Anthony S Casey

Businessman, Triathlete, Dad

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Tag: Fitness

5 Epic Triathlons for Serious Competitors

escape from Alcatraz Anthony S Casey SingaporeAny triathlon is pretty epic in itself. Through combining swimming, running, and cycling, only the fittest will finish. But what makes some races more “epic” than others? Through intensity and location, these five triathlons will challenge any expert triathlete.

  1. New York City Triathlon

This famous race attracts triathletes from around the world. In this iconic Olympic-distance race, there is 1500m swim, a 40K cycle ride, and a 10k run. First, competitors brave the waters of the chilly early morning Hudson, then bike along Manhattan’s West Side highway, and end with a run in the famous Central Park. It’s held annually in the middle of the summer.

2. Idaho Ironman

Are you an Ironman? The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is a serious physical test, despite its bucolic settings. In the epic Ironman race, triathletes start off with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene, followed with a 112 mile bike race through rural northern Idaho, finishing with a full marathon along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene for two steep loops.  Every August.

3. Kona Ironman

Now this is the Ironman of Ironmans. Kona is every triathlete’s dream, achilles heel, etc. It’s what everyone dreams about. It’s the epitome of triathlon racing. Steve Anderson won last year’s Kona race. He speaks about the physical stress of racing, “Whatever you have is left completely rinsed from your being – both physically and mentally – after you cross the line.” An athlete burns so many calories while competing, that you have to eat throughout the race; Anderson eats Cliff Bars.

4. New Zealand Ironman

This race is popular due to its rich scenery and fresh swimming water. It is also the second-longest running Ironman, having celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2014. It’s a beautiful race.  The 2.4-mile swim takes place in the clear waters of Lake Taupo.  After a 400-meter run to transition, athletes begin the two-lap, 112-mile bike that travels through the forest and farmland surrounding Taupo. Spectators lining the lakefront as bikers make their way around. The three-lap marathon has great views of the lake and friends and family cheer on the athletes.

5. Escape from Alcatraz

Who knew that one day we’d be swimming laps around a prison, for leisure? Swimming in the freezing San Francisco Bay has become almost a right of passage for triathlon competitors. Since 1981, it’s no wonder this race is popular. With a fabulous vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge, the brutally difficult Sand Ladder; this race is popular because finishing comes with bragging rights.

This iconic race starts off at the San Francisco Belle ferry near Alcatraz Island to swim 1.5 miles back to shore, often in choppy and chilly conditions. At Marina Green Beach, athletes transition for an 18-mile bike ride around hilly San Francisco, before finishing with an 8-mile run through the Golden Gate Park and climbing 400 steps up the the Equinox Sand Ladder.

 

Making Protein Part of Your Fitness Routine

 

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What is protein? Why are so many fitness buffs obsessed with getting lots of protein?

When you eat foods that are rich in protein, digestive acids in your stomach break down the protein molecules into amino acids. The amino acids are restructured in unique sequences throughout the body to make the necessary proteins to keep you fighting fit.

There are 22 amino acids that scientists agree are essential to human health. Out of these 22, the human body produces 13 of them without the additional intake. We receive the other 9 essential amino acids by ingesting protein-rich foods.

Protein keeps your immune system healthy, repairs tissue, and contributes to the growth of nails and hair. It’s a “macronutrient” – this means is that humans need lots of it.

Proteins from animals; meats, cheese, and eggs, are considered “complete” because they contain all of the essential amino acids. Plant-based proteins miss a few.

According to active.com, the recommendation for normal protein intake for a healthy adult is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight per day (so, just about 80 g of protein if you weigh 220-pounds).

But more protein is recommended if you’re highly active.

Additional protein promotes muscle adaptation during recovery from exercise in several ways. It aids in the repair of damage to muscle fibers, promotes the synthesis of new proteins, training-induced adaptations in muscle fibers, and encourages the replenishment of depleted energy resources.

This isn’t to say you should bulk up on your daily protein and expect to become superhuman. In fact, the best way to take in protein is through a normal diet regimen, not enhanced methods such as powders.

