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I Injured my Knee Biking…How I Recovered it Fast..

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been training hard for the Ironman race, which includes long rides, runs, and swims. This intense training has taken roughly 12 hours a week. My legs and the rest of my body have taken a major beating and the physical stress is finally starting to catch up to me. 

On Sunday, I decided to take part in a century, which is a 100-mile ride, to see where I am in my Ironman training. The race is only seven weeks away. At this point, it’s essential that my legs and endurance is up-to-speed to the point where I would be able to complete in the race as if it was tomorrow. 

During my 100-mile bike ride, I noticed, while going uphill around mile 40, that my left knee started giving me trouble. It’s been tight the past couple weeks, but this pain was different; the pain was sharp in a few areas around my knee. Since Atlanta is known for its hills, eventually it caught up with me and my knees, so at mile 60, I decided to call it a day. 

When I returned home, I wondered what I could do differently to rectify this issue. This didn’t feel like a meniscus tear or a serious issue, rather, it felt like something caused by overuse. Injuries caused by overuse are the most common injuries. However, the majority of people don’t deal with this issue soon enough, which can result in tears or other serious issues. 

The last thing I wanted was to tear or sprain something, so I pulled out my equipment and got to work to fix the problem. 

Many of you have different joint issues while working out, so these steps should act as a guide for you to recover faster.

Step 1 – Epsom Salt – I have been doing this trick for years. I immediately hopped into the Epsom salt bath using roughly three pounds of salt. Usually, I only use 1.5 pounds. Since there is more swelling, I decided to increase the quantity for stronger effects. Epsom salt is made of magnums and is absorbed through the skin, so this trick is a great one for someone with any injuries below the neck. If I have Arnica oil lying around, I will throw some of that into the tub as well to help with subsiding the pain. Arnica is a natural pain reliever derived from a plant. If you need more information into my recovery bath check out the article here: http://draustincohen.com/my-cheap-and-easy-recovery-bath-for-my-muscles/

Step 2 – Take Fish Oil – Once I hopped out of the bath, I used my style of ‘anti-inflammatories’ and loaded up on some omega 3 fatty acids. Other countries use this before taking prescription drugs and tend to have healthier athletes. So, why not follow their success? I know a lot of people take Aleve or other drugs to mask their pain, but this does nothing to correct the problem. It leads you to believe you are fixed, but in reality you continue to contribute to the underlying problem. 

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Step 3 – Ice the Knee Joint – My favorite way to ice down is to grab a ziplock bag and fill it with ice. Then, take a small wet towel and wrap it around the ziplock bag. Place it on your joint for 12 minutes. I like to take the Voodoo floss and wrap it around the ice. This compresses it making the joint much stronger. 

Step 4 – Voodoo Floss – This is a trick, which many of you may be unfamiliar with, but one that is very important and helped me and others recover faster. Go to http://www.roguefitness.com/voodoo-floss-bands and place your order now. This stuff is a game changer in the recovery world. Foam rollers, yoga-up balls, and floss tape are always in the recovery bag and should be used on a regular basis. 

1) Wrap it around right below the knee and then perform 10 squats with good form.
2) Wrap the second one just above the knee cap and do another 10 squats with the exact form.

Below is a short video, which will explain an easier way to do this. 

As a side note, I will be getting my knee and spine adjusted this week to fix the mechanics, and receive two deep tissue massages to focus on the hamstrings, quads, calves, and anterior tibialis.  

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My Top 2 Favorite Vendors at the 2015 Reebook CrossFit Games

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games. I have now gone for the past 2 years to take care of my athletes Emily Bridgers and Team Terminus, and each year the event gets bigger and better. 

Beyond caring for my athletes, my highlight throughout the weekend was walking through the Vendor Village and seeing all the latest products within the health and fitness industry. This year there were over 150 vendors, but I wanted to share with you all my top 2 in 2015. IMG_1111

Even if you didn’t go to the CrossFit Games or you don’t care about CrossFit, it’s important to keep reading as the 2 companies I will share could be important as part of your daily life. Personally, I will begin implementing many of their products into my lifestyle as they are on the cutting edge of 21st-century health. 

