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Lauren Groves- Olympian

lauren1_vantriworlds“I’ll be the first to admit that I have always been a little skeptical about supplements. I have always been a believer that simply eating a nutrient-dense diet and eating the right foods at the right time was all that was necessary to perform at a high level in our sport. At the end of my 2007 season I decided to take a closer look at my diet and recovery nutrition as the Olympics were on the horizon and I want to be sure I have done absolutely everything in my power to be ready when I start that race. I had heard positive things about 7SYSTEMS from friends and training partners so I decided to test it out during my winter training block. It was a huge load of training so it really gave me the chance to put 7SYSTEMS to the test. Within a week of taking it, I started to notice differences in my recovery and energy levels. I have never been much of a morning person but I started to find myself more energized and motivated at the start of each morning swim. Plus, I managed to escape catching some colds that were lingering around this winter, which rarely happens when I’m training hard.”

“Thank you to 7systems for helping get me to the start line in Beijing healthy and ready to race. Now I am hoping it will help me heal faster. My disappointment in Beijing has only motivated me even more for London 2012. I look forward to working with 7systems to help achieve that goal.”

Lauren Groves is one of Canada’s most accomplished triathletes.  She is a National Champion and top five finisher at the World Triathlon Championships in 2006.  Her career is highlighted by being named and competing at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.  After her spectacular crash in Bejing Lauren is focused on recovering and getting ready for London 2012.

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Mike Neill- Ironman/Coach


“Over the years I have discovered that the only way to improve my performance is to recover properly and put together days, weeks and months of solid, consistent training. Since I have been using 7systems I have been able to put in some of the best blocks of training in my entire Ironman career. I am seeing improvements across the board in all three sports.  I recommend 7systems to all the athletes I coach and anyone who is looking for a simple convenient way to stay healthy and improve their performance.”

Mike has been Canada’s top overall finisher at Ironman Hawaii in each of the past 3 years, breaking 9:00 each time, and has over 15 top 10 overall Ironman finishes in his career.  Mike is also a coach to over a dozen athletes of the Human Powered Racing Team and the Island Triathlon Club

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Jasper Blake- Ironman Champion


“At the heart of it I believe the only way to get better is to train harder and smarter than everyone else and not get injured. To be honest, I usually stay clear of supplements but 7SYSTEMS has created a product that is worth using. Prior to Ironman Canada I incorporated 7SYSTEMS into my nutritional arsenal and it helped me get through one of the toughest training regimens of my career. 7SYSTEMS is a great product. It’s easy to use and takes the guess work out of my nutrition.”

Jasper Blake, Winner, 2006 Ironman Canada

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Nigel Gray

nigel-gray“I have not been a big believer in supplements over the years. It was always hard to decide what exactly I needed and how much, and with numerous positive doping tests being attributed to uncertified supplements it stopped me from trying to sort it out. 7 Systems has solved all of this. By offering a certified product in which I can be sure of its content, as well as a daily mix of the appropriate vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants, it allows me to train and race with confidence knowing that my body is getting what it needs without any risk of inadvertently ingesting a banned substance.”

Nigel Gray is the head coach, NRG Performance Training.  NRG is a Toronto based multisport team.  Nigel has been part of dozens of personal victories for people over the years.

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Lucy Smith- 19 Time National Champion

“I can honestly say that energy and recovery is a pretty big deal for me. I do most of my training in the morning and then I am on the go for the rest of the day with no down time. I think that the supplement has really benefited me. There are certainly no negative side effects and I feel that my recovery has been really good and my training and racing has been very strong since starting on the supplement in April ‘07.”


Lucy Smith is a 19-Time Canadian Champion and internationally ranked athlete in triathlon, duathlon, and distance running.  She is also the mother of two.