Individual protein requirements can be determined by the size of an athlete and the demands of the sport; whether the activity is more so “endurance” or “strength”-oriented determines the necessary protein intake. And understand that the amount of dietary protein required for muscle recovery is markedly small, requiring only 5 to 10 grams of amino acids. This is only 20 to 40 kcal of protein!

Foods such as fish, meat, eggs, and milk are great for finding essential amino acids. If you’re an athlete, learn what protein regimen works best for you. Remember, don’t overdo it!

 

New Year, New You

It’s that time of year again: the holidays. And right after the holidays, the new year is right around the corner. Do you have your resolutions ready. Is getting fit on that list? you’re not alone. Getting your body in shape is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions. Here are some tips to make that New Year’s Resolution a reality.

1. Go easy on yourself

There’s nothing wrong with moving at your own pace. When you’re at the gym seeing other people around you running at fast speeds and lifting very heavy weights, it’s easy to get caught up in comparisons. It’s best to start small and you can slowly build up more endurance. Even if you’re just going on a 1 minute walk a day you are moving toward your goal.

2. Formulate a plan: When, How, and What?

The best way to work towards a goal is to set specific expectations for that goal. If you just start the year saying “I want to get fit” you need to figure out how. First, ask when you will exercise. Remember that exercising is not a competition and you don’t have to train as many days a week as other people you know. As long as you set a schedule for yourself, you’re on the right track.

Then, think about how you will exercise. A key part of your workout plan is exactly what you are going to do. The best way to go about this is finding something you enjoy. Lastly, figure out how much time you will spend exercising. Make a plan and stick to it!

3. Get an exercise buddy

Sometimes a exercise buddy can be the wind beneath your wings. As long you are truly doing it to root each other on and not to be competitive, exercising with a friend can be a great social activity. It can be so much fun that you almost forget you’re working out (well, almost). If you know someone who also resolved to get fit, be each other’s accountability buddies. On days when you don’t want to get off the couch, a workout buddy can be just what you need.

4. Make sure your goal is realistic

One of the biggest reasons people drop their New Year’s Resolutions is because they were unrealistic in the first place. Be honest with yourself. You need to develop a solid foundation for fitness before cranking up the intensity. Set a goal that is reasonable and achievable.

The rest is just sticking to your goal and believing in yourself. You can do it!

More Butter Please!

healthy-fats

Not all fats are bad, and sometimes your meal needs that extra boost. Surprisingly, fats are starting to overcome their infamous reputation of being completely terrible, and instead, more people are opting to incorporate extra fat into their diets. Counting macronutrients can be a great way to achieve difficult or high level fitness goals. However, it is important to know when it makes sense to add extra fats to your diet and when it does not.

Most of us know that not all fats are made equal. States like New York have long since banned trans fats, and this June, the FDA issued a final statement determining that there is no safe level of industrially-produced trans fatty acids that are safe for human consumption. Trans fat must be removed from prepared foods by June 2018. That being said, many other fats have positive properties, actually producing tangible health benefits. Flax seed oils are high in omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for healthy nail, hair, and skin.

In general, our bodies benefit from moderate consumptions of saturated fatty acids (butter, cream, lard, bacon), medium-chain fatty acids (coconut oil), monounsaturated fatty acids (avocado and olive oil) , and polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish, some nuts and seeds). But what’s important to remember is this: not all foods need additional fats. Be sure that the food you are consuming is truly in need of a supplement.

The truth is, fats helps you absorb vitamins. Vitamins have difficulty making it into our bloodstreams without the assistance of fat. If you typically have a healthy diet, you probably receive more than enough vitamins. However, if for whatever reason you’re participating in an extraordinarily low-fat diet, you may consider adding a goal appropriate fat that caters to your needs. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble. This does not apply to vitamin C or any of the B vitamins. Milkshakes don’t count either! After decades of bad advice, fad dieting, and lack of information, we became accustomed to believing that ultra low-fat or fat free diets were good things. This simply isn’t true! A balanced ratio of macronutrients creates the best dietary combination for our bodies.

