Month: May 2011

Women’s Nutrition: Fuel for Recovery

Women have always had slightly different nutritional needs than men. Research is beginning to shed some light on how women fuel their recoveries differently.

High-protein diets have been popular in weight-loss circles for several years now, but very little research had been conducted on the effects of protein on performance, especially in women. Recently researchers at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand studied the effect of high-protein feeding on the performance of female cyclists to see if there was a difference between high- and low-protein recovery diets on the performance of well-trained female cyclists.

They studied 12 female cyclists. Each cyclist completed three high-intensity rides: two-and-a-half hours of interval work on the first day followed by sprint testing on days two and four. Day three was a rest day. In the first four hours of recovery on the first and second days, the cyclists ate either high protein or high carbohydrate meals. Researchers found that the protein had no effect on mean power in the repeated sprint testing on day two or day four. The women reported feeling both more fatigue and soreness in their legs in days two, three, and four, and leg strength was lower in those who ate the high-protein diet than in those who ate the high carbohydrate meals. In contrast to previous findings with male athletes, their conclusion was that there was “no clear influence of dietary protein quantity on subsequent performance in women”. The study suggests that female endurance athletes may not need protein as part of their recovery meal; a high carbohydrate meal may be the better recovery food for women. This was a very small study and obviously more studies need to be done on female athletes.

Low Down on Running & Hiking Shoes!

With all the great weather on the way I’m sure you are looking to the outdoors to start some adventures; perhaps even looking at getting some new shoes. Then you go to the store and see the huge athletic shoe selection and go, “now what?” Well here are some helpful tips on what makes shoes different.

In general:

  • The running surface you are going to use will determine the kind of shoe you need…if it’s a hard/irregular surface you usually need more support and energy absorption.
  • Look to get the shoe comfortably snug with little to no heal slip.
  • The space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe should be about a finger width…this is because when you put your body weight into one foot (like when you walk or run) your foot lengthens and need room in the shoe.
  • Most running shoes come with “stock” insoles. If your feet need babying, get a different insole and it may make your outdoor adventures more comfortable.

Trail-Running Shoes:
These are the beefed up heavy looking running shoes; they have aggressive outsoles for traction and fortification usually offering higher ankle support, offering support and sole protection from trail obstacles. Use these shoes if you think you will encounter roots, rocks, mud and animal holes during a run or walk.

Road-Running Shoes:
These shoes are the simplified version of the trail-runner. They are designed for pavement or the occasional trip to a wood chipped running track or groomed nature trail. They are usually light and flexible, made to cushion and stabilize your feet during your stride on hard, even surfaces.

Common Running Mishaps:
Pronation involves the natural inward rolling of the foot following the heel strike. The basic pronation will help to absorb impact, relieving pressure on the knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners.

Overpronation involves an exaggerated inward rolling of the foot. This common trait can leave runners with knee pains and sometimes injury.

Supination involves the outward rolling of the foot, resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. This is not a common running trait.

Shoe Types:
Cushioning in shoes provide an elevated shock absorption with minimal arch support; and are great for runners with light pronation or supination. Cushioning can also be used for those neutral runners who go off-pavement more often (it give runners more variety, keeping them from getting repetitive motion injuries).

Stability in shoes helps decelerate basic pronation. These shoes are great for neutral runners or ones who have mild to moderate overpronation, and often utilize a “post” in the midsole.

Motion Control in shoes offers stiffer heels and a straighter design to counter overpronation. These are great for runners who exhibit moderate to severe overpronation.

Shoe Uppers:
Synthetic Leather is a supple, durable, abrasion-resistant material made from nylon and polyester. It is lighter, quick to dry and breathable, requiring no “break-in” time.

Nylon and Nylon Mesh are durable synthetic materials used to reduce weight and increase breathability.

TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) overlays are small, abrasion-resisting additions used to enhance stability and durability.

Midsole Technology:
(This is the cushioning and stability layer between the upper and outsole)

EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) is foam found in running shoes. Cushioning shoes often use just one layer of EVA, or multiple layers if trying to force a flex pattern.

Posts are areas of firmer EVA needed to create sections of the midsole that are harder to compress. Often seen in stability shoes, they are used to decelerate pronation or boost durability. Medial posts reinforce the arch side of the midsole for those runners with overpronation.

Plates are thin, flexible material (nylon or TPU) that stiffens the forefoot of the shoe; and are often used in trail-runners to protect the bottom of the foot from impact with trail obstacles.

Shanks stiffen the midsole and protect the heel and arch. They boost the shoe’s firmness needed in rocky terrain.

TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a flexible plastic used in some midsoles for added stability.

Now that you know about shoes and how they can be used for your body and exercise adventures, go get a pair and enjoy everything that Seattle has to offer. Look to utilize them with upcoming SAC hikes, mountain expeditions, trail running as well as the Run club every week. For more information on shoes and any outdoor adventure going on please feel free to contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway or Outdoor Adventure Coach Brandyn Roark.

