Our first coaches corner where you can see us!

We had super fun today on coaches corner; our first time using Skype and I sense that the competition is on now for best hat and mug combo. Mitch won today; with Ian in sensible grown up clothes coming in a firm second.

We have built up a real treasure trove of resources for cyclists and triathletes; so if you are interested in having a listen to other podcasts you can find there here to stream in any format that suits you best and also here on YouTube. I have also detailed many of the podcasts here: (I may have missed a few).

Here is today’s awesome podcast 🙂

Today we discussed:

  • Early (warning) signs of health crashing and tips about what to do to prevent getting sick and return to full form as quickly as possible.
  • Indoor vs outdoor powermeter and what to do with your numbers – also, if you do not have a PM outdoors – how to pace yourself?
  • Theia offers words of wisdom on “failure- or is it?” I felt like she was speaking to my soul given the personal context for me; thanks Theia! Her words are worth listening to. I really enjoyed the tip on  “what am I going to give in a race” and I learnt that for me the importance of holding my health sometimes has far greater meaning in the context of my work and home life. I need to be healthy for what matters; and crushing this in a race just isn’t worth it.
  • Concept of a “Floor” in our Training Peaks numbers – and how to use it.
  • This week in the LAB.

As promised here are my words of advice regarding what to look out for and what to do when your health starts to veer off track:

Warning signs:

I have kept it light hearted; if you wish to read the official consensus on Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome: Joint Consensus Statement of the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine click here and another topic close to this and equally concerning is relative energy deficiency in sport and here is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consensus Statement on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): 2018 update.

Normal warning signs and symptoms that I see when training stress starts to ramp up are the following – without getting too in-depth!

Respiratory tract:

  • Allergies and asthma
  • Sinus infections
  • Head colds
  • Sore/ tickly throats
  • Constant cough
  • If really unlucky chest infections or pneumonia and viral conditions (that don’t need an antibiotic) worsening into bacteria complicated infections (that may need an antibiotic).

Gastrointestinal tract:

  • IBS type symptoms
  • Looser stools
  • Greater difficulty managing nutrition and feeling like food isn’t digesting well
  • Reflux and indigestion
  • More frequent food poisoning / gastritis incidents
  • Poor nutrient absorption – iron and B12 deficiency

Continue reading

Sport nutrition video blogs, podcasts and good stuff

This is the post that you want to read for resources, tips and advice!

Hi all,

Life has been fast and busy, apologies for the hit and miss entries. I have been training persistently and consistently; putting in the ground work under the watchful eye and intuitive guidance of my coach Annchen Clarke in preparation for the coming year and my main races.

I have been throwing my heart and energy into my clients in the clinic, and I have been thoroughly enjoying my involvement with the coaches Ian, Theia, Mitch, and Jason at the Endurance lab.

In the clinic I am moving more into my areas of expertise, I encourage all my clients to shine in their unique and individual ways and it is important that I do also.

So what are my areas? Intuitive medicine and energy healing (your body speaks a unique language and I am good at interpreting this and instead of spouting off a list of A-Z I can tell you the specific ABC that your body needs for health and well-being, balance and optimal performance at that specific moment in time), a whole mind-body-spirit approach to chronic health problems (notably energy, gastrointestinal and immune problems), tailored holistic approach to the care of the athlete and trouble shooting to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

I also work with plant, tree and crystal energies to create healing essences and work with the nudges of the energies of land and people; we are all connected and intertwined and to think that each of us walks alone is daft. Everything is energy, and our energy is connected to everything (person-animal-place).

I am not a meal plan writer, general nutritionist, food and supplement faddist or a calorie cruncher; this type of work is argued left right and centre on the great world of social media, I prefer to see my role as advisor and support, listener and in return giver of answers, guide and educator. You work with me for a while; grow, heal, become empowered and fly off 🙂

We work together on the more complex stuff; I have a lifetime of education and experience and I am here to share what I have with you. Use my time and education; I have many skills and resources to share!

Of course there is also the balance, my boy, my puppy, my ‘me’ time and the great outdoors; the crucial things for health and well-being!

To keep you on your toes, please do check out the recipe section here on this blog (e.g. a recent one), my facebook endurance group and also these video blogs that have gone up lately.

