So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Right Tool For The Job

When you're working out there are three important things to keep in mind about nutrition and/or hydration: First, there are things that should never be taken in to your system, regardless to the John Parker-esque quote about if the furnace is hot enough it will burn anything. Second, there are certain things which can be taken into your system at any time of the training day. And third, there are certain things which should only be taken in after training.
Naturally, in the do as I say, not as I do category of most coaches/athletes, I strongly suggest you avoid anything wrapped in a cellophane wrapper with the name Little Debbie on it. Not only because of the you are what you eat dictum (Eat enough of those things & you too will be round, filled with a thick plaque-like substance & wrapped in plastic...), but because of the economics factor. I mean d*mn, I remember when the lowly oatmeal cake - the least offensive of Little Debbie's siren-like offerings - could be purchased for 25 cents. Now you can't even look at the bee-yotch for less than 75! One of those & a Faygo cream soda could give you enough sugar to get you through a rough morning run; all you had to carry was a single dollar bill in your running shorts.

Hydration of nearly any sort - especially non-alcoholic - is good throughout the training day. In most cases. The closer I get to the hours before a morning or evening workout I try to ease back on what sugary stuff I'm taking in. Caffeine for me is always good, whether it's straight coffee (my beverage of choice!) or unsweetened tea. And since tea usually has less caffeine for the amount of fluid taken in I can get plenty of water in at almost the same time. Some sports drinks, such as Hammer Nutrition's HEED, are becoming more subtle in their flavoring, which means you can take it during those two a.m. wake-up calls when you really feel the need to drop some fluid before the 5:30 swim.
I've engaged in the rare after work/before workout beer, but have found it - as you can guess - to be a bad idea, performance-wise. Better to save the beer for at least an hour after the workout is through. I've tried specialty recovery drinks, also, but they don't seem to work as well (when you go by bang for the buck) as chocolate milk. Even a Starbuck's Frappuccino in the bottle will do, but it's more expensive than the other two options...but you cannot beat the blend of caffeine, chocolate, sugar & plain, unadulterated milkfat.

As for the beer, once the last month I've become a born-again believer in moderation. Having a knucklehead decide to leave a tavern by the path of most resistance through your paid off automobile will reinforce that decision. Two beers, of the relatively light sort, during the period of two hours after the enough for me. I don't have problems sleeping when I do that, any more than if I were to drink a pot of coffee. I just don't like practicing my drunken driving and putting my family's life at risk all in the name of socializing. If I feel the desire to have more, I'll do what the Germans call radler, that's a blend of lemon-lime soda and beer. It's light, refreshing, and much lower in alcohol content than the beer. Oh, and I get to have some sugar with my alcohol.
There's always the right tool for the job. The challenge is knowing what the job is & whether the tool is right for you.

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