Over the course of the weekend I spent roughly 6 hours in total in the Village. I spent my time with the owners of these companies, talking with them about their products and whether there was potential for utilizing it not only in my life, but my patients’ lives too. 

I am very strict about what I put into my body and careful about what products I carry in the office for my patients’ sake. Any time a sales rep says, “The margins are large, so you can make lots of money,”my brain shuts down and I am ready to move to the next booth. This tells me that they have a poor quality product but want to make it look like it’s top quality with great marketing and a higher price tag. 

While there this weekend I met with 2 new companies that I think could be the next best thing and their products are of outstanding quality.

1) Bulletproof (bulletproofexec.com)

Many of you have probably heard of Bulletproof coffee and if not, then I highly recommend checking them out. I think what most people don’t understand is that Bulletproof has a product line, because most people assume that Bulletproof only means putting butter and coconut oil in your coffee. I recently started putting butter and oil in my morning tea, but since this weekend I will definitely switch out the coconut oil for the Brain Octane oil and use more of their products. 

I started each morning at the CrossFit Games with a cup of Bulletproof coffee from their mini-cafe, and rumor says that they are opening up storefronts in the near future. The   funny thing is that I don’t even drink coffee; in fact, I may have only had 5 cups of coffee in my life. The butter and brain oil was so good and fresh that it helped with the taste of the coffee, actually making it taste quite good. 

While walking around the Vendor Village I saw they had a booth and were sampling a new product called Fat Water. This water was a game changer for me over the weekend and I even gave Emily some on Saturday night to take on Sunday because of how   effective it can be as a fuel source for athletes. The berry flavor was my favorite and the only ingredients were Bulletproof XCT Oil and Purified Water. 

A lot of people are accustomed to eating lots of carbohydrates to create energy, but more athletes are moving towards adding in good fats as ways to boost their energy and perform even better. If you look at many of the protein powders now, they contain MCT (medium chain triglycerides), and some of my professional athletes will take a tablespoon of coconut oil before practice or before games as it contains loads of MCTs. 

The product did not taste oily at all and my plan is to buy the small concentrated packets and put them in my water pretty regularly for fuel.  IMG_1674

Before I walked away they handed me a vanilla collagen bar, which is whatseparated them from every vendor as it was not only healthy, but super tasty too. The ingredient list was: 

Organic cashew butter, Bulletproof®Upgraded Collagen Protein, chicory root fiber, Bulletproof®XCT™Oil Powder (Caprylic and Capric Acid Triglycerides sourced from coconut and/or palm kernel oil), organic cashews, Bulletproof®Brain Octane (Caprylic Acid Triglycerides sourced from coconut and/or palm kernel oil), organic coconut oil, Bulletproof®VanillaMax™(lab-tested Madagascar vanilla beans), sea salt, stevia. 

 All I can say is that I have found my new energy bar and if I were you, I would join the Bulletproof Lifestyle as David Asprey seems to have a big vision. 

2) Paleo Treats – (paleotreats.com)

While filling up some water at the alkaline water station I noticed this booth and saw a treat that literally looked like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup BUT was paleo. I had to find out what was in this product and whether it tasted like a Reese’s. I haven’t had a Reese’s in so long, but if I could find a healthy alternative to that junk then my life would be better. It’s not that I eat candy bars because I know how detrimental they are to my health, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have small cravings for sweets. 

They had many different treats, but the one I sampled was called the Bandito’s. The taste of it was…amazing! They served it cold from the refrigerator and literally within 60 seconds I devoured the whole thing because of how good it tasted. IMG_1656

I talked more to the employees and the owner, and their passion was definitely there as far as how much they believe in their product and how healthy this can be as an alternative to junk food sweets. 

The ingredient list: 

Almond flour, roasted almond butter, coconut oil, honey, cacao butter, flax meal, dried unsweetened coconut, cacao powder, vanilla extract, sea salt

I could potentially see myself carrying this product in the office, as we are always looking for healthy foods that patients can grab and go with instead of depending on junk or skipping a meal. I know how busy everyone is in today’s world, so having quick access to a healthy treat could be important for my clients and all of you. 