Rich Pady – Ironman/Coach

pady-success-story“I started using 7 Systems about 4 months ago to keep my health in balance while I juggled the rest of my life. I’m a father of two young kids, I have coaching company, a personal training company and, oh I almost forgot, I was training for Ironman USA. After a winter of many colds and feeling run down I started using 7 Systems and since then I’m happy to say I have not had a cold. I feel stronger and more energized than in the past 4 years. In the past when my kids were up a lot at night it would hurt my training the next day but since starting 7 Systems I did many big training days on 4-6 hours of broken sleep. It was amazing how it helped to keep my body going and healthy and I love how easy and convenient it is to use. I’ve been in the sport of triathlon now for 20 years and I’m finding since being on 7 Systems my body is recovering better than ever before. I had a great race in Ironman USA and I am already back to training. I will not hesitate to recommend 7 Systems to all my athletes.”

Richard Pady is the Head Coach of Healthy Results Training.  He leads dozens of athletes to personal victories every year and has a firm grasp on what it takes to achieve your personal best having been a 3 time member of Canada’s national triathlon team and the overall winner of over 50 multi-sport events.  Richard is also the founder for Race4kids, a not for profit initiative to raise money for kids battling cancer.  Richard and his wife Heather are the proud parents of two.

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Tips for Running in Winter- Jasper Blake

“Crap it’s cold”

We are a tough breed up here in Canada!  We spend almost half the year dealing with the wrath of winter.  Icy roads, fierce winds and abominable snowmen are a few of the challenges we face.

Running poses an interesting dilemma; stay inside or venture out.  This decision is quite obvious with the other two sports.  Swim in a heated indoor pool, not a lake.  Bike on a turbo-trainer or a set of rollers and get your head around some hours pedaling hard and not actually going anywhere.  When it comes to running you can spend time on the treadmill, but after having gone nowhere on your bike it is great to get a change of scenery.
So, as my dear mom would say, out the door you go young lad and jolly well enjoy the day that is provided for you.  Good advice, but keep these simple guidelines in mind.
Dress for the weather conditions.  You need to keep your muscles warm – particularly if you are on the flip side of being a kid which is probably most of you.  Consider wearing tights under track pants or the combination of short tights and compression socks to keep warm.
Warm up properly.  In the winter make sure that you warm up and cool down more slowly than in the summer.  Cold muscles equal tight muscles and tight muscles can lead to minor pulls or tears.  Ease into runs, especially harder workouts.
Run if it drops below minus twenty; consider the treadmill or an indoor running track.  Winter can stress your immune system.  Suddenly exposing your lungs to forced inhalations of crystallized, frosty air is like throwing gas onto a tire fire.
Wear three socks if you are of the male variety.  I am quite serious about this, there is nothing worse than running 30 minutes with a tail wind, getting all warm and sweaty only to turn around and face the wrath of the winter gods on your nether regions.  Many a time have I been caught out on runs where a headwind greeted me on the way back and a third sock was all I needed to maintain sanity.
Get inside immediately after runs so you don’t get chilled.  If it is particularly cold, consider starting and finishing your runs inside.  If you are running with a group that stretches or does some core exercises after the run, find a gymnasium or a living room so you don’t get chilled.
Remember to keep drinking.  Cold weather can be deceiving.  It may seem as if you’re not losing fluids during a workout but trust me, you are.  Remember to stay hydrated; it’s just as important in the winter as it is in the summer.
Invest in proper footwear.  Obviously stick to the shoes that are best for your foot and running gait but look into something with additional tread or grip particularly for snowy and icy roads.  I often run in a cross country shoe through the winter months as it offers more traction than a normal shoe.
Run on busy roads.  Road shoulders become smaller in the winter and visibility can be extremely bad at times.  Pick routes that have cleared sidewalks so you can avoid the road all together.  Remember that roads are icy and cars can be less predictable.  If you have to run on a busy shoulder I strongly recommend running towards oncoming traffic so you can pay attention to what the cars are doing and do a navy-seal dive into the snow bank if required.
Invest in some reflective running gear.  Winter days are short and darkness comes on quickly.  If you want to be safe, be seen.
Wear layers.  Yes, you’ve heard this before but tail winds can feel warm and headwinds can feel very cold especially when you start sweating.  Layers allow you to adjust your clothing choices if need be.
Experiment with alternative forms of winter activities.  Winter is one of the best aspects of Canada if you take advantage of it.  There are dozens of aerobic sports that take place in the winter months and many will translate fitness very well to running and biking.  Skate skiing is said to compliment cycling very well.  Cross country skiing (the classic version), and snowshoeing can compliment running.  Both of these activities present the opportunity to get out into the woods.  Keep in mind that where aerobic fitness is concerned, your heart and lungs don’t know the difference between activities so the cross over between sports can be very effective.  Not to mention the mental break from the other sports.  It is also another chance for you spandex lovers to wear some tight clothing in the off season.

