October 26, 2015

Preparing for the 2015 NYC Marathon: 5 Things You Must Know

It's almost race day for the NYC Marathon (Sunday November 1, 2015). You've put in the work and training (right?), and it's time to go 26.2 miles, over bridges and down city streets. Here are 5 critical things to keep in mind, whether it is your first marathon or your tenth.

1) Sodium Loss Is More Dangerous Than Water Loss

During intense activity, your body can lose 450mg or more of sodium per hour, while sweating out over four pounds of water. The water loss may be more noticeable, but the sodium loss is more critical. It is recommended to have a water/sodium(electrolyte) balance of about 3.25 grams/liter in  the bloodstream. If the sodium levels drop much below that it can cause a life-threatening condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is particularly dangerous because sometimes sufferers think that they are dehydrated and drink more water, making the condition worse.

In fact, one study showed that 85% of runners at the end of a marathon had low sodium levels.

The Prescription: Take two Brode Electrolyte Vitamin tablets with your pre-race hydration routine, and two more with your celebratory beer at the end of the race. Go ahead, you've earned it.

2) The Ideal Race Temperature is 59°F (15°C)

Running 26.2 miles takes a lot of energy. And dispersing all of the heat generated by your muscles is a large task for your body. If you get too hot, you don't function as well. But nor do you function well if your muscles are too cold. The ideal balance is at just about 60°F, where these two opposing forces balance the best. But during a marathon, the air temperature will rise during the day. How to combat this?

The Prescription: Dress in light, cheap layers that you can tear off during the race. It may seem wasteful, and in a way it kinda is, but this allows you to keep your muscles warm at the beginning, but then allow them to dissipate heat as you get to the middle of the race.

3) Monitor and Plan Your Pace

Pacing is very important, and experienced runners do not leave it to chance. Through extensive training and careful monitoring, pros can zero-in on their ideal pace. But even amateurs can use pacing to avoid accidentally running intervals, where one doesn't run a steady pace.

The Prescription: Try a pacing calculator, which can take variables and estimate an idea pace.

4) Go Easy On The Water

The sodium/water balance in the bloodstream is around 3.25 grams/liter. If you drink straight water, that is with no electrolytes (specifically sodium), it creates what is called osmosis pressure. (Osmosis is the term for fluid moving through a porous membrane.) Since the water that you drank has a different sodium concentration, it literally sucks sodium out of your bloodstream and muscles in order to match the concentration of your body, before it can assimilate. This is why drinking even a small amount of water when engaged in heavy activity can cause cramping.

The Prescription: You should "pre-hydrate" with plenty of water and sodium at the beginning (Brode Electrolyte Vitamins are an easy way), ideally peeing just as the race begins. Then stick to specially made gels during the race.

5) Celebrate With A Beer At the End. For Real.

Your body loses a lot during a marathon: electrolytes, water, lots of stuff. A beer, believe it or not, will actually replace what is lost better than a water. Beer has water, vitamins, carbs, even a tiny amount of protein and soluble fiber. So go ahead, drink one, (that's one, right?) and know that yes, it is perfectly healthy in moderation. Just remember to take two Brode with it to replace those electrolytes.

The Prescription: Enjoy a post-run brew, ideally a light beer such as a pilsner or ale with an ABV of less than 5%, and two Brode Electrolyte Vitamin tablets, to give yourself a little reward with your recovery.

October 20, 2015

October Kiva Loan: Varazdat in Armenia

Varazdat has the ruggedness of someone who has lived in the Caspian Sea region to the age of 57. Both of his grown sons are fulfilling military service, and his wife is working in Russia. Varazdat lives with his sister and they earn income from their eclectic farm. 

Different types of cows plus pigs and chickens provide milk, meat, and eggs. Plus he has vegetable plots for potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes, and cucumbers. 

Animals need to eat all year, but the harvest comes at specific times. Varazdat's Kiva loan will help him buy food for his animals to feed them in between harvest times. 

Between Azerbaijan and Turkey

Armenia is the highlighted country on the map above (It is not named)

Brode has made eight loans on Kiva.org. See them all.

September 16, 2015

Why Brode is the Ultimate Hot Yoga Vitamin

People who love hot yoga LOVE HOT YOGA. The intense experience is like the yoga version of boot-camp. Yoga studios crank up the heat over 90 degrees F, and some even crank it over 100. At those temperatures, your body is scrambling to keep your core temperature regulated to 98 degrees. 

Your body does this by sweating, duh. When sweat evaporates from your skin, it takes heat with it. That cools you down. (In fact, sweating is a huge human evolutionary advantage.) But, just as obviously, the water and minerals in sweat that leave your body in order to help cool you can no longer be used internally for properly functioning muscles and organs. 

In hot yoga, it is not unusual to lose 2% of your body weight during class. So a 140 pound person could lose nearly 3 pounds. This is all sweat, and that sweat takes with it electrolytes, specifically sodium and potassium, but also chloride. It may be evident that you need to drink some water, but it is less obvious that you may need to replace those electrolytes. 