Thanks to all the vendors this year for their amazing hospitality and showing up to sponsor one of the greatest sporting events. 

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Why I Always Lift after Someone Hits Their Weight

When I am at the gym and the programming has either Olympic lifting or powerlifting, I always make a point to stand next to the strongest person. I stand next to the person who has great technique, and who usually hits a 1 rep max on a lift when they go for it. 555073_10100750161377792_2117946813_n

More recently in Ironman training, the pools can sometimes be full since there are only three lanes. The best way to get in when there are people swimming in all three lanes is to ask one of these people to share a lane. Guess which person I am going to ask to share a lane? The one who swims fast, has great technique and who goes for distance. 

Why do I want to be around people who are hitting PRs (personal records) in the gym and swimming fast in the pool? 

It challenges me and makes me grow in my athleticism!

If I see a person try to do a clean and they get that lift, then I am going to go next and hit my lift. If I watch someone fail on a lift, then I am not touching that barbell until I see someone positively lift the weight. If you have been plateauing in the gym and are unable to hit certain PRs, then a trick you could use is to watch people who positively hit strong lifts, and then follow suit. We all know who the leaders are in the gym, and no matter your strength or athletic ability it’s important to watch them and absorb their gains. 

When I jump in the pool lane of someone who is faster than me, they push me to swim faster and not slack. If I swim in a lane with someone who is slower than me, their speed does not challenge me and may cause me to swim at a more lackadaisical pace. images

I have tested this before, and my 100 meter pace went from a 2:05 pace to a 1:58 pace while swimming in lanes with people who are faster, even though our workouts are different. 

This strategy is not rocket science and is nothing new, but it can make a huge impact for those looking to grow in their fitness and athletic abilities. 

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My Biggest Imperfection and Unbalanced Life

Every morning when I wake and check my e-mails, text messages, and social media sites, I usually receive a notification from a friend, gym buddy, or colleague in the chiropractic profession.

The message is u11070414_10101135256653574_1667366728654827611_osually something like, “How is your life so balanced, and how do you have so much time to get everything done?”

My life is not balanced, and when I work hard to accomplish a goal, such as training for an Ironman or building a business, it takes time away from other important things I value in my life.

People typically want to know how I have time to:

  • Run a successful chiropractic clinic
  • Train for my second Ironman while having a five-month-old baby
  • Write a book
  • Perform my Eliteness Tour with 15 seminars in 2015
  • Blog every week
  • Spend time with my wife
  • Perform monthly webinars and podcasts
  • Travel regularly

These are the things people see in my life and cause them to ask, “How does he get all of this done, and how does he keep his life balanced?”

On the outside it appears that my life is balanced. I get a lot done, however, I only saw my daughter go to bed four nights last week because I was too busy training for my Ironman the other three nights. I have not had a date night with my wife in almost four weeks due to the crazy nature of our schedules.

I am not looking for sympathy, as this is the life I have chosen, but I am human. I hear people who are envious of those on TV, on stage, or in the media, but those public figures are human and have imperfections and imbalances as well.

It’s very easy to look at people on the outside and think how great their life may be and how much they have it together, but we all have things we need to work on.

If you want to accomplish your dreams professionally and personally, understand that you will need to make sacrifices. If you want to spend tons of time with your family, and you also want to write a book, get in great shape, and start a new business, then family time will be sacrificed.

I wrote this article for those who ask me, “How do I get so much done?” The answer: I sacrifice a lot. Getting so much done comes with sacrificing my time with my newborn, wife, and friends. It comes with sacrificing sleep and social activities. Getting everything done is not hard, but it requires a lot of work and perseverance.

I understand that many of you may not want to do a marathon, Ironman, write a book, or build a big business, but for those who want to know how I balance or get it all done, it begins with sacrifice. We all have the same amount of time in a day, so for those who want to set massive, crazy goals, what are you willing to sacrifice?

Below is my current schedule until I complete my Ironman in September 2015.