Moderation, shmoderation.

The theory of moderation is intended to be applied to healthful foods and healthful foods alone.

Moderation applied to unhealthful eating does not work in theory or in practice. All the idea of moderation does successfully is draw attention from the real issue: that there are good and bad foods, projecting the concept that all food is good food, and that we can eat whatever we want without consequence as long as it is limited.

Unfortunately this is not true. Everything that we eat has a consequence, whether positive or negative, and however potentially minute. For example, moderation would say that it is okay to eat a hamburger, as long as you trade the fries for a salad and the soda for some juice. By following this logic, all we are accomplishing is the drowning out of our unhealthful food choice with a high percentage of healthful food choices. Although partially effective, and of course better than the option which included the french fries and soda, we are ignoring the real issue. Our efforts have not changed the fact that the hamburger has a negative impact on our health. We have lessened the impact, but not changed the truth: hamburgers are bad for you.

Ignoring that the idea of moderation is inherently flawed, we can discuss the average practice of moderation. True moderation of food allows its occurrence in our diet much less often than we would like to believe. For example, moderating something like chocolate may place it in our diet once a week, or even less often. This is not how the average person approaches moderation. The average person instead uses moderation as a rationale for making constant unhealthful choices. That is, the person moderates cookies, chocolate, fast food, dairy, and etcetera. Using this “once in a while is okay” attitude leads us to constant, although perhaps different, unhealthful choices.

Moderation does not work. Some foods are bad for us and should be entirely eliminated from our diet. Some things we consider to be foods are not even really food in the first place, but sinister food-like substances and they should be avoided permanently.

Multisport and Running Season Kicks Off!

As the weather finally (at least we think…) starts to take a turn for the better, the local multisport and running race season commences! The first weekend in May brought the first multisport race of the season for many athletes racing in the PNW, as well as half marathon and marathon mania! It was a jam packed race weekend as SAC members participated in events from Vancouver Canada all the way down to California! With plenty of races came plenty of stellar SAC member performances!

Check out the what and where your fellow SAC friends have been racing!!!

4/30: Wildlfower Long course Triathlon, CA
A tough and challenging half iron distance course (1.2mile swim/56mile bike/13.1mile) with lots of hills and trail running thrown into the mix! Not only that, but what makes this race so unique is the fact that participants have to camp pre-race because it is nestelled in the middle of now where!!! What can we say, it adds to the “charm” and comraderie of the race!

  • Mark Webb – (OA: 5:15:35; 31:40swim/2:55:36bike/1:44:42run) A super race preping for Ironman Couer D’Alene!
  • Genevieve Priebe – (OA: 7:32:38; 41:32swim/3:51:39bike/2:46:52run) Her first triathlon ever and tackled a half iron!

5/1: Mt. Rainier Duathlon, Enumclaw WA.
A short course or long course option duathlon of super challenging porportions in the name of a huge climb called Mud Mtn. Dam in which the long course participants had to tackle twice!

Short course: (1.6mile run/14.4mile bike/3.8mile run)

  • Karen Jones – (OA: 1:42:30; 13:38run/52:03bike/32:55run) Getting the first race jitters our before HONU 70.3!
  • Bri Cooper – (OA: 1:39:47; 13:16run/51:14bike/33:13run) Super effort all around!
  • Teresa Engrave – (OA: 1:50:25; 13:37run/56:16bike/36:15run) Nice and solid race!

Long course: (5.1mile run/28.8mile bike/3.8mile run)

  • Vicki Boivin – (OA: 2:34:06; 37:10run/1:29:19bike/25:32run) 2nd overall female!
  • Amanda Camp – (OA: 3:19:35; 47:36run/1:51:32bike/36:15run) Pushed it till the end!
  • Tom Camp – (OA: 3:02:41; 41:13run/1:46:13bike/32:32run) Shaved 8+min off of his time from last year!
  • Ann Sloan – (OA: 3:28:08; 53:20run/1:52:15bike/38:20run) CDA Ironman watch out!
  • Bridget Jones – (OA: 2:36:09; 37:28run/1:29:19bike/27:23run) 3rd overall female!

5/1: Vancouver Half and Full Marathon, Vancouver Canada
A beautiful and scenic half marathon through the city and Stanley Park!


  • David Landers – (1:47:32) A personal best on a “fun” training run, not bad!


  • Patricia Nakamura – (4:05:06) A super effort gearing up for Ironman Canada later this summer.

5/1: Eugene Half Marathon, Eugene OR:
A fast and fun course!

  • Elizabeth Martin – (1:39:42) A fantastic result and a personal best!

5/1: Tacoma City Half Marathon:
A scenic city run with great support and cheer!

