This is a guest post by our friend Kathleen Hale, founder and CEO of Rebel Desk.
A couple years ago, I started seeing the headlines: “Sitting is the New Smoking.” I never read the articles that followed the headlines. I would just think, “No need to worry about that. I got my workout in for today.” I did not think much about the fact that I sat at my desk for most of the day. But then I started to have lower back pain and sometimes leg pain at the end of the day. I noticed that my energy really crashed in the afternoons. Eventually I read one of those articles, and I was dismayed to learn that sitting can be a serious health risk even if you exercise regularly.
Numerous studies have examined the effects of prolonged sitting on health. In studies with sample sizes ranging from 4,500 people to 240,000 people, researchers discovered that sitting all day can increase your risk of early death and developing cardiovascular disease. The worst part is that these results were true even when controlling for people’s exercise levels. A 13-year study that followed women’s activity levels found that women who sat for six or more hours a day were 94% more likely to die during the study than those who sat for three hours or less a day. The fact that sitting can wreak havoc on your health regardless of your exercise level is why the comparison to smoking is apt. As Mayo Clinic Cardiologist Martha Grogan has explained: “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”
So do people who exercise regularly sit less than those who are couch potatoes? Turns out that even active people are desk potatoes. In a 2012 study examining activity levels, researchers were surprised to discover that having a high exercise level did not reduce time spent sitting. The subjects of the study spent an average of 64 hours a week sitting (which is more than nine hours per day), regardless of whether they exercised for the suggested 150 minutes each week. Interestingly, another recent study found that on days when people exercise, they are about 30 percent less active than on days when they do not make it to the gym.
Although our lives now revolve around computer screens, our bodies were not designed to sit all day. Metabolic processes in the body essentially shut down when the body is in the sitting position. Almost immediately after sitting down, the rate at which you produce fat-burning enzymes drops by about 90%. On average, the body burns one calorie a minute when you are sitting. It does not take long for sitting to start disrupting the body’s processes either. Research shows that just two weeks of reduced activity level can cause the body to become worse at processing fats and sugars.
I took in all of this evidence (and more) and went through the stages of cognitive grief. First denial–”These studies are flawed!” Then acceptance–”Okay, fine I sit too much.”–but reluctance–”I have to work!”– And finally determination to find a solution–”There must be a way!”
Fortunately there are ways to reduce time spent sitting. You can download apps to remind you to stand up and take a break. You can rally your co-workers to do a walking or stand-up meeting. If you’re ready to take active working to the next level, you can get a standing desk or treadmill desk. I took the standing and treadmill desk option. I became such a huge advocate for the life-changing ability of these products and active working in general that I founded a company (Rebel Desk) that designs and sells standing and treadmill desks. Not only do these options help to keep you out of your seat and on your feet, they can increase your energy, improve your mood, and boost your focus. For athletes, standing and treadmill desks help keep the blood flowing, the back relaxed, and the muscles engaged, so you are ready to make the most of your next workout.
As technology increasingly pervades our lives, we need to find solutions to keep ourselves from spending all day on our backsides, shoulders hunched, necks craned, and eyes glued to a screen. Imagine making those eight to nine hours a day of sitting at your desk turn into several hours of being active. The rebellion against the sitting culture has begun and this is one bandwagon you won’t want to miss.
Like any small business, we read a lot to keep up with what’s going on in our industry. One of our favorites is Competitor magazine. They’re always offering great training tips and introducing cool new gear for athletes.
Since I love what they do, I reached out to Nicki Miller, the Managing Editor, and asked if she and the Competitor magazine team would be interesting in curating a Kona Kase (basically picking all their favorite products). We’re happy to say she said yes! In March, Kona Kases will be chock full of the Competitor magazine team’s favorite nutritional products for living an active and healthy lifestyle while performing at your best. Their favorite brands include Nuun, Sport Beans, Honey Stinger, KIND, Quest Bar, GU Energy Gel, & Picky Bar. Get excited and start working up that appetite.
Sign up here. March Kases ship by March 15th.
22 Days Nutrition was founded by world-renowned exercise physiologist, Marco Borges. As a vegan, Marco was always on the search for high quality nutrition for himself and his clients. When his search came up short, he created nutrition-packed products that nourish the body with real, delicious vegan ingredients.
Only the highest-quality nuts, fruits, seeds and chocolate are found in their bars and they are committed to creating 100% vegan, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free products. Fan favorites include Daily Mocha Mantra (a mouthwatering combo of chocolate and coffee with 10 grams of vegan protein) and PB+Chocolate Chip Nirvana, their newest protein bar with 20 grams of protein and peanut butter and chocolate goodness.
