Category Archives: Perspective

Smart Recovery Improves Your Longevity

Hey there Team!
If you have been reading my blog for a while, chances are you have read a thing or two about recovery. That is no coincidence! I think recovery is a very under utilized tool in our lives. It’s almost like we don’t want to really talk about it, as if it’s not cool to look after yourself. Let’s change that!

"Most people are not over-trained, 
they are under-recovered."

-Joe Holder

I mean, it’s the guy in the office (Larry) that brags about the amount of training that he did that morning on almost no sleep, coffee and 2 Ibuprofen, that gets the “oh, wow, he’s cool”. Compare that to Dan who opted for no Netflix the night before, who did some Yoga or meditation instead and was in bed by 9pm. In our society Dan typically doesn’t get the same “cool” factor. He should though. Dan is setting himself up for success in the long term, whereas Larry is on his way to burn out and have plenty of injuries.

“Just focusing all on the training, and not on the recovery, can be a big mistake!” [1]

I have worked with professional athletes who had to do fewer and less intense workouts for a couple of months, because they had injured themselves in racing. In this case it was falling off a bike and landing on the head. Even though their training volume was drastically reduced they came back way stronger the following season!

Crazy huh?! Well, not really. Being chronically over-trained and under-recovered is not where you want to be for optimal performance. Sometimes it takes a serious injury to understand where you are.

“We want people to be exercising for life, you know exercise is medicine, it’s the best you can do for your body, for prevention of pretty much every disease, so we want people to exercise for a lifetime.” [2]

There is a lot of hype about the best and newest recovery methods, and sometimes it’s not easy to know what makes the most sense. Dr. Shona Halson, a former Senior Recovery Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport, and currently Associate Professor in the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences at the Australian Catholic University, highlights how we can best maximize our recovery time.

 

The core Foundations are:
Sleep and Nutrition (including hydration.)

Then add on:
Massage, (Great for muscle repair and for balancing the Nervous System)
Soft Tissue Work, Mobility
Compression (socks)
Stretching, Yoga
Meditation, Float Tanks
Cold Showers
Cold Water Immersion (ocean, lake, river)
Ice-Baths (use as “icing on the cake”)

For more detail check out this great podcast from TRAINED with Ryan Flaherty and Dr. Shona Halson with tonnes of knowledge.

Some often misread signs of under-recovery are fatigue and irritability. So why should a weekend warrior or just an active person care about recovery?

Who cares, right? It’s not like I’m about to go to the Olympics or anything. Well, it’s the smartest strategy for making sure that you are injury free, that you feel good and aren’t sore all the time, so that you can be consistent and be able to go out there and do whatever it is that you want to do! For the rest of your life…just saying… 😉

“Rest days are good too! Adaptation happens in rest.” [3]

Why not write down a list of what you use today in terms of recovery on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Is the list very short? What can you add to it? Maybe start investing in a monthly massage or get a foam-roller, or why not both? Are you able to make it to the sauna once in a while, or take a bath with added epsom salt? How is your sleep? What about meditation?

There are many small things that you can do to improve on your recovery, but you have to start doing them. Make space in your calendar and take care of yourself! You will feel better and your athletic performance will improve as well. What’s not to like?!

Wishing you a great weekend with lots of smart recovery!
😉

 


[1,2,3] Excerpts from the Podcast Trained: Shona Halson – How Recovery Can Push You Forward in Unexpected Ways
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Photo by Katee Lue on Unsplash

Drew, an exercise physiologist, goes Paleo, Keto, then Plant-Based .

Hello everyone!
If you have ever felt confused about the concepts of going Paleo, Keto or Plant-Based, then this episode is certainly for you! What I find so interesting about Drew Harrisberg in this situation, is the amount of personal data that he has been collecting over the years.

Because he has Type 1 diabetes[1], Drew has this unique situation that has allowed him to monitor what is going on INSIDE his body for a really long time. That is definitely some amazing knowledge to have!

Being an exercise physiologist, he also noted very early on the effect that working out had on his insulin sensitivity. Wanting to do the best he could nutrition-wise he started searching for “the best” diet to follow. He started out with Paleo but that is certainly not where he ended.

What’s so great about Drew’s story you ask? Well, because of his type 1 diabetes, he has his blood work done all the time. This accumulated data tells a story on its own, because what we see on the outside, does not necessarily mirror what’s going on – on the inside. Meaning, he was looking super fit and lean, but his insulin sensitivity was telling another story.