Sweat averages around 500mg of sodium per pound of sweat. That's a lot! Two tablets of Brode replace 350 mg of sodium, helping you back into balance. 

Brode Electrolyte Vitamin was specifically made for intense activity like hot yoga. That salty taste of sweat? That is the sodium leaving your body onto your skin. It's critical to either pre-boost or post-recover when engaged in hot yoga, and nothing is better than Electrolyte Vitamin and some water! (Because Brode Electrolyte Vitamin is so portable, you can always keep some in your bag.)

If your body cannot cool its core temperature adequately, heat-stroke symptoms start to set in. First you get woozy, but then, if the body's core temperature approaches 103 degrees F, the situation because dangerous and one should seek immediate medical attention. At that core temperature, organs are at risk of failure and cell membranes are at risk of rupturing. 

A little known fact is that it is best NOT to wipe sweat away with a towel, because that sweat needs to naturally evaporate in order to whisk heat away from your body. Wiping sweat with a towel prevents your body from natural sweat cooling, and makes you sweat even more. 

What happens if your body looses too much sodium from sweat? In this case, because the sodium/water balance becomes off-kilter, your body struggles to send signals from the brain to the muscles, which can show as symptoms of cramping, fatigue, and headaches. You must be cautions and aware, though, because the symptoms of having not enough sodium are very similar to the opposite diagnosis, which is drinking too much water. (Too much water is called hyponatremia, and every year a handful of amateur athletes die from drinking too much water because they thought they were dehydrated.) Too much water dilutes the blood, causing the same problems with sending signals from the brain to the muscles. 

What to remember:

  • Sweat evaporation naturally cools the body (Don't wipe it all away with a towel!)
  • You can lose 2% of your weight in sweat in an hour (often a few pounds), and this sweat contains on average 500mg of sodium per pound.
  • Replace both the water AND the electrolytes. Brode Electrolyte Vitamin replaces 350mg of sodium per 2-tablets. 
  • Symptoms of low-blood-sodium include cramping, fatigue, wooziness and headaches, and in extreme cases, can cause catastrophic organ failure. 
August 26, 2015

August Kiva: Selling Clothes in Rwanda

August's Brode Kiva loan goes to Dukundane Sub Group B, from Rwanda

In Rwanda, which is not inundated with chain stores, or even enough local shops, there is a large opportunity for small entrepreneurs to buy and sell items to provide for their communities. The Dukundane Group is one such set of people. 

[From left: Haruna, Francoise, Epiphanie, Jean Damascene]

Dukundane, which means "love each other" in their home language, is led by the thirty-year-old Epiphanie, who herself has two children. The group predominantly purchases clothes to resell to community members. They use the proceeds to pay for education and medical insurance. 

Rwanda, which has had tragic episodes of civil strife in previous decades, sits between Congo on the West, Uganda on the north, and Tanzania and Burundi on the south and east. 

Check out all of the loans that Brode has supported. And consider supporting with us!

July 21, 2015

3 Easy, Healthy Snack Recipes

This is a guest post by Nadia Murdock, of nadiamurdockfit.com.

Who said snacking is bad? If you are an active person on the go it’s important not to deprive your body of food, you should actually be eating 5-6 times a day to keep your metabolism revved up! Below you will find three recommended snacks that are easy to prepare, healthy and delicious! Smoothies are quick and perfect for packing in a good amount of nutrients in one serving. In the Nadia Murdock Fit Smoothie Book I offer simple recipes that will tempt even those that are not fond of this treat.

Peanut Butter & Banana Lovin’

  • 1/2 banana 
  • 2 ice cubes 
  • 1 teaspoon of peanut butter powder 
  • 1 cup almond milk 
  • 1/4 cup of blackberries 
  • 1/4 cup of raspberries
  • Blend and serve 

Getting a serving of greens is something you should aim to do daily, think of always adding color to your plate. Spinach and kale (loaded with vitamins like vitamin K and C) are great with dinner but make an excellent snack too!

NMFIT Refreshing Spinach or Kale Salad

  • Handful of spinach or kale
  • Finely chopped red peppers
  • ½ a cucumber 
  • ½ a lemon (one lemon is optional)
  • Mix and serve 

Nuts are superfoods that will keep you full longer and rich in antioxidants!

DIY Trail Mix

(note: store bought trail mix tends to pack extra calories, create your own when you can! )

  • 20 Almonds
  • Handful of raisins 
  • Handful of sunflower seeds (pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds are great too)
  • You can add another handful of nuts like walnuts or cashews!

I’m Nadia Murdock, author, instructor and fitness coach and I am going to help you do it. Like you maybe know, I was once overweight, out of shape and had given up on myself.  I looked in the mirror one day and wondered how I had got to that point.  I wasn’t only unhealthy, I was unhappy.  My path to a personal and professional life rooted in health and wellness has not only taught me the skills I need to help you makeover and change your body on the outside, but also how to train your mind from the inside.

