recovery that has sustained us since birth; sleep!  Have you ever noticed how much animals sleep?  Animals are typically much more in tune with their bodies and their need for sleep.  They are not bound by the daily routines that we take on, nor do they rely on an endless supply of stimulants such as caffeine and sugar to make it through the day.  If they are tired, they sleep.  Most people could use more sleep.  It is the safest, most productive way to recover and help your immune system stay strong.

 

2. Great Nutrition

Eating well sounds easy but too often we default to foods that generate more stress in our systems than provide quality nutrients for life.  Foods that are high in refined sugars or bad fat sources take energy to deal with rather than provide energy to live with.  Too much of these food sources can leave your immune system and your body in general, starving for the building blocks of sound health.

 

3. Micronutrients and other powerful body support

Micronutrients are nutrients required by humans for many different physiological functions.  It doesn’t take much to become deficient in one of the many micronutrients we depend on for basic body health and immune support.  Antioxidants for example are molecules capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules.  When oxidation occurs the resulting molecule can become a free radical or charged molecule that can cause detrimental reactions within the cells of the body.  Micronutrients such as vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta Carotene all contain antioxidant properties and are easily found in most North American diets or supplement products.

Ginseng is another powerful body supporter that has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  Ginseng is most noted as being an adaptogen.  Adaptogens are herbal products that are believed to increase resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue.  Ginseng is commonly used to help boost the immune system as a result of its adaptogenic properties.

7SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement is so effective in helping you stay healthy because it contains all these micro-nutrients, and many more ingredients.  

 

4. Rejuvenating Exercise

Instill some healthy, rejuvenating exercise into your life.  There are things you can do that may not be scientifically proven to boost your immune system but can definitely mitigate some of the stressors.  A great example is yoga.  Yoga is a very restorative type of exercise meaning it doesn’t beat you down but works to rejuvenate and regenerate.  Yoga poses can increase blood flow, circulation and general well being which all contribute to a healthier body, mind and nervous system.

 

5. Less Stress

Stress can come in any form and typically our bodies can’t really tell the difference between stressors.  Whether it’s job related, relationships, travel, overexertion, extreme exercise or pathogens, the body can only handle so much before it cracks.  Too much stress can leave your immune system compromised.  It’s important to periodically step outside your life and evaluate where you can eliminate stress.

 

6. Wash your hands

Most cold and flu pathogens are spread through simple contact.  Washing your hands regularly can be a very simple way to decrease the spread of a pathogen from one host to another.

 

7. Stay Hydrated

One of the most common issues athletes can run into during the winter months is dehydration.  Often in the winter we underestimate fluid loss.  In the summer we are typically more diligent about hydrating because we are constantly reminded to do it.  Hotter temperatures and visible sweating are clear indicators that we need to hydrate.  In the winter we still sweat and experience fluid loss and often at very significant levels but we don’t have the outside stimulus to remind us.  Dehydration is another form of stress on the body that can inevitably lower your defenses.


Linnea Humphrey Makes the Podium in Kona

The Ironman World Championship held annually in Kona has been a pilgrimage of mine for the past 10 years – mostly to race, but to also to support, watch and cheer others.  Any number of ironman triathletes will tell you that racing on the Big Island is a personal goal – a goal that takes time, dedication, talent, money and most importantly, good health.

My road to Kona this year actually started in the summer of 2010.  After a difficult race in Kona in 2009 I decided to not “chase a spot” for 2010, but instead to focus my training on having an “A” race at Ironman Florida in November.  While racing at the end of the season gives the benefit of having a full summer of training, it also means some time inside cycling and running once the poor weather hits. Being in close contact with others during inside training sessions can often lead to ill health, but I made it to IMFlorida healthy and ready to have a great race, which I did in finishing in 9:58 – 2nd amateur woman and 10th woman overall.

Fast forward to the summer of 2011, and the European Ironman Championship was the next marker in my trajectory towards Kona.  Unfortunately, Germany was not having the best weather and race week, as well as race day, was cold, wet and windy.  Again, my health stood up to the test, and I finished that race with a time of 10:17 which was fast enough to win my new age-group, place 10th amateur woman, and 20th woman overall.