Monday           Work               (6:30 AM – 6:30 PM)
Workout          (7:00 PM – 8:30 PM)

 

Tuesday          Work on Book  (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Work                   (1:00 PM – 6:30 PM)
Workout             (7:00 PM – 8:30 PM)

Wednesday  Work               (6:30 AM – 6:30 PM)

Thursday      Work               (6:30 AM – 6:30 PM)
Workout          (7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Friday           Day OFF

Saturday     Work               (6:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Workout          (1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Sunday        Workout          (7:00 AM – 1:00 PM)

My family, work, and health are extremely important. The key when looking at your own life is looking at your current priorities and putting your effort toward them. Currently, a top priority for me is completing Ironman in September 2015, and I know once this is complete that I will be able to move efforts to other high priorities, such as spending time with my wife & daughter.

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A Life Lesson from Hawaii We Should All Follow (myself included)

This past week I took my annual summer trip to Kauai with my wife, daughter, and two of our close friends with their baby. If you have never been to Kauai I highly recommend it as the scenery, food, activities, and culture was amazing and completely refreshing. 

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We had no idea what to expect as we had never been to Hawaii before and have mostly travelled throughout Europe on our summer trips, doing Italy in 2014 and Greece in 2013. From the moment we landed and got to the hotel the sense of connectedness to nature and community was extremely prevalent. 

While at breakfast you could see the stand-up paddle boarders cruising in the bay, surfers catching waves, and snorkelers swimming far out to get a glimpse at the beautiful coral reef inhabited by lots of species (including my favorite, turtles).

On Monday night I had the opportunity to present my Eliteness Tour to Kilauea CrossFit, which was an unbelievable gym with the most hospitable members. Everyone came with a great attitude, notepads for note-taking, and most importantly an open mind. 

The part that surprised me the most and made me pause for a moment was when I asked the group “How many people here sit in front of a computer for more than 4 hours a day?” Out of 20 people in the group only 1 hand went up, and this was someone who works in an admin role for a hotel group. 

It was the first time I had ever spoken to a group where over 95% of the group did not sit all day. Usually when I ask the question about how many people sit in front of the computer for more than 4 hours at least 95% of the hands go up. 

In Hawaii many of the people were in construction, outdoor adventures, farming, or other activities where they are moving and being part of the land. 

Throughout the whole trip I would observe and talk to many of the locals, and I discovered that their lives were spent connecting with nature not only from a movement perspective, but nutritionally as well. 

At the seminar, when I was talking about organic versus non-organic meats, one of the attendees said that the motto of the gym was ‘caught not bought’. These people were passionate about supporting their communities, land, and being part of the ecosystem to keep it sustainable. 

The key point I took away from this trip throughout the whole week was how DIS-connected we are on the mainland, which in turn leads to so many DIS-eases. While in Hawaii, never did I hear a local talk about their sciatica, tight shoulders, joint pains, or many of the other problems we deal with on the mainland. I am not stating that all the people in Hawaii are healthy as many of the locals I saw were either overweight or obese, similar to many of the people in the mainland. A key difference is Hawaii is the 2nd healthiest state in the country 

However, the takeaway was how much better we (myself included) need to be doing as a culture of moving and eating foods local to our environment. 

In the mornings I would wake up, eat a banana, then either run, snorkel, or surf. Each morning I was out doing something active in the environment, and following that activity I would grab an Acai bowl or some smoothie made with local produce. Throughout the day I would snack on locally-grown chocolate and macadamia nuts. For either lunch or dinner I would eat fresh ahi usually caught the day before or that very morning. IMG_0208

On the mainland we have been gifted with a catch 22 of tons of gyms, supermarkets containing foods from all over the world, and jobs that put us in front of a computer all day. I am not saying that this is terrible though, as I love nothing more then doing CrossFit workouts and shopping at Whole Foods to gather the necessities for the week. 

