There’s Nothing Special About Alkaline Water

From juice detoxes to SoulCycle, there’s always some transformative cure-all making the rounds. Recently, the benefits of alkaline water and a veggie-rich alkaline diet have been in the news, finding support from the notably not-so-scientific likes of Dr. Oz. Proponents of alkaline water — that is, water that possesses a higher, less-acidic pH thanks to having fewer hydrogen ions — claim the stuff can do anything from preventing cancer and fighting off illness to simply increasing energy, all by altering the pH of the drinker’s body. But the scientific community is fighting back by insisting that, like most cure-alls, alkaline water actually cures nothing.

Source: The Truth About Alkaline Water

Out of curiosity I bought two different brands of water claiming to be “alkaline” from Whole Foods. I tested both with a pH meter (at about 22 degrees C) and they measured 6.9 and 7.0. So, pretty neutral and not alkaline at all. I wrote one of the companies and never heard back.

Not only is the alkaline water not doing anything for you, but it might not even be alkaline to begin with.

Top 10 Stubborn Exercise Myths That Just Won’t Die

“No pain, no gain!” “You’ll never bulk up without supplements.” “Crunches are the key to six-pack abs!” It seems there are more questions and half-truths in the market about healthy exercise than there are clear, definitive facts—but the exercise industry is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States alone, built partially on selling gadgets and DVDs with incredible claims to people desperate to lose weight or look attractive. Meanwhile, good workout plans and simple truths lurk in the background waiting for their time to shine. All of this results in a ton of misinformation about exercise in general, and while the reality is different for everyone, we’re taking some of those commonly held exercise myths to task, and we have science to back us up. Let’s get started.

Source: Top 10 Stubborn Exercise Myths That Just Won’t Die

Four Myths About Hydration That Refuse To Die

As Derek Zoolander wisely put it, wetness is the essence of life. Whether you like drinking water or not, it accounts for about 60% of your body weight, and plays a pretty darn important role in making sure your body functions normally. But statistics aside, there are a couple of myths about hydration that refuse to die.

Source: Four Myths About Hydration That Refuse To Die

You can read about my experience looking into myth #1.  I have never attempted to drink that much water since.

The blurb about myth #3 does not mention skim milk or chocolate milk as a recovery drink.   Providing you’re not lactose intolerant or have ideological issues with drinking cows milk, it’s hydrating, provides carbs and protein, and a good source of calcium and vitamin D (necessary for processing calcium).

There is also an argument that diuretics (coffee, pop/soda) can be beneficial because they will encourage you to drink more when most aren’t motivated to drink more water.  They can be more enjoyable than water – certainly understandable in places where filtration can’t do enough for water.  Hard water tastes horrible…

Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The American Medical Association and the Red Cross both condemn force-feeding as a form of torture. And yet, the U.S. government and the United Nations have both force-fed hunger-striking prisoners. The real problem? Most people probably don’t realize how complicated force-feeding is, and how much can go wrong.

Source: Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The article doesn’t cover ethics, just the physical aspects that get dealt with.  Still, there’s a reason major medical organizations condemn the practice.

Fueling and Training for Endurance Events

Knowing you’re able to ride as long as your route, riding mates or imagination requires is a very powerful feeling. Conversely, feeling dread about passing the one-hour, two-hour or three-hour point will limit your training and fitness gains, and ultimately your enjoyment.

Here’s how to break through these self-imposed endurance ceilings that are keeping you from making the most…

Source: How to increase cycling endurance

My favorite quote would be:

…consuming 15g honey or glucose taken every 10 miles during a 64km ride improves performance compared to water alone.

Imperial or metric? I can’t decide! 🙂

10 miles is 16 KM – they’re advocating every quarter of the distance.  What constitutes honey isn’t addressed in the article – honey is determined by having pollen in it, which can trigger allergic reactions for some and you’d have to investigate your store bought “honey” because they’re filtering a lot of pollen out these days.

I don’t think I could consume honey, which gets into the next point not raised by the article – try what they suggest but everyone is different so it’s up to you to figure out what actually works best.  But I do agree with the recommendation to have water with electrolytes in it – currently I’m using Nuun’s tabs, but have used a combination of Nuuns and Heed.

It was triathlon training that brought it to my attention that eating a good breakfast is a good idea, but requires you to eat early so you’re not bogged down, trying to swim/run/cycle/etc with all that in your tummy.  Lots I know get up around 3 or 4 in the morning on race day to eat, and then go back to bed for a couple of hours until the event.

It’s only the last three paragraphs that address endurance training.  It doesn’t come overnight, and it takes time.  I’ve yet to get into heart rate as a training tool – whatever minus your age is too generalized to be of value.  If your rate is high, but you can still talk?  Then you’re OK at that level.

Coconut Water: Facts & Fiction

It is true that some companies selling coconut water have vastly overstated the benefits of the drink. It will not make you younger. It will not fight kidney disease or osteoporosis. It is not an ideal choice of fluid for people doing extremely strenuous exercise. The New York Times debunked some of those claims this summer, as they should have.

Source: Coconut Water Is Great, Shut Up

Related: What’s In It | Coconut Water (1:33 minutes)

7 Post-Workout Electrolyte Sources

In February 2014, Dr. Mike Roussell published an article for Shape.com, where he suggested replenishing electrolytes with a post-workout meal and a simple glass of water. That’s a great idea, especially if you’re doing weekly meal prep in advance. But if your typical workout schedule ends at an inconvenient time for a meal, you can control your carb., electrolyte, and nutrient intake in the very same ways the good doctor recommends with a smoothie. Listed below are seven very typical smoothie ingredients, that, as it just so happens, are also loaded with electrolytes. Some of these are probably already included in your favorite smoothie recipes

Source: 7 Post-Workout Electrolyte Sources

Oddly, milk (and chocolate milk) are not on that list.  Sweet potato (mashed or baked) would be another good idea…

Why Women Need to Hydrate Differently Than Men

Coming off the heels of my Drink a Gallon Challenge:

When you work out, you sweat: That’s true no matter what your age, sex, or fitness level. Sweating is critical to keeping your body temp regulated, but with each drop of perspiration, you’re losing essential electrolytes and fluids that ensure your bod functions at its best. Lose too much and you may start to feel tired, dizzy, lightheaded, and achy. That’s dehydration.

Turns out, combating those fluid losses may not be a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Source: Why Women Need to Hydrate Differently Than Men

The article mentions sodium and potassium deficiency concerns, but not iron?  Regardless of gender, pay attention and investigate for yourself because overly broad (pun?) generalizations can be harmful.