Posts in the category Nutrition

Physiology and Nutrition: Do Antioxidants hinder Endurance Performance?

supplementsIf you were to open most athletes’ kitchen cabinet, you’ll probably find a shelf of supplements: the typical sports nutrition cache of electrolyte drinks, bars, recovery drinks, and most often an array of vitamins/supplements purported to maximize workouts, speed recovery, and minimize downtime and the risk of injury.  Most of us are aware that the FDA doesn’t tightly regulate supplements, and often the effects are over-exaggerated or lacking scientific merit. Recently the efficacy of vitamin supplementation has come under scientific scrutiny, in particular antioxidants.

The blurred line comes from the existing mentality “what is good in small doses must be great in large quantities”.

For example, there is strong epidemiological data to suggest that a diet rich in foods that are naturally high in antioxidants is associated with better health outcomes. But when using supplements, the data shifts- individuals supplementing with high dose antioxidants actually have worse health outcomes.

“But I’m an athlete and my body experiences a significantly greater exposure to oxidation because of my training. I need supplements! I can’t eat 10 pounds of kale a day….” you say. Hold on, let’s examine what oxidation in the body actually is…


Found: Leather Holster for Your Banana

Biken leather bicycle banana holster

Bananas, the perennial threat to cartoon characters everywhere, are also a great source of natural energy. Their high potassium levels make them ideal for recovery, or so I’m told. But the voluminous and bruise-prone banana can be troublesome to portage. Leather goods specialist Biken presents a neat solution that should keep your mid-ride snack from giving you the slip. It’s handmade from genuine leather, and you can suspend it from all sorts of places: handlebars, seat rails, top-tube, belt, or possibly your bag. Keep your banana safe and let everyone know you have a sense of humor by snatching up this a-peel-ing accessory for $55 on Biken’s etsy store.

Friday Roundup – Bicycle Bits & Pieces

  • Stanridge Cycles has announced their collaboration with Ben EINE for the Red Hook Crit, Saturday, March 29th. Ben will be hand painting the two Stanridge High Street frames that will be raced during this years’ Red Hook series by Katie Arnold and previous Red Hook winner Evan Murphy.
  • Interested in learning how to lead mtb clinics and run guided rides? IMBA is offering a Level 1 Ride Guide Certification course March 14-16 in Anniston, AL. Cost for the program is $450 for IMBA members, $500 for non-members. Sign up before March 5th.
  • Trek’s Dirt Series of mountain bike skills camps are now open for registration.
  • SPY Optics is having its 3rd annual SPY Belgian Waffle Ride on Sunday, April 27th, in Carlsbad, CA. They claim the event will be suitable for all bike types: mountain bikes, cyclo-cross bikes, road bikes, and even single speed track bikes!
  • Looking for a cycling specific B&B getaway in southern California? Roadies Hideaway in Bonsall, CA, will cater to your road cycling vacation needs.
  • Ciamillo’s 2014 GSLs are on special at $220 down from $369. Only 22 sets available at this price, black only. First come, first serve.
  • Bike Rags is taking pre-orders for their bike shirts for St. Patrick’s Day: “Irish I Was On A Bike” printed with reflective ink. Order before this Monday, February 24th.
  • XYIENCE is looking for fitness-minded athletes and individuals to join its inaugural Power to Win ambassador program.
  • Smart Growth America has published it’s Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013 analysis.
  • Chat live with Nico Vink this Monday morning, February 24th, at 10am EST. Log on to Cane Creek’s The Lounge rider forum to ask Nico your pressing questions about his DH wins and everything bike.

Physiology and Nutrition: Grain-Free Endurance Performance & Recovery?

grainfree recoveryThere has been an upsurge in an “anti-western diet” philosophy recently, with a movement towards higher fat, higher protein, lower carbohydrate intake where the kinds of food matter as much or moreso than the macronutrient aspect of the diet. Kris Gunnars wrote a great piece on this recently titled What’s Wrong with the Modern Diet. This increased interest in the use of nutrition and nutrient timing as a method for improving general health and wellness is a good thing.

But where does this fit in with regards to athletes? There’s a large debate about the efficacy of a lower carbohydrate-no grain diet and its relationship to actual athletic performance.

But wait, I’ve heard low carbohydrate-high fat diets are awesome for performance.

