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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

In one of my favorite Dave Matthews songs “Too Much,” the lyrics in the chorus go something like: “I eat too much.  I drink too much.  I want too much.  Too much.”

We’ve all been there.  It’s late.  You’ve ridden all day, the sun is about to set and you’re tired and hungry.  And I’m like many of you, the convenience and hunger sometimes send even the most health conscious rider to the closest fast food restaurant.  There they are…singles, doubles and triples if you so dare.  High-fat foods displayed on the buzzing neon menu and despite best intentions, a double cheese burger and curly fries end up on your plate.  All of it to be washed down with a caffeine laced soda and a chocolate milk-shake.

The effects (metabolic) of a fat load (a lot of fat eaten in a short period of time) have extensively been studied by researchers interested in health.  It turns out that even a 50-gram load of fat (most fast food restaurants can easily surpass that threshold), constricts the arteries — effectively reducing the blood flow to the heart and muscles.  The slowed delivery of oxygen and nutrients starves the heart muscle along with all working muscles and the result is you’ll feel fatigued.  Like the Willamette River after a hard rain storm filling up with silt, eventually the fat is cleared from the bloodstream, but it will keep you feeling sluggish.

Then it’s the next morning and time for some hot Java.

About 70% of the U.S. population “uses” coffee.  I’m part of that percentage.  Most typically it’s consumed to improve alertness and ‘get going’ in the morning.  Coffee’s benefits for performance athletes have been proven.  The research has shown that as little as 1.4 to 2.7 milligrams (approx an 8-to 16 ounce cup) is enough to make a significant improvement in performance.  So it would be logical to assume that it would also  improve a riders performance too?  Assuming that during the previous night you didn’t drink large amounts of alcohol.

And speaking of alcohol… Many motorcyclists enjoy relaxing with their favorite brew after a long days ride.  Anything more than the equivalent of about 2 drinks will only add to the energy zapper list.  Unless your alcohol intake is moderate (defined as two 5-ounce glasses of wine or two 12-ounce beers)  there is risk of fatigue.  And as you pull out of the motel parking lot for an early morning departure, glycogen is the most important fuel for your contracting muscles.  And to keep the supply of glucose steady the liver kicks in and starts to release glucose into the bloodstream for those muscles.  It will quickly deplete its supply of glycogen and without additional carbohydrates, the glycogen supplies are exhausted…and being met with a replacement of calories from alcohol and since alcohol can’t be converted and stored as glycogen…early muscle fatigue occurs along with an overall  lack of energy and the end result could be a drop in rider performance.  Additionally, the alcohol causes dehydration and can affect fine motor coordination.

Adding insult to injury is that caffeine laced soda you had the night before and/or the alcohol can cause interrupted sleep cycles.  The hormone Grehlin was discovered in 1999.  Termed the “orexogenic” hormone, Grehlin production is increased in response to sleep deprivation.  It turns out the body knows it needs more calories to be awake and functioning.  And when Grehlin levels go up so does your appetite.  The message is clear: less sleep leads to more food and calories.

I’m not a nutrition nut, performance athlete or a dietitian.  No, I’m not telling you how or what to eat.  Yes, I’ve been on trips where members of the posse have consumed nothing but Slim Jims and coffee.  However, it’s clear there are fatigue-promoting “foods” and  motorcyclists who minimize the big three nutrition mistakes (too much caffeine, alcohol and high-fat foods) when riding may improve alertness levels.

Photo courtesy of Matt Marino and Moto Basturds

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Meetings.  Talking.  Meetings.

We’re always being reminded that political leaders, policymakers and industry leaders are “gathering” to hash out ideas on how to get the mojo back and what the key is to unlocking innovations and jobs of the future.  We’re suppose to feel good, but from my vantage there is little visible in the way of action.

The White House has made a quiet but extensive effort to reach out to corporate executives in a series of dinners and lunches at the White House with President Barack Obama.  Attendees have largely been kept secret or at minimum very quiet… until now!

Politico.com states Keith Wandell (Harley-Davidson CEO) had dinner with Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and other top White House officials.  Another comprehensive list is available HERE.  It’s not clear if it was at an off-site local restaurant or something more elegant in the White House.  Given the state-of-the-states, I seriously doubt the motor company will be creating any new jobs soon. In fact, the recent ratified agreement calls for a drawdown of nearly 50% of the employee’s base at the York, PA operations.  Asia or India look like expansion alternatives and I suspect it won’t be long before we hear about plants being set up there.  So, what did Mr. Wandell share w/ the White House chief of staff?  Would H-D coming to the government to offer ideas on how they can help be a startling conversation changer?  Does H-D have eyes and ears on future trends that they can grab and then be able to exploit?

I’m not sure, but do you think the U.S. is still the world’s center for innovation, or is it falling behind countries such as India and China?  Fueling the debate is a new poll on innovation published by Newsweek. One interesting finding: while 82% of Chinese citizens believe the U.S. remains a technologically innovative country, only 74% of Americans feel the same way.

At any rate,  the other industry officials who joined Mr. Wandell at the June 16, Rahm Emanuel dinner were:

Penny Pritzker, CEO, Pritzker Realty
Mark Gallogly of Centerbridge Partners
Mike Fascitelli, CEO, Vornado Realty Trust
Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO, Alcoa
Dave O’Reilly, CEO, Chevron
Richard Smith, CEO, Realogy
Mike Ullman, CEO, J.C. Penney
Keith Wandell, CEO, Harley Davidson

I’m not attacking or implying that only favor-curriers are “sitting at the presidents table” but I’m not reading a lot about how the voice of the average lower and middle class American are being heard.  As the White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers has recently urged attendees at these dinners to “think about what your institution should be called on to do, not in its own interest, but in the broader national interest.”

Photo courtesy of Presidential inauguration.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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