However, the question I want to raise, and this is something I will evaluate in my life, is how much more local could I get with my nutrition? What more could I do to be connected with my community as far as movement and exercise are concerned? Are there hikes or trails I have not been on that I could run? Are there farmers I could reach out to in order to eat more locally and BE part of my community? Are there areas in which I could go biking throughout my city? How about yoga lessons in the park? Are there suitable rock formations to go rock climbing that have been formed by nature? 

If there is one thing I got from Kauai it’s that we go day to day through the grind of work, sleep, and repeat, without ever getting in touch with our communities and nature. Most people are so busy playing Keeping Up With The Joneses and letting their bodies rot instead of keeping up with their own bodies and health. 

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My Newest Breakfast Pancakes Packed With Protein (Great for Kids)

IMG_8241 I get asked daily about my favorite foods for recovery purposes and staying fit.

There are tons of foods that I utilize for recovery and health, such as: grass-fed beef, turmeric, beets, coconuts, etc. My newest craze which has been getting a lot of accolades in the Cohen household is buckwheat. 

I began eating buckwheat pancakes every time I went to Radial Cafe in Chandler Park and have become addicted. I would make it a point over lunch breaks to grab one buckwheat pancake as an appetizer and then have my Cobb salad with chicken for the entrée. I became so addicted to these pancakes that I knew I would have to make these pancakes myself to feed my addiction. 

Now my go-to breakfast recipe is buckwheat pancakes, and the results have been amazing. Before I share the recipe, let me give you some insight into why buckwheat should become a staple in your diet and why it is my new pancake recipe for my family. 

First, for those who follow 100% strict paleo, this is not paleo! Buckwheat is technically considered a pseudo grain similar to quinoa and amaranth, so this would fall out of the scope of paleo, for those who follow that strictly. However, buckwheat is gluten free, and after eating these pancakes you will not have that inflammation feeling in your gut like with bread or pasta. 

For people like me who follow a roughly 80% paleo diet, this will be a great treat. It’s also good for those who lift a lot of weight, do a lot of endurance training, or are looking to improve heart health. 

If you are someone who works out a lot, then the gain in buckwheat will be in the protein. The brand of buckwheat flour I buy has 5g per 1/3 cup of buckwheat. I use at least 1 cup for my pancakes, so each time I use this as a breakfast, I get 15 grams of protein on top of the whey protein shake I drink each morning. Buckwheat is also made up of amino acids, including arginine and lysine which are great for the synthesis of muscle. 

If you are looking for better cardiovascular health, then you may be interested in a 1995 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that Chinese who ate 100 grams of buckwheat a day had better overall heart health. Many of the numbers that are used to assess heart disease such as cholesterol improved. 

Scrambled and hard-boiled eggs are still my favorite breakfast due to the healthy nature of pasture-raised eggs, but buckwheat pancakes are making a big push to get into my top three breakfast foods. 

Here is the recipe I use: 

Organic Arrow Mill Buckwheat Flour
Raw Local Honey
Hemp Milk
Pasture-Raised Eggs
Coconut Oil
100% Pure Maple Syrup
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1) Mix 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of hemp milk.

2) Add 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 raw egg.

3) Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

4) Place coconut oil on a pan, and put the batter on the pan.

5) I usually heat it for 2-3 minutes per side and then top it with 100% pure maple syrup and grass-fed butter. 

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Are you tapping into 100% of your athletic potential? (Exercise @ end)

If there’s one thing my practice is known for, it’s the fact that we see a lot of professional athletes on a regular basis. Most of the athletes do not come to my office because they are hurt or injured, but because they want to perform better at a more elite level. 

On their first visit we go through a thorough assessment which includes a 3D image of the bottom of their foot to check arch height, x-rays to look at structure, and a postural assessment to look for any abnormalities. 

Almost every time one of these athletes comes to the office and it is their first time seeing a chiropractor, we find abnormalities. We usually find one shoulder higher than another, sometimes we see a difference in hip height, and commonly we see disc spaces that have been worn. Is this the norm? Absolutely not! It is common amongst people who wreck their bodies on a daily basis, but not normal, as the norm is completely straight up and down on the front view of posture. 

