Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sports Hydration: Why Water Isn't Enough

"Nutrition and hydration are critical to performing your best. As the temperature cools, athletes sometimes forget the importance of hydration, and it's not just about water. Read on to learn about the importance of hydrating with the right amount of water and electrolytes." Jennifer Sommer-Dirks, MS, RD, CSSD
Peaks Coaching Group Nutritionist

By Skratch Labs:

Your body is made up of 60-75% water and when you sweat, you begin to lose water quickly. To avoid cramping, nausea, confusion, cutting your workout early, or a DNF at your next race, you can’t just replace the water you lost. Replacing the sodium is critical to rehydrating successfully.

What is sweat?

Sweat isn’t just water; it’s made up of electrolytes, especially sodium, which makes up about 90% of the electrolytes you lose in sweat. Of the electrolytes you lose in sweat, sodium plays the most important role in helping your body perform.

What happens when you’re thirsty?
As you sweat and lose more water than sodium, the sodium concentration in your blood increases and you begin to feel thirsty. 
You stop feeling thirsty when you consume enough water to bring the sodium concentration in your blood back down. Sometimes that means increasing the amount of sodium you consume and not relying on water alone. 

What is sweat made of (and how do I know how much sodium is in my sweat)?

Most people lose about a liter-sized Nalgene amount of sweat in 1-2 hours of endurance exercise. On average, people lose 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of sodium per liter (or Nalgene bottle) of sweat.

One way to guesstimate your sodium is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. If you lost 3% of your body weight during exercise, you likely need more sodium. Keep in mind this calculation includes consuming your normal amount of fluids during exercise. 

Read More at Skratch Labs

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Eliminating Pedaling Discomfort - An Athlete’s Experience with the LEOMO TYPE-R

By Sherman Cravens, Special Projects Coordinator, Peaks Coaching Group

This article is a rather significant departure from past articles we have written on the LEOMO TYPE-R in that it is written from the Athlete’s perspective and much of the article will consist of quotes from my extensive e-mail correspondence with the Athlete throughout his journey with the TYPE-R.  This is not to say that his journey with the TYPE-R is complete… 

We are going to take a look at an Athlete who purchased a TYPE-R because in his words “Originally, I purchased the Type R because I was getting more and more uncomfortable on the bike, not at all like the very, very smooth pedaling style I had a few years ago.  It allowed me to make changes, one at a time, then go back and quantify them so I wasn’t just relying on ‘feels better, feels worse’.  It had gotten the point where I felt like I was pedaling with the legs of two different guys who didn’t know each other and one was a really bad bike rider.”

Athlete Information
   Age:  62
   Riding Since:  1970s. Holds a Cat 2 USAC Road License
   Annual Mileage:  7,500 - 10,000
   Most Recent Bike Fit:  2011
   Pedals:  Speedplay Zero for over a year, Speedplay X-2 prior to that
   Shoes:  Sidi Wire 43.5, Suplest Edge/3 Pro 42.5, Gaerne G.Stilo+ 42.5 and 43, and Sidi Shot 44
   Insoles:  Solestar size 42 BLK stock, size 43 BLK, and custom BLK

A little background from the Athlete again in his words “I do stretch and core exercises daily, as recommend by the osteopath.  Right side does feel tight, could be past time for a visit there to be worked over and straightened out”.

“On issues, my skeletal architecture is a mess, scoliosis (only found five years ago, but pronounced), several disk issues in including a disintegrated L5-S1 from an old fall. Generally, my left side feels pretty good, my right feels like a disjointed string puppet. Possibly some nerve damage into my right leg. Also, the arch of my right foot seems to be collapsing, leading to the feeling of mis-tracking on my right leg. I’ve tried every custom and over the shelf insole I can find. And, a somewhat messed up left shoulder after being hit by a car a few years ago.”

Let’s see if this Athlete’s use of the TYPE-R has helped to improve pedal stroke, but more importantly feel more comfortable pedaling once again.

Baseline:  June 24, 2017 DSS (Dead Spot Score) and PSI (Pedal Stroke Intelligence)

DSS (Dead Spot Score) is higher than typically seen for both Left and Right sides at 5.3 and 6.9 respectively.

Breakthrough:  August 27, 2017 DSS (Dead Spot Score) and PSI (Pedal Stroke Intelligence)

DSS (Dead Spot Score) has improved significantly with Left at 1.1 and Right at 3.0.  Notice also that the PSI (Pedal Stroke Intelligence) has improved significantly as well.
He later stated his right ankle was not over his right foot, but canted in.  He continues, “Seems my right arch just collapses and the ankle rolls in. I had been running the new, larger Sidi Shot shoes with the stock foodbeds the past few days, which did not feel that bad.

The surprise was the custom Solestar foot beds I had made for the Gaerne shoes never really seemed to work right, like my foot was twisting in the shoe trying to find a comfortable place and my right arch seemed to flex and unflex.

