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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sleep - Leaving Money on the Table ? (A Checklist)

Sleep has always been a place I struggled personally. A busy mind seems to be associated with poor sleep based on my own interactions with clients and, at least, anecdotal reports and stories around some of the best minds in history. 

Sleep Quality is always an area I try and make some changes with new clients and keep ongoing clients thinking about how to improve/maintain there good sleep patterns to enhance health and performance.

While it is tempting to turn to prescription or OTC medications and herbals for assistance with improving the main complaints or components of sleep studies show only small benefits to targeted use of drugs/herbals but huge benefit from behavioral interventions. Most studies deal mainly with two components for rating sleep: Sleep Onset Latency/time to fall asleep (SOL) and Wakefulness After Sleep Onset/Restlessness (WASO). 

The below link to a governmental meta-analysis (a collaborative report based on all research done) shows ~0-1% improvements with use of medications with at least some component of risk in terms of side effects. Conversely, behavior interventions are strongly associated with 10%+ improvement in markers of sleep and minimal/no side effects. The best part is that adjusting behavior is FREE and SAFE

Relaxation therapy & cognitive/behavioral therapy effective in management of chronic insomnia
" Cognitive/behavioral therapy has been recognized as a valid and successful treatment approach for insomnia. Cognitive/behavioral therapy can include any combination of sleep restriction, sleep hygiene, stimulus control, paradoxical intention, and cognitive restructuring. Many of these commonly used clinical tools have not undergone rigorous testing to determine their efficacy and long-term safety. The efficacy of these treatments has been evaluated in some studies,4,19 but differences in the definition of insomnia and outcome measures make it difficult to compare study results."

A Basic checklist to improve sleep or see if sleep hygiene/routine is affecting your health/performance is:
 - finish eating 2hrs before sleep
 - off of screens 2hrs before sleep (yes your smart phone has a screen!) 
 - bedroom is pitch black even during day time with no electronics, lights and ideally no wireless signals ** this is HUGE and commonly skipped ... don't skip ***
 - no animals, kids etc. in room and keep sheets/blankets well laundered and room dusted
  - dim house lights in 2hrs before sleep
  - avoid any stressful conversation / entertainment / decisions 
  - Avoid Caffeine after 12pm 
  - Journal on paper all thoughts, events of day past and anything to be done in future with exact details for when/how you will deal with it so there is less thought during sleep onset period.
  - Attend at least a month of meditative yoga or actual meditation class to aid relaxation and quieting of mind.  
*after a few weeks of adherence you can tinker with variables above to see what you can 'get away with' 
Give it a try and let me know how you roll ... what works for you ? 

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Friday, February 10, 2012

How Much do We Need to Do? ( Thoughts on Training for Biking )

How Much Do We Need to Do ? 

"I'll Just work hard and I will achieve my goals": I have always been a fan of working hard and steady, that is no secret. There is, however, limitation to this approach to reaching goals and moving ahead in our lives. 
1) Firstly, we need to consider what we want to accomplish ... we may get to a weight loss goal or a certain result in racing by working hard but would we achieve better by taking stock of what exactly our goals are and what that means in our training ? 

2) Secondly ... [ Read the rest of this article and many more by signing up HERE for the Smart Athlete Newsletter]

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Omega 3:6 ratio not best way to assess fat sources?

This meta study suggests initially that looking at omega 3 in fat sources may be better then the ratio of omega 3:6 as commonly thought.

It does not discuss the value in minimizing Omega 6 (seed oils, frying, processed foods and nuts)

A good strategy may be to reduce the Omega 6 consumed via all sources (even nuts and cooking with high heat/olive oil) while focusing on fats such as coconut oil, fatty fish, avocado and olive oil.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

IT Band Issues - Should You Have Duck Feet ?

Monday, February 6, 2012

4 Quick Rules of Thumb for Bike Fit

These are not perfect rules but a good place to start if your bike fit doesn't seem right or you are having any sort of pain that isn't expected.

1) Bars Lower then Saddle ? Lower for road, higher for mtb
   - Image from Bikefit.com

2) Saddle Tilt - slight tilt down (ie. just below horizontal)  
                       - the more hilly your riding the more tilt you can get away with
                               ***ie. mtb more downward tilt then road generally
Image from Bikefit.com

3) Saddle Fore-Aft = Remember your saddle height is changed when you move saddle forward or backward
                               = General goal starting spot is bottom of knee cap over pedal spindle
                                 = also assess vertical line from tip of saddle versus vertical line through center of BB
                                        * generally 2-4cm behind Center of BB

4) Saddle Height allow for full rotation with Heel on the Pedal (ie. unclipped), this provides a slight bend in most people once clipped in and ankle/foot is reintroduced to leg length/pedal stroke
             - sitting in trainer can you put heels on pedal and do a full rotation with contact to pedals.
             - flexibility may allow increasing slightly from here or require slight decrease from there if limited.


And if you can't get it figured out toss me an email and let's game play some solutions or get you in with Steve Neal for a Performance Bike fit ! 

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Paleo Diet Helps MS ... Great Ted Talk and Best Paleo Books to Get Started.

Another example of Paleo or Evolutionary Nutritional and Lifestyle helping with autoimmune disease 

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