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Monday, December 19, 2016

10 Tips to Keep you Healthy During the Holidays

As athletes, you know how important nutrition is for maximizing your health and performance. However, at this time of year, it’s a bit more difficult for some to continue to eat healthy due to so many parties and dinners to attend. You don’t need to completely avoid all treats, but rather find a proper balance and be mindful about portion sizes. Otherwise, poor nutrition may lead to feeling more tired, sick and compromise recovery and training. Think about the 80/20 rule – 80% healthy foods and 20% holiday treats. Here are some tips to help you practice moderation and stay on track:

1. Eat Balanced Meals and Snacks During the Day
Skipping meals or eating less during the day to save up your calories for the evening is not a good tactic! Cravings will be higher and it will be difficult to practice moderation and balance with your food choices. This will also lead to overeating and consuming even more calories than if you ate during the day. Continue to have healthy, balanced meals and snacks leading up to holiday dinners and parties so you aren’t starving by the time you arrive at a party. High fibre foods like fruits and vegetables lean proteins and healthy fats can help keep you energized and satisfied. Some healthy snack ideas include a handful of raw nuts, berries and yogurt, or apple dipped in almond butter.

2. Stay Consistent with Your Healthy Eating and Exercise Routines
Our habits of meal planning, batch cooking, exercise and eating meal and snacks at proper times can sometimes be thrown off balance during the holidays, so try your best to keep a regular schedule. This makes it easy to keep up with those healthy habits during hectic times.  

3. Stay Hydrated
You are likely well aware how important hydration is to your performance, heatlh and just feeling your best. Dehydration can cause fatigue and you may confuse this with hunger. Prioritize drinking enough fluids throughout the day, and watch out for high calories beverages like alcohol, eggnog, pop, juice.

4. Eat Mindfully.
At parties, if you are standing or seated next to the table of food you may be more likely to mindlessly eat the appetizers or whatever food is available. Position yourself away from the table.

5. Find Ways to De-Stress
Holidays can be busy and stressful. Schedule in downtime to allow your self to de-stress, whether it be reading, exercise, yoga, etc.

6. Bring Healthy Options to Parties
If you have the chance to bring an appetizer, dish or dessert to a party or potluck, bring something nutritious! Fruit or vegetable trays, quinoa salad or hummus and veggies are simple options. If you want something both healthy and festive, here are some great ideas:

Make a veggie tray in the shape of a Christmas tree

Edamame Cranberry Feta Salad is a very simple but flavourful recipe and full of fibre and protein. To make, mix 2 cups edamame with 1 cups dried cranberries, 1 cup crumbled feta, 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of black pepper. Simple, healthy and delicious!

7. Load up on vegetables
Try to fill 1/3 to ½ your holiday plates with vegetables! The high water content and fibre will help to keep you feeling full. This leaves less room on the plate for other foods and will help you to portion size.

8. Keep Your Immune System Healthy
We are right into flu season and with the stress, busyness and possibly poor nutrition during this time of year, we may be more likely to get sick. Some nutrients important for keeping immune system healthy:
  • Probiotics (for example: kefir, probiotic rich yogurts, fermented foods) and pre-biotics (for example: asparagus, artichoke, onions, bananas)
  • Vitamin E: Avocado, nuts and seeds
  • Zinc: Meat and fish, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Antioxidants and Phytochemicals. Fruits and vegetables of a variety of colours. Berries, dark greens and bright orange vegetables are a few to focus on getting, but aim for all colours of the rainbow.
  • Vitamin D: Salmon, egg yolks, milk and milk alternatives. It is difficult to meet your needs with food, and in general during the winter, so a supplement may be necessary.
9. Bring Healthy Snacks When Travelling
The holidays can often mean you are travelling a lot! Bring healthy snacks on road trips so you don’t have to stop for takeout, saving you time and money. Some healthy travel snacks include:
  • Apple/Pear + cheese string or baby bell cheese
  • Snack size can tuna + 2 Ryvita crackers
  • Hummus for dipping veggies (carrot sticks) – You can find individual container packs
  • Individual container of cottage cheese and fruit or raw veggies
  • Hardboiled eggs – pack ahead of time or available at grocery stores and sometimes convenience stores
  • Trail mix
  • Packages of roast chickpeas (“The Good Bean” brand has lots of flavours)
  • Homemade protein bites or muffins. Checkout the #30daysofwhey recipes using Infinit Raw Protein for lots of healthy homemade snacks ideas 
10. Choose the Foods you LOVE
When faced with so many options, we may want to try a sample of everything, which can lead to overeating. Choose to eat the foods or desserts you absolutely love, as opposed to ones that just seem so-so. Be sure to savour the treats and enjoy them without the guilt because a treat or two shouldn’t hurt. Ask yourself which desserts can you have anytime, and which are special and only really available around the holidays? Have the latter!