Is “Too Much Running” a Thing?

The topic of fitness has always been controversial. Some claim that a healthy heart is made in the kitchen while others argue, the gym. Even Coca-Cola has recently shifted the dialogue from whether or not its sugary drinks are unhealthy and instead insists that consumers should simply exercise more. General knowledge dictates that a healthy diet and physical activity go hand in hand when improving one’s overall mental and physical well-being. Most people are asking two not-so-simple questions: which should be given more consideration? And is it possible to simply “overdo” it?

Evidence strongly suggests that a sedentary lifestyle ultimately leads to higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and diabetes. Because of this, doctors recommend at least three days of high-intensity physical activity a week. And yet, some perpetuate the myth that excessive cardiovascular activity can over-exert the heart muscle, leading to an unfortunate and untimely death. It’s unclear what constitutes as “too much exercise” or “running too much” as it differs from person to person, but we do know that bad practices like lifting weights that are entirely too heavy and neglecting rest days can contribute to injury over time. But besides best practice, is it fair to say that runners are at an even greater risk for heart failure?

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Triathletes spend a lot of time training to prepare for ultra-competitive races. Exercise can improve heart health by reducing body fat, improving blood pressure and glucose, lessening stress and increasing production of HDL cholesterol while also lowering LDL levels. Concerned parties often cite isolated stories about consistent runners who randomly collapse in over exertion-related situations. On the contrary, it appears that studies have been unable to successfully link a higher mortality rate to excessive exercise (correlation does not equal causation). Moreover, even though some have suggested in the past that endurance events such as half and full marathons and triathlons pose a threat to runners, this simply hasn’t been proven. Endurance races are taxing, both physically and mentally, however, no concrete evidence exists that runners are at a great risk for heart failure simply because they run. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, cardiac arrests occur in less than 1 percent of every 100,000 runners. Family history of heart disease must always be taken into consideration when assessing these numbers.

Not everyone is equipped to handle endurance training. Those with a family history of premature heart disease, current symptoms of heart disease, or high blood pressure should consult a doctor before engaging in strenuous activity. As science and technology continue to evolve, perhaps we will find more information linking premature heart issues with endurance training. But for now, we just can’t say it’s there.

Fitness Tracker Mania

These days, fitness trackers seem to be all the rage. Whether it’s a FitBit or Apple Watch, athletes are starting to rely on these devices to meet activity quotas or even track their caloric intake. Runners in particular benefit from trackers that can notify them when they’ve reached a certain milestone or distance throughout their workout. Many predict that the Apple Watch will unfortunately send stand-alone trackers to an early grave, much like the iPhone did with the stand-alone camera. However, many companies have not given up on the product and still find value behind inexpensive fitness devices. Coming in at a minimum of $450, it’s easy to see why inexpensive trackers are still in the running and sometimes favored over the Apple Watch. Until Apple can develop a cheaper alternative, it’s safe to say stand-alone trackers are going to survive, even with a niche share of the market.

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Moov Fitness Band

Moov and Misfit recently unveiled new, cost-effective trackers that are sure to grab the attention of cost-conscious customers. Moov has allowed shoppers to pre-order a $59.99 model that is expected to ship sometime this fall. Customers have the option to select a blue, red, black, or white version of the device. Reviews for Moov devices have been positive and the company continues to meet user standards.

Misfit’s “Flash Link” retails for an extremely affordable $19.99 with a user friendly Misfit Link app. In the app, users have the ability to produce commands directly from the tracker such as control Spotify and Pandora music or take pictures with their smartphones. The Link device is available in white, red, blue, and black.

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FitBit Flex

Although FitBit continues to run on the higher end of the spectrum, the company does offer a “Zip” wireless activity tracker clocking in at $59.95. Currently, the most popular tracker from the company is the FitBit “Flex” at $99.95. Many businesses offer employee discounts, making the “Flex” a bit more affordable at times. This device includes activity and sleep tracking, as well as access to the FitBit app where users can track their weight loss goals and meal plans.

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