Focus Ed.

Seconds after Usain Bolt broke the world record in the 100 meter dash at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his father Wellesley famously revealed his son’s performance-enhancing secret: “It is definitely the Trelawny Yam,” the elder Bolt told reporters.

Vegetables are the occasionally-overlooked heroes of nutrition. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and are crucial for overall health, body function and growth. Low in calories and hydrating, eating a variety of veggies is the original multivitamin that will help reduce inflammation, speed up recovery and improve your training performance.

But if we were to focus on one vegetable that topped the rest and revved up your fitness goals, it would be the sweet potato (or kamote, as known here in the Philippines).

🌱 What makes them so great?

🍠 Excellent source of vitamin C, manganese, fiber and vitamin B6

🍠 Rich in potassium – keeps blood pressure within normal limits & prevents muscle cramping

🍠 Great source of complex carbohydrates for lasting energy

🍠 Low fat (less than 0.1 g in a single sweet potato)

⚡️⚡️ Getting the right foods into your daily diet is essential if you want to look, feel and perform at your best.
So if you are looking for a clean energy source that will keep you energized for your workout, and as Usain would probably agree, we’d recommend adding sweet potato to your grocery list. Simply roast, bake or boil and enjoy as a pre or post workout treat! Naturally sweet and guilt-free.

Nutrition is a very confusing topic, especially when you wanna lose weight relatively quickly. Tons of diets (Zone, Atkins, Ketone, Macrobiotics, Raw food, Paleo, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Cookie diet, Five-bite diet, Master cleanse) have come out promising the best body of your life in the quickest possible time. Some of which have good ideas and intentions, whilst some of which have no sound nutritional background and will definitely destroy your body in the long run.

To put this confusion to bed, a massive 68-year scientific analysis of diets looked at how very low calorie diets compared to regular eating behaviour for obese people.

The results? The study found that those who ate very low calorie were actually WORSE off than those who ate conventionally! Short-term crash dieting just doesn’t work. You may lose the weight fast, but you put it back on even faster and you come off worse in the bargain. It’s all about consistent lifestyle changes. Pick real, nutrient-dense foods, exercise frequently, and splurge on your guilty pleasures in moderation. If that means skipping that soda today, eating a little bit less at dinner or taking the stairs to your office, you’re already taking small steps to becoming your healthier, happier self.

Ayyad, C. & Andersen, T. (2000). Long‐term efficacy of dietary treatment of obesity: A systematic review of studies published between 1931 and 1999.Obesity Reviews1(2), 113-119.

Triathlete-Trevor-Wurtele-Racing-in-Las-Vegas cover

Most people believe that to become a better marathon runner or triathlete, a person must run long distances for long durations along with doing high-repetition training in the gym to build up endurance. To a certain extent, this is true, but research shows that endurance athletes who also do heavy strength training improve much faster.

In a systematic review, athletes who did strength training twice a week whilst maintaining their endurance training increased their running economy (ability to use less oxygen while running at a specific velocity), maximal strength, neuromuscular connections and maintained the same levels of VO2max (maximal oxygen consumption) compared to those who ONLY did endurance training. This meant that those who strength trained also improved their race-times.

Strength training’s improvements on running economy and velocity are because of improved leg muscle and tendon stiffness which allows the rapid absorption and use of elastic energy during every foot stride. The optimal amount is to do your heavy lifting twice a week and on non-consecutive training days. Therefore, to improve your marathons, don’t just run. Incorporate some heavy lifting and you will surely outperform your competition!

Beattie, K., Kenny, I. C., Lyons, M., & Carson, B. P. (2014). The effect of strength training on performance in endurance athletes. Sports Medicine,44(6), 845-865.
Millet, G. P., Jaouen, B., Borrani, F., & Candau, R. (2002). Effects of concurrent endurance and strength training on running economy and VO~2 kinetics. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(8), 1351-1359.


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