Enjoy,
Andrea

PS Please try to listen to the entire podcast of Coaches Corner; the coaches give invaluable tips so the listen is very much worth it.

Fuelling:

So here are tips on how to gain some insights into what fuelling your training sessions may need, which can come from clues about what zone you are training in and for how long you are in these zones.

Consider that your carbohydrate demands of the session are along a sliding scale of intensity – Easy, Endurance Pace, Tempo, (Sweet Spot), Threshold, VO2, multiplied by the time spent in these zones. The longer you are training, or the harder you are training, or the longer and harder you are training the greater the percentage of carbohydrates that you will be oxidising (and hence will need to top up your blood glucose once your liver and glycogen stores start to diminish).

Your fuelling is never an all or nothing between carbs and fat. (We also have the top end anaerobic sprint work that uses a different energy system called the phosphocreatine/ phosphagen system. We never just train there as endurance athletes nor could we for longer than a few seconds, it is worth knowing that this is a different system and it is here that we teach our bodies how to tolerate and recover from lactate generation and the subsequent shift in cellular pH from hydrogen ions). When doing sprint work you must take into context what other work you are doing in this session as it will help dictate your fuelling needs.

At lower intensities you will be oxidising mostly fats with some carbohydrates, and at tempo and threshold (and towards your max) you will be oxidising mostly carbohydrates with some fats and the ratios of these, and where these percentages lie will depend on several factors. It is tricky to know exactly what gram per hour number you are for carbohydrates, so instead of trying to over-science it, learn to listen to what your body is saying and tweak it from there based on getting the basic principles of training fuelling correct while also being cognizant that your body has needs for many other things that we find IN REAL FOOD.

Continue reading

Dry eyes and cycling

 

Solving ‘eyes burnt out of my head in the wind’ cycling issues.

DRY EYES. I suffer with my eyes; due to an incomplete blink which means that I don’t pull tears across my eye very well they get dry. I wear my glasses a lot but that doesn’t work with training!. Despite specialist contact lenses my eyes were getting burnt out of my head outdoor cycling. My Rudi project just weren’t protecting me and the wind felt like it was hitting me from above and the side of the lense despite them being large on my face. Half way in to a cycle my contact lenses would feel stuck into my eye and no matter how many times I would blink, they just would not get comfortable.

Cycling should be fun, and dry eyes is not fun, nor pleasant. Furthermore dryness on the cornea can lead to damage and eye issues and so should be addressed.

If dry eyes are a problem for you; here are the results of some research.

1. Eye drops.

Hylo Forte/ Hyco San Forte are a thick DROP that is very soothing for the eyes and suitable while wearing lenses. They are in my opinion the best drop out there for dry eyes. They also last longer than the standard 28 days and the dropped bottle can easily be tossed into your pocket.

The Xailin night was highly recommended as a treatment on dry eye forums and I let recommendations override a pharmacist analysis of the ingredients. They are pretty crap to be honest; just paraffin. [ Ingredients White soft paraffin, white mineral oil, lanolin alcohols ]. They left my eyes very sticky the following morning and blurry to a point of distraction. I am not a fan of petroleum-based products so this won’t be getting much use.

The Vita-Pos ointment is a night-time remedy also which helps HEAL the eye due to its vitamin A content. It is better than the Xailin night yet still based on paraffin ingredients (most of the ointments are to be honest); so if i need a heavy duty night time healer then I don’t have many options.

[ ingredients: VitA-POS is a sterile, preservative free, vitamin A eye ointment that also contains liquid paraffin, light liquid paraffin, wool fat and white soft paraffin. It is used for moderate to severe dry eye and mostly recommended for night-time use.]

So this product gets a mention because of the vitamin A, which helps heal the eye; but it will leave you with sticky blurry eyes (not as bad as the Xailin, and I guess it doesn’t matter majorly as you will be asleep; but I wouldn’t put them in the night before a race just in case you wake a bit bleary eyed).

2. Nutrition

Antioxidants, omega 3, plant oils and well a super nutrient dense diet as we work on in the clinic will help protect your eyes from UV radiation and also support moisture, tears and healing. Good nutrition underpins everything when it comes to sport! I also tend to add Vaccinium to herbal preparations for athletes to support antioxidant intake;along with other super nourishing herbs. Vaccinium is especially good for the eyes; but alone, for me it wasn’t sufficient.