Andrea Docherty is a Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist and owner of a private practice nutrition consulting business in Windsor, ON called Andrea Docherty Nutrition. Visit for more information!

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Breaking Records With Infinit - A Year in Review!

Team Infinit has had a pretty spectacular year - with a number of records being set and personal bests being achieved. A common factor? Hard work and Infinit in their bottle. Here are a few success stories of some of our athletes:

Lionel Sanders - Lionel has another fantastic year of Ironman Racing! He kicked off his 2015/16 season with 6 straight wins; including Ironman Arizona 2015 and Texas 70.3 2016, which earned him a spot in the Ironman World Championships and the 70.3 World Championships this fall.

It was at the Texas 70.3 in 2015 that Lionel had his traumatizing experience that led him to us. Since then, we have nailed down Lionel's nutrition plan for training and race day and he has since gone on to set a World Record in Ironman Racing - 7:44:29 at the 2016 Ironman Arizona in November. Read more about why Lionel made the switch to Infinit and how it has helped his training and race performance.

Bobby Tran - Since fuelling on Infinit, Bobby has seen his performance skyrocket. Just this year he has hit a number of personal bests, and so have the other athletes at CrossFit WHL. Some of the most notable ones for Bobby - 380 lbs bench, 600 lbs deadlift, 470 lbs back squat, 365 front squat, 265 lbs push press, 215 lbs strict press, 315 lbs split jerk and a 290 lbs clean and jerk. These numbers are impressive, especially when you compare to his max efforts before fuelling on Infinit. He upped his bench by 80 lbs, back squat by 95 lbs and push press by 60 lbs - awesome!

Jay Kinsella - What a year it has been for Jay. For those of you who don't know, Jay is an ultra-runner and his most recent race was at the Tahoe 200. That's 205.5 miles of running. You can read Jay's full race report from the event here, but we will give you the low-down. Jay went into the race with no game plan - you really can't predict what will happen throughout a race that takes over 2 days to complete, so Jay just prepares to run, and run he does. At each aid station, Jay would fuel with Infinit, as well as coffee, coke, lentil soup, apples, ginger bars and some sushi (provided by his lovely wife). As the finish line neared, Jay was in the lead and was ahead of the then current course record by two hours, which was 60 hours, 50 minutes. He crossed the line with Canadian Flag in hand in a time of 59 hours, 3 minutes. What an unreal feat. Read more about ultra-running and Jay's journey here.

Liam O'Beirne - This is one of our favourite stories. Liam competes in CrossFit and has made exponential gains since fuelling with Infinit. Two years ago, he competed in the 14-15 division in the CrossFit Open and finished 2nd overall in Canada West. Fast forward one year and Liam was now competing in the 16-17 age group but was one of the youngest in this division, having just turned 16 a few months prior. He finished 7th overall in Canada West after a hard fought Open. His main struggle was in the deadlift component of the competition - the boys had to DL 185 lbs 55 times. At this time, Liam's deadlift max was only 205 lbs. Liam struggled through the workout - but did finish it.

It was during the 2016 Open that they were introduced to Infinit Nutrition by CrossFit North Vancouver. They were told that Infinit was better than any Strength fuel on the market, so they got in touch with us and Liam began fuelling with Rescue post workout. He noticed immediately that his recovery time was much faster and he was able to perform better. However, he still wasn't getting in enough calories throughout the day or putting on more weight. That's when he also began supplementing with Gainz - a sleep drink packed with carbs and protein intended to help you rebuild muscle and put on weight while you sleep. His performance skyrocketed. He went from a DL max of 205 to a new max of 290 in under 7 months. His clean and jerk max is now 190 lbs. He feels great, is recovering faster, has increased muscular endurance, and has improved in every component of his CrossFit training. We're excited to follow his journey through the Open this year and hopefully to the Games!