Winter Training Part 2- Stefan Timms

Beat Old Man Winter

Unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere that is warm all year round, chances are you will have to deal with cold at some point in your training and racing this season.  Besides the dangers associated with cold exposure, frigid temperatures can affect athletic performance as well.
The human body has a built in thermostat that functions similar to the one in your home.  The hypothalamus gland, located in the brain, is this thermostat and it strives to maintain a stable core body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit based on feedback received from the skin, the nervous system, blood vessels, and other physiological receptors.  When the hypothalamus senses an environment that threatens to change the core temperature of the body, it initiates processes that influence heat loss or preservation by the body.
Extreme cold temperatures may cause the body to sacrifice blood flow to peripheral tissues to maintain a stable core temperature and sustain life. The risks of exercising in the cold include bronchial irritations from increased ventilation of cold dry air and in extreme cases, frostbite to the hands, face, or other exposed skin.
While exercise produces metabolic heat that helps to maintain stable body temperatures and increases circulation to the periphery, prolonged exercise in the cold provides some challenges.  The first problem is that faster movement though the air, especially while cycling, increases wind chill and therefore heat loss.  This can be overcome by wearing an outer layer of clothing that blocks wind such as Gore-Tex®.  Covering skin, especially the extremities will help to reduce heat loss to the wind and cold as well.
Another obstacle to overcome when exercising in cold temperatures is avoiding an increased heat loss to conduction from sweat soaked and cold clothes next to the skin.  Avoid wearing cotton that will trap moisture.  Instead choose layers that will wick moisture away from the skin such as special polyester blends like CoolMax®.  While wearing wicking layers is important, the outer wind resistant layer should be breathable to allow wicked moisture to escape and evaporate, keeping you dry.
Fluid and carbohydrate needs are increased during cold weather racing and training as well.  You may not notice fluid loss due to the colder and drier air so a conscious effort must be made to consume extra liquids.  While fluid loss from sweating may be decreased in the cold, more moisture is lost through exhalation than in normal conditions.  In addition, working muscles utilize glycogen at a higher rate in the cold due to increased adrenaline produced by the body in response to cold stress.  This increased glycogen utilization leads to a higher risk of hypoglycemia without adequate carbohydrate ingestion.  Liberal intake of a carbohydrate containing sports drink will serve the increased need of both fluids and carbohydrates.
Failing to dress properly for the cold or address fluid and carbohydrate needs will negatively affect your athletic performance.  The body will shunt blood flow away from the periphery and working muscles toward the center of the body to keep internal, more crucial, organs warm.  As noted, carbohydrates usage will increase as well.  The cold will affect the nervous system and fine motor control.
When training or racing in cold weather, be on the lookout for signs of hypothermia that include shivering, confusion, drowsiness and weakness.  In extreme cases, the athlete may even stop shivering and go unconscious.  When training in the cold, utilize training routes that keep you close to home in case you need to head back earlier than expected.
Another challenge that cold weather creates is dangerous or unusual terrain due to snow and ice.  Running routes can become hazardous due to uneven frozen surfaces.  Try to find and use special running “spikes” that strap onto your running shoes for more stable footing.  If running or cycling outdoors is simply not an option due to surface conditions, embrace Old Man Winter by cross-training with a different winter sport such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.  If all else fails, indoor training on a treadmill or stationary bike trainer may be required.
Finally, do not think that just because you live where there is no snow on the ground that you are not susceptible to the dangers and performance decreases of cold.  Wind-chills or wet clothing can cause hypothermia at what may seem to be warm ambient temperatures as high as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  This wind-chill on a “warm” day is especially common if you live and train on hilly terrain where you may be descending while wet with sweat from climbing the previous hill.
With good planning, and by following the tips above, it should be possible to maximize your training opportunities despite living in a colder climate.

