Tag: injury/ailment

Dear Mark: Sprints and Blood Sugar, Resistant Starch as Carbs, PUFA in Coconut Oil, Cycling as Chronic Cardio, and Morning Sickness

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I cover four questions and my wife Carrie covers one. First, I discuss the effects of sprinting on blood sugar in the short term and long term. Next is whether or not one counts resistant starch as a carb in their daily allotment. Third, I identify the actual proportion of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in coconut oil. Finally, I give my take on cycling as a gentler mode of chronic cardio relative to running. Carrie wraps things up with a short review of the evolutionary reasons for morning sickness.

Let’s go:

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19 Tips for Avoiding Injuries During Sprint Sessions

Sprinting is a powerful asset to any training program. It’s brief and effective and long-lasting and reverberates throughout multiple aspects of health and performance. If you sprint regularly, you’ll likely improve your body composition, strength and fitness levels, metabolic flexibility, stamina, and explosiveness. Since sprinting is “going as fast as you can,” it’s infinitely and instantly scalable to your ability level. Anyone who can sprint but does not is making a huge mistake.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. You have to do it right. Sprinting actually isn’t very dangerous compared to other athletic pursuits. You’re more liable to get injured playing a team sport, where you’re responding quickly to unpredictable changes in the game, moving laterally and vertically, diving and leaping for balls or discs, jostling for position. Sprinting is linear, straightforward. You go from point A to point B. However, the very thing that makes sprinting work so well – the fact that it represents the highest intensity your body can muster – can lead to injury if you’re not prepared.

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Dear Mark: Cold Weather Carb Cravings, Muscle Loss in the Military, and Pain During Exercise

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a two-parter. First, I cover why our desire for carbohydrates might increase in cold weather (hint: it’s probably all the shivering our muscles do in an attempt to stave off the chill). Second, I discuss why a military man might be losing muscle mass when out in the field, despite (or, perhaps, because of) all the hard physical work he’s doing. Even if you’re not military, the answer will likely still be helpful. And after that, Carrie lends a bit of sage advice to a reader who ends up with debilitating pain in her thighs every time she does high intensity plyometrics. The answer may not be what she had hoped for, but it’s probably the right one.

Let’s go:

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Is Barbell Dogma Doing More Harm Than Good?

In the Church of Iron, weight machines are the ultimate sacrilege. Using them is a heresy punishable by banishment to the underworld of Pilates, ruled over by the fallen powerlifter Qurl Sin Thuh Zkwaut Raq wielding his unpredictable ball of Bosu and condemning the damned to an eternity of weak stabilizer muscles, convex buttocks, and wildly imbalanced quad-to-hamstring strength ratios. Absolution is nigh impossible. You so much as touch a cable pulldown machine and you’ll be forever barred from entrance into the heavenly Weight Room, where the blessed souls clothed only in three-prong leather lifting belts and 0.75 inch heeled lifting shoes feed upon the protein smoothies gushing forth from the spurting teat of the great Rippled Toad that give them the power to PR on the deadlift every day, walk (but never run, for conditioning is a sin) the halls of infinite power racks, squat until glutes grace ground with nary a butt wink in evidence, and be forever protected from any injury save permanently scuffed up shins.

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Dear Mark: Bee Products, Unable to Squat After Knee Injury

For this week’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a two-parter (although the first question has several parts to it). First up is a question about bee products and their effects (or non-effects) on human health. Are they miracle supplements? Are they all hype? Or is the truth somewhere in between? Find out below. Then, I try to help out Dan, a guy with a bum knee who, before injuring himself, based his entire workout routine around the back squat – which he can no longer perform safely. He wants to figure out a way to work out his lower body without the almighty squat at his disposal. Luckily, there are ways, which I’ll discuss below.

Let’s go.