Usually the reason for these problems is because many of these athletes have been trained ONLY to seek help when there is a symptom, and therefore not focus on the underlying problem. Many of them have seen massage therapists, physical therapists, and even chiropractors for the same injuries repeatedly. These providers are experts at treating injuries, but none do thorough evaluations to look at the biomechanics and structure to focus on fixing this first. 

On x-rays, we see athletes with hips that are 10mm higher and shoulders that are 5mm higher than what’s normal, which are both high numbers. On the side view of their posture we see ears that are inches forward on the side view from their shoulders. Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 9.40.24 PM

The point is, if these athletes can perform at a professional level with these biomechanics and this structure, then what potential are they holding out on by not getting fixed? I always tell them, “John, if you can perform at this level with all these structural issues then imagine your potential if we fix these.”

How much better could they perform if they fixed many of the underlying structural issues?

If we take the topic away from chiropractic, think about the things YOU could be doing to improve in order to reach your unlimited potential. 

None of us are tapping in to our potential 100%, but the trick to becoming great or elite is figuring out what things you could be doing to get as close to 100% as possible. 

The first step I recommend people take is to write out a list of the things they do to be a great athlete. I then ask them to write the things they could do to become even greater. The fact is that this will not be an overnight process and I understand many of you don’t want to be professional athletes. However, most of you are looking to improve your athletic skills and become as great of an athlete as possible. 

Below is an example of what is recommended above on reaching your true potential as an athlete. I would have this on your phone or index card and keep adding to this list as you improve as an athlete and see what other athletes you admire are doing. 

NOW                                                              GOALS TO ADD

Foam roll daily                                                  Take BCAA’s

Eat 60% paleo                                                   Massage 2x per month

Workout 4 days per week                                Regular chiropractic

Massages 1x month                                           80% paleo

Take fish oil daily                                              Post-workout powder

Take 1 Epsom bath per week                           Take class on foam rolling and lacrosse ball

                                                                               Incorporate acupuncture

                                                                               Sleep with compression socks nightly

                                                                               Take 3 Epsom salt baths per week 

                                                                               Hire individual programmer for workouts

                                                                               Drink Natural Calm – Magnesium before bed 

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My New Sports DrinK That Has Improved Performance

I regularly see tons of athletes and people who claim to be healthy but who are drinking loads of sugary and artificial drinks as part of their workout regime. They will bust out a hard work out, whether HIIT or cardio, and then use that as a reason to drink this chemically produced drink that provides zero value toward become a better athlete. 

I do not blame anyone for drinking these drinks because the marketing is amazing, and the commercials make you believe they rehydrate the body with electrolytes. In fact, I was a victim of this hype even though I knew how bad it was for my body.

When I paused my CrossFit training and began training for Ironman, I did not want to have to drink anything but water. I didn’t want the sports drinks because of the negative effects they impose on the body and the number of ingredients on the list. 

Well, I learned the hard way!

During my first 50-mile bike ride, I took 3 bottles of water and some Gu Gels to keep my balance regulated. Unfortunately, by mile 40, I began cramping and had to go extremely slow just to finish the 50-miler. This cramping was due the low amounts of electrolytes and sodium in my body.

My second 50-mile ride, I decided to drink Gatorade, even though it was something I was extremely against, but I figured this was my only way to load up on electrolytes while doing heavy endurance training. On that bike ride, I didn’t cramp, and it was something I used all throughout training for my first Ironman in November 2014. 

I am now training for my second Ironman in September 2015, and now I want to get off Gatorade. The short-term effects are OK, since it stopped the cramping, but I never felt amazing, as I probably psyched myself out due to the fact that I know how many chemicals are in the product. The biggest issue is the long-term effects this product had as I stayed on it and used it as my sports drink of choice.  

After reading numerous blogs and talking to other professional athletes, many of them suggested putting Himalayan sea salt in my water. Duh, why did I not think about this from the beginning?!

All I can say is, wow, what a game changer!

I started putting 2–3 tablespoons of Himalayan sea salt into my bottled waters, and not only am I not cramping AT ALL, but I am recovering faster and performing better. I have suggested to all my athletes that they begin doing this, and those that have, have been feeling better and performing stronger. 