Sort of. Yes, low carbohydrate diets do increase fatty acid oxidation during exercise and encourage intramuscular fat storage. The body is smart. If there isn’t enough primary fuel to support the stress it’s under, it’ll go for a secondary source -in this case, fat- then store more of it for the next time it encounters that stress. But this does not translate into improved performance as the ability to maintain high-intensity and/or prolonged exercise is compromised(1). Differences aside, the body needs carbohydrate to exist. And it needs accessible carbohydrate to perform in our cycling/endurance world.


Lean Machine – The Gluten Free Sport Recovery Beer?



The post ride beer is already a staple in many bike rides, so I guess it should come as no surprise that a new company is targeting the post ride bevy. Specifically, the Canadian brewed Lean Machine is being marketed as a “Fit Beer” or a sport recovery beer. While the specifics of the beer aren’t really listed, if we’re to believe the label Lean Machine will be a gluten free beer with 77 calories, and a miniscule 0.5% ABV. But the label also says that it is a Lager Ale, which the last time I checked a beer is either a Lager or an Ale, not both. Maybe Lean Machine is a Lager brewed with Ale yeast? Or the label could be just a mock up which is far more likely.

The real question here is would you buy a beer that was specifically marketed to fitness or recovery? Taste will certainly have a lot to do with it, though it will probably taste along the lines of other “skinny” beers. Rather than a Kickstarter, Lean Machine is currently generating funding through preorders on their website. Instead of just preordering product, you have the opportunity to buy a Shareholder’s Exclusive which includes a 24 pack of Lean Machine when it’s available, $150 of Lean Machine Brands Inc. stock, a hat and shirt, plus and invite to the launch party in Kelowna, BC or Calgary, AB. There is also a double stock option for $300 which includes an extra 24 pack as well.

Hat tip to my friend Kathy on the tip!

Get Ready for the Big Game with Skratch Labs

The crew at Skratch Labs offers their take on soup or bowl celebration with a commercial of their own. Why is there always so much sports drink left to douse the coach?

Found: Threshold Provisions’ Natural, Gluten Free Energy Bars


Threshold Provisions energy bars are about as simple as you can get, using only real food ingredients to get a solid mix of healthy carbs, fats and protein to keep you riding. We had a chance to try all four flavors -Blueberry Ginger, Pistachio Chai, Cherry Coconut and Mango Yerba Mate- at the NCCX finals and enjoyed them all.

They’re free of gluten, soy and dairy and have no added sugars.

The bars handmade by husband and wife team Josh and Diane Mitchell at Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a shared space kitchen in Asheville, NC. And they’re in good company, working alongside Vortex Doughnuts and Blue Blaze Soda Company, among others.They’re cooked lightly and have a middle-of-the-road consistency (not too dry, not too moist), making them easy to eat mid ride.


Friday Roundup – Bicycle Bits & Pieces


  • Cycology’s newest t-shirt design, above, called “Live Breathe Bike” is now available for $35.56 (US) plus free shipping from Australia.
  • Love your Swiftwick cycling socks so much you want to wear them to work? Now you can with their Pursuit Sevens in suit-matching merino wool colors.
  • Tara and her husband Tyler documented their 2-year bike trip around the world on their blog Going Slowly. Now Tara has published a cookbook based on their camp cooking from the trip called Bike Camp Cook, available for $24.95 shipped to the US. Click the link to see sample pages and to order your copy.
  • BicycleRetailer reports that Easton-Bell’s online shopping system has been hacked. If you made a purchase from Easton-Bell’s website in the month of December, your data may have been breached. Click here for more information.
  • The Ovarian Cycle Atlanta Ride to Change the Future will be March 22nd, and is a 6-hour indoor cycling event dedicated to raising funds to support  ovarian cancer research.
  • Spinlister, a peer-to-peer bike sharing program, is looking for college student “brand managers”. Apply for the job here.

Search for the Golden Gu, Win Salted Caramel and a Trip to San Francisco!

Have you tried the Salted Caramel GU yet? They’re not lying, it really is one of the best flavors of GU – at least that we’ve tried.  As their current most popular flavor, GU has decided to run a little contest that is the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket for bike nerds. Buy specially marked 8 and 24 packs of salted caramel GU, and search inside for the golden yeti GU packet. If you find one (there are multiple) you automatically win a 24 pack of Salted Caramel GU and you are entered into the grand prize competition which includes an all-inclusive 3 day, 2 night trip for 2 to San Francisco.

Details and links, next.