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Dear Mark: Bad Sleep Tips, Cold Extremities, and Sweet Feed

In today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be covering a trio of topics. First is a parent with a problem common to members of her species: enforced sleeplessness. She wants, nay, needs, help with amelioration of the situation. Normally, I’d say “get more sleep,” but the point is that getting adequate sleep isn’t always a choice. Next, I discuss some potential causes of, and strategies for, chronically cold extremities. Luckily for the reader, strategies for fixing cold extremities can be as enjoyable as eating more food, using more salt, and breathing more mindfully. Finally, I allay a reader’s concern with the “sweet feed” being used to supplement the mostly-grass-and-hay diet of the cows he hopes to eat.

Let’s go.

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Dear Mark: Adding a Workout to an Active Life and Topical Wound Ointments

We’ve got a nice pair of questions for today’s Dear Mark. In the first, a young woman who’s perhaps the most intuitively active person I’ve ever heard about asks whether or not she should incorporate a dedicated, formal workout to her schedule of skiing, playing with dogs, hiking, manipulating heavy bags of dog food (in a physical sense, not an emotional sense), yoga, and rafting. You guys might be able to guess the gist of my response, but read on to find out what I say. In the second, a guy asks about topical ointments that promote wound healing. As a response, I discuss the standard over the counter ointments (antibiotic ointments, petroleum jelly-based ointments) as well as the more “natural” alternatives like honey, coconut oil, and garlic.

Let’s go.

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Should We Ice Injuries?

I’ve said this before, but inflammation is a necessary response to injury. It’s the inflammatory response that increases blood and lymphatic flow to and from the injured tissues, bringing healing nutrients and inflammatory mediators and removing damaged refuse. It’s the inflammatory response that makes injuries hurt, which prevents us from using and re-injuring the injured area. And yeah, the inflammatory response can get out of hand and do more damage than the initial insult, but it’s ultimately how our bodies heal damaged tissues and recover from injuries. If we didn’t have an inflammatory response, we’d never get anywhere. This was the crux of a very interesting blog post by Kelly Starrett in which he questioned the typical use of ice after injury. In short, Kelly says that putting ice on a healing tissue is counterproductive because it halts or at least disrupts inflammation, which is really how we heal.

Do we want to use ice in order to reduce the inflammation incurred after a soft tissue injury?

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Dear Mark: Marathon Fuel, Muscle Cramps, and Another Dr. Oz Miracle

A few months ago I wrote an article on How to Fuel a Marathon. In this week’s Dear Mark, I answer a reader’s question on how to improve a hydration recipe I recommended in that article. Then I cover a somewhat related topic: muscle cramps, and how to fix them and how to prevent them. Finally, I discuss Dr. Oz’s latest supplement miracle product – raspberry ketones. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Let’s go.
Hi Mark,

I am in training for my first ever marathon and have read your how to fuel a marathon. I did try the homemade hydration drink on my training run last week of 24km. I had 2 bottles of hydration and 2 bottles of plain water. I found the drink very sweet and you can definitely taste the black slat molasses. Swigging water straight after did help but it wasn’t overly pleasant.

I thought I would give it a try as I plan to use it on my race day which is July 1st. I was thinking of reducing the black slat molasses to just 1 tablespoon to see if it reduces the very sweet taste and perhaps increase the raw honey to 3 tablespoons, to see if it’s more palatable. Would this have any effect on keeping hydrated?

Also what can I use to keep hydrated on my long training runs? I find water is just not enough and I get thirsty and start to hit the wall around 17km. So basically, how do you fuel your training runs?

It would be great if you could give me some advice on this.

Many thanks.

Regards
Alison

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Dear Mark: Fenugreek and HGH, Marathons and Strength Training, Gluten and Eczema, and Insect Nutrition

Today’s Monday Dear Mark question and answer post is a fun one. I look into whether a claim about fenugreek and human growth hormone by the great Dr. Mehmet Oz pans out (hint: he’s off, but not by much). Then, I discuss how to strength train as a marathon runner (hint: short and intense), after which I explore the nutritional content of edible insects. And finally, in light of my recent posts on inflammation, I cover the connection between eczema and gluten.

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