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Camping : Nutrition

Catching Up with the Ultra Man

John Stamstad John Stamstad (Photo courtesy of John Stamstad)

John Stamstad lives to push limits. He earned a spot in the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame after completing the first crossing of Australia by bicycle, going 65 hours straight without sleep to win the 350 Iditasport Extreme in Alaska, and fueling up at gas stations on blocks of cheese, Little Debbies, and Spam to finish an unsupported ride of the Great Divide. Now, he's ultrarunning. We caught up with him to find out his pick for the best emergency endurance fuel in a pinch.
--Heidi Volpe

What do you do?
Well, I am a  sales rep in the bike/run/outdoor market and I also do some product development for companies like Patagonia. I am enjoying running right now, it's so simple and I have great access to trails.

How is endurance riding different and similar to ultra running? 
It is about the trail, not the mode of transportation. Running is nice because it is so simple; mountain biking is great because the gear is complex and fun to tinker with. I really like both extremes. 

When was the last time you ate Spam for fuel?
I haven't eaten spam since I choked down a whole can cold in Montana while riding the Great Divide Trail. It was the only thing I had left to eat so I had no choice, but it was not pleasant. When I say I forced it down I really mean it, that was a bad night.

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Hydrate or Cry: Make Your Own All-Natural Sports Drink

 
Chuck Wagner via Shutterstock

We’ve all heard the stories of how backcountry endurance wonks concocted the first molar-crushing energy bars in their kitchen or garage, and went on to hit the big time, spawning a sport-snack empire and changing the way we eat on the go. Buh-bye, trail mix. 

Mass-market sports drinks aren’t so different: They started niche, designed for athletes who needed to replace vital electrolytes before, during, and after training. But as the industry grew, the message became more generic: Anybody who so much as moves his/her body or breaks a sweat must re-hydrate with a special drink in neon hues that don’t exist in the natural world. Now sports drinks are so ubiquitous, they take up half an aisle at the grocery store. 

But just because the labels say “sport,” doesn’t mean these drinks are good for you—a fact that even health-conscious athletes and parents tend to overlook. (Guilty.) “Most bottled sports drinks are full of chemicals and fake coloring like yellow #5 and caramel #1 to make them appealing to consumers,” says Jennifer Keirstead, a registered holistic nutritionist in the badass mountain burg of Nelson. B.C., whose clients include skiers, mountain bikers, climbers, and kids. “Some even contain vegetable oil—and you can be sure it’s the poorest quality.”

Hmmm…you don’t want your little ripper depleted and dehydrated after tearing it up on the local mountain bike course, but you don’t want him sucking down 16 ounces of turquoise sugar water, either. So what to do? Make your own!

“It’s cheaper and much more healthful,” says Kierstead, whose recipe is so easy it only has 4 ingredients: organic lemon juice to replenish vitamin C, as well as key minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron; raw honey to act as carbohydrate and supply muscles with quick energy; sea salt to replace lost minerals, and filtered water to replace fluids you’ve sweated out.

Simple, with a few teensy caveats. “You want to use raw or unpasteurized honey,” explains Kierstead. “The live enzymes help with digestion and keep your intestinal track healthy.” Sea salt is better than table salt because it’s unprocessed. Pay attention to where your salt is harvested, too: Kierstead’s partial to Himalayan, Icelandic, or Atlantic sea salt. “After Fukushima, I worry about the poor Pacific Ocean,” she says. Make a batch and keep a pitcher in the 'fridge all summer.

Homemade “Electrolade”

1 quart filtered water

2 tablespoons unpasteurized or raw honey *

big pinch of unrefined sea salt

¼ cup juice from fresh, organic lemons

Mix 4 ingredients with a wooden spoon and chill; Kierstead prefers glass pitchers whenever possible, to avoid chemicals leaching from plastic jugs. For an icier yum the little rascals will love, pour into popsicle molds and freeze. 

 * The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against feeding honey to babies younger than 12 months  to prevent the risk of infant botulism. 