So, due to his constant blood-work, he could track and get a much more complete picture of what was going on inside of him. Ultimately this prompted him to change the way he is eating today.

This is such an interesting podcast between Drew Harrisberg and Simon Hill with the Plant Proof podcast!
Also, Drew and Simon mention a lot of studies during the podcast and you can find them here.

I hope you will enjoy their conversation as much as I did.

 

Have an amazing weekend!
😉

 

 


[1] This is when your pancreas stops producing insulin, often due to an autoimmune disease, and therefore you have to get insulin injections.

Photo from the Plant Proof website www.plantproof.com
Photo from Drew’s Daily Dose www.drewsdailydose.com
Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

 

 

Interested in working on turning The Tide?

Hey there everyone!
How are you doing? How was your past week?
Last week I had the great pleasure to be able to sit down and talk to Cristina Mittermeier. Her work as a photographer and activist to conserve our beautiful planet, is nothing short of remarkable.

“What we do or fail to do in the next 5 to 10 years, is going to determine what our oceans look like for the next 10,000 years.”
-Cristina Mittermeier

This is where the project The Tide comes in. “A lot of the solutions to the oceans problems already exist, but people don’t know about them. Our community can help amplify and enhance those solutions.”[1]

Check out the video, and read about their amazing projects on their homepage. Do you remember what Maximus said in the movie Gladiator?

“What we do in this life, echoes in eternity.”

Well, those echoes are catching up to us, and we need to start actively participate in helping our planet. Joining the Tide is a really easy way to get involved.

 

 

 

I am a proud member of the Tide. Will you join me?
😉


[1] Cristina Mittermeier

https://www.sealegacy.org/tide

https://www.sealegacy.org/

Got Your Diagnosis? Now ask – WHY?!

Hey there Team!
I hope that you are all doing very well, and are able to enjoy the longer days outdoors.
What does it really mean to get a diagnosis? Is that the real answer to our difficulties? Does it mean that we should stop thinking about problem solving as soon as we hear “your diagnosis is XYZ”? Let’s first take a look at what the word diagnosis really means.

diagnosis
/ˌdʌɪəɡˈnəʊsɪs/
noun: diagnosis; plural noun: diagnoses
the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.

OK, so based on looking at the symptoms we should be able to ID the nature of the problem. Meaning, if I have a swollen knee, the nature of the problem is probably inflammation. In that case my diagnosis is inflammation in the knee. A typical treatment would be to eat anti-inflammatory pills, and stay away from sports, right. We all recognize this type of scenario.

Now, if you just got bitten in your knee by a huge spider, rat or the neighbors crazy kid, this kind of treatment makes perfect sense. Maybe you crashed from your bike? However, I dare to say that this is not the typical case scenario.

In that case (so in pretty much all the cases) you need to start asking WHY? OK, so you have inflammation in your knee, but why? Is it because you just started a new exercise program, and you haven’t done that many squats in decades? If so, are you doing enough mobility exercises every day to help your body getting used to the new load? Is your form really good? Ask your coach, find out what you need to work on. Do you have good hip range of motion (ROM)? If not, that could compromise the position of your knee, forcing your knees to collapse inwards. Are you sitting all day at work?

How is your hydration and nutrition? Was your appendix taken out? Are you sometimes constipated? This can have an impact on the blood circulation, lymph system and organ system. If there is an imbalance there, it can create adhesion and feed chronic inflammation over time. Chronic inflammation will weaken your body, but you typically don’t notice it until you are asking more of your body and find a weak spot. In this case your knee.

When getting a diagnosis, ask yourself – Why? Not in a self-pity way, but in a science way. OK, so what are all the possibilities for creating inflammation in my knee? In which of those areas can I improve? How can I help my body on as many levels as possible?

If your Thyroid is a mess, ask Why? Read books, listen to podcasts, find out what nutrients your thyroid needs to feel good. What can you do to make sure that those nutrients are absorbed? What things might be good to exclude?

If you keep rolling your ankles and it takes them a long time to heal, it might be worth looking into the effects of too much cortisol in your body, and how that weakens the ligaments. What could you do to lower the levels of cortisol?

