Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Huraches/ Running Sandals From Earth Runners

Here's what arrived in the mail for me today? Yes, A pair of running sandals from Earth Runners.

Otherwise known as huraches. Used to have a pair from Nike years ago, although those were really running shoes called Nike Air Huraches and not sandals like the pair I got today. The Tarahumara Indians will probably wear something similar to this.

Used to have a pair like this

Well, let me do a few runs in them and I'll tell you how they feel, stay tuned.

Another look at my Earth Runners

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Foamy Drinks Makes You Full

Take your pick
Deciding what drink to get at your regular coffee joint? The following published study may help you decide. Milk based foamy drinks make you feel full longer.

The researchers tested three milk-based drinks. One was not whipped (the control drink). Another drink had foam which dissipated within 30 minutes. The third drink had dense foam.

Four hours after consuming the drinks, the subjects reported their hunger levels. The researchers then measured subjects' stomach using an MRI.

The results showed that the dense foam drink remained in the stomach longest compared to the less dense and control drink. Appetite wise, both foamy drinks kept hunger pangs at bay equally well.

Just in case you were wondering, skim milk was used in the above study.


Murray K, Placidi E et al (2015). Aerated Drinks Increase Gastric Volume And Reduce Appetite As Assessed By MRI: A Randomized, Balanced, Crossover Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 101(2): 270-278. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.096974.

Or you prefer this? 
*Picture by Richard Leong

Friday, May 8, 2015

Enervit Pre Sport

You can probably guess I was a little sceptical about some of the Enervit products I received last week. Not only with regards to the taste, but how effective they were.

Well, I decided to try them out anyway.

Currently, every Tuesday and Thursday I see patients at Physio Solutions. I'll take a bus there and then run home. I brought 2 packets of the Enervit Pre Sport jelly with me to work yesterday. Ate a packet around 1230 pm. The cola taste didn't taste that great though.Was feeling fairly tired (maybe mentally more than physically) after I saw a full load of patients.

Surprise, surprise. Almost immediately after I started running I felt good. Much better actually than I felt when I ran home from work before. I've been running home from Physio Solutions for almost a year now.

I don't keep a training log anymore - not since I stopped racing anyway. But I do still remember the timings I usually take for my run home. Usually varies between 36-39 minutes. My run yesterday was my 2nd fastest since I'd been running home from May last year.

Now, I thought a lot about it before I decided to write this post. I do not want to be seen "promoting" Enervit products just because I got them free.

In my run home yesterday, I kept everything else consistent, running shoes, running attire, music etc. The only difference was I consumed a packet of Enervit Pre Sport about 4 hours before my run. I had a fairly decent run, timing was good and the run felt pretty effortless. Could it really be attributed to the Enervit Pre Sport?

Well, I'll have to try it again next week......

I'll also try the Enervitene Sport Competition gel on this Saturday's bike ride too.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Along Came Enervit .....

My stash from Enervit
What a nice and unexpected coincidence. Just when I wrote 2 weeks ago that I preferred real food options to gels, along came Enervit to give me some of their samples to try. Probably to prove me wrong about how they taste too.

Owned and made in Italy (the owner has a pharmaceutical background), Enervit is famous for its Sports supplements and nutrition.

I've got Enervit Pre Sport jelly, GT Sport tablets (energy tablet with vitamins), G Sport Competition (the name's funky, but it's for drinking during training/ racing and not what you think) and Enervitene Sport Competition gels (contains caffeine for use during training and competition). 

Hey, I don't race anymore. Well, I guess they'll come in handy on my weekly long rides then. Please look at Enervit's Facebook page for more information

Speaking of riding, I just got a brand new pair of Specialized S-Works road cycling shoe to try too. Nice, very nice. 
S-Works Road
A big thank you to Enervit and Specialized.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fast Male Distance Runners Get All The Girls?

Hmmm, who's the fastest and strongest? Picture by richseow from Flickr
Here's what a new study showed, men who are good at long distance running may have more desirable sex genes.

Some background into this. Prior to farming, hunting may be an important way for males to demonstrate resourcefulness. And it has been well documented that females place high priority on male ability to acquire resources especially in the caveman/ hunter-gatherer era.

You may laugh at this but this is what researchers at University of Cambridge aimed to investigate when they studied runners (439 male, 103 female) racing a half marathon race in Nottingham, England.

They recorded each runner's finish time while also measuring the length of each person's index and ring fingers.

Why you may ask? Well, don't laugh, previous research has shown that having a long ring finger compared to the index finger is a sign of being exposed to more prenatal testosterone. This is an indicator for better sex drive and higher sperm count in men as adults.

What's more surprising was that 10 percent of the male runners studied with the longest ring fingers (compared to index) averaged 24:33 minutes faster in the half marathon than those with a smaller digit ratio.

