Making Your Sports Drink Work For You

My friend Matt recently completed the Iron Man in New York City, and I am proud to say he was a fantastic protégé when it came to his nutrition. He eliminated booze and processed foods from his diet during training, and I helped him concoct a sports drink he has since termed “Estherade�? to fuel him during his thirteen hour event.

Sports drinks can be a helpful way to prevent dehydration and depletion of the body’s carbohydrate reserves during endurance events. But, not all sports drinks are created equal. High fructose corn syrup and artificial colors are commonly found among many commercial sports drinks and can adversely affect your health. So let’s do some detective work and find out how to make your sports drink work for you.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are ions (and essential minerals in some cases) that affect metabolic processes in your body, including the movement of nutrients into your cells and the removal of cellular waste products. Electrolytes also help regulate the acid-base balance in your body crucial for normal cellular function. When you sweat, you lose numerous electrolytes, including calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, and potassium, among others. So if you’re sweating up a storm during your workouts, you will need to replenish those precious electrolytes to avoid severe dehydration.

Effects of Dehydration

Your body sweats during exercise to help keep your core temperature constant. But, the body does this at a cost, using the currency of electrolytes to pay the price of fluid and electrolyte losses. Losing as little as two percent of your body weight as sweat will impair exercise performance. A four percent body weight loss as sweat significantly reduces your ability to perform muscular work. Sweat related body weight losses of five to seven percent would cause heat exhaustion and hallucinations (1). Fluids to the rescue!

Carbohydrate Depletion

Carbohydrate depletion—the depletion of your muscle and liver glycogen reserves—is another important factor to take into account when you are training for endurance activities. Glucose is stored in your liver and muscle tissue as glycogen. During prolonged exercise, your body releases hormones that convert glycogen to glucose so your body maintains blood glucose levels. Assuming your body relies on carbohydrates as fuel during exercise, you can maintain a high intensity for about two hours before you’ll bonk out (2). After two hours, your body’s glycogen tank will be running pretty low, so at that point you’ll need to shove some carbohydrates down your pie hole to get through the rest of the event. (I typically recommend taking in some carbs every hour during endurance events to for this exact reason so you can stay ahead of the curve and never run the risk of hitting a wall during your event.)

Sports Drink Considerations

Water is always your best bet for events under sixty minutes, since sports drinks provide little to no benefit for low intensity exercise for short durations. Caffeine, however, can and should be consumed before exercise, because it stimulates your nervous system and can help improve your performance. In fact, research has shown that caffeine can increase exercise ventilation and lung function at all workloads in competitive endurance athletes (3). And, a better workout means you’ll burn more fat to boot! High-fructose corn syrup, which is commonly found in sports drinks, should be avoided at all costs due to its ability to raise triglycerides and insulin levels, increasing your risk of a heart attack. I can’t think of a worse time to consume processed liquids. So be good to your body good and make your own sports drink:

“Estherade�?

1 cup coconut water

½ cup pomegranate juice

½ cup water

1/8 teaspoon organic sea salt

1000mg carnitine tartrate

Coconut water is rich in antioxidants, electrolytes, and trace minerals to improve hydration, muscle recovery and prevent cramping. Try it while training for your next endurance event; you should be very happy with how good you’ll feel during and after your exercise sessions!…

Sexual Nutrition

When we think about nutrition, most of us think about losing body fat or gaining more energy. What we don’t always think about is the impact that foods can have on our hormonal balance, libido, and sexual performance.And as our bodies age, our libido can diminish and make it harder to achieve orgasms. Once women hit menopause, the ovaries become less active and ultimately produce less testosterone, which is key to our libido. Men can also experience “manopause�? which results in a drop in testosterone. Just what can you do to keep your mojo going as you age and enjoy a satisfying sex life throughout your life? Plenty! And it all starts with what you put in your mouth.

Think Zinc

Zinc is a pretty amazing trace mineral. It kills viruses on contact and boosts white blood cell function. It forms superoxide dismutase, which is one of the body’s most important antioxidants. It promotes wound healing and muscle growth. And, zinc is the precursor to several vital hormones—especially testosterone—and is essential for a healthy sperm count.

Testosterone is an extremely important hormone for both men and women. It boosts sexual drive and capacity, muscle and bone growth, energy levels, and immune function. If you’re regularly weight training yet have low energy and are not seeing any muscle growth, you’re probably low in zinc. High levels of zinc will boost testosterone, build muscle, and make you randy!

Nationwide food consumption surveys by the USDA have found that the average intake of zinc for males and females of all ages is below the recommended daily allowance (RDA). (The current US RDAs for adults are 8 mg daily for non-lactating females and 11 mg daily for males.) Speaking professionally, to dose someone at this level will only keep them deficient in zinc and will damage their health over the long-term; those on low-fat or vegetarian diets are at an even greater risk of a zinc deficiency. Zinc should be the starting place for any hormone-balancing program.