If your answer to the WHY is “it’s genetics” or “bad luck” or “I guess it’s the age” I believe that you have given up on all the amazing things that your body is capable of. Remember, the default mode of the body is to heal itself. Often it’s us who gets in the way, or take the easy way out thinking medication will fix it for us. A diagnosis often describes the symptoms, but seldom tells us the root cause of those symptoms.

Of course it’s not easy to try and figure out all the different whys and mechanisms behind a certain diagnosis. If that was the case we would have solved cancer by now, right?! But understanding the many different mechanisms behind a certain diagnosis, might broaden your horizons and make you see something you haven’t before. And maybe improving in that area, will improve other areas as well.

“Eating food is the biggest variable in our lives. The biggest. So why not eat the best? Why not eat nutrients instead of calories and you watch your body rebuild and transform.”
-Dr. Robert Zembroski on Impact Theory

Here is the really interesting podcast/video on this topic with Dr. Robert Zembroski.

 

Keep asking WHY and have a great weekend!
😉

 


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Constipation – an open trashcan in your hallway!

Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash
Photo by Marlon Lara on Unsplash

 

Tight Hip Flexors Weakens Your Breathing!

Hey there Team!
I hope you had a few nice days off during Easter and were able to spend some time outside. We had amazing (!) weather over here, so I was lucky enough to bike to the beach a few times. It was quite windy though, and I had to push hard on the pedals more than a few times. Breathing hard and being on a bike made me think about lung capacity. It’s a normal train of thought, right? 😉

Did you know that tight hip flexors (often seen in cyclists, but even more so for people who sit on a chair during many hours of the day) can decrease your lung capacity? Well, how does that work?

When your hip flexors are tight they pull your hips into a forward (anterior) position. This extra tension makes it harder for your diaphragm to do its work. If the diaphragm is unable to fully expand it means that you will not be able to inhale as much air as your body wants and needs. For instance, less air into your lungs means that you will have less oxygenation of your muscles.

Less oxygen, less power.
Less oxygen, less recovery, less power…

Dr. Kevin Kirsch explains it short and sweet in this video. He is an Art Of Breath Instructor with Power Speed Endurance. Check it out.

 

Try out the different positions once and see how it feels. Tilt your hips forward as far as you can (just like in the video), and then take a deep breath. Then bring your hips back into a neutral position and take a deep breath here. Notice how much easier it gets to breath deeply when your hips are in a good position. Imagine the impact that can have over a longer period of time.

Here are two previous articles that includes the couch stretch, and also here. I hope this can motivate you, coming from a different angle, to work on those hip flexors. I mean, who doesn’t want their breathing to be as effective as possible?!

Being aware of your breathing is the first step. Now go out there and practice.

Have a great weekend freeing up those hip flexors!
😉

 


Guilt-Free Easter Candy, Anyone?

Hey there Team!
I hope that you are all doing well, and that you will be able to do something really nice for the Easter Holidays. The weather is looking awesome over here, so I will make sure to hit the beach!

Today is Good Friday and the Easter Weekend tends to be the culmination into a mountain of chocolate eggs, and all types of other Easter candy! For some, this time of the year is a pure joy of indulging in lots of yummy treats.

However, for plenty of others it can be quite stressful. Many people are trying to adopt healthier habits and want to minimize dairy and sugar intake. But because the Easter candy comes wrapped as a gift, we feel obliged to eat it. What to do with all that guilt around the chocolates that you have received???

Just because you receive a gift of chocolate, or any other treat for Easter for that matter – you are not obliged to eat it! I say again: You are not obliged to eat it!  All you have to do is to be grateful for the kind gesture that someone was thinking of you, and wanted to do something nice. Giving thanks does not equal having to eat the gift. (Repeat loudly for the diabolic part of your brain!)

"The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not "things" but a means for conveying someone's feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don't need to feel guilty for parting with a gift. Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it."[1] Marie Kondo

So let’s practice this. You are at home with your chocolate eggs that you have received from your lovely friends. But, as you have already decided before Easter, this is not the kind of processed foods that you want to put into your body.

Pick up the gift, and in your mind say something like “Thank you dear friend for thinking of me and going out of your way to give me this lovely gift. It is very much appreciated and it made me very happy. However, eating this gift will make me feel guilty and unhappy and therefore I won’t do that.” Then donate it or discard it.

"But surely the person who gave it to you doesn't want you to use [eat] it out of a sense of obligation,...only to feel guilty every time you see [eat] it. When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver, too." [2]

If all else fails try to trick the diabolic part of your brain with sarcasm “Thanks for getting me a step closer to diabetes!”, and then donate or discard.