There was a similar (albeit smaller) correlation in the female runners. Those with the highest finger ratio ran 12 minutes faster!

The researchers suggested that although testosterone exposure in the womb is just a small part of making a runner faster. Other genetics and training (of course) are also important. They however, suggested that their findings do fall in line with evolutionary advantages for men when it comes to procreating.

These suggests that women in our caveman/ hunter-gatherer past were able to observe running as a signal for a good breeding partner.


Longman D, Wells JCK et al (2015). Can Persistence Hunting Signal Male Quality? A Test Considering Digit Ratio In Endurance Athletes. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121560.

Read the article here.

How do I measure up?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Real Food Alternatives To Gels

Annie's Cheddar bunnies - "stolen" from my son
Last week I wrote about how latest published research show that fast food from McDonald's is just as good for recovery compared to Gatorade, Cytomax and PowerBars etc.

But what about your long exercise sessions or when you race half marathon distances and longer? You definitely will require some nutrition along the way or you'll risk hitting the dreaded wall.

No way you can or should wolf down fries, hamburgers daily while training since it is not nutritionally sound long term.

Gels, PowerBars, Sport Beans are not exactly my thing. So now that I'm not racing anymore, I can share with you what I eat when I've had enough of the gels, PowerBars etc.

Let me discuss some whole food alternatives you can use to fuel yourself in your longer training sessions or races.

Firstly, they should fuel well you without making you bloated or make you wanna go to the toilet. For me, I find that simple carbohydrates, less protein and fat with low fibre work best.

Well, everyone's system is different and others may be tolerate more fibre, but not me. I'll end up running to the nearest petrol station toilet or bushes if I can't find a toilet when I consume too much fibre before running.

The food you train/ race with should be easy to transport. No chance of you eating spaghetti while out riding with your regular cycling group right?

Last point, to be able to fuel yourself sufficiently, you'll need between 30-60 grams of carbohydrate every hour (depending on how hard you train and how much you weigh). You can of course mix your "real food" with a sports drink, gel or bar if you like too.

Here's my list of real food that works - for me anyway. I always carry a large banana with me on long bike rides (probably tough to bring on a run though).

On a long run, I find that raisins and cashew nuts (it has higher fat content though) work well for me. I'll put them in a zip lock bag or wrap them in some aluminium foil. I love zip lock bags! Even my wallet is a zip lock bag. Waterproof- great if you're caught in a thunderstorm. I find that sliced apples work well for me too.

I've been using a zip lock bag as my wallet since 1997.
Sometimes I take a packet of my son's Snackimals. They all taste much better than gels and bars.

Snacikmals- my son's favourite
Hope I gave you ideas for some other real food options.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fast Food Just As Good For Recovery As Sport Supplements

Picture by Mike Prosser from Flickr
I'm not saying you should pig out after your race or exercise session at McDonald's with their fries, hot cakes, hash brown or even a Coke etc, but a newly published study found that fast food from McDonald's is just as good for recovery and subsequent performance as sport supplements.

In the study, athletes performed two separate tests on a stationary bike. After finishing a 90-minute bike session that included some tough intervals, the subjects underwent muscle biopsies to measure their (depleted) levels of glycogen.

For the next four hours, they rested in a chair while consuming either of two meals - fast food or sports food supplements. After doing another leg biopsy, they did a 20 km time trial to confirm that their muscles were replenished.

The fast food consists of Hotcakes, fries, hash brown, a hamburger, orange juice and a Coke from McDonald's. Total calories was 1330.

The sports food consists of Gatorade (20 oz), Kit's Organic PB bar, Clif Shot, Cytomax (10 oz), PowerBar and PowerBar energy chews. Total calories was 1303.

A week later, the subjects repeated the tests while eating fast food if they ate the sports food the first time and vice versa. Subjects were informed about the the two types of meals and could see the packaging and labels etc.

The meals were similar in carbohydrates, protein, fats and calories, about 70 percent carbohydrate and 10 percent protein.

Both protocols produced similar levels of glycogen resynthesis (recovery), glucose and insulin response and time trial performance.

The researchers were most surprised to find nearly identical blood data, and nearly identical time trial results regardless of whether they consumed fast food or so called sports supplements.

They concluded that fast food in the right amounts can be just as good (and much cheaper) for recovery as compared to sports nutrition products/ supplements which costs a lot more.

I guess this is similar to the drink chocolate milk for recovery post I wrote a while ago showing that chocolate milk is as good for recovery as Gatorade and superior to Endurox which is much more expensive.

I don't know about you, I prefer real food any time.


Cramer MJ, Dumke CL et al. (2015). Post-exercise Glycogen Recovery And Exercise Performance Is Not Significantly Different Between Fast Food And Sport Supplements. Int J Sp Nutr Exer Metab. DOI:

Fries - my favourite for recovery- but frown upon by my wife though.

Picture by xioubin low from Flickr