There is no secret to success and improvement.
You put in the consistent work and practice and give it time to develop.
However, there are always little “hacks” that can be done to help something along. Below are a few that I’ve come across recently that piqued my interest.
1) Protein Before Bed
This is an article from Alex Hutchinson of Sweat Science. He looked at a study that found muscle growth was enhanced by 22% when participants in the double blind study consumed 27.5g of protein powder prior to bed.
During your sleep is when you recover, that is well known. Human growth hormone flows through your body and you become both stronger and/or you heal up (ok, technically the same thing).
So, it does make some sense to have a dose of protein prior to this huge amount of recovery that is about to happen.
2) Tart Cherry Juice
I’ve always been very skeptical of this, however reading what Matt Frazier has to say over at No Meat Athlete has be intrigued. Don’t get me wrong, I never really feel like I need any extra sort of recovery and almost have a sense that anything that is not quite natural that changes how the body recovers may not be for the best. But, who knows, it could be worth a try.
3) Tracking My Life
I’ve tried to do this once before and failed, but I really feel it’s important that I start tracking what happens in my life to look for patterns.
Patterns are everywhere and everything.
For example, I’ve learned that the only real injury/niggle I’ve had in the past couple years was a calf issue that occurred immediately after a very very hard hill workout that left my hamstrings tight + a couple days of not reducing my running enough = calf injury, twice. See, the pattern?
I also noticed that the evenings after very hard and hot long runs I’d get headaches, likely from dehydration.
What else am I not seeing?
I want to track sleep, if I feel I ate enough, the type of run, productivity, energy level, etc.
4) Tracking my blood
Speaking of tracking, this is basically an uber-blood test. I believe they send you an at home kit to collect a blood sample, and you send it in. They use that to go through various markers, the amount depends on which level of testing you pick, ranging from maybe $100 to about $500 if you want everything available.
You may think, “$100 to $500 for a blood test, that’s crazy!!!” but consider this; People spend that same amount of money on running watches without batting an eye. Does a running watch actually make you faster? Of course not. But, will knowing if you’re deficient in Vitamin D or Iron make you faster and healthier, certainly. You may not have the latest fancy running watch on your wrist, but your body does not care
Update: InsideTracker Results
5) Eating More Butter
Podcasts are an incredibly helpful tool to get a person through a treadmill run or a commute. Recently I listened to a Runner’s Connect podcast interview with the Sock Doc. I have a large tub of coconut oil at home, however good butter is something I’ve not had around in quite a while.
According to the Dr. Gangemi, “Dairy fats are needed, especially butter. The arachidonic acid (AA) is necessary for neurological development and health (even in the elderly), as well as hormone production, and even necessary to properly deal with inflammation. Though you can get these fats from red meat, it’s much harder to do, especially if you’re getting the leaner, healthier grass-fed beef.”
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