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Hey Kona Krazies! We’ve launched this page so that you can pick up limited edition “one-off” kases that we’ve created, without buying a subscription.  Get ‘em while you can because each Kase is in limited quantity and once it’s gone, it’s gone! Email us if you have any question, info@konakase.com.  Just Click on the image to be taken to the payment page (add $10 for Canadian shipments)

JULY KONA KASE, $15. Order Here! (Free Socks included)

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Training and Racing Fuel Guidelines

This is a guest post by Terri Schneider, endurance athlete and coach.

In my last post I talked about bonking with some suggestions on how to avoid it. Now I’ll give you some specific guidelines to work with for training and event nutrition which will help keep you optimally fueled on the go. In order to hone in on what products will work best within these guidelines keep trying sport specific products, while keeping notes on what works and what you like. This whole process is a critical piece to the puzzle of having consistent optimal performances so its important that you spend some time on it! What follows are guidelines that will help you to refine your nutritional plan for training and racing. Experience and intuition go a long way, and in this case you are the expert.

And remember, too often endurance athletes blow what should have been a positive race experience because they did not follow through with an effective eating and drinking plan for their event. This aspect of your racing is as important as making sure there is air in your tires before you ride your bike. No air, no ride. No calories, no forward movement and no effective brain function. Do not underestimate the importance of this aspect of your training and racing. It will make or break an otherwise well-thought-out training or race experience.

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There are three critical components to a training or event nutrition plan: calories, fluids, and electrolytes. The following guidelines will help you create your nutrition plan while keeping these components in check:

  • Research indicates that endurance athletes need 150 to 400 calories per hour during activity. Consider factors such as exercise intensity and duration, fitness, and body size when determining how many calories you need to consume on a given day. Through practice you’ll be able to come up with an exact number that works for you to start a race, and then you can adapt during your event as needed.
  • The carbs you use should come primarily from glucose. It doesn’t matter how you get the carbs—from drinks, gels, or bars. You must figure out which type or combination works best for you, and then consume the correct amount of calories in whichever form suits you. Drink plain water with your gels or bars.
  • Eat or drink your calories just like your car uses gas—steadily not in one big gulp. Avoid taking in large quantities of calories infrequently as your body will not be able to assimilate more than 50-100 calories at a time. The result can be stomach problems or a bonk as the food remains in the stomach. Take in 50-100 calories along with some plain water every 20-25 minutes during a race or training. Do this consistently. Some people need to set their watch alarm to remind them to eat at regular intervals.
  • During exercise or an event, drink 6 to 12 ounces (150 to 350 ml) of fluid every 20 minutes. Don’t wait; start drinking shortly after you begin. Personalize this quantity—the recommended amount may be too much or too little for you. Experiment with types and quantity based on stomach comfort, body size, and absorption, but make sure you are taking in plain water in addition to your chosen calories for optimal assimilation of calories from the stomach.
  • Select sports drinks that include sodium or consume something containing sodium such as pretzels, chips, salty soup, plus electrolyte tablets.
  • Sports drinks should be 6 to 10 percent carbohydrate concentration for optimal absorption. This is much less of a concentration than advised on the package of most drinks. If you enjoy it more concentrated, like most people, make sure you are cutting your sports drink with a couple swigs of plain water.
  • Carbohydrates are your best source of fuel for events lasting one to a few hours, but I have noticed that the majority of the people I have coached desire some sources of protein and fat—especially in events lasting longer than a few hours (this can be specific to an individual). Too many carbs can be harsh on the stomach or palate. A bit of protein or fat can help settle the stomach and give you a sense of satisfaction. Don’t force-feed a carb-only race diet if it isn’t working for your stomach or your psyche. Experiment and allow yourself to come up with a protocol that works best for you.
  • Eat what you like based on the above guidelines. Make sure that you really, really like the foods you are planning on eating in your event. Even if you start out really liking them, there’s a good chance they will be marginally palatable once you’ve been out there for several hours. Experiment and give yourself options on event day.
  • • Electrolyte tablets with potassium and sodium are known to aid in electrolyte balancing during prolonged exercise. Use electrolyte products as recommended on the package. Adjust quantities based on body size and weather conditions but definitely use them—they may be your lifesaver.

In my next post I’ll discuss some special considerations that can be a reflection of our training and racing nutrition—cramping and nausea. In the meantime, start to log your training and racing intake, what you enjoy and what feels the best in your body. Let me know what you come up with!