  • Chuck Cathey – (1:41:54) A stellar run that landed him 3rd in his division!

If you see any of these athletes roaming around the club feel free to give them a big high-five for their awesome efforts!

If you are interested in learning more about what the SAC has to offer in both multisport racing and running, please contact: Running Coach Bridget Jones-Cressmen

Burn 400 Calories in 35 Minutes!

Bored with your cardio? Hitting a plateau in your weight loss? Try this interval cardio program to blast fat, prevent boredom and maximize your time in the gym!

Time Interval
0:00-5:00Begin with a jog @ 5.5mph for 5 min
5:00-5:40Leave treadmill running, hop off & do alternating reverse lunges for 40 sec
5:40-6:00Rest for 20 sec
6:00-7:00Hop back on treadmill and up your speed to at least 7.0 and run 1 min
7:00-7:40Hop off treadmill and perform alternating reverse lunges for 40 sec
7:40-7:20Rest for 20 sec
8:00-9:00Hop back on treadmill and run for 1 min
9:00-9:40Hop off treadmill and perform lateral squats (side to side) for 40 sec
9:40-10:00 Rest for 20 sec
10:00-11:00Hop back on treadmill and up your speed to 7.5 and run for 1 min
11:00-11:40Hop off treadmill and perform lateral squats for 40 sec
11:40-12:00Rest for 20 sec
12:00-13:00Hop back on treadmill and up your speed 8.0 for 1 min
13:00-13:30Hop off treadmill and perform jump squats for 30 Sec
13:30-14:00Rest for 30 sec
14:00-15:00Hop back on treadmill and up your run by .5+ and sprint for 1 min
15:00-20:00lower run and jog at 5.5+mph for 5 min
20:00-30:00reduce speed to 3.6-4.2 increase incline to 8%-12% for 10 min and hike with no holding on!!
30:00-35:00cool down! Lower incline to 0% and do a 5 min walk at 3.0


No2 Supplements: Fact or Fiction?

We have all seen the advertisements, whether it be in Muscle and Fitness or at GNC, claiming they will increase performance, decrease recovery time, and promote muscle growth. But how much of this is true? Many of the supplements out there today rely highly on celebrity endorsements and mass marketing rather than solid scientific evidence. I recently read an article (Nitric Oxide Supplements for Sports) in the Strength and Conditioning Journal that proposed the question, how much science is behind these products? It was shocking to find out that with the exception of only one study, there is no published scientific studies to show that the dietary supplements currently marketed as “nitric oxide stimulators” have proven efficacy. So why are they so popular? It is in our nature to always be looking for that faster, better or easier way to achieve our goals. Next time you look through a fitness magazine keep a tally of how many advertisements are crammed in between those pages. This isn’t to say that all supplements out there are sugar pills, but be sure to ask yourself a couple questions before forking out your hard earned cash.

  1. Have any studies been conducted to test the products efficacy? And were they preformed by an unbiased group?
  2. Have the results been published? If so, where?
  3. If the studies were conducted, were they preformed on a population that represents the potential user?
  4. How much does the effective dosage cost? Is the cost justified for the potential gain?

Now there are supplements out there that ARE backed by the scientific community as well as the drug companies. One such product is Creatine Monohydrate. More scientific reports are available pertaining to the benefits of creatine than ANY other single supplement! Another added bonus of this product is that it rings up far cheaper than almost any other weight lifting supplement at $15-$20 (online price). Remember to research your supplements and how they are to be used. Creatine for example should be taken with some kind of carbohydrate (ie juice or Gatorade) as creatine needs carbs to deliver it to the working muscle in order to be utilized in energy production. What you many not know is that by taking it with an acidic juice like orange or grapefruit actually destroys the creatine and it can not be utilized by the body.

We all have our own thoughts and opinions about supplements, but for my money I will stick to products that have the proof to back up the claims! For more information on supplementation please contact the Seattle Athletic Club’s nutritionist Suzzanne Myer.

R. I. C. E. What Does That Really Spell?

Rest (keeping movement at a minimum)
Ice (cool it off with an ice pack)
Compression (apply an ace bandage to keep the swelling down)
Elevation (allow gravity to work for you- keep blood from pooling in an already inflamed area)

This is a great acronym to keep in mind after any kind of sprain or strain. It will assist in many ways by keeping any tissue or joint damage to a minimum. In the end it really spells – happier muscle and connective tissue!

Keep in mind massage can also work wonders for your recovery process! Come see us anytime!

Massage rates are as follows:

  • 25 minutes $40
  • 55 minutes $70
  • 90 minutes $100

Have a wonderful spring- with no sprains!!

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Criss-Cross or Obliques

Purpose: The last of the Stomach Series, this works the external obliques, waistline and powerhouse.