In their continued commitment to raising awareness of the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, 22 Days Nutrition was recently at the center of attention for guiding Beyonce and Jay-Z on a 22 Days Vegan Challenge. In addition, the Challenge inspired thousands of others to give a plant-based lifestyle a try for 22 Days. Learn more about the 22 Days Vegan Challenge and download a free ebook with 22 Days of vegan meal plans and recipes to explore a vegan diet for yourself.
Try a 22 Days Nutrition bar in the February Kona Kase. Sign up here.
Omnibar is an on-the-go source of the balanced nutrition. The idea was born from a desire to use the grass-fed beef from a family ranch in Montana. In addition to beef, Omnibar uses simple everyday foods like sweet potatoes and almond butter—nothing overly engineered or hard to pronounce.
Cooper Burchenal and Brent Ruby conceived the idea of Omnibar in 2010 over a cup of coffee at Food for Thought in Missoula, Montana. Cooper was looking for a unique use for the beef from his family’s ranch. Brent, a professor of Health and Human Performance at the University of Montana, was interested in finding a more functional food bar. Over the course of a few hours of brainstorming around the world of nutritional products, they realized the possibility for a calorie-dense food bar that could used beef as the protein source. Completely different from the current array of sweet and sugary bars, their vision was to allow for the savory profile of beef to open up new flavors while also meeting the nutritional requirements of an extreme athlete, an avid recreationalist, or an on-the-go family.
Omnibar was designed with the precise nutrient dense profile to fuel your working muscles, while providing unmatched hunger satisfaction. It’s important to note that bar is only 35% beef. It’s equivalent to substituting soy or whey for a beef protein source. In addition, grass-fed beef is unmatched as a source of complete protein. It includes all 9 essential amino acids, which are critical for complete muscle recovery, repair, and growth.
The takeaway: High-quality protein, slow-burning carbohydrate, and antioxidant dense endurance fuel. Some source from ranchers, these guys are the ranchers. From their fields, to the final product, that’s Omnibar.
Order more of your favorites and don’t forget to tell us which products you loved via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Pocket Protein (use code KONA at checkout) >
Start your new year off right by satisfying and energizing your appetite with TeeChia Super Seeds Cereal and going caffeine-free with Teeccino Herbal Coffees!
Created by CEO and founder, Caroline MacDougall, Teeccino is the top selling brand of coffee alternatives that let’s you drink “coffee” all day long! The coffee alternatives come in 18 popular flavors with a delicious blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts that are roasted and ground to brew and taste just like coffee. No tricks, no gimmicks, just all natural! Your health is also improved! Teeccino provides nutrients for heart and weight support, helps you quit caffeine and even aids with your digestion.
You can also energize your day with TeeChia, a delicious cereal created from nature’s own nutrient-dense super seeds. A bowl of TeeChia produces lasting energy, satisfying fullness and has profoundly beneficial effects on your digestive tract. With a full spectrum of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins and minerals, TeeChia makes a quick and easy wholesome meal. Sounds too good to be true? Jump aboard the train and discover the difference for yourself! Visit us at: www.teeccino.com.
“I HAD JUST GRADUATED WITH MY MASTERS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND HUMAN NUTRITION AND WAS ENJOYING MAKING BARS THAT MY LITTLE SISTER COULD EAT AND THAT MY FELLOW ATHLETE FRIENDS FOUND EFFECTIVE”. -Breeze Brown
Breeze Bars were created by Breeze Brown, a registered dietitian, for her sister who had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and a few close athlete friends in Boulder, CO. They were designed to provide quick fuel, sustained energy, and be easily digestible.
In 2009, with $300 and a passion in hand, Breeze decided to launch the small bar business. In three short years of grass roots growth, Breeze Bars has moved from a kitchen based operation with only a few retailers, to nearly 300 retailers including coffee shops, outdoor stores, health clubs and natural food stores (Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, etc.)
Made with whole, natural ingredients and a complimentary blend of carbohydrates, fat and protein, these bars provide an immediate ‘pick-me-up’. Breeze Bars taste great and are described as the healthy rice crispy treat!
The ips All Natural story began, as many often do, trying to solve a problem. Like many discerning parents, Sean Olson had a personal desire to feed his kids tasty, protein-packed, better-for-you snacks. After repeatedly indulging his children’s cravings for the crispy edges of the eggs that he prepared for breakfast, the idea for ips—intelligent protein snacks—hatched.