Alternatively write a blog about how to get rid of your Easter Candy…it will reduce your chances for having to deal with too much candy in the first place!

If you do want to eat it – do so and then really enjoy the moment! Eat the lovely chocolate because you want too. Not because your mind is making you feel guilty, just because it was a gift.

 

Have a lovely guilt-free Easter weekend!
😉

 


[1,2] The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Stinky Breath?! It’s Your Food Choices

Hey there Team!
Last week we talked about how your health is connected to your stinky breath.

Quick recap from last week:
If we think about the mouth as a large entrance hallway, what other rooms lead to that same hallway? Well, OK we have the esophagus coming from the digestive system. Then we have the sinuses. (Anyone who has ever had to do a saltwater rinse for a sinus infection knows that all that yucky stuff ends up in the mouth). And last but not least, your lungs, via the trachea, also leads to that same hallway.

That means, that if there is any kind of imbalance, infection, or bad  bacterial overgrowth in any one of these areas, it can lead to a stinky, bad breath (aka halitosis). This is something that is  commonly known in Eastern Medicine[2], but not so often talked about in our Western type Medicine. So what can you do if you suffer from halitosis? Phoebe is definitely asking the right question!

“Smelly cat,
smelly cat,
what are they feeding you?”
-Phoebe, in Friends

If your bad breath is something that is occurring often, or all the time, I would look into your food choices. This is the easiest thing for us to change. And, I also believe that it has the biggest impact on our bodies as well. Your best bet is to stay away from processed foods and eat a well prepared whole foods diet.

Why not make a note of when you notice the stinky breath coming back or being particularly bad.  Ask yourself what kind of foods and drinks that you had a day or two before that. It’s sometimes very easy to notice a pattern occurring, if you just start to pay attention. For instance, if you have really bad morning breath, what did you eat and drink the night before?

If your digestion is a bit sluggish, it means that it takes too long for the food to be broken down. Also, eating a heavy meal late at night is not ideal, as your digestion slows down at night. As the food then hangs around in your intestines for too long, it starts to rot and bad bacteria has  a field day. Add a sugary dessert at the end of that heavy meal, and your bad bacteria are totally overjoyed! When bad bacteria is busy, they create a lot of stinky gas.

This is the gas that comes back to your mouth and makes your breath smell. It’s like having an open garbage bin with rotten food in the other room. Even if you try to close the door, after a while it’s going to stink.

The foods that takes the longest to break down is fat and protein, particularly if it’s coming from an animal. Therefore it would be interesting to eliminate (or reduce as much as you can) these foods. A lot of people also do not do well with dairy, so that’s another one to watch out for.

If you have noticed your breath being a challenge sometimes, why not take a week or three and eat lots of veggies and whole foods. Give your body a chance to clean out the gunk! Go easy on the fats, and meats as this is harder for the body to digest. Completely stay away from all fried foods, dairy and processed foods. A lot of people get surprised as how quickly their breath clean up when they do this.

After that make a note when you notice the bad breath coming back and what kind of foods that you ate a day or two before that. On the same smelly topic, if you, or someone near you is having to use a lot of deodorant to smell better, then this article “too dirty for a shower” might interest you as well.

Phoebe was asking the right question all along…
😉 Have a great weekend everyone!


[2] https://bodahealth.ca/bad-breath-and-chinese-medicine/

 

Your Stinky Breath is Connected to Your Health

Hey there Team!
It’s the weekend in Europe where we change the clock for daylight summer time. Are you as excited about warmer weather and more sun as I am?! To a completely different subject: Last week the topic of bad breath came up in a conversation at work. It seems that most of us don’t know all that much about it – other than that it stinks!

Let’s take a closer look at what could be connected to bad breath, called halitosis in medicine. Commonly most people think that you cannot really do that much about bad breath, other than brush your teeth, and maybe use some kind of mouth wash. The bad breath must come from your mouth, right?

Halitosis is formed by volatile molecules which are caused because of pathological or nonpathological reasons, and it originates from an oral or a non-oral source.[1]

Well, lets take a step back. For instance, our breath can tell us about the alcohol level in our blood through an alcohol breathalyzer test. You can also check for SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) through a series of breathalyzer tests. These are things that we take for granted and know to be true. Well, if we measure alcohol levels and bad bacteria in the intestines from our breath, maybe there is more to bad breath than we thought.