Corey Bellemore - Corey had an exciting 2016 season that saw him break lots of records and personal bests - some that were very unexpected to say the least. We began working with Corey shortly after he went "viral" for his Beer Mile World Record run this past summer. On just a typical afternoon, him and some friends set out to a local high school's track with intent for Corey to try out the infamous Beer Mile - run 1 mile, but before each lap you must chug 1 beer. Turns out, Corey was pretty good - he broke the former World Record by 8 seconds. His video went viral around the internet and soon he found himself on a plane to England to race the Beer Mile World Classic, where he shaved another 5 seconds off the record he set just days before. Pretty impressive.

What's more impressive is what Corey has done since that day. We partnered with him with intent to fuel his potential on the cross country course and middle-distance track. Corey just concluded his XC season, which saw him earn the OUA Men's Cross Country title - his first as a University athlete. He helped lead his team to a 2nd place finish at the Regional tournament, and earned a birth to the Sports Championships 2 weeks later. At Nationals, Corey earned first-team honours, All-Canadian honours, and a 7th place finish. Next up for Bellemore? Another Beer Mile on the 17th of December, then some rest time over the Holidays before the University indoor Track and Field season kicks off in the New Year. Follow more of Corey's journey here.

We had 8 athletes qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games this year - wow! Read more about their journey to the big show...

Melissa Bishop - Melissa capped off a stellar 2015/16 season with her second trip to the Olympic Games. Last summer, Melissa competed in the World Championships and Pan American Games and took home a silver and gold, respectively. Melissa also broke several personal records, and 2 national records (indoor and outdoor) this past season.

At the Olympic Games, Melissa dominated her heats, easily moving on to the finals. Despite her best efforts, Melissa fell just shy of the podium, finishing a strong 4th. Read more about Melissa's Infinit Journey here.

Ryan Cochrane - Ryan had a notable final season as a competitive swimmer after qualifying for his third Olympic Games - Ryan had previously swam in the 2008 Beijing games (Bronze in 1500m free) and the 2012 London games (Silver in 1500m free). Though he found disappointment at the 2016 Rio games, missing the final for the 400m and finishing 6th in the 1500m, Ryan still secured 2 Gold and a Bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto to conclude his career medal count - a lengthy list! Read more about Ryan's Infinit Journey here.

Noelle Montcalm - It was a great, yet suspenseful year for hurdler Noelle Montcalm. In order to qualify for the Olympic Games, Noelle not only had to podium finish in her 400mH race at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, one month before the kick off for the Games, but she also had to hit the Olympic Standard of 56.20. Without the OS, it wouldn't matter whether Noelle was first, second or third - she wouldn't be travelling to Rio. However it all came together in the event finals - Noelle raced her best race of the season, clocking in at 55.83, good enough for a first place finish. The Windsor-Essex Native was Rio bound!

At the games, Noelle competed individually in the 400mH and also was a part of the 4X400 team team that earned a 4th place finish. To read more on Noelle's story, click here.

Cindy Ouellet - Cindy is a badass. Cindy is a 3X Para-lympian who competes for the Canadian National Wheelchair Basketball team. She made her Olympic debut in 2008, and has also competed on the 2012 Para-lympic basketball team. This year, she was apart of the team which finished 5th at the Games. Cindy has most recently been named the 2016 Wheelchair Basketball Canada Female Athlete of the Year.

Along with basketball, Cindy also dominates in the CrossFit scene. Find out more about Cindy's Olympic journey and CrossFit success by clicking here.

Kate O'Brien - Kate made her Olympic debut in 2016 as a Track Cyclist, after narrowly missing her shot at the 2014 Games in Sochi as a bobsleigh brakeman - that's right, Kate has only been competing in Cycling for a couple years! Kate kicked off her Olympic year with a pair of medals at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. She also earned a 6th place finish in the sprint at the UCI World Championships. At the games, she competed in all three track events and made an impressive performance at her first Olympics. Read more about Kate here.

