Lew Hollander in the Boise 70.3 Half-IronMan

Lew Hollander

Two weeks ago, Legendary Lew Hollander ran the Boise 70.3, a half IronMan competition. At 85, he was the oldest participant and the only person in his age bracket (85-90).  He completed the half-triathlon with a time of 08:24:16. He, of course, placed first in his age bracket. Nearly 1,200 people competed in the race.

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After completing the Florida IronMan, Lew qualified for the IronMan World Championships in Hawaii this year where he will be the first person in human history to race in the 85-90 division.  He’s a big fan of Red Rush beet juice and says that he likes to drink it before the race, at the switching stations and while on the bike.

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Click here to read our full interview with Lew Hollander.

How to Exercise in the Heat (Safely)

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If you ask me, heat can be harder to deal with than the cold. In a cold-weather situation, all you have to do is add layers of clothing and at some point, you should be relatively warm again.  In a hot-weather situation, you can only remove so much clothing before you’re both arrested and uncomfortably sun-burned. It is just much easier to stay warm than it is to keep cool. Even the second law of thermodynamics agrees with that statement. (Heat being the waste product of energy and all).

That being said, we still have to suffer the sweltering summer, and if you’re into fitness, you’ll probably want to exercise at some point no matter how many smiling suns the weatherman puts on his Accu-view weather map. So here are some tips from experts. (I’m sourcing most of this info from the CDC and the Mayo Clinic).

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids. 

Your body cools itself by sweating. Therefore, it’s easy to become dehydrated whilst toasty. Drink fluids before you work out, and it doesn’t hurt to get some electrolytes as well. For that, we recommend our very own Peak Endurance in cold water because it’s much healthier than traditional, truck-stop-sourced sports drinks.

2. Be Smart

Don’t exercise under the noontide sun. If you have a fragile constitution, maybe stay indoors. If you’re prone to heat strokes, do PX-90 in an air-conditioned room and/or talk to your doctor.

3. Get Acclimated

If you’re unused to the powerful rays of our fusiony friend at the center of our solar system, then it might be smart to get acclimated to its life-giving, yet somewhat dangerous light beams a little bit at a time until you are used to the heat.  It’s like that old expression: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen for long periods until you become used to the heat in the kitchen by visiting the kitchen in gradually increasing periods of time.” (It has a much ruder, more popular counterpart).

4. Beet Juice Can Help

Believe it or not, beet juice can help keep you cool. Beet juice is a precursor for nitric oxide, a vasodilator. This means you’ll have better blood flow which helps to cool down the body.

5. Wear Loose Clothing

Wear loose clothing and stick to light colors that reflect heat.

6. Sunscreen

If you’re going to be out in the sun for long periods of time, it’s probably smart to get some sunscreen.  Sunburns make it harder for your body to stay cool.

How Inactivity Leads to Weight Gain

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I’ve talked before about how the deadliest thing you own is your easy chair, your desk chair and/or your sofa ( or davenport to some). Chairs seem so innocent what with doilies adorning their fluffy cushions. But an old English teacher like me has known the dangers of chairs for years, having seen too many fictional characters sitting precariously “in” chairs–as if placed there by some Star Trek transporter malfunction–instead of sitting “on” them like a prepositionally correct person.

An incorrect sitting preposition might leave someone in a treacherous position on paper, but according to a research paper, the most treacherous predicament might be the incorrect position of sitting. You see, when people remain inactive for extended periods of time, their bodies turn off the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, known for its ability to turn fat into fuel.  When the enzyme isn’t present, our bodies no longer convert circulating fat (triglycerides) in our bloodstreams into fuel.

From MedicalXpress

We also know physiologically that sitting for long periods of time will actually reduce and increase circulating triglycerides. These are two things we know are very highly associated with poor chronic health in the long term.”

That’s why experts recommend that you move around every hour or remain standing while you work. They also recommend that you constantly interrupt extended periods of non-movement by finding excuses to move around as much as possible. (Go up and down a flight of stairs every hour. Do some air squats, talk to coworkers instead of sending emails, park far away from places, etc.)

Red Rush beet juice can help keep you mobilized without the crash of caffeine or other stimulants. It has also been linked to lower triglyceride levels in at least one study.  So drink your Red Rush. It’ll keep  your blood pumping, so you can stay on your skinny feet all day long.

Nitric Oxide and Biofilms

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Welcome back. The Red Rush team has been away at the 2015 AIM Conference in fabulous Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a great event. There were several presentations on Red Rush and Legendary IronMan Lew Hollander gave a speech. In the next few days, I should have footage and photos available to share. But until then, I have the scienciest science post that you ever have read.

Nitric Oxide and Its Role in Biofilm Dispersal

Nitric oxide is a signaling agent now believed to be a fundamental part of the respiratory cycle. When your body has a high bioavailability of nitric oxide, it widens blood vessels and increases blood flow and can help ease exercise and lower blood pressure, etc. Red Rush beet juice contains dietary nitrate a precursor to nitric oxide, and consuming it makes NO readily bioavailable.

One of the nifty roles that nitric oxide plays outside of the bloodstream is in the immune system. Macrophages use it as a tool to help stamp out illness. Now, scientists are looking at nitric oxide’s ability to disperse biofilms.

Ever wake up from a long sleep with mouth ajar only to find your tongue and teeth coated by something very gross-tasting? That’s a biofilm, a sticky environment created by and for bacteria. Not all biofilms are bad, however, some are necessary, like the one that protects our healthy gut flora. (I can find no evidence that nitric oxide produces an adverse effect on gut flora).