Back at you soon,

Terri Schneider

Terri Schneider is a coach, sport psychology consultant, speaker, writer and multi-sport endurance athlete. Visit Terri at www.terrischneider.net. This post was modified from her book, Triathlon Revolution: Training, Technique and Inspiration


Get To Know: Tcho Chocolate

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We’re super excited to work with TCHO Chocolate for our March Kona Kase. We talked to Greta (Manager, Interactive Sales and Marketing) at TCHO HQ to learn more.

John (Kona Kase): What’s the backstory on TCHO?

Greta (TCHO Chocolate): Wow – that’s no small question! TCHO Is New American Chocolate.

TCHO is the innovative craft manufacturer of New American Chocolate that brought chocolate making back to San Francisco. TCHO’s mission is to deliver the purest flavors inherent in the cacao bean to both consumers and professionals. TCHO does that by being involved in every stage of chocolate making, from growing, fermentation, and drying in direct partnership with farmers — through it’s unique TCHOSource program — to roasting and refining, where most other companies start making chocolate. TCHO’s consumer chocolates are award-winning — its Serious Milk chocolates were named the Best Milk Chocolates in the Western Hemisphere. And its professional chocolates are used by the best chefs, confectioners, and bakers in America, from Per Se in New York, to Michael’s Genuine in Miami, to Short Order in LA.

John: What’s the benefit of chocolate for athletes?

Greta: Chocolate has many active ingredients beneficial to athletes. Theobromine promotes focus. Serotonin is mood elevating. Flavanols help create healthy cells. Phenylethlamine is responsible for the feeling of euphoria. Additional research suggests chocolate can help muscles recover post work-out. Personally, I still eat this chocolate every. single. day. Even on the weekends! I keep a few in my bag to pop for energy. Or melt a couple in my morning oatmeal before I peace out for a run. Sometimes I’ll even mix my 99% with fresh almonds or walnuts from my grandparents’ nut orchards as a snack.

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John: What product(s)/flavor(s) are you most excited about right now?

Greta: TCHOIntense 99%! This insanely rich, not bitter, chocolate is not only delicious (albeit strong!), but completely unsweetened – no sugar added! We started this bar as a limited edition, 15 gram bar. People seemed to like the bar and we didn’t have an unsweetened baking chocolate, so we added 99% Critters to our TCHOPro and home baking lines.

kona kase packing tcho chocolate

John: What makes TCHO different than other products like it?

Greta: TCHO is a tree-to-bar manufacturer. Tree-to-bar means we go beyond just buying our beans from origin. Our TCHOSource program works directly with farmers to create the best beans. Once we have the best beans, we co-create our bars with consumers through our Beta program. We’re totally, completely, 110% Flavor-Drive. And we’re really, truly obsessed with our craft.

John: Where do you expect TCHO to be in 5 years?

Greta: Everywhere.

kona kase tcho chocolate source

John: What is a fun fact about chocolate that most of our readers won’t know?

Greta: Most people don’t actually know where chocolate comes from. Chocolate comes from cacao trees; tropical trees only growing 20 degrees either way of the equator. So when you hear a chocolate is “Belgian” or “French” or “Swiss”, the actual cacao is not grown in those countries. In fact, most cacao is grown in West Africa. The Ivory Coast is the world’s #1 producer of cacao, with Ghana at #2. That’s why we call our PureNotes “Chocolatey” bar “Chocolatey” — the beans used in that bar come from Ghana, and consumers’ most associate the flavor of beans from West Africa as the taste of chocolate (since most chocolate bars they have eaten growing up have come from West Africa).

kona kase blog tcho ghana

Unfortunately, West African cacao is hard to trace and may incorporate slavery practices on the cacao farms. TCHOSource, however, is vehemently against slavery. You’ll notice “No Slavery” printed on the back of our bars as a small testament to our devotion to transparency. TCHOSource is currently working with the World Cacao Foundation in Ghana to start big changes in this part of the world.

John: How should readers get in touch with you if they have any additional questions?

Greta: Emailing info@tcho.com is the best way. Or they can always “LIKE” us on Facebook and message us there or message us on Twitter – @TCHOChocolate. TCHO is available online, at its SF store at the factory on Pier 17, from high end purveyors to professionals like Baldor or Pacific Gourmet, and through fine retailers like Draegers and Whole Foods.

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Visiting the Dolphin Club in San Francisco (Part 2 of 2)

This is my second post on the Dolphin Club of San Francisco. The first post is here.

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A few weeks ago, Taylor and I headed out to San Francisco to pack up the February Kona Kase and have a few meetings. After we landed at SFO airport on Sunday afternoon, Taylor drove us straight to the Dolphin Club. According to Taylor, swimming at the Dolphin Club is the thing he misses most about living in San Francisco (Sidenote: He told me this while his mother, who lives in Orinda, was standing about 5 feet from him. She was not pleased to hear his declaration).