Ben Saxton & Chaim Schalk - This duo also made their first Olympic apperance in 2016, competing  in Men's Beach Volleyball. Leading up to the Games, the pair competed in a number of Major Series events, including the Porec Major, where they finished 3rd overall. At the Games, the pair had impressive performances which landed them a spot in the 'Sweet 16' before they fell to their opponents, to conclude their Olympic run. Read more on Team Saxton Schalk here.

Antoine Valois-Fortier - Coming off two bronze medal finishes in 2015 at the World Championships and Pan American Championships, Antoine made his second Olympic appearance in 2016 (2012 games Bronze medallist in Judo). At the Rio Games, Antoine won his first two bouts before falling to the eventual gold medallist. In his repechage match, Antoine had a hard fought battle but succumbed to the future bronze medallist. More on Antoine's journey here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Role of Vitamin D in Health and Performance

 A proper, well-balanced diet is essential for athletes to keep up with and recover from the physical demands of exercise. One vitamin of particular importance is Vitamin D. Many people, including athletes, have insufficient Vitamin D levels, and this can have a negative impact on health and athletic performance. While its well known that Vitamin D plays an important role in keeping our bones strong, there are a number of other mechanisms in which Vitamin D is needed. Maximize your health and recovery so you can train for best – read on to find out how.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, although it’s technically not a vitamin because we don’t need food to make it. It’s commonly known as the “Sunshine Vitamin”, because UVB rays from the sun convert a cholesterol in our skin to vitamin D3. Our liver and kidneys are then involved in transforming this to the active form of vitamin D.

Functions of Vitamin D and Implications for Athletes

Vitamin D is well known for helping our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorous which in turn helps to keep our bones strong. Vitamin D acts like a hormone and is used by almost every tissue and cell in our body. Vitamin D receptors are found in the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, muscle, immune cells and more. These are some of the ways adequate Vitamin D is essential for athletes:

Bone strength and minimizing risk of fractures. This is very important for athletes, as some studies have shown a correlation between the number of fractures and vitamin D levels.
Keeping our immune system healthy. When your sick you can’t train, so having adequate Vitamin D stores, especially in the winter, is important
Reducing blood pressure
Improving muscle mass and strength
Inflammation – low levels of Vitamin D can contribute to inflammation in the body.

Risk Factors for Low Vitamin D Levels

Many people have low levels of Vitamin D, and there are a number of factors:

Where you live – Those living at higher latitudes and in cold climates because of lack of sun exposure
Where you train – If you often train indoors, like hockey players, or before the sun rises, you may not get enough sunlight meaning your body won’t make enough Vitamin D
Your age – As we age, our ability to convert Vitamin D to the active form decreases
Skin colour – Pale skin makes vitamin D more quickly than dark skin
Sunscreen use - SPF 15 or higher blocks UVB rays
Also of note – If you think that you get a lot of sun while driving in the car, glass actually blocks UVB rays.

How Much Vitamin D is Recommended
  • Health Canada’s RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is 600IU for children aged 1-70 and 800IU for those over 70. The safe upper limit set by Health Canada is 4000IU. It also recommends everyone over the age of 50 should take a 400IU supplement.
  • Osteoporosis Canada recommends healthy adults aged 19-50 to consume 400-1000IU per day, and those over 50 or younger and at risk of osteoporosis to consume 800-2000IU daily. They also recommend Canadian adults to supplement all year.
  • The Vitamin D Council recommends 5000IU per day and a safe upper limit of 10 000IU.
  • The Institute of Medicine recommends 600IU daily for adults up to 70, and 800IU for adults over 70, with an upper limit of 4000IU
  • There are varying recommendations because some researchers believe lower amounts are not enough to achieve the correct level of Vitamin D, while others think that the research does not have enough evidence to support high levels.

You can get too much of a good thing. We cannot reach toxic levels from sunlight (our body can regulate how much is converted to Vitamin D if we have enough), but you can from supplements. Most often I recommend 1000IU because it is very difficult to get enough from your diet (see below), but the best of way to make sure you have adequate levels is to get tested by your doctor. Tests measure the level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in your blood.

