How often do we hear, “I will sleep when I am dead?” Sleep is crucial for our success, and I am not just talking about triathletes. I am saying that business owners, parents, entrepreneurs, and even kids, need their sleep. As a coach, I tell my athletes: ”Sleep MUST be a part of your routine. It is part of your recovery and your success as an athlete.”

Why? Scientific literature has shown what happens to athletes who are lacking sleep, whether it may be acute sleep deprivation or chronic sleep deprivation. The lack of adequate sleep for athletes can cause many different issues such as:

  • Both aerobic and anaerobic performance can decrease.
  • A decrease in competitive ability.
  • A decrease in their determination or their drive.
  • A decrease in intensity for their training (i.e.: Rather do a 30 min run, than interval work on the track).
  • Negativity toward various aspects of life (training, work, family, etc.).
  • A greater amount of overall fatigue.

We see above what goes on physically and mentally during a lack of adequate sleep. What is going on internally in the body with lack of sleep for an athlete?

It was awful. It was December 29, 2017, coming back from vacation in FL. We got in early and being a dork, I did a twist and lift with my 45 lb luggage in the back of the SUV to head home. We go home. And something felt off. I stretched. Did some lower back stretching and ended up taking a nap for almost 3 hours (it was early flight).

I got up. FOOOOKKK. My back is jacked. Something isn’t right.

Long story short, as I have shared this story a lot on my social media, I have three bulging discs and dealing with degenerative disc disease.

WTF? I am 47 years old, had an EPIC year in 2017 and now I wasn’t able to freaking walk or flip turn in the pool because I pissed off the disc.

Well, you know me, instead of bitching and complaining about it. I did something about it. I learned everything I could about bulging disc, went to Stratton Sport & Spine, 3x’s a week and have to maintain my back exercises since this all started.

Today, I wanted to chat with you all about lower back pain, the muscles involved, why things happen the way they do, and some exercises that I have done with Stratton Sport and Spine!

About seven months ago, I reached out to my viewers to find out what they were interested in when it came to learning about triathlon and BEYOND. One of my questions was, “What would you like to see more of on “JenRulon.com” Blog?”  Almost 65% of you said, “Everyday Nutrition.”  I couple of you chimed in saying that you were vegan. DAMN, I know NOTHING about that, so I figured I would do some research.  I also reached out to my athletes that are vegan. See below on what they had to say!

Eating Vegan: Benefits and Caveats

Veganism has been around for decades but has gained more attention in recent years. The number of Google searches for the term “vegan” has nearly tripled since 2014! Because of its rise in popularity, more and more people are asking about its benefits, drawbacks, and practicality, especially for serious athletes. In this post I’ll describe what a vegan diet is, explain some of its most significant health benefits, and mention some caveats and recommendations for those considering it.

What is a Vegan Diet?

According to the Vegan Society, “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.” In terms of nutrition, that means not consuming dairy, eggs, meat, or any other products of animal origin. This is different from a more general vegetarian diet, in which meats are avoided, but other animal-based products may be consumed.

Benefits

While some people decide to avoid animal products for ethical or environmental reasons, many adhere to a vegan diet for their proven health benefits.

Weight Loss

One of the best-known health benefits of a vegan diet is its ability to help shed extra pounds. Removing animal products means replacing them with foods that are naturally less calorically dense and packed with fiber. This means that it’s possible to feel more satisfied while eating fewer calories!

Several randomized control studies (the gold standard in scientific research) demonstrate that a vegan diet is associated with significantly more significant weight loss and reduction in body mass index (BMI) scores, EVEN when compared to other more conventional low-fat, vegetarian diets (Jakse et al., 2017; Moore et al., 2015; Turner-McGrievy et al., 2017; Turner-McGrievy et al., 2007). Moreover, the subjects in several of these studies were permitted to eat ad libitum, or until they were satisfied, meaning that they didn’t have to restrict their food intake to lose weight.

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