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Dhani Tackles A Book

Dhani cover Courtesy of Rodale

His middle name, Makalani, is Hawaiian for "skilled at writing," so it's no surprise that Cincinnati Bengals' defensive captain Dhani Jones has a book out this month. In The Sportsman, he chronicles the 2008 off season, during which he traveled around the world for the Travel Channel television show, Dhani Tackles the Globe. For each episode, he spent a week in a foreign country learning an indigenous sport—from tossing the caber at the Scottish Highland Games to running the sand and surf gamut at an Australian lifesaving competition—before getting thrashed by the locals. "I came in last place in the 100-yard sand dash, barely completed the 600-meter swim, and literally fell off the men's double-ski," Jones writes of the Austrailian comp. In the book, each adventure comes packed with fitness advice, travel recommendations, and anecdotes from more than ten years in the NFL. Outside caught up with Jones to talk about his latest endeavor.
--Whitney Dreier

Describe the book-writing experience.
I've always been a writer. I've always been passionate about words and thoughts and how you assemble them together to make something substantial. The hardest part of writing a book is focusing on one theme and getting everything else through that vein. [Co-author] Jonathan Grotenstein and I just hit it off. He got me, he got my voice, he got my vision. He got the whole -- not to be cliche -- he got the whole enchilada. We vibed.

The book describes your sporting adventures, from Muay Thai boxing in Thailand to Schwingen in Switzerland. You must enjoy seeing new places.
Traveling has always been a part of my lifestyle. I want people to know that in the book. I want people to realize that we live in a great country -- the best  country -- however, there is a whole 'nother world out there, and there's nothing wrong with going to check out the rest of the world. Experience it.

Were local people responsive to your show and your attempts to learn their sports?
Most of the time people were accepting, but there were definitely uncomfortable situations at times. I had to understand that different countries have different cultures and different customs. I tried to go into it with a clean head and say look, this is what life is: Life is being a blank canvas and allowing the people around you to add color to it. You can go into a country with a colorful canvas, but don't let the colors on your canvas pollute the ones already there.

Dhani bike "I had never been in a bike race," says Jones, in Italy. "And I knew I wasn't going to win the Gran Fondo del Monte Grappa."

What sport did you find most difficult?
Going to Nepal was one of the hardest trips. All it was was hiking, but it was hiking at 19,000 feet. You don't realize how difficult that is and how challenging, how trying, how unbelievably tired you become.

Can you share some tips from the road?
1. Only pack what you need. And if you run out, wash it in the sink.

2. Always bring something to record your trip, whether that be a camera, a pen and pad, or some type of video recorder.

3. Follow the locals. You know what they look like. They know what you look like. If they don't look like you, follow them! Don't follow the people who look like you, you might as well stay at home.

On travel fitness?
1. There's no good fitness without good nutrition. You're not going to function if you don't eat well. If you eat bad, what's the point of working out? The eating's going to catch up to you. It's not difficult to have good food -- even the restaurants are taking care of you: you can't go to a sushi restaurant and get regular soy sauce, you gotta get low sodium.

2. There's no good fitness without good sleep. If you don't have a good sleep cycle, you're not going to have a sustainable workout; you're going to fight against your body trying to become better. There's so many great jobs and businesses out there that allow for meditation and outdoor activities during the day. There's always an option, it's all about how you divide your time.

3. There's no good fitness without good thoughts. You have to have a positive mindset to create positive energy. If your mind's not in the right place, you're not going to accomplish anything. If you walk into the gym and you're like I hate this place, then leave. Being mentally clear, that's on you. You gotta take a little onus for yourself.

What do you hope readers take away from The Sportsman?
The book is about finding your passion and staying true to that. A lot of times we get distracted and feel compelled to live by another person's standard. It's important that you evaluate what you really believe is important to you -- and live it. Just do it, cause it's your life, right? Fuck it, just do it. [Pause] I wish you could change that somehow -- my mom's trying to get me away from the expletives.

    Dhani wp
Jones attempts water polo in Croatia. "It takes a lot of damn work to beat my legs hard enough to keep my head above water," he wrote.

The Sportsman ($26) is due out June 7, wherever books are sold and at amazon.com.

 

Read More

Dhani Tackles A Book

Dhani cover Courtesy of Rodale

His middle name, Makalani, is Hawaiian for "skilled at writing," so it's no surprise that Cincinnati Bengals' defensive captain Dhani Jones has a book out this month. In The Sportsman, he chronicles the 2008 off season, during which he traveled around the world for the Travel Channel television show, Dhani Tackles the Globe. For each episode, he spent a week in a foreign country learning an indigenous sport—from tossing the caber at the Scottish Highland Games to running the sand and surf gamut at an Australian lifesaving competition—before getting thrashed by the locals. "I came in last place in the 100-yard sand dash, barely completed the 600-meter swim, and literally fell off the men's double-ski," Jones writes of the Austrailian comp. In the book, each adventure comes packed with fitness advice, travel recommendations, and anecdotes from more than ten years in the NFL. Outside caught up with Jones to talk about his latest endeavor.
--Whitney Dreier

Describe the book-writing experience.
I've always been a writer. I've always been passionate about words and thoughts and how you assemble them together to make something substantial. The hardest part of writing a book is focusing on one theme and getting everything else through that vein. [Co-author] Jonathan Grotenstein and I just hit it off. He got me, he got my voice, he got my vision. He got the whole -- not to be cliche -- he got the whole enchilada. We vibed.