3. Wind blocking glasses.

I spent a lot of time researching glasses. There was a good article about this here: http://www.active.com/…/windless-eyewear-the-next-innovatio…

The recommended Rudy project glasses didn’t look any better than what I already have (which I LOVE for running), so I settled on the panoptx range by 7eye. Here are some photos of my Cape glasses.

How did they feel?

To be honest I felt like toad of toad hall with goggles because I am used to only a clear frame in front of my eyes while training.

In  general I am not a fan of anything dark around my eyes and I am quite fussy about this. So this took a little bit of getting used to. BUT… in summary:

  • The brown contrast lens is so clear in Irish skies, like amazingly clear. I decided to try these instead of the grey contrast lens and I wouldn’t go back to the grey unless racing in very bright conditions. The brown give much better clarity.
  • The glasses are comfortable and field of vision ahead on the Tri bars is excellent and looking to the side and over your back is ‘good’.
  • The glasses do block the wind and well, rain, given I got a blasting today.
  • They do not fog up.

So yes they are good, but I  will probably race in the old pair of wrap around sunnies I have risen from the dead that seem to do a better job than the Rudy project in wind and have full clear vision.I just don’t want anything in my way not even a frame when racing; and that’s just me! I will continue to run with the Rudy project sunglasses.

Knowing that I can now train in comfort without harming my eyes is very comforting and makes it more likely that I will enjoy my longer training rides.

Another not discussed option is a helmet with built-in lens/ visor…. i don’t know if this will block all wind as I feel the smallest puff on my eyes coming from all directions around the helmet. I didn’t want to invest in a new helmet. Saying this athletes with the built-in visor LOVE this.

Hope this helps.

Love,

Andrea

PS I purchased from here in the UK. the glasses were good value in my opinion and I do recommend them. They allow you to return them if they do not fit correctly and you are unhappy.

Nutrition advice and resources for triathletes and endurance athletes

Hi folks,

I would like to point you in the direction of this fantastic resource for you all to support you on your journey with food such that you not only become a healthier but also more metabolically efficient athlete in accordance with the principles of Metabolic Efficiency™.

www.metabolicefficiency.org

epi-level-i-mets-hmp-jpeg

I am a certified Level I Metabolic Efficiency Training Specialist (METS I-HMP) having trained under Dina in Colorado last year. I wrote more about this here on my Kona nutrition blog.

I am not one for reinventing the wheel, if there are resources to help improve your food choices and cooking skills in addition to the resources and education that I provide you with then I am all for it! Bob Seebohar and his team have done just that for you on their website.

This means that my primary role is to be your health educator, advisor, interpreter, and supporter. I evaluate your health in the context of your life and training, I interpret your training and physiological, functional and medical tests into meaningful and practical advice, I support you on a journey from A – where we are to Z – your race goals.

Every athlete is different in respect to their need for and tolerance to carbohydrates and their ability to oxidise fat as a fuel across the various exercise intensities.

 

It is all good and well to read about low carbohydrate (availability) training and fat adaptation, and high carbohydrate sessions, nutrition periodisation, preparation phase nutrition versus race season, fasted training and so on. But how do you get this right? Without falling ill to coughs and colds, injury niggles, muscle or strength loss, poor recovery or mid to end of season fatigue?

 

Well this is my job; to guide you through it and achieve your best results. The goal is optimal body composition, strong health, an efficient and flexible metabolism such that you are an efficient fat oxidiser and glycogen sparer across all  intensities and yet are still an efficient carbohydrate oxidiser at race intensities.

It is not just about diet; that is the easy bit – there are a gazillion diet plans out there and yet still so many over-weight, under-performing, over-fatigued and confused athletes.

I trouble shoot nutrition problems, health issues, fatigue, recovery or injury concerns and well take the general and most up to date science and make it relevant and applicable to you as an individual. I should make life easier for you, and nutrition more specific for you. Cut through the bullshit so to speak.