And so came Kona 2011.  Despite a longer than normal (for me) recovery time from Ironman German, I arrived in Kona ready to chase my long-standing goal – to have a podium finish.  Race day was a mixed bag of conditions with swim currents and waves that resulted in a slower times for a lot of racers, but with advantages to be found on the bike with less wind than normal.  The run was hot and with little wind made it difficult for many competitors.  While I suffered the symptoms of heat exhaustion in the last 9 miles of the run, I was able to keep my position having moved up progressively during the day to finish in 2nd in my AG!!!

7 SYSTEMS has been a constant in my preparation, recovery and overall maintenance of health over the past 12 months and an important part of my successes.  Thanks 7 SYSTEMS!


Everybody into the Pool

By Coach Ayesha Rollinson

Fall usually means one of two types of training cycles for multisport athletes in North America.  Some will continue to compete and focus on running or cycle cross. The second group may take time off and eventually start rebuilding their sport specific fitness.

Both groups should be using water workouts as part of their training and recovery.

For triathletes it is incredibly important to swim 12 months of the year.  Many elite swimmers never take time off out of the water. Losing your ‘feel’ (or proprioception) in the water happens more quickly in swimming than other sports so it is imperative that triathletes swim on a weekly basis.  I recommend that my athletes swim at least twice a week.  Swim workouts do not need to be hard or long during the fall season.  In fact, I would recommend quite the opposite.  The fall season is a great time to make technical changes to your stroke that you put off during the heavy training months. Investing time to get videotaped, either by a friend or coach, could ensure that you are putting your focus in the areas that will give you the biggest speed payback. If you train in a group setting, this is the time of year to drop down to a slower lane to reduce the pressure to swim fast.  This way you can concentrate on proper technique.  It is also the time of year to be the squeaky wheel and to ask your coach for help with your stroke.

For the athlete that chooses to do leg based races in the fall the pool should also be incorporated into their training plan as part of their recovery strategy.  Recovery is accelerated when it is active.  Blood is returned to the heart with the help of muscle contractions and by the chest’s ‘pumping’ action when breathing. Your veins are squeezed between your muscles when they contract and the blood is forced upwards towards the heart. The blood is prevented from returning due to gravity thanks to one-way valves in your veins.  Muscle movement results in a larger volume of circulating blood which means that more nutrients and oxygen are delivered to your tissues for repair.  Swimming and water running are two of the best types of recovery exercise because they increase muscle contraction and breathing rates without eccentrically loading leg muscles.  Eccentric exercises involve any exercise where a muscle is weight bearing in a lengthened position.  An example is the eccentric load on the hamstring when the foot strikes while running. The hamstring is in the lengthened position but it is bearing the weight of your body. Eccentric muscular-skeletal loading can further damage muscle tissue and delay recovery.  To best use swimming and water running as recovery strategies you should get to the pool within 24 hours of a hard leg workout.

The idea of heading to the pool to get wet may not be enticing when the weather starts throwing snow and rain at you.  Convince yourself to make the trip with the promise of a hot shower, a sauna or a steam bath after your session.  Bring a warm sweater, joggers and your warmest toque to snuggle into post practice.  However you motivate yourself to do it, get to the pool at this time of year. Your body will be the better for it.

 


Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots and Baby Spinach

Ayesha Rollinson has provided us with the recipe for this month! She is an Engineer, Professional Triathlete and  Performance Coach living and working in Toronto.   

Active prep time is 30 minutes, Total time is 45 minutes.
Ingredientsquinoa and apricots

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup Moroccan-spiced Lemon Dressing, divided
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 8 cups baby spinach or Swiss chard
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Directions 
  1. Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic and begins to crackle, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Add apricots and the quinoa; continue cooking, stirring often, until the quinoa has dried out and turned light golden, 3-4 minutes. Add water and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer uncovered, until the quinoa is tender and the liquid id absorbed, 15-18 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing. Transfer the quinoa to a medium bowl and toss with 2/3 cup of the dressing. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, add tomatoes and onion to the quinoa; toss to coat. Toss spinach with the remaining 1/3 cup dressing in a large bowl. Divide the spinach among 4 plates. Mound the quinoa salad on the spinach and sprinkle with almond.