The book describes your sporting adventures, from Muay Thai boxing in Thailand to Schwingen in Switzerland. You must enjoy seeing new places.
Traveling has always been a part of my lifestyle. I want people to know that in the book. I want people to realize that we live in a great country -- the best  country -- however, there is a whole 'nother world out there, and there's nothing wrong with going to check out the rest of the world. Experience it.

Were local people responsive to your show and your attempts to learn their sports?
Most of the time people were accepting, but there were definitely uncomfortable situations at times. I had to understand that different countries have different cultures and different customs. I tried to go into it with a clean head and say look, this is what life is: Life is being a blank canvas and allowing the people around you to add color to it. You can go into a country with a colorful canvas, but don't let the colors on your canvas pollute the ones already there.

Dhani bike "I had never been in a bike race," says Jones, in Italy. "And I knew I wasn't going to win the Gran Fondo del Monte Grappa."

What sport did you find most difficult?
Going to Nepal was one of the hardest trips. All it was was hiking, but it was hiking at 19,000 feet. You don't realize how difficult that is and how challenging, how trying, how unbelievably tired you become.

Can you share some tips from the road?
1. Only pack what you need. And if you run out, wash it in the sink.

2. Always bring something to record your trip, whether that be a camera, a pen and pad, or some type of video recorder.

3. Follow the locals. You know what they look like. They know what you look like. If they don't look like you, follow them! Don't follow the people who look like you, you might as well stay at home.

On travel fitness?
1. There's no good fitness without good nutrition. You're not going to function if you don't eat well. If you eat bad, what's the point of working out? The eating's going to catch up to you. It's not difficult to have good food -- even the restaurants are taking care of you: you can't go to a sushi restaurant and get regular soy sauce, you gotta get low sodium.

2. There's no good fitness without good sleep. If you don't have a good sleep cycle, you're not going to have a sustainable workout; you're going to fight against your body trying to become better. There's so many great jobs and businesses out there that allow for meditation and outdoor activities during the day. There's always an option, it's all about how you divide your time.

3. There's no good fitness without good thoughts. You have to have a positive mindset to create positive energy. If your mind's not in the right place, you're not going to accomplish anything. If you walk into the gym and you're like I hate this place, then leave. Being mentally clear, that's on you. You gotta take a little onus for yourself.

What do you hope readers take away from The Sportsman?
The book is about finding your passion and staying true to that. A lot of times we get distracted and feel compelled to live by another person's standard. It's important that you evaluate what you really believe is important to you -- and live it. Just do it, cause it's your life, right? Fuck it, just do it. [Pause] I wish you could change that somehow -- my mom's trying to get me away from the expletives.

    Dhani wp
Jones attempts water polo in Croatia. "It takes a lot of damn work to beat my legs hard enough to keep my head above water," he wrote.

The Sportsman ($26) is due out June 7, wherever books are sold and at amazon.com.

 

Read More

More Reasons to Get a Standing Desk

 

Sitting down may be shortening your life and adding inches to your waistline, according to an article in the New York Times. The study, performed by Mayo Clinic researcher James Levine, attempted to answer the question: why do some people, who consume the same amount of food as others, gain weight, and some don't? In an attempt to answer that question, subjects donned "smart underwear" which calculate each minute spent lying, standing, and sitting.

"The people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more,” Dr. Jensen, a Mayo Clinic collaborator told the New York Times.

This isn't to be confused with exercising more--that was prohibited by the study--but the simple step of taking extra trips to the water cooler, a stroll around the block on a coffee break, or standing at their desk let active subjects stave off the additional weight gain. Overall, subjects who maintained their weight had an additional two hours of daily movement as compared to subjects who were more sedentary.

The underwear proved it doesn't take much to add movement to your day; they even show a spike of energy output when subjects bent over to tie their shoes.

Read More

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