It is thought that nitric oxide may inhibit the growth and formations of some species of biofilms while working synergystically with antibiotics.

Microbial Biotechnology: 

Strategies to induce biofilm dispersal are of interest due to their potential to prevent biofilm formation and biofilm-related infections. Nitric oxide (NO), an important messenger molecule in biological systems, was previously identified as a signal for dispersal in biofilms of the model organism Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In the present study, the use of NO as an anti-biofilm agent more broadly was assessed. Various NO donors, at concentrations estimated to generate NO levels in the picomolar and low nanomolar range, were tested on single-species biofilms of relevant microorganisms and on multi-species biofilms from water distribution and treatment systems. Nitric oxide-induced dispersal was observed in all biofilms assessed, and the average reduction of total biofilm surface was 63%. Moreover, biofilms exposed to low doses of NO were more susceptible to antimicrobial treatments than untreated biofilms. For example, the efficacy of conventional chlorine treatments at removing multi-species biofilms from water systems was increased by 20-fold in biofilms treated with NO compared with untreated biofilms. These data suggest that combined treatments with NO may allow for novel and improved strategies to control biofilms and have widespread applications in many environmental, industrial and clinical settings.

From Journal of Bacteria 

Combined exposure to both NO and antimicrobial agents may therefore offer a novel strategy to control preestablished, persistent P. aeruginosa biofilms and biofilm-related infections.

There are a lot of troublesome biofilms caused by chronic infections, and scientists theorize that they can utilize nitric oxide to help destroy them.  This is a very simplified explanation as to what nitric oxide does because nitric oxide doesn’t affect all biofilms in the body and it may even cause some species of bacteria to create biofilms as a defense due to NO’s extreme toxicity to bacteria. However, the science is still in its infancy, and we’ll have to see how it all shakes out in the end.

Does beet juice help macrophages or affect biofilms? There is no direct evidence to make this claim. Beet juice does make nitric oxide more bioavailable. The body uses it as it needs.

6 Things I Learned Running a Spartan Sprint

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The Spartan Sprint was held in Boise over the weekend. Red Rush Quality Assurance Biologist Phil Jermann (right) and myself (Red Rush Copywriter Josh Peterson) competed. It was the first time either of us participated in a Spartan Race. And outside, maybe, a singular charity run/walk that I moseyed through, it was the first time I had entered a proper race. That’s not to say that I went into the race with any dim, flickering notion that I would win, place or even be competitive. I went into the race just hoping to survive the thing.

1. It’s Highly Survivable. 

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Although quite nervous at the starting line, at less than a mile in, I began to feel pretty confident that this thing wasn’t going to kill me. I did try and break my ankle a couple of times. I accredit my continued existence to that fact that I’ve been doing CrossFit for about nine or ten months now. I’m still not in Herculean shape but turns out, I’m fairly well conditioned thanks to all those terrible burpees and wall balls.

In fact, there were people who looked like they were in better physical shape than me who were in worse actual shape than me at least temporarily. One six-pack-ab guy lost his lunch climbing a hill.

2. The Hills Were the Hardest Part

To six-pack-ab guy’s credit, the hills were the worst part. They were dusty, steep-graded beasts best climbed on all fours or not at all.  Unlike the monkey bars or the wall-climb, you can’t do burpees if you can’t make it up the hills. If you fail the hills, you fail the race. Speaking of burpees…

3 Spartan Racers Don’t Burpee Right

I’ve been taught that when you do a burpee, you put your chest to the ground and then stand up and jump. I saw several very loose interpretations of burpees. The worst offender was this one lady whose body never touched the ground. She simply started in a plank then jumped into a v-shaped plank and repeated that weird movement thirty times.  That’s not a burpee. That’s nothing.

4. Wear Sunscreen and Clothes that Don’t Hold Moisture

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The dumbest thing that I did all day was not wear sunscreen. My face currently looks like an old, dusty catcher’s mitt. However, being covered in mud for nearly the entire race probably reduced the severity of the burns.

Also, as soon I hit the first water obstacle my clothes soaked up the moisture like a sponge, weighing me down.  Failed the rope climb because the water made me heavier.  Phil’s shoes bothered him some due to the water.

5. The Dreaded Spear Throw and Other Obstacles 

Back to back, Phil and I aced the spear throw, giving us a boost of confidence. Neither of us had to do burpees until we reached an obstacle where you have to climb a pipe then swing on a rope, swing to another rope and then grab another pipe.

I was way too tall for the obstacle and my legs ended up catching the ground, knocking me into the grass. Then I fell off a wall crawl obstacle and then I failed the rope climb. They were almost all back-to-back and I had to do ninety burpees in the cocklebur-filled grass.  I am pleased to say, I passed the monkey bars later in the race, remembering to keep my legs bent so they wouldn’t brush the ground.

My favorite obstacles were the ones where you had to carry something heavy for a little while. I’m a large man, so these made me feel pretty good about myself. Overall, I really liked Spartan racing and plan to run more.

6. Red Rush Is a Great Pre-Workout

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Of course, Phil and I both used Red Rush before the event.  I barely felt any fatigue throughout the race and little soreness the next day.

Phil said that he “pumped two Red Rush the day before the race and two the day of. Basically, it gave me the second wind at the three mile mark and left me feeling pretty good near the end.”