Put them in the Sidi Shot today – and a much better fit. The curve of the footbeds matches the Sidi shoes much better than the Gaerne. The Sidis have a fair amount of toe lift, the Gaerne nearly flat. All of a sudden, my ankle doesn’t rotate in and my right leg doesn’t feel like its about to fly off at any moment. My foot felt well supported and not like it was moving around trying to find a comfortable position.

While the footbeds were supposed to fit the Gaerne shoes, they really seem to fit the Sidi shoes much, much better.

I don’t want to think this fixes everything, but DSS was down and felt much more stable on the aero bars, more symmetrical and balanced.”

The results above were not achieved without thorough testing and the Athlete continues to test and perform prescribed drills.  Currently he recorded activity with the TYPE-R 68 times.

I think the quote below sums up this Athlete’s experiences with the TYPE-R.

“So, pretty cool that the Leomo can quantify what I’m feeling, and really helped track down a problem I’ve been having for a long time.”

As I stated in the intro, this is a journey towards improvement and for this Athlete, that journey may not have a final destination.

Peaks Coaching Group (PCG) began working with LEOMO in 2015 to assist in the development of the TYPE-R.  For more information on LEOMO, the TYPE-R, or Motion Analysis visit and discover how you too can benefit from this research. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Vitamin D Deficiency: The Invisible Health Challenge By Rachel Zambrano

Vitamin D – An Introduction

As an athlete and a multi-sport endurance coach, I’ve learned that there is so much more to sports than just the workout. Nutrition and health are arguably the foundation of the athlete but with perhaps the least focus. Every aspect of the well-tuned athlete comes back to wellness, whether professional or amateur and yet, there’s so much that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We, as athletes and coaches, joke somewhat truthfully about how we ride because we love to eat, or we run because the road is a good listener, but it’s these motivations that, if they remain an afterthought, threaten to derail the best training of talented athletes.

Vitamin D may seem like a strange topic of conversation for fairly healthy athletes, but a recent conversation with an athlete, in turn, spurred a conversation with my physician.  Once I started digging a little deeper, I realized that vitamin D levels have significant implications for athletes at all fitness levels.

Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining good health.  For most of us, it seems something we seldom consider except as just another vitamin/supplement we all find in a dizzying array in our local grocery store or chain pharmacy. It is vitally important that we consider if we have sufficient Vitamin D levels due to the fact that most of us don’t get enough sun on exposed skin throughout the week.
Many adults are vitamin D deficient, and if the data is credible, the numbers top more than a billion people worldwide (1)

My experience with this was limited until that athlete suggested that I get my own Vitamin D levels tested.  What information I initially found was not particularly well organized nor was it very helpful. On the other hand, knuckling down and combing the research, I realized that the information I was reading was important for other athletes to see, and that they should also have access to a summary of why it is so important.  So… let’s start at the beginning.

The Beginning – Where Vitamin D Comes From:

Vitamin D comes from two sources: it can be synthesized when UVB light from the sun’s rays strikes the skin, or it can be taken in by diet.13 Unfortunately, wearing sunscreen can reduce production of Vitamin D by up to 95% percent 2, and if you’re like me (fair skinned), the sun might as well be kryptonite.  It is estimated that 50-90% of our Vitamin D comes from sunlight (8).

The Middle – What Vitamin D does for the body:

Vitamin D is required to properly absorb dietary minerals like calcium and phosphorus in order to provide us with effective healthy bone turn over, without it, we can end up with problems – Rickets being a classic from history, with Vitamin D deficient children ending up with bow-legs

In addition to the obvious bony pathology, evidence-based studies suggest  Vitamin D actually widespread effects on the body.  Thus it is easier to describe Vitamin D by disease and the impact of Vitamin D deficiency on that particular disease, rather than a list of possible changes:

  • Vitamin D allows for better absorption of calcium in the body
  • Insufficient Vitamin D levels stimulate parathyroid hormone synthesis, resulting in the body potentially pulling calcium from the bones, essentially thinning the bones, increasing the risk of fracture


  • Epidemiological data showing serum values show an inverse relationship between incidence of cancer and Vitamin D for prostate, colon, breast, lung and marrow/lymphoma, among others – across several human and animal studies

Infection and Immune Response

  • Studies have indicated that the body is better able to fight off infection when Vitamin D levels are optimal


  • One Finnish study indicated the prophylactic effect of Vitamin D supplementation during the first year of life against diabetes later in life
  • Studies indicate Type I and II diabetes are associated with low Vitamin D levels

Hypertension/Cardiovascular Disease

  • Vitamin D levels and hypertension are strongly associated
  • Myocardial infarction risk varied inversely with Vitamin D levels (3)
Other sources indicate fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E)  are related to hair and nail strength. Vitamin D is also an important part of the discussion when it comes to mental health, but seasonal depression is the most obvious effect of insufficient Vitamin D levels (9). Studies in the last decade indicate that there is a positive relationship between pregnancy health and Vitamin D levels, suggesting most women would benefit from supplements during this time. Now that we’ve covered the medical part, let’s get down to why it’s important to you and me as athletes.

Read the full article by PCG Coach Rachel Ruby Zambrano at Titanium Geek