Mental Toughness and Athletic Attitude

Have a strong belief in your capabilities.

Have an unwavering desire to excel and do your personal best or better.

Remind yourself of your past successes and the injuries and difficulties overcome.

Success may be simply training yourself to be immune to boredom. Success will follow.

Have an attitude of persistence. It is more powerful than talent or genius.

But striving for perfection for most is usually foolhardy, often leading to injury for an athlete and involving a disproportionate amount of effort.

Be mentally tough. How to do this? With tough consistent training within your limits, racing tough competitors, and enjoying the journey along the way.

Every hardy experience develops the latent force within you.

Prove to yourself in your training that you can do anything you set out to do.

Do everything over the years of persistent dedication to put yourself in the position to be a champion.

Prepare, prepare, prepare with passion; and the extra miles and exhaustive efforts will guarantee surprising results.

Then when you toe the line you will know you are ready in body, mind and spirit.

And winning gracefully and celebrating your achievements humbly, will boost your enthusiasm and provide motivation for future endeavours.

Have a detailed plan. Planning well in advance. Your passion will carry you to success.

Notes: There is a 35 page chapter on Mental Training with 31 references in my 450 page book all in color, The Complete Guide To Running. Well over 4500 copies sold since 2005, and second edition 2007. Still available. Order from Amazon and other booksellers.

My Mediterranean, Low Inflammation, Heart Healthy Diet

To prevent diseases it is essential to have good eating habits. The following is my recommended pyramid diet – with most desirable foods at bottom and least desirable at top – based on taking the best aspects from a wide variety of diets, but mainly the Mediterranean diet, the anti-inflammation diet, and the low glycemic diet (low sugar rush). Twenty five highly qualified researchers, doctors and dieticians ranked the Mediterranean diet best overall diet for 2018. The anti-inflammation diet is also important since low grade inflammation is at the root of most diseases and particularly related to arthritis, diabetes, allergies, heart disease and even cancer. They all start with low grade inflammation. The best foods to prevent low grade inflammation are: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines), green leafy vegetables, fruit, fermented foods, onions and garlic, whole grains, fermented foods, herbs and spices. It is also important to avoid high glycemic foods that cause high sugar rush like starchy foods, and sweet foods.

The following chart is worth a thousand words. The numbers below refer to the daily or weekly servings recommended.

Fast Food: NO
Processed Food: NO
Starch with Protein at a meal: NO
White Products: Bread, Rice, Flour: NO
Butter, Bacon, Red Meat 1 serving: WEEKLY or NO
Potatoes, White Pasta: MINIMAL or NO
Sweets, Sugar, Chocolate. Fruit Juice: MINIMAL
Dried figs, dates, apricots, Greek yogurt PREFERRED SWEETS Wine: MINIMAL
Low fat Dairy Products: 2-3 DAILY
Skinless Poultry: 1 to 2 WEEKLY
Eggs: 2 WEEKLY for Men and 4 WEEKLY for women
Oils: Olive oil mainly, Canola or Grapeseed: 1-2 tablespoons DAILY
Supplements: Multi Vitamin, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Q10 coenzyme, etc.: DAILY
Water: Distilled: 8 glasses DAILY
Fats: Extra virgin oil, walnuts, avocados, seeds, ground flaxseed: 6 DAILY
Whole Grains: 5 DAILY
Omega 3 Foods: Salmon Fish or Sardines: 3-4 WEEKLY or Fish Oil: DAILY
Beans and Lentils: 1-2 DAILY and Nuts and Seeds 2 tablespoons: DAILY
Fruit: 3-4 DAILY
Vegetables: 4-5 or more DAILY
Leafy Dark Green Vegetables: Kale, Spinach, Collards, Lettuce, etc.: 2 DAILY

We can all make improvements in our diet. What is missing in your diet or needs to be reduced?

The photo below is my 800m at age 70 in 1999 at Gateshead GB Worlds, 0.5 seconds slower than my world record a few months before.

The Importance of Protein for Seniors

As we age we lose muscle particularly when lacking protein and frequent exercise and also lacking vitamin D. But seniors eat less protein and are less efficient in digesting protein and breaking down and converting protein into muscle (sarcopenia). Hence seniors require more protein than in youth. This article describes ways to retain protein to help achieve long term goals and at the same time increase longevity.

Useful Facts:

1. Health authorities recommend an inactive adult should consume I gram of protein for every kg of weight. An active athlete should consume 1.2 to 1.3 grams per kg, but ideally paired also with resistive training twice per week. A serious weight trainer needs 1.5grams/kg.

2. Usually, the majority of protein consumption during the day is at dinner. Whereas, protein should ideally be consumed equally at each meal. For example, a 150 pound (70kg) athlete should consume about 90gr protein per day. Or about 30gr at each meal. For example, I am not doing this and am also a vegetarian, but do consume fish and chicken regularly. The section below titled, High Protein Foods, will assist balancing the protein at each meal.

