Do coffee beans count as vegetables?

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I suppose that, theoretically, it is possible to exist without coffee. In theory.

I mean, I have heard of people who don’t drink coffee. I live with people who claim not to like coffee. I just don’t understand them.

I’m writing this post from a comfy leather chair while sipping a large espresso drink – no sugar, no cream, just pure, dark goodness – at one of my favorite coffee shops. This liquid manna, and a warm chocolate chip cookie, is my reward for running 22 miles today.

Yes, it was worth it.

My running is fueled by caffeine. Not only is the Americano my favorite post-run reward every Saturday … my daily runs are preceded by a pre-workout drink that includes caffeine (along with some other very important, and beneficial, ingredients).

Do coffee beans count as vegetables?

They should, just because they are so healthy (like wine, of course, in moderation). Scientists have redeemed coffee’s reputation with recent research touting the benefits of coffee to improved health. A cup or two of coffee each day has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, kidney stones, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cirrhosis and dementia. Coffee contains beneficial antioxidants that help fight off free radicals.

Not only does coffee improve health, caffeine improves athletic performance.

Forget what you’ve probably heard about coffee causing you to be dehydrated. It’s not true, it’s just not. A cup (or even two, or three) of coffee will not dehydrate you. Hundreds of studies have shown that caffeine helps athletes run faster, and run farther. Caffeine:

  • delays perceived muscle soreness
  • enhances the body’s use of fat as a fuel (critical for endurance runners)
  • increases sprint speed and power
  • boosts alertness and improves reaction time

Caffeine’s benefits extend beyond the workout. Taking caffeine before a workout actually aids in recovery after a workout. That’s because caffeine induces a greater release of anti-inflammatory substances, called interleukins, thus reducing muscle soreness and speeding recovery.

This is why, 30 minutes to an hour before each hard workout, I drink a 20-ounce, mango-flavored drink called Prepare.
Prepare contains 100 mg of caffeine (the equivalent of about a cup of coffee). Prepare also contains plenty of other ingredients that boost athletic performance.

Nitric Oxide

Prepare helps me get the most out of each run, whether training or a race, by enhancing my body’s production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide expands blood vessels, which allows more blood to reach more muscles more efficiently. Nitric oxide speeds the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles, thus boosting performance.

Prepare was developed by Dr. Lou Ignarro, who earned the Nobel prize in medicine for his discovery of the importance of nitric oxide to the cardiovascular system. Outside the laboratory, Dr. Ignarro is an avid cyclist and has completed 13 marathons. His credibility is based both on his Nobel-prize-winning research and his personal experience.

Prepare contains the precursors L-Arginine, L-Citrulline and L-Ornithine aKG that cause the body to produce more nitric oxide. Prepare is the only sports nutrition product exclusively endorsed by Dr. Ignarro, a member of the Editorial and Nutrition Advisory Boards of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute. Dr. Ignarro is revolutionizing sports nutrition and performance. Sports nutrition companies are now trying to capitalize on Dr. Ignarro’s research by offering products they claim boosts the body’s nitric oxide production. Some of those may be fine products; however, many of them fall short of the claims because they try to cut corners (and costs) and neglect key elements of Dr. Ignarro’s findings.

Creatine

Prepare also contains 2,100 mg of creatine per serving. Creatine supports the fast-twitch muscle contractions required for explosive athletic movement. Creatine enables muscles to become larger and stronger by stimulating protein synthesis in muscle tissue and decreasing the breakdown of protein. Creatine also decreases mental fatigue, and in a long endurance run, mental stamina is just as important as muscle.

In addition, Prepare contains maltodextrin, a carbohydrate that provides energy and helps facilitate creatine uptake.

Bottom Line: Train hard, race hard. Prepare is invaluable in my own training, giving me the boost I need to train harder so that I can race harder.

Learn more about Prepare

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Runners are not giving themselves arthritis

The notion that running causes wear and tear on the joints that will damage your knees is just plain wrong. If anything, it’s just the opposite – the same stress/adapt cycle that builds strong muscles, also builds strong knees.