If you do this, then you must use Himalayan sea salt or BASE Salt instead of Morton or another table salt. Table salt will reduce your performance, but Himalayan sea salt, which is full of trace minerals, including magnesium (one of my favorite minerals), will enhance your performance. 

There is no argument as to why you would choose another sports drink over this, as this has many more electrolytes and minerals that work with your body and not against it. The only pushback I get from people is they miss the taste of those other drinks, so in that case, put lemon or lime into your drink. 

If that doesn’t work, then soak different fruits in your water, such as strawberries, pears, oranges, or watermelon. 

Cheers!

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How healthy hygiene leads to more energy and better athleticism? (My natural product list)

In this world there are toxins we can control and toxins we cannot.

When I go running outside down Peachtree Road, I cannot control the amount of fumes and toxicity being released into the air. I could control the time I run and reduce the exposure, but breathing in pollution is something I cannot control.

Throughout life there are many things that we cannot do anything about, but there are also many things we can, and personal hygiene is a big control factor.

We are exposed to thousands upon thousands of toxins each day through the food we eat, air we breathe, and water we drink. As we keep intoxicating ourselves, we will ultimately lead ourselves into many chronic diseases, especially neurological and gut issues.

Research has been done on toxic sunscreens, deodorants, toothpaste, and many more products regarding the effects they have on our health. Studies have shown that by using many of these toxic ingredients daily, we can increase our risk of future problems.

Personally I like to keep it simple, and here are the products I use on a regular basis to keep myself well and clean.

Shampoo – Our house favorite for shampoo is Avalon Organics, which is made of aloe, extracts, and tons of different essential oils. It’s a product that has no parabens or other chemicals and one that does wonders for the hair. Too many shampoos and popular brands are loaded with chemicals, which should be a no-no especially considering how close to the brain they end up.

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Soap – This one is easy and one you should switch out immediately. Why would you take a toxic piece of soap loaded with chemicals and rub it all over your body to clean yourself? It makes no sense! We love the Dudu Osun (I know, terrible name) but there are only 9 ingredients and all give that fresh feeling. The list of ingredients are: Pure Honey, Shea Butter, Osun, Palmkernel Oil, Cocoa Pad Ash, Palm Bunch Ash, Aloe Vera, Lime Juice, and Water. That is it! Look at your soap right now and if you cannot pronounce the words then it may be time to upgrade to the good stuff. We buy this product on Amazon in packages of 6 for less than $15.

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Toothpaste – For 10 years my wife and I have not used fluoridated toothpaste and since then I have not had any cavities. I am not a dentist so I can’t speak too much on this, but every dentist I go to says how irrelevant fluoridated toothpaste is to cavity formation. The dentists I see say the cause is diet and not flossing regularly to break up the bacteria colonies. The concept makes tons of sense and for those worried about fluoride, you get enough of it in your city water. The toothpaste we use is Claybrite Natural Toothpaste, whose tagline is ‘Let the Earth clean your teeth’.

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Deodorant – This is one that a lot of people always question when they find out I do this, but deodorants are by far some of the most toxic products on the market. Studies have been done to show how breast cancer tumors are filled with parabens and one of the most common spots is under the arm near the armpit. Not only for women in regards to breast cancer, but men should also be avoiding these products as they can be very harmful since they are used daily and on a regular basis. Like I said, there are things that we can do to try and prevent cancer and things in the air we can do nothing about. Deodorant is a huge control piece, which is why I only use coconut oil. Yes, that’s it! I take a little bit of coconut oil and put it under my arms every morning when I wake up. Some ask about body odor, but I take 3 tablespoons of chlorophyll a day to prevent smells, as chlorophyll is an internal deodorant.

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Sunscreen – With summer in the air and the sun blazing, many people will be loading up on chemically-induced sunscreens. It always amazes me how people are concerned about cancer by putting on sunscreen, yet sunscreen is filled with tons of cancer-causing agents. I am not against sunscreen at all, but putting the right sunscreen on will be crucial. The difference between using all-natural sunscreens and chemical sunscreens is that with all-natural sunscreen you have to reapply it every 60-80 minutes. Why? Because there are much less preservatives. You should not look at that as a negative, but rather as a positive knowing you’re using the right product.