Sources of Vitamin D
It is pretty much impossible to meet all of your vitamin D needs with food alone, but its still a good idea to include these Vitamin D rich sources regularly in your diet:
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackeral – wild fish contains more vitamin D then farmed fish
  • Mushrooms – these contain a very small amount, but more than other vegetables
  • Egg yolk
  • Vitamin D fortified dairy and non-dairy products

Using Health Canada’s Vitamin D RDA for adults, to meet your needs you would have to eat:
  • A serving of wild salmon per day
  • About 15 egg yolks per day
  • 2300g of cooked Shitake mushrooms per day, or
  • 1.5 L of milk every day

These really aren’t the makings of a well balanced diet! Vitamin D really is the sunshine vitamin, but thankfully there are supplements available if the sun is not always an option.

Vitamin D supplements
There are both pills and drops – purchase them in the form of Vitamin D3. You need fat to absorb it, so eat pills with a meal that contains some fat. Vitamin D drops are already emulsified in fat so you can take this at any time.

Expose a large area of your skin, like arms and legs, for about half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink a few times a week (could be 15-20 mins depending on skin colour). You can build up reserves that will last a few weeks. In the winter months when you don’t get sun, you likely will need to supplement.  

If you are at risk of being deficient or having low levels, in order to maintain your health and performance it would be a good idea to get your blood levels tested. Your doctor can provide some direction on how to correct this if you need to bring your levels up. Even with a very healthy diet, you may not be getting all of the Vitamin D that you need. For maintaining bone health, immunity and much more, consider supplementing with Vitamin D but remember that you can consume too much since it is fat soluble.

Andrea Docherty is a Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist and owner of Andrea Docherty Nutrition, a professional nutrition consulting and coaching business in Windsor, Ontario. For more information or to contact her, visit

Monday, December 5, 2016

Turkeys on the Trail

Team Infinit athlete and Ultra-marathon phenom Jay Kinsella and his wife Jessica have put in hours of work to host their 2nd annual Turkeys on the Trail event - a fundraising run to help their local food bank. We are honoured to be apart of their event this year! This years event will take place on Sunday, December 11th. Find out more about Turkeys on the Trail below! 

"Turkeys on the Trail started as an idea to help our local food bank to feed families at Christmas. In one year alone, Turkeys on the Trail has grown exponentially. In December 2015, we had 108 participants come out and a little over a dozen volunteers. This year, with the need and expectations so much higher, we challenged ourselves to grow. To do that, we needed great companies to help sponsor our event. We are proud to say that Darcy Haggith and the Infinit team have stepped up to assist us. Our two aid stations will be fully stocked with Infinit, and we will have a vendor booth manned by Jay that will be handing out drink samples and answering questions about Infinit Nutrition. We are also awarding one lucky participant a Pro-Nutritional Consult! We feel so lucky to have found a product that works for us, and we are proud to share that with our fellow runners and community. It helped us achieve our dreams of going big; in this case competing and winning the 2016 Tahoe 200 Endurance Run. We have our sights set on even more exciting races for 2017, and we hope our participants will enjoy the Infinit as much as we do! Thank you to Darcy Haggith and the Infinit Team for aiding our charity run and for sponsoring Jay Kinsella to represent your brand!

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors like Infinit, Fast Trax Run & Ski Shop, Track ‘N Trail and Albert’s Family Restaurant; we have grown to nearly 300 participants and 50 volunteers in the second year of this event! The course has become more trail, technical and fun! We will have fruit, coffee, juice and food at the finish. We will also have a “mini-market” with approximately a dozen vendors from the community who will showcase their business and products. We are also partnering this year with BeaverTails food truck, who will be on site to serve up delicious pastries and poutine, and the cost? ONE FROZEN TURKEY or equivalent value in non-perishable food items. We will have draw prizes, a small silent auction, and a raffle draw for 3 entries into Destination Trail Race: Orcas Island 50 miler, Marathon and Half Marathon. There really will be something for EVERYBODY!

We look forward to seeing everything come together and pulling off a great day! Thank you all, runners and sponsors for your support!" - Jessica.