Take it from a guy who used to wear knee braces when I started running. Or, better yet, take it from a couple of scientists. A Washington Post article sets the record straight, quoting (among others) Alex Hutchinson, a science journalist who is author of the Sweat Science blog:

“People think the joint is just a static, inert hinge that wears down, but it’s actually a dynamic, living thing that can respond to stress and adapt and get stronger.” Rather than wear down cartilage and other joint tissue, running appears to strengthen them.

Read the full article at the Washington Post.

Nutrition: More Than the Food We Eat

'Day 362' photo (c) 2009, Bruce - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

We’re blogging through Health is Wealth: Performance Nutrition for the Competitive Edge by Dr. Louis Ignarro, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, and Dr. Andrew Myers. If this series sparks your interest to learn more about performance nutrition, you can purchase their book (either paperback or digital) by following the links over in the right-hand column.

Extensive scientific research has shown that many of the amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are the foundation for peak performance and health are simply not available in the foods we eat at levels that deliver the maximum benefits.

Chapter 2 focuses on the question of supplements. I know some folks who insist that, if we maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet, we shouldn’t need to take any supplements. They are suspicious of the pills and powders that seem so … well, unnatural. But there are some problems with that logic.

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NO Laughing Matter


Don’t confuse nitric oxide (NO) with nitrous oxide, which is the laughing gas your dentist may give you. NO is a gas, but it’s actually more closely related to nitroglycerine … yes, the explosive, and the heart medication.

Nitric oxide (as our author, Nobel prize-winning scientist Dr. Louis Ignarro explains in the video above) is naturally produced by our bodies as a result of a healthy diet and regular exercise. NO causes your blood vessels to dilate, allowing more blood, oxygen and nutrients to reach tissues and cells.

We can actually improve athletic performance — increase strength and stamina — by boosting NO production in our bodies so that our cardiovascular system can more efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients to muscles and other tissues.

“Health is Wealth: Performance Nutrition for the Competitive Edge,” explains how to accomplish this. The book is now available to purchase from the Health is Wealth website, although not yet available from Amazon or as an ebook. I’m blogging through a chapter each week, beginning today with the introduction.

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‘Best Protein Shake’

I’m going to have more to say about this later, but can’t sit on this good news any longer …

I recently learned that one of Herbalife24’s recovery drinks, Rebuild Strength, was named the Best Protein Shake by the editors at Triathlete Magazine. In the September 2011 issue, the magazine compared Rebuild Strength to Muscle Milk, Detour Lean Muscle and Interphase Hypertrophy Matrix. Here’s what they wrote:

Damaged, exhausted muscles need protein. But not all protein shakes are created equal.

Amen to that! I’ve written before about using another Herbalife24 recovery drink, Rebuild Endurance, in my own workouts because it was designed specifically for endurance athletes. Recovering from different sports (and different workouts) requires different types and amounts of nutrients. Instead of a one-size-fits-all recovery product, Herbalife24 offers two recovery drinks that are each tailored for the specific needs of athletes engaged in different sports. Rebuild Strength is specifically designed to help athletes such as weighlifters and anyone interested in enhancing body tone, recover from demanding strength-conditioning workouts.

As I incorporate Rebuild Strength into my own training regimen in the days ahead, I’ll have more to say about all this. In the meantime, here’s what the editors at Triathlete Magazine have to say about Rebuild Strength:

This easily blended, chocolate-flavored recovery shake was the best of the bunch for taste and semi-thick consistency, with the look of a milkshake and the malty finish of Whoppers candy. It also blends well into a smoothie.

Sorry, I couldn’t find this article online. Follow this link to view an image of the full page from Triathlete Magazine.

Then compare Rebuild Strength with whatever recovery drink you’re using, and let me know how it stacks up:

  • 24 g dairy protein
  • 190 calories
  • 4000 mg BCAAs
  • 3000 mg L-glutamine
  • Bioavailable and buffered electrolytes
  • 20% DV iron
  • 300 mg calcium

View the Product Label