Winter Running- Stefan Timms

Winter Running

By: Stefan Timms

Running is an activity that comes naturally to us.  As children we run around barefoot and free.  Smiles as big as the sky splashed across our face, we chase butterflies and balls around the park, not thinking about anything except catching that which we seek.  We are too young to know that we are tired, and if we do run too hard for too long, we just sit down and rest.  But as we gain age and supposed wisdom, running falls by the wayside.  So when we begin running again it is not with a smile as big as the sky, but usually with a pained expression of anguish as we pull our body up a hill. No longer are we chasing the items of our desire, but rather we are seeking a better body image or a faster time. This is the time to return to the sheer joy of running.  No longer do we want to think about the burn and the discomfort, but rather feeling of flight as we glide along the running trails.
At this point you might be wondering how to focus on running light and fast while you are feeling like an overstuffed turkey from all the holiday gatherings.  Well, not to worry, it is the objective of this article to give you some new ideas on how to maximize your winter run training.  Although you might be dealing with a few extra pounds, cold and snowy conditions, and short daylight hours there are ways to regain that child like running form.
Technique and Strength Drills
Improving or changing your running technique can be an extremely difficult task since its repetitive nature ingrains in our neuropathways.  However, there are some ways of improving technique, efficiency and strength.  As I have discussed ways to improve technique in other articles, I am not going to focus on that here.  Instead I am just going to give you some other ideas on developing efficiency.  Efficiency for our purposes will be defined as the ability to go further, faster, with less energy.  This is accomplished through the elimination of extraneous body movements during the full running gait.  It is also done through by the fine tuning of the aerobic system, which through a series of specific workouts will enhance its ability to carry oxygen to muscles throughout your body.  Over the winter I often ask my athletes to do one run session every other week that gets them to do a light warm up followed by a workout that consists of running A’s, B’s, C’s, lunges, leap frog, karaoke (grapevine), running backwards and sidesteps.  I will assume that you know what the first four drills are since they are very common and I’ve written about them before.  However, the rest of these drills need to be explained.  Leap frog is a game commonly played by children.  For this drill you will need a partner.  Have your partner crouch down into a ball on the ground.  Now, you are to run toward them, put your hands on their back, and jump over them by lifting both legs out to the side and propelling yourself over with your jump and by pushing off their back with your hands.  Once you have cleared your partner, it is your turn to duck down in front of them.  The idea is to keep going for several jumps.  Karaoke is also known as grapevine.  This drill requires you to move sideways by crossing right over left foot then right behind left foot and then back to right in front.  After fifty meters or so it is a good idea to go the other way…left in front of right.  This drill can be challenging so it is a good idea to put your arms out for balance.  When you run backwards it is a good idea to take survey the area first so that there are no unexpected holes, rocks, or any other obstruction.  I also advise taking small steps and looking over your shoulder frequently.  The final drill, sidestep is kind of like doing jumping jacks while moving either left or right.  You swing your arms out and up and back down as you take big jumps to the side.  Make sure you switch and go in the other direction. The idea here is to keep the heart rate in an aerobic zone for the 20-30 minutes of the workout.  Each drill should be around 50-100m in length.  You can do sets of one drill before moving on to the next, or just do one of each drill continuously, and then repeat the whole thing.  The drills will help to stimulate the muscles as well as build strength.  The added benefit is that it feels like you are just playing!
Treadmill/Water Run/Elliptical Trainer
There are lots of great reasons to stay inside for your training over the winter.  As I alluded to earlier, dealing with harsh weather as well as short days can make running outside difficult.  Why not hit the gym?  Aside from being in a controlled environment and being a great place to meet people, the gym can provide some great training benefits.  The treadmill is a great tool to help to get you running faster.  Even if you live in a perfect climate I still recommend that athletes do some running on a treadmill.  First of all, running on a treadmill will help to increase your turnover or cadence.  This will in turn carry over on the road and help you to go faster.  Additionally, a treadmill can be set to specific speeds that you want to do intervals or pace workouts at.  Finally, continuing on the earlier theme of technique, if you find one that has a mirror in front or beside it you can really get a good look at your form and watch to make sure that you are doing everything right.  Water running is another great climate controlled activity.  It can be used to supplement your outdoor training for easy recovery runs, or it can be done when coming back from injury, or simply as a preventative measure.  The beauty of water running is that you maintain the same stride and muscular benefit as well as some of the aerobic benefit of running without the impact.  I also encourage some of my athletes who are especially injury-prone to use the elliptical trainer for some of their run sessions.  Similar to what I mentioned with the water running, the elliptical machine can replicate the running motion without the impact.  This makes it great for anyone coming back from or with a history of stress fractures, joint problems, or even muscle problems such as chronically inflamed calves.  Furthermore, all of these ideas provide alternatives to the same old routine or running route.