  1. Lie on your back with hands behind your lifted head; elbows wide and your knees bent into your chest.
  2. Extend your right leg out long; hovering above the mat. Twist your upper body until the right elbow touches left knee. Open the back (left) elbow behind you. Inhale as you lift to twist and hold for 3 counts.
  3. Exhale and switch sides, bringing your left elbow to your right knee while extending the opposite (left) leg out in front of you. Hold for 3 counts. Keep your upper back and shoulders off the mat as you twist from side to side.

Complete 8-10 times. To end bring both knees into chest.

Checklist: Lift and twist from your waist, not from your neck and shoulders. The back elbow never touches the mat. Look at your back elbow as you twist.

Anchor your center to the mat so you don’t roll from side to side. Lower your extended leg about 45 degrees or more… back should not arch off mat.

Note: Avoid twisting exercises such as this if you have suffered a recent back injury.

Visualization: Imagine you have an X on your stomach and you are crossing to each end of the X.

Welcome Outdoor Adventure Coach: Brandyn Roark

Brandyn is a professional XTERRA off road triathlete, cyclist, mountain biker, randonee skier, big mountain skier, adventure racer, and climber. She owns her own coaching business and is a USA swim and cycling coach, Brandyn has traveled the world racing and teaching other athletes and beginners how to be safe, strong and stable as well as have a blast in the mountains!! She has climbed and skied peaks in North America, Europe, and beyond and is looking forward to taking SAC members to their next adventure in the outdoors whether it be their first intro to climbing or just fine tuning their mountain biking skills.

She is also a Mental Health Professional and was a Psycho-Social Rehabilitation specialist for children for 8 years. She was a Nationally Ranked NCAA D1 swimmer and began climbing at the age of 12. Brandyn’s enthusiasm and energy is centered around introducing people from all different backgrounds into the outdoor world…”it’s a HUGE playground out there…we have to go play, explore and create!” She believes that all growth in life happens in the journey, not the outcome…”so make that journey an adventure, try something new, challenge yourself and inspire others to do the same!”

Race Prep | Sports Psychology | Mountain Biking | Backcountry Hikes & Skiing | Mountaineering | Rock Climbing | Paddling & Water Sports | Open Water Swimming

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, look for more great professionally lead programs coming to Seattle Athletic Club Downtown this Summer with Brandyn Roark! To connect to Brandyn, please email her directly at

Stretching with the TRX

There are multiple benefits to stretching while using the TRX. You will be able to move through greater range of motion which will deepen the stretch, making it more beneficial. You will also be able to use your own body weight to “lean” into the stretch. This is a great cool down for the end of your workout since you will have to use the muscles that were just worked to assist with the stretching.

Lat Stretch
Facing the TRX anchor point, with your arms straight, reach your hips back keeping the spine straight. Relax and head and neck, allowing the head to drop between the shoulders. Keep your weight in your heels and take a few deep breaths. You will feel this all down the back and underneath the armpits.

Chest Stretch
Turning away from the TRX anchor point, keeping the arms at shoulder height and the palms facing out, walk forward until the stretch is felt in the upper chest muscles. Be sure to keep the upper neck muscles disengaged and the shoulders stay down. Once the stretch is felt you can take a small step backwards and lean your weight in to deepen the stretch. This allows gravity to assist.

Shoulder Stretch
From the chest stretch you can move directly into the shoulder stretch. Keeping the same angle, move the arms up so they are close to your ears. Again, keep the upper neck muscles disengaged and focus on your breathing and relaxing. You can also walk back some to let gravity help pull more.

Hip Flexor
With your arms out wide in the chest stretch, standing up straight, reach one foot far behind you (like a lunge). Ground yourself through the heel of the front foot and move your body forward. The stretch will be felt in the front of the thigh behind you. Keep the spine tall and the chest big.

Side-body/ Intercostal/ TFL/ IT Band/ Lat
Standing with the side of your body facing the anchor point, take the outside leg and place it behind you. Take your hands and put them on top of your head keeping the chest open and elbows pointing out. Maintaining this position, drop the hip out away from the anchor point. Avoid any kind of rotation and allow yourself to deepen into the stretch. This stretch will open up the muscles in between your rips, the muscles of your hip, and the IT band that runs the full length of your leg (GREAT FOR RUNNERS!)

Hamstring and Calf
Standing straight, facing the anchor point, place one foot forward with the heel down and toes up. Keeping the spine tall reach the hips back and lower down. You can also point the toe (like a ballet dancer) which will stretch more of the belly of the hamstring. If your hamstrings are fairly flexible, this stretch may not be felt as intensely as the other stretches.

Standing up straight facing the anchor point, pick up one leg and place the ankle on the thigh of the opposite leg. Keeping the spine tall, reach the hips back. The stretch will be felt through the hips of the bent leg. Avoid any kind of forward bend.