Sean, an MIT and Harvard engineer-turned-entrepreneur, created ips by harnessing the power of egg white protein in a tasty snack. He worked tirelessly to create a chip made with egg whites, high-quality corn and other all-natural ingredients blended together with a patent-pending Pressure-Puff™ process. The result is an all-natural snack with 7g of egg white protein in each serving. ips are gluten-free and contain no GMO, preservative or artificial ingredients.
Why egg whites? Egg white protein, revered by nutritionists and health professionals, is one of nature’s few complete proteins. Egg whites contain nine essential amino acids, and is 100-percent bioavailable, so your body can use all the protein-filled goodness to fuel the things you love. ips were created for people ‘in the know’ about eating right: from discerning parents who don’t want to feed their kids empty calories, to health-conscious individuals that embrace an active lifestyle.
As an Olympic athlete, Kristen Buchanan (Founder and CEO of The GoodOnYa Bar) ate bars as part of her daily life and job. She used to equate health with being thin and fit. They were taught as Olympic field hockey players to think of food as fuel. They focused solely on the numbers, and not the ingredients. After years of living and competing with this philosophy, she learned the hard way how wrong this was. At age 39, Kristen developed a gut related autoimmune disease. It was now time for her to start paying attention to what was actually in her food, rather than the numbers on the nutrition label.
Shortly thereafter, Kristen began dedicating her life to making healthy products for people (and athletes) on the go. She learned first hand this is when we reach for something easy and convenient as a quick fix, but in the long run, does not benefit us. Our tagline at The GoodOnYa Bar is “Every Ingredient Matters” because we believe, “You Matter”. You will never find any of these common bar fillers in The GoodOnYa Bar: Dairy, Soy, Soy Lecithin, Gluten, Grains, Sugar Alcohols, Protein Powders, Natural Flavors, Glucose, or any GMOs or Mono-Crops. Just. Real. Food. Why? Because “You Matter!”
By K. Aleisha Fetters
This season, most of us are running against the clock. So to help you score your holiday gifts in record time, here are some of the best buys out there for athletes. From stocking stuffers to I-can’t-believe-you-did-this presents, they are perfect for guys, gals, 5K newbies, and Ironman veterans alike. If you end up buying yourself a gift too, so be it!
Full and Half-Marathon Pace Bands
Stay on pace for a PR with these simple silicone bands. Available in a variety of colors and times. $9, check it out.
Far better than those days-of-the-week underwear from junior high, these seven cheeky pairs of underwear come imprinted with workout-inspired words: fartlek, tempo, long run, race, easy 6, track, and rest. $65, oiselle.com
Cory Vines Essential Long Sleeve
With moisture-wicking, odor-fighting technology, this stylish shirt will take women from the gym to the supermarket without turning any noses. $35, coryvines.com
Garuka Bars Original Edition 12-Pack
Handmade with only eight ingredients (including raw honey!), these exercise energy bars are wrapped in 100 percent consumer recyclable packaging. Plus, 1 percent of all profits go to mountain gorilla conservation efforts. $36, garukabars.com
This non-toxic, BPA-free stainless steel (and super sleek!) water bottle can keep water cold for 24 hours and coffee hot for 12. Available in 8-, 17-, and 25-ounce sizes as well as in shimmer, stone, matte, and glitter finishes. $25-$45, swellbottle.com
BOYLSTON LONG SLEEVE
As comfy as it gets, this men’s polyester shirt sports a back mesh panel, seamless neckline, and thumbholes. $45, newbalance.com
The RACER Wall Frame
Instead of cramming past race bibs in drawers and boxes, turn them into the ultimate conversation piece. $20, racerusa.com
Altra Zero Drop 3-Sum
“The sum of the three event triathlon experience,” this seamless shoe comes with pull-tabs, chord lacing system, and drain holes. Plus, it keeps the heel level with the forefoot for natural loading and injury prevention. $130, altrazerodrop.com
Brooks Seamless Arm Warmers
Stay warm in style—and without chaffing from unfortunately placed seams. Also available in white, yellow, green, pink, blue, and orange. $25, brooksrunning.com
Gluten-Free Kona Kase (Limited Edition)
Did you honestly think I wasn’t going to mention Kona Kase? This box is the answer to subscribers’ calls and emails—and to every gluten-free athlete’s cravings. $18, kona-kase-shop.myshopify.com