Run Focus
While you may have read an article of mine that said the fall is the ideal for a run focus, the winter can also be a great time for one.  By doing a run focus in the winter, you can really build up the mileage to point that you would not be able to maintain during a full triathlon program or race season.  This is because a significant amount of run volume does not allow you to ride well, just as a lot of mileage on the bike does not allow you to run to your potential.  By focusing on lots of base miles and strength now, you will be able to carry that over into your triathlon season down the road and can take the benefit of all that volume into a balanced program when the time comes.  Make sure to schedule a race into your run focus as I find that many athletes need a race as a motivator.  Whether it is a 5k tune up, or a marathon, there are lots of racing opportunities at this time.  So check your local community for road races.  You might be surprised to discover that many areas have great race seasons that run from January through May.  The best way to do a run focus is to set it up as a macro cycle the way you would for your larger, yearly periodization.  This means incorporating a base or foundation phase where you add frequency, then volume, and finally intensity.  If you have not been running much I recommend increasing the number of days you run first, but keeping the runs fairly short.  Once you are running comfortably for 4-5 days a week you can start to increase the volume.  The key workouts to try to get in, after the initial adjustment to training are: a long run, a steady state or tempo run, and an interval, fartlek, or hill repeat run.  As you progress into more speed you can maintain this framework but simply adjust the intensity and volume.  If you are unsure of how to do this or what distance or time you should aim for in the various sessions try consulting a respected athlete in your area, a local triathlon club, or a triathlon coach.  A final point to consider:   a run focus is just that.  Do not try to maintain or increase your swimming or cycling at this time and instead only swim and bike 1-2 times per week.
The winter is a great time to get out and explore new routes and training venues.  If you are not using the winter as a run focus now is the time to just get out and go running somewhere that you normally don’t.  This is the best time for this since it doesn’t matter if the route is too short or long…you will not be sacrificing the objective of the workout.  Trail running, beaches, or scenic drives are great places to start, but the possibilities really are endless.  In addition routes that include sections on trails, hills, and beaches can challenge your body in a different way then the routes that your body is accustomed to thereby giving you an even better workout.  This is because running on hills or sand require different muscles then running on a flat road.
So take these winter months to relearn how to run with joy and happiness and efficiency.  Learn what you look like while you are running – see the beauty in motion.  While treadmills and running drills will help improve your form, be sure to maintain your fitness with a structured running schedule throughout the winter.  You don’t need structured workouts every time you go out for a run, but you should have a structured schedule of running so that you stay true to yourself.  And commit to change; your competitors won’t recognize your as effortlessly glide by them next summer!