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People ask me all the time about my energy level and how I keep it sustained throughout the day while not being dependent on caffeine. I get asked how I can do so much in a day while having a family, writing a book, running a business, and training for an Ironman. The main factor that keeps me going is that I am not loaded up with tons of toxic chemicals inside my body slowing me down. The people I know who are the least organic and utilize every manmade product in the world, even in their diet, are some of the most sluggish and non-productive people. I am not perfect, but each day I have a hunger for wanting to be healthier and a better athlete, not only for myself but for my family and now, my daughter.

 

I would love to hear in the comments which products you use that are healthier and alternatives to the mainstream hygiene products in the world today.

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My 2 Workouts on Vacation (Must Do’s)

This past weekend I was in Cancun for one of my good friend’s wedding.

Even though my wife would love for me to chill and enjoy the vacation, I always have the urge to move and work out while away.IMG_0251

In fact, I am so crazy that I will plan each night as far as what time I have my last drink and what time I get to bed (10:00 – 11:00 PM) so I can wake up and work out. Friday morning was going to be my run and Saturday was going to see strength training. This way I made sure I drank more water and ate more carbs all day Thursday, and on Friday I ate more protein and was OK drinking a couple more beers since Saturday would be less about endurance.

I know many people would say “I hate planning on vacations”but for the small block of working out this has to get planned. On vacation it is so easy to eat, drink, and relax while sleeping in and not working out or getting your body moving. There is nothing wrong with chilling on vacation, but a vacation to me includes working out as it is just as relaxing.

Working out and being healthy is my highest value similar to many of you, which is why I shared my 2 favorite workouts from this past weekend below.

1)    30-Minute Run in Sand

My favorite part about going to the beach is the opportunity to put my feet into the sand and work out those small muscles on the bottom of the foot. In a world where shoes are ALWAYS on us as both protective devices and for superficial reasons, our feet are inhibited from becoming stronger.

Many of us have been wearing shoes our whole life and the problem with doing this from such a young age is that it never allows our arches and foot muscles to fully develop. This will lead to weaker arches and poor mobility in the ankle, which in turn translates into poor squatting and other bad movements, usually leading to knee or foot problems.

I have told my wife numerous times that how we need to keep shoes off our daughter for a while so she can create strong foot muscles and increase the arch in her foot.

In my book I talk about tons of strategies to strengthen the foot and increase ankle mobility, but one great way is running in the sand.

Running in the sand allows us to use all the muscles in the feet, especially the ones we inhibit when wearing shoes. Running helps with the arches as well as increasing dorsiflexion of the foot.

Since I live in Atlanta which is landlocked, I don’t often have the opportunity to run in the sand and work out those foot muscles. This is why any time I make a trip to the beach, running in the sand is a high priority and will always be the workout I do before any others.

During this run I ran 15 minutes out and on the way back I would sprint at the top of the minute for 20 seconds.

2)    50 Manmakers for Time

Typically the workout I will do on Day 2 is get in a bunch of manmakers, which is a full-body workout. A manmaker is exactly what it sounds like and something that when done properly with heavy weight can turn you into a man (or woman, to be PC).

Depending on your strength the goal is to make sure you can do 50 of them without dropping the weight or taking a long break. For those that are new to this you may only want to do 25 manmakers, but since I am staying in an all-inclusive resort I had to go for the 50 and burn off the quesadillas and coladas (yes, I cheated!).

MOVE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMNnvhg1JcM

1) Get set up in the push-up position while gripping dumbbells

2) Lift your right arm up like you are doing a row and place it back on the ground

3) Lift your left arm up like you are doing a row and place it back on the ground

4) Jump with your feet forward and get into the squatted position with the dumbbells racked on your shoulders

5) Thrust the dumbbells up and overhead and that is your first rep

6) Get back into the pushup position gripping dumbbells and repeat for time…