3. After about age 50, the non-exercisers start to lose muscle significantly faster, or about 2% per year. But those active can lose as little as 0.2% per year up to about age 70. For example, I believe I did not lose significant muscle from age 60 to 69 as my race times in the 800m increased by only 3 seconds.

4. I have always believed intuitively muscle strength is a good indicator of longevity. As I suspected research confirms this, for example: “Grip strength is a good predictor of longevity as it indicates lower risk of life-threatening diseases and hence increased longevity”: a 2018 BMJ study of a half million people from age 40 to 69.

5. Be aware excess fat in the diet particularly above 35% of daily calories hampers protein conversion to muscle.

6. It is important to not lack protein in the diet for muscle growth, tissue repair, healthy enzymes, fewer health problems, even stronger bones and a robust immune system, longevity, etc. Also protein increases satiety the feeling of fullness.

7. It is important to have the major amino acid, Leucine, in the diet to preserve muscle mass, as it is an essential amino acid— meaning it must be obtained from the diet. Foods high in leucine from high to low are: soybeans, beef, chicken , pork, nuts and seeds, fish, tuna, beans, milk, cheese, squash, and eggs. Fortunately, Leucine is obtained from most foods such as meats ,fish, vegetables, lentils and dairy products.

8. Be also aware, excess protein causes excess body fat. And If protein is lacking in the diet it is taken from muscle: called muscle wasting.

High Proteins Foods:

– Whey powder isolate usually 30 grams with about 95% protein
– Beef, salmon, chicken, pork, from 27 to 22gram/3.5 oz.
– Plain Greek yogurt 2 %, 23 gr/cup
– Cottage cheese low fat, 15gr/1/2 cup
– Tofu 11gr/1/2cup
– Oats porridge 6 gr/cup
– Tofu: 8gr/3oz or 100gr
– Beans 8gr/1/2 cup
– Skim milk 8gr/cup
– Lentils 8gr/cup
– Cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds 5gr/1/4 cup
– Peanut butter 4gr/1/4 cup
– 1 egg 6gr
– Avocado 4gr/avocado
– Quinoa 4g/1/2 cup
– Other good proteins: beans of all sorts, chick peas, and multi- grain bread.

Avoid refined sugar, baked goods, fruit drinks, and soda drinks

Summary

To achieve your long- term goals, reduce disease, and live longer: exercise daily or frequently, eat the required amount of protein, spread over 3 meals and add the daily vitamin D supplement. It is never too late to start.

The photo by Alex Rotas is my 800m world record race in age group 80-84 in 2011 at Budapast, Hungary Indoor Worlds— and also my world record in the 400m. It took me 2 hours to recover from the 400 in view of my limited speed training on a tight turn 180m indoor track and a bad fall on ice 3 weeks before the meet.

Glutathione to Fight Disease and Aging

In my previous Facebook article, “Athletes Best Friend Glutathione and L-Glutamine”, I stressed the importance of L-glutamine after a workout to assist recovery, and also the importance of both to fight diseases and assist longevity.

Here as an example, I describe the benefit of these two super foods to prevent skin disease. Note: the various varieties of skin disease affect about 50% of all Americans. In the recent past I had separate meetings with my family doctor and my skin specialist, where I asked, “What is the cause or remedy for these increasing red spots on my body, even though I have not been in the sun.” They had no explanation. But after considerable research, many hours, I put together the puzzle and learned: my skin disease is psoriasis, and like any other disease starts with a chemical reaction in the body called Oxidative Stress (OS). (I explained OS in my previous article in some detail, e.g., it occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to fight them off. OS starts when reacting to one of the following: a chronic unhealthy diet such as excess sugar, toxins, pollution, mental or physical stress, smoking, excess drinking etc. And I learned glutathione is the major antioxidant fighting the OS to prevent inflammation turning into one of many diseases.

In my book “100 years Young the Natural Way”, published in 2011, glutathione, some say the number 1 super food, is one of the major chapters. But now I realize its great importance to prevent disease.

Since glutathione declines 1% per year from age 20, seniors would be prudent to assist its replenishment. This can be done by taking 5 grams of L-glutamine after a workout, to help recovery by increasing growth hormone and the immune system, and assist muscle recovery. Glutathione is not increased by glutathione oral supplement, or cooked vegetables (cooking loses about 50% of glutathione), but mainly increased by consumption of fish, chicken and beef, and Vitamin C and E from fruit. (Note: I took a glutathione supplement in pill form decades ago. It was a big mistake, not cheap and proved to only make me feel sluggish.)

In my case of skin disease the OS is triggered by physical stress, in recent years mainly high intensity interval running and frequent competitions. Making matters worse in my case is the fact that as a vegetarian, eating mainly cooked vegetables and few fruit, with minimum protein, my body is not efficient at replacing the yearly lost glutathione. However, I will now be making the following adjustments to increase glutathione production and I recommend the following to all.