Natural Libido Boosters

To help raise your body’s zinc stores, slurp down oysters, chew on some pastured red meat, and toss some pumpkin seeds into your salads. All of these foods are a rich source of zinc.

L-arginine is another form of nature’s Viagra. L-arginine is an amino acid you can buy in supplement form; research shows the nitric oxide present may dilate clitoral blood vessels, increasing flow to erogenous zones and helping to improve arousal and erections. Walnuts can also have the same effect, and they provide omega-3 fatty acids to promote lubrication and circulation.

Asparagus is considered one of the best libido-boosting foods since it’s rich in folate. A naturally occurring form of folic acid, folate regulates the production of histamine – the chemical that is released during an orgasm.

Garlic is a rich source of allicin, a compound that thins the blood. Thinner blood means that you have a much better chance of having an erection and greater endurance in the bedroom. Now that’s what I call a great workout!

I’m a big fan of the adaptogenic properties of Rhodiola. Rhodiola boosts serotonin and dopamine to help boost sexual pleasure. Pour you and your loved one a special love potion before you head into the boudoir: 30 drops of rhodiola diluted in water is the recommended dosage. Bottoms up!

To raise your sex drive through the roof, make sure you’re eating plenty of cold-water fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon and mackerel. Halibut is high in magnesium and helps distribute testosterone in the blood.

Walnuts, an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, are known to boost dopamine and arginine levels in the brain, which increases the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the essential chemical compound for erections; it dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow freely. All nuts contain essential fatty acids to boost hormones and keep us amorous. They are also rich in arginine to put the swing in your ding. Pine nuts are my favorite source of zinc; they’re packed to the gills.

Getting Tested

If you think your zinc stores are suboptimal, pick up some liquid zinc sulfate heptahydrate (available from health food stores and pharmacies) and performing a zinc taste test. To do a zinc taste test, place 2 teaspoons of zinc in your mouth and hold it there for 10 seconds before swallowing.

Your response will fall into one of the following grades:

  1. Grade one response: no specific taste sensation: tastes like plain water. This indicates a major deficiency of zinc.
  2. Grade two response: no immediate taste is noticed but, within the ten seconds of the test, a ‘dry’ or ‘metallic’ taste is experienced. This indicates a moderate deficiency.
  3. Grade three response: an immediate slight taste is noted, which increases with time over the ten second period. This indicates a deficiency of minor degree.
  4. Grade four response: an immediate, strong and unpleasant taste is experienced. This indicates that no zinc deficiency exists.

Most people fall into the grade one or two variety. I then suggest they supplement with zinc daily and repeat the test periodically to see if their taste response improves. To avoid the potential of toxic side effects, zinc supplementation should not exceed 150 mg per day.…

Fat Loss Starts in the Mind

After the holidays thousands of people make New Year’s resolutions. Included at the top of this list is getting healthier, fitter and losing weight. The majority of people who make New Year’s resolutions give up on their goals within 4-6 weeks.

Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, jump on board with the Fat Loss Revolution to experience optimal health and permanent fat loss. To experience any goal, including optimal health and permanent fat loss, it starts with a shift in your mindset.

10 Mindset Solutions

  1. Start with your value system. Write down your top values. A few of my top values are God, myself, family and my Rottweiler, Teddy Bear, a healthy lifestyle, my business/work, friends, helping others and community. Is health one of your top values? Prioritizing your values opens the door to transformation and lasting change.
  2. Keep a journal and write down your goals and intentions. Review them daily. The act of writing and journaling is very powerful in creating a positive outcome for long-term success. Studies show an 80 percent success rate for those who follow through and write down their goals. Be intentional.
  3. Start with two simple, healthy changes each week and add two more each and every week. This is the concept in my first book, The Power of 4. Ultimately, small changes over time are very profound and doable without creating overwhelm. See your transformation as progress – a journey vs. perfection.
  4. Surround yourself with like-minded people who support your healthy lifestyle. Share your goals with family and friends. Fat loss is contagious!
  5. Do not go on a quick-fix diet. Avoid dieting at all costs, which causes a damaged metabolism, hormone disruption and extra weight once the dieting ends. Instead eat real food including protein, plenty of fiber from leafy greens and vegetables, healthy fats, filtered water and green tea.
  6. Realize that you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. End the thought process of health and fat loss as quick-fix, short-term goals and adapt a lifestyle mindset to create health, vitality, longevity and fat loss.
  7. Become conscious about the importance of other principles aside from intelligent exercise and a nutrient-rich diet to experience optimal health and permanent fat loss. These include hormone balance, sleep, stress management, eliminating foods your body is sensitive to, detoxification and toxins in food and the environment.
  8. Be prepared. Have a plan. Use the 12-week check list found in Fat Loss Revolution.
  1. Set up your environment at home and work to minimize temptation. Remove unhealthy food from your home and have healthy food choices and snacks readily available.
  2. Take it one day at a time. Value and focus on the positive progress you have already made along your journey toward health. Realize that setbacks may occur. Resume your intention and focus on getting right back on track. Believe in yourself!