Facebook.com/NadiaMurdockFit   @NadiaMurdockFit

July 09, 2015

July Kiva Loan: Fatima in Mozambique

While four of Fatima's children have already grown up and moved out, she still has a full house. Under her roof she still supports the remaining three of her children as well as two grandchildren. 

And that is what our July Kiva loan is for. Fatima is purchasing new cement and beams to improve her home, which she owns. Finding the funds to improve one's home is a particularly difficult thing to do in her region. Fatima is a member of a local savings-club, which helps, and this Kiva loan should be able to help even more. 

Mozambique is on the southeast coast of Africa, across the straight from Madagascar and north of South Africa.

Mozambique is a very poor country, but energetic and hard-working people like Fatima are working to improve their lot in life. Please consider joining us in supporting Fatima or another borrower!

Check out all of Brode Electrolyte Vitamin's loans on Kiva.

June 11, 2015

June's Kiva loan goes to Layale in Lebanon

Kiva is about helping people access the resources that they need to get over the hump, to help people help themselves. 

This month, Brode's Kiva loan goes to Layale, a teacher in Lebanon. Layale runs private classes in her house with her father and is also a school teacher. Her classes are growing and she is seeking a $2100 loan for more supplies such as paper, boards, pens, etc. 

While there is civil strife in many parts of the world, the region around Lebanon, which is north of Israel and west of Syria is one of the most tumultuous. Kiva even takes the extra step to blur faces in order to help protect people from philosophically motivated attacks. It is extra moving to try and support someone living in this part of the world. 

Since March Brode has made $400 in loans on Kiva. Check out everyone we've supported

May 11, 2015

What's an electrolyte? Founder Marc interviewed for JZ Social podcast

What's an electrolyte? It's a type of mineral that allows the brain and muscles to communicate using little electrical signals. 

Check out the podcast on JZ Social's page.

It's a quick listen. We think that you'll enjoy it!

April 21, 2015

Meet Nyaung Win Village, our Second Kiva Loan

Last month we made a $100 loan to Tadevos, the Armenian baker. This week we are making a $100 contribution to the loan of Nyaung Win Village, a farming community based organization in Myanmar. 

Farming requires making bets on your crops. You can buy things like fertilizer or more valuable seeds to increase the value of your crop, but then if the weather doesn't play right, you can be at a loss of your investment. Because of that, many small farmers are very conservative, even if it would make financial sense to take the risk. Being poor makes taking risks risky. 

The CBO in Nyaung Win Village will use the loan to improve their farming of the local rice paddies as well as seasonal crops. Then they will supplement with some local livestock like ducks and pigs. 

Essentials needed include farm equipment, being able to pay workers ahead of the harvest, and gasoline for farm equipment. 

Help us support Nyaung Win! In the picture above are Thein, Myint, Than, Soe and Kyaw. Thein owns the 21 acre farm.

March 17, 2015

Other Irish Things for St. Patrick's Day Besides Drinking

So you're going to do some drinking today? Awesome, enjoy it!

And if you're also inclined to celebrate St Patty's Day with some alternate Irish hobbies, here are some suggestions:

1) Golf

Golf was invented in Scotland hundreds of years ago, and it's no surprise that their Irish neighbors share an interest. Rory McIlroy, the current No 1 ranked golfer, hails from Holywood in Northern Ireland. If you're south of the Mason Dixon line, things are getting warm enough to venture out onto the links. If you're in the northern reaches of the States, maybe bring a hot Irish Coffee with you.

2) Knitting & Weaving

Weaving was considered so important in Ireland that as early as year 600 AD, women were entitled to keep all of their weaving accessories in the case of a divorce. Tweeds were popular (and still trend in and out) as well as Irish Linen, but one of the most famous Irish knit products is the famous Aran knit sweater, from the Aran Islands off of the west coast of Ireland. You can still purchase high quality wool garments that were created in the region. 

3) Irish Dancing

There's a good chance you'll be dancing anyway, but you can embarrass yourself even more by trying some traditional Irish dances. There's the well-know Irish Step Dancing, which is often what you think of when you think of Irish dancing. This is the dance where the feet move very fast and the upper body is very still. But there are also "Jig" style dances called "ceili", which are Irish social dances. These are an always-evolving tradition. 

4) Read (Write?) Some Poetry

Ireland has, at times, had a rough and tumble history, and has an epic history of poets to go along with it. 

WB Yeats

ALL the heavy days are over;
Leave the body's coloured pride
Underneath the grass and clover,
With the feet laid side by side.

One with her are mirth and duty;
Bear the gold-embroidered dress,
For she needs not her sad beauty,
To the scented oaken press.

Hers the kiss of Mother Mary,
The long hair is on her face;
Still she goes with footsteps wary
Full of earth's old timid grace.

With white feet of angels seven
Her white feet go glimmering;
And above the deep of heaven,
Flame on flame, and wing on wing

- WB Yeats

Some of the most famous Irish poets include WB Yeats and Seamus Heany.
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