Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fat Coffee

You have probably heard about this new fad and thought, "what the %$#@ is this world coming to?" Bulletproof Coffee is basically a coffee/butter smoothie.  The kicker is... it's billed as healthy...  Now dear bloggers, you may be asking just how exactly is putting butter in your coffee healthy? This all sounds incredibly stupid.  These are some of the purported benefits. Suspend your disbelief, I guess.
  • You get a 5-6 hour clean, even, burst of energy from high quality good fats
  • It is useful as part of fat adaptation protocol, signalling your body to look for fat as a fuel source and transition away from a dependency on grains, high carbohydrate and sugar fuel sources which swing energy levels and cravings up and down all day
  • Helps with weight-loss and improves brain function according to the BulletProof Exec
  • Feel light and not weighed down in the morning digesting a heavy meal, it led to increased productivity
So.... um, because I am a gullible and curious sucker on the whole, I just tried it.  Here's what I used:
  • 2 mugs folger's black silk coffee
  • 2 tbsp high quality UNSALTED butter.  The idea is to use grass-fed butter but Caitlin and I couldn't find it so we used the highest quality organic, hormone free blah blah butter we could find. Food that comes from a grass fed vs grain fed animal is apparently superior nutritionally.
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil.  Unrefined means it retains the coconut flavor. (medium-chain-triglycerides, the dominant ingredient in coconut oil

Notes/Results- The taste was actually surprisingly really good.  I won't go into detail because not knowing how it was going to taste was part of the fun of testing this out.  Generally I wake up ravenously hungry.  A cup of butter shake shuts that down in a hurry.  I usually chug my coffee but there is no chugging butter coffee. Slowing this down for me is generally a positive.

I was curious as to how this would impact exercise.  I immediately tested it out on a moderately hard 2.5 hr ride with pretty solid results.  Good energy levels for 2 solid hours of nothing but water.  I felt a bit of a dip in energy after that but until that point the energy was level, clean, and high.

However, the biggest benefit has been at work.  I feel very focused and efficient when I have this coffee.  It was shocking how much of a different it makes.

In short, I am sold.  I have been doing this for several months now and it has become a staple. Give it a whirl, bloggers.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Product Review: Podium Cold

I just got back from a standard Saturday morning smash fest on the bike.  My buddy Larry and I ripped through three seven-minute intervals at ~425 watts uphill and then hit a hard 5-mile climb called Rockstore.  Rockstore is a great climb and was featured in the tour of California. No matter how fast you ride it, it seems to sap your legs of whatever is left. 
A couple years ago, that ride would have been the end of a really solid day and I would have bagged it and lounged around for the rest of the day. I might have needed to recover the following day. However, as I get further into the sport, the standard volume of workouts and weekly training load has bummed up significantly as feeding my endorphin addiction has become increasingly difficult.  Full rest is rarely on the agenda.  As I ramp up the training, the body needs a bit of extra love in order to bounce back.  After a year of injury, I have become proactive with the little things that keep you on the road and rolling.  Foam rolling, elevating your legs, and compression socks are all excellent starters.  But I am always in search of the next thing.  I am a tinkerer.  Ice baths have always been effective for me and I came across a product that gets you the same effect and is a bit more practical.
The product is called the Podium Cold legs wraps.  They are basically full-length ice wraps that you apply as a recovery aid after big days.

 My first use was an interesting experience.  My first impression when I threw them in my freezer was surprise.  They actually fold up and fit really nicely.  I hadn’t considered it but fitting full leg anything in your freezer is pretty impractical but the folding was quite an easy solution. 

On my first use, I found putting 8 Velcro straps sort of cumbersome.  They are also limited in terms of how tightly you can wrap the straps but  once they were on, they felt awesome.  Not too cold, but just right.  I used them for 15 minutes for the first time and that amount of time seemed right as well.
Putting them to the test through the last 4 months, I have noticed less soreness as you would expect with icing.  It allowed me to up my volume without carrying that deep muscle soreness that used to follow me around.  The fatigue was still present but the ache was gone.  I often used them twice a day on heavy multiple workout days.  I found them most effective though when I combined using them with a pre-ice flushing massage.  I massage my quads, calves, and hamstrings and then put the Podium colds on and it seems to help considerably more.
One thing I noticed though was when they get wet from melting; they accumulate a bit of moisture on the inside of the legs.  This moisture turns to frost in the freezer and can burn your skin if you apply it directly.  I solved this by wiping the wraps down with a towel and then wearing tights before using them.  
Overall, my experience with the Podium Colds has been excellent. I tested these for four solid months and they have been a worthwhile addition to my routine and have helped me stay injury free through some very heavy blocks of training and racing. I use them nearly on a daily basis when really getting after it.  At 99 dollars, they are a very affordable substitute for the thousand-dollar compression pump and serve a similar function of flushing your legs out, speeding recovery, and reducing soreness.

Check out their website and find them on facebook