I am more than a nutritional therapist; I also have experience as a trained pharmacist since 1998 and am trained in functional medicine, herbal medicine, and have areas of interest in food, holistic health, hard core sports and health science, energy healing and spiritual mind-body connection, herbs and aromatherapy, chronic fatigue, complex heath issues, gastrointestinal issues, female health problems, hormones and adrenal and thyroid problems. I use ALL these skills when needed.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Andrea

 

 

Sports Nutrition Clinic Services

Hi healthy peeps,

I recorded a quick video blog earlier today to let you know a little bit more about my approach for athletes in the clinic. Mostly because there isn’t really an adequate title to cover what I do and provide to athlete clients.

Firstly my qualifications; I am a pharmacist, Nutritional Therapist, and Senior Associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine.

This means that I have trained in pharmacy and health care, functional medicine and functional and medical diagnostics, nutrition and sports nutrition, and also have been gifted a high level of sensitivity to the energy of people and what is going on in their bodies.

Science and a little bit more!

Some call this being psychic, medically intuitive, an energy healer and so on. I just see it as a nice way to help you even more because I sense what you and your body need on a day-to-day basis. This can come in handy when assisting you reach your goals! I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t want to see anyone’s future; I simply sense what you need in the moment that I am with you or before I meet you which can be interesting.

It can be as simple as just saying hey I think your body will benefit from a probiotic in the month before your race, and then all the facts will point to this. Or it will give me a sense of what is the most immediate concern for you when the paper and science will tell us we need to do fifty things; sometimes it is best to keep it simple and go on what the body needs in that moment… and then work from there.

Something that this does give me is a knack for feeling your energy, and the state of health within the muscles and what you need to do to assist their recovery; so if you are open to it and I sense it is needed I may suggest some energy sessions, a go on the PEMF machine, some healing aromatherapy oils (I use Vibrant Blue oils; here is a nice blog on how oils work and Panaway by Young Living oils is a favourite for those with sore or tired muscles) or some other helpful strategies.

Secondly what I really do?

Well think of me as your support team; regarding diet, nutrition, explaining the ins and outs of health and sports supplements (IF needed and how to determine what is worth your while), your functional health and the monitoring of this, your energy and rest-recovery balance, etc.

Basically I sort of act as that support system that provides more than just nutrition. I prefer to see nutrition as just one of the tools we use as more often that not all you require here is guidance (most athletes and active person know what to eat; and if they aren’t then this is where we must focus!).

Continue reading

Fuelling your best performance….

Endurance, Triathlon, and Ironman Functional Nutrition Mentorship Programme

Hi all,

I just wanted to announce that over the coming months I will be rolling out a mentorship programme for a select few serious endurance athletes. Places will be limited so if you are interested watch this space or email me to reserve your place (andreacullenhealthsolutions@gmail.com).

keep-calm-we-have-exciting-news-2

Are you a triathlete, ironman, endurance runner, cyclist, swimmer, rower or adventure racer? Are you interested in taking your training and genetics to the next level? Are you SERIOUSLY committed to achieving your sporting goals?

How bad do you want it?

Will you invest in you?

Are you committed to achieving excellence?

How-bad-do-you-want-it

Are you prepared to work hard to achieve your goals?

Continue reading

Introducing the BodyStat 1500 MDD

I am so excited to introduce a fabulous piece of modern hospital and research quality technology to the new clinic in Castletroy.

The BodyStat 1500 MDD

I did a lot of research comparing this system against the Tanita brand and although it cost me a LOT more than systems such as the Tanita ironman or Tanita SC-240MA which I was looking at, or more simple devices that have you stand and hold I couldn’t ignore that that these devices are not as accurate or reliable and an aim for my clinic (and myself personally) is honesty and integrity and gold standard when possible; hence my investment.

Dual frequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysers (BIA) such as the BodyStat 1500 MDD have been shown in clinical settings to be reliable and comparable to the gold standard DEXA test (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry now known as DXA) and a whole lot more practical (have you ever seen a DXA scanner!).

Ideal-Body-Fat-Percentage-Chart1

I am currently doing a lot of research into the applications of all the information for elite and professional athletes as well as us Joe soaps so I will have a more extensive blog up in the future; suffice to say it is exciting when knowledge is added to all the data provided by the test.

Continue reading