Our mouth is the beginning of the tube that is our digestive system (esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum) and our anal canal is at the very end of it. Just like stinky gas can come out at the end, it also can come out at the top.

If we think about the mouth as a large entrance hallway, what other rooms lead to that same hallway? Well, OK we just mentioned the esophagus of the digestive system. Then we have the sinuses. (Anyone who has ever had to do a saltwater rinse for a sinus infection knows that all that yucky stuff ends up in the mouth). And last but not least, your lungs, via the trachea, also leads to that same hallway.

That means, that if there is any kind of imbalance, infection, or bad  bacterial overgrowth in any one of these areas, it can lead to a stinky, bad breath. This is something that is  commonly known in Eastern Medicine[2], but not so often talked about in our Western type Medicine. So what can you do if you suffer from halitosis?

Of course you want to start with good mouth hygiene and proper dental check-ups. Making sure that you are well hydrated is often overlooked in this regard. A dehydrated body and mouth makes it easier for bad bacteria to move in and stay there. Cigarettes are not helping your breath in any way. “Get rid of the cancer sticks!” as my friend Suzanne says.

If your bad breath is something that is occurring often, or all the time, I would look into your food choices. Your best bet is to stay away from processed foods and eat a well prepared whole foods diet. We’ll take a closer look at this next week.

For now try making a note of when you notice the bad breath coming back or being particularly bad.  Ask yourself what kind of foods and drinks that you had a day or two before that. It’s sometimes very easy to notice a pattern occurring, if you just start to pay attention.

Currently there is also a lot of really cool research connecting different gases in our breath to serious health conditions. Check out this  interesting TED talk to learn more on this topic.

 

If top scientists are thinking about our breath and what it can tell us about our health, don’t you think it would be a good idea to pay attention to yours, especially it it stinks?!

Wishing you all a great weekend with plenty of fresh breath!
😉

 



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633265/

Photo by Jules D. on Unsplash
Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash
[2] https://bodahealth.ca/bad-breath-and-chinese-medicine/

Today is the Day. Let’s Go Team!

Hey there Team!
How is everyone doing? I hope you all had a great week and are ready for the weekend. I recently came across this video that speaks louder than words. It’s the kind of stuff that I really like. So, without adding anymore words, here it is!


Today is the day.
Just start.

😉


Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

You’re Not Over-Trained. You’re Under-Recovered!

Hey there Team!
How is everyone doing this week? As I am writing this the sun is shining and the weather is absolutely smashing! I do hope it stays like this for a couple of days. Just this week I completed a 10 day liver-detox-fast. Phew! Since I didn’t have to food-prep or cook, which usually takes up quite a bit of my time, I had some extra time to listen to podcasts.

"Most people are not over-trained, they are under-recovered."
-Joe Holder

I came across this one, optimizing your performance with Nike Master Trainer Joe Holder, and it’s such a good one! The Podcast is called Plant Proof, with Simon Hill, episode 52.

For Joe, it all started with being an athlete, but also with his family and the value system that they raised him with. His family was very nutritionally aware and ahead of their time in terms of how they were looking at food. Having the right mindset and critical thinking were also important topics for them.

“Culture had to be created by someone. Who says that we have to adhere to the rules, instead of creating our own personal manifesto and culture, to maximize our results.”
-Joe Holder

It would take Joe a couple of nasty sports injuries, to start digging deeper into why his body wasn’t healing so well. “Doctors couldn’t really tell me why my body wasn’t healing.” Together with his father he started to look into foods for the solution. But, also along that path he started to realize that “my emotional state was hindering my body’s natural healing.”

This led him onto a journey of working on fixing the physical but also the emotional parts of his body. Using meditation, nutrition [focusing on nutrient dense foods that seemed to have an increased link to healing], pain management from a mental state and traditional rehab exercises, he was able to return to his sport much quicker than anticipated. All of these different tools are at the base of his training system called the Ocho System.

These are just some of the many topics that Joe and Simon talk about. Without giving away any more golden nuggets, I really encourage you to check out this interesting  and inspirational podcast.

Have an amazing weekend!
😉

 

 



Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
https://www.sakara.com/blogs/mag/joe-holder-interview
https://plantproof.com/optimising-your-performance-with-nike-master-trainer-joe-holder/