For the Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, cinnamon and giner
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl ,except the extra virgin olive oil, until all blended.
  2. Slowly whisk in ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil so the dressing becomes smooth and emulsified.
  3. Season with ¼ teaspoons salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Ali’s favorite chocolate Truffle brownies

This recipe is from the book 365 days of Quinoa. The brownies have the texture of a truffle and there is no flour involved!  Recommend serving it with Coconut milk ice cream. YUM!

Ingredients

  • 4oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Directions
  1. Preheat oven 350 F and grease a 9 inch pan
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter together on a low heat.
  3. Add sugar to the saucepan slowly, stirring constantly
  4. Once mixture is all blended, transfer to a bowl and add eggs and vanilla. Blend well
  5. Stir in flour and milk.
  6. Add nuts and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.

 


Cyclocross Season

It’s that time of year again; the season between summer and winter when bike riding temporarily loses it’s identity. It’s a tricky time of year. The weather can be all over the place, North American road and triathlon races are by and large finished and it’s hard to know what kind of bike you are supposed to ride or whether you are supposed to ride at all.

Your road bike is a bit of a prima donna; it likes warm weather, clean streets and the energy of a good group. Your tri bike is even more of a snob, craving long open stretches of road in the blazing sun, you can’t even think about taking that out in the fall months without serious attitude. Your mountain bike is always eager to go out but it craves the trail networks, some mud and a few decent jumps. Granted the fall months are great for this but what if you just want to get out and do some long consistent riding?

Well there is a solution and it’s the cyclocross bike. Yes it’s totally fine to justify the purchase of yet another bike. If you already have three then why not four? Four is a nice round number if you’re a cyclist. You cover off all your conceivable bases unless of course you live in a city whereby you will probably need to purchase a really cool cruiser bike for those trendy jaunts about town.

Cyclocross has grown significantly in North America over the past few years. A good example is a small weekly race series here in Victoria that started several years ago with attendance around 15 people. Now there are close to 100 people ever week who race around various parks in town as the sun is setting on cool fall evenings.

Cyclocross offers the perfect balance between road riding and mountain biking and is ideal for semi off road adventures. Cross bikes typically take the shape of a normal road bike with a few small tweaks including a higher bottom bracket for greater clearance and tires that literally cross between road and mountain. Similar to a road bike, they are thin but with small treads like a mountain bike.

The main benefits to riding a cross bike at this time of year are numerous. You can access any type of road or bike path or just stay on the road. You won’t be moving as fast as when you are on a road bike so generally cooler conditions don’t affect you as much. Cross bikes generally have more clearance for fenders which is a good thing if you are planning on doing a fair bit on the road in wet conditions. In places like Victoria where we ride all winter most people are on cross bikes for this reason.

Cross bikes are typically cost effective unless you are fanatic about the component group you chose to run. Usually the frames are a little heavier and the components are not so high end so you can get into it for about a thousand dollars, which is not bad in todays often high-priced bike world. If you are really thrifty you will realize that your cross bike can essentially be transformed into a road bike with a $50 tire change and voila you’ve got a bike for all seasons.

So if you are sitting there thinking of all kinds of lame excuses why you can’t ride this fall why not dig into the cross scene? Most bike companies have cross bikes in their line up at very reasonable prices. Who knows, you’ll probably venture out onto some roads you would never dare touch with your road or triathlon bike. Have fun!


Linnea Humphrey’s Double Win

I FINALLY, won my Age Group at an Ironman. 

Glenn and I raced the European Ironman Championship in Frankfurt on July 24th.  Not only did I win my AG, but I was first Master’s, and 9th amateur woman over all.  Oh, and Glenn proposed at the finish line!

(Congrats to both Linnea Humphrey and Glenn Rossitter)