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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Don’t miss this!

Hunter's NASCAR dream

Hunter, age 8, and his family traveled to the inaugural Sprint Cup series and Nationwide Series races at the Kentucky Speedway last summer, thanks to the Dream Factory and Speed Network. Hunter met just about every driver (here he is at a driver's meeting with NASCAR great Carl Edwards).

Judging from the number of those who have pre-registered, there is going to be a huge turnout for this event in Excelsior Springs next weekend. I hope to see you there!

From the Excelsior Springs Standard newspaper:

You don’t have to plan on walking or running the evening of Saturday, March 31, in order to enjoy the slew of activities scheduled at Tiger Stadium that night.

Kansas City Chief Reshard Langford and former Chief Anthony Davis will be on hand during the first annual 5K Run/Two Mile Walk to Benefit the Dream Factory on Saturday, March 31, at Tiger Stadium. Prior to the start of the race, there will be a sports memorabilia auction that will include a football autographed by the Chiefs and their coaches.

Christian rock band Break the Fall will play the National Anthem that will follow a salute to the military and will then perform a concert after the race.

No one will go hungry during the evening’s events as Wabash BBQ will be on hand selling food to the masses.

The theme of the race is a salute to the military. Military reservists will direct traffic and be stationed along the race route.

KMBC News Anchor Larry Moore will be the evening’s honorary chairman and host the events.

Read the Standard article to learn more, or visit the event’s Facebook page or read my earlier blog entries here and here.

Objectively, scientifically, nutritionally, inarguably better

Hope to see you at the upcoming Anytime Fitness 5K Run/Walk to Benefit the Dream Factory. I wish I was running the race, but I’ll probably have my hands full at a couple of activities during the event, about which I am very pumped.

We’re partnering with Anytime Fitness in Excelsior Springs by sponsoring an aid station at the halfway mark of the 5K race. We’ll provide all the runners with water and an incredible sports drink from Herbalife called Prolong. That’s right … not Gatorade … not Powerade … not Accelerade or Cytomax or Hammer or Heed …

Something much better and healthier to quench your thirst and fuel your race.

Prolong is a new sports drink from Herbalife, which launched last year as part of the new Herbalife24 line of sports nutrition products. I’ve been using Prolong and the rest of the Herbalife24 products during my marathon training and they fueled me to a personal record finish last fall (and, hopefully, to another PR in April). When I urge other athletes to use these products, I speak from my own experience.

So don’t be confused when you come barrelling through the aid station and hear our volunteers shouting offers of “Water! Here! Prolong! Here!” I know, I know, Gatorade seems to be the drink of choice at most foot races. But Prolong is better … objectively, scientifically, nutritionally, inarguably, just better than Gatorade. Or any other sports drink on the market. And it tastes better, to boot.

Why is Prolong better?

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Mad Science

Not that I was ever a stellar science student in school, but I gotta admit that sometimes science can be pretty cool. Hearing some big news this week, I was reminded just how cool.

Actually, I’m reminded every day how cool science is with my morning cup of coffee, which also reminds me of a story. I’ll get to the point, and this week’s big announcement, in just a minute. Hate to leave you in suspense …

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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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