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We had none of the proper gear typically involved for a swim in 50 degree water. Like a wetsuit. One of the guys at the clubhouse was kind enough to lend us a couple of thermal swim caps. According to him, without those, “we might be in for some ice cream headaches.” There was a lot of chatter in the locker room regarding the water temperature that day. “51? It was 51.5 when I was out there?” My thought was, who cares – it’s all gonna suck. Apparently at these temperatures, a tenth of a degree is noticeable.

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As we walked out of the locker room door in our stylish swim trunks and thermal swim caps onto the Dolphin Club’s small launching beach, I was struck by the cold windy air and the down jackets being worn by the tourists. Going for swim seemed like a dumb idea. As you can imagine, jumping into the San Francisco bay in mid February is best done with the ‘rip the band-aid off’ approach. The first 20 seconds are painful and take your breath away. The key is to swim like Jaws is coming for you and get your heart rate up.

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We swam to a buoy with a little flag on it. The thermometer read 51 degrees. Not bad. Taylor reminded me to enjoy the view (Presidio beach, Golden Gate Bridge) which I did while fighting early signs of hypothermia. The swim back to the beach was a bit smoother and actually enjoyable. At the beach, walking out of the water makes one feel a little like Daniel Craig in a Bond movie. However, the cold upsets one’s sense of equilibrium so it can be difficult to walk straight for the first couple of minutes. Then you head for a hot shower and sauna. It took my body about 20 minutes to return to its normal temperature. The feeling is incredible and totally addictive.

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It just so happens that there is an In and Out Burger one block from the Dolphin Club. There were a lot of double doubles consumed after our swims. Dean Karnazas eats pizzas during his ultra marathons so we felt we should eat double cheeseburgers after our swims.

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We did 3 swims in the 6 days we were out there. It makes me want to do a lot more open water swimming. Next up? Finding a good spot to do some distance swimming in the Potomac River…

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Visiting the Dolphin Club in San Francisco (Part 1 of 2)

Taylor and I traveled to the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago for several meetings with Kona Kase partner brands,  entrepreneurs, and friends. It was a productive trip – lots of ideas, inspiration, and new people/companies we plan to work with. It was a lot of time in cars, offices, and coffee shops. The exception was three great swims at the Dolphin Club.

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The Dolphin Club is located at the end of Fisherman’s wharf in the Presidio, one of the most visited tourist areas of San Francisco. According to their website, “the Dolphin Club was founded in 1877, and today is a nonprofit, public-access athletic organization with a diverse membership of about 900 women and men.” Primarily, it is an open water swimming and rowing club for the San Francisco Bay. It’s an old white house, the kind of building that you could walk by a million times without noticing.

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The Dolphin Club clubhouse tells lots of good stories through images going back several generations. There are composites from the 1800s of the original members. There are stories of naked midnight swims to Alcatraz and other such endeavors. There are a lot of lists of records, who beat who when and by how much. And the women have definitely made their mark on these lists. This place is chock full of character and years of stories. As I was meandering around taking photos, one of the guys hanging out chatted me up, asking if I was a new member. We chatted for a while and he told me he’d been swimming there for 35 years. He said it has provided him with a sense of inner peace that he couldn’t have found anywhere else. After having done 3 swims there during that week (more on those swims in the next post), I think I understood what he was talking about.

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Get To Know: PocketFuel Naturals

pocketfuel kona kase energy supplement

John (Kona Kase): We saw that some of your team just returned from Asia. What was that all about?
Heidi (PocketFuel): We are always looking for ways to make PocketFuel better so we were in Asia researching machinery for our in-house production. Plus traveling is always FUN!

John: Tell us a little about the background of PocketFuel:
Heidi: PocketFuel is the brainchild of Mark Ribkoff. He is a product designer and innovator who has brought that passion for perfection to PocketFuel. As an athlete with a competitive background and a triathlete training for his first IronMan he was looking for ways to fuel his body in a healthy, simple & portable way. He wanted real food, high in protein, fats and other important nutrients delivered in an easy to digest format. And it had to taste awesomely good.

John: What product(s)/flavor(s) are you most excited about right now?
Heidi: We have just introduced 2 new flavors: Pineapple Coconut and Vanilla Haze, as well as a NEW 20oz pouch. This pouch has a patent-pending tool that can be easily used to refill the smaller 1.8 or 3oz pouches. We are excited at the possibilities this new size and format has opened up for us! You can take your PocketFuel on the road with you, camping, hiking, back-country skiing or sailing and refuel as you need. Or you can use it at home or the office.

John