  1. Eat more fish, chicken and occasionally beef, and even pork. This is particularly important and essential to seniors since they require more protein with age.
  2. Take 5 grams of L-glutamine after a workout to increase human growth hormone and the immune system, and repair muscle damage. At the same time this increases glutathione production.
  3. Eat amino acids foods glycine, glutamate and cysteine the precursor foods essential for manufacture of glutathione in the body. E,g., Glycine foods: soy milk, pumpkin seeds, lentils, beans, quinoa. Glutamate foods: L-glutamine powder. Cysteine foods: whey powder especially (see 5 below).
  1. Other best glutathione foods: fruit for the vitamin E and C.
  2. Frequently take whey protein isolate in a shake, particularly after a workout. (Recently, I found a small study of 20 people which confirmed whey protein taken orally for three months improved psoriasis skin disease by increasing glutathione levels. This confirms my own research on this subject.)
  3. Glutathione decreases with age, chronic stress, poor diet, toxin exposure and lack of sleep so avoid these where possible.

Following the above advice will help prevent psoriasis and all sorts of diseases and increase longevity. See my recent released website: earlfee.com, which includes other articles on health and training , and information about Earl and his six books. This article will ultimately be included there in the Blog section.

This photo is my 800m at Gateshead Worlds in 70-74 age group taken by friend @ Chuck Sochor. There I was 0.5 sec slower than my world record a month earlier. I learned a lot of walking the day before a race and sitting in the stands beforehand on the day is detrimental.

Athlete’s Best Friends: Glutathione and L-Glutamine

During intense interval training, HIIT, or prolonged exercise such as a marathon – an athlete’s body reacts by an increase in oxidated stress, OS, in the body cells. OS causes a major disruption of body cells that lead to weakened muscles, reduced immune system and reduced human growth hormone. Normally, OS can accelerate aging and lead to chronic inflammation and major diseases; it normally occurs from unhealthy lifestyle and diet such as excess sugar, processed food, excess fat, stress, pollution, radiation, smoking, etc.

An explanation of OS is necessary. Simply explained OS is an imbalance between free radicals (oxygen molecules) with an uneven number of electrons) and antioxidant molecules that fight the OS. The beneficial antioxidants that fight the OS are glutathione (number one supplement) and L-glutamine (amino acid), polyphenol vegetables and fruits, many spices, and even includes red wine, cocoa, dark chocolate, and flaxseed. The antioxidants supply the missing electrons to the free radicals thus fighting and reducing the OS.

In most workouts the supplement glutathione in the body and L-glutamine (manufactured in the body as a nonessential amino acid) and the above foods bring the OS under control and the body recovers to normal.

Like human growth hormone, glutathione levels decrease with age. And glutathione levels are a good indication of longevity. A glutathione supplement is not easily absorbed so it is not practical to take before a stiff workout. The other not simple alternative is cysteine, glycine and glutamate amino acid foods from which glutathione is manufactured. Therefore, L-glutamine in powder form is the more practical antioxidant following an intense or prolonged workout. About 5 grams of L-glutamine is recommended to fight the oxidated stress—thus improving the immune system, increasing human growth hormone and repairing damaged cells. Note 150 grams (about 4.5 ounces) of beef gives 1.8 grams of glutamine. But the more you ingest as a supplement means less produced by the body. L-glutamine is a nonessential amino acid meaning that the body produces it from other amino acids. Note also L-glutamine decreases after an intense workout by up to 50%, and it takes a few days to replenish.

I was unable to find a reliable research source for the increase of human growth hormone from a single L-glutamine dose. But one reference in 2018 claimed 76% increase from a 2- gram L-glutamine dose. Several other sources claiming much higher percentage such as 400% were suspicious or “sketchy” references. After a marathon it is not unusual to catch a cold due to lowered immune system. Ed Whitlock also mentioned this to me a few years ago. As a matter of interest, I read of a research study that showed 5 gram after a marathon would prevent this from happening. Also, a few years ago I witnessed at the finish of a Nova Scotia half marathon In Toronto the extreme wear and tear on the faces of my friends: they appeared to have aged about 5 or more years in a couple of hours; all due to oxidative stress, OS. Also the attached photo of Ed Whitlock near the end of a world record Scotia Bank marathon shows similar wear and tear. OS is always at work doing its harm to the body, mind and skin (in my case liver spots), but all due to dealing with one or more of the following: excess effort, inappropriate diet, excess sugar, toxins, radiation, pollution, etc.

In summary I recommend a single dose about 5- gram glutamine dose or a shake after an intense or prolonged workout with many of the above 3 major glutathione precursor amino acids (cysteine, glutamate and glycine) pertinent ingredients such as whey powder, cocoa, soy milk, banana, orange, leafy greens, fruit previously frozen, pumpkin seeds and 2-5 grams of l-glutamine.

One final thought: during this epidemic, athletes doing an intense workout or prolonged workout might consider a few grams of L-glutamine after the workout to help preserve a healthy immune system at this critical time. Also by taking the L-glutamine supplement and eating glutathione foods like whey powder, meat, milk, nuts and soya for example, to assist a high intensity or long endurance workouts you will also be increasing your longevity and reducing all forms of disease.

The photo is from a Globe and Mail article a few years ago comparing the drastic difference in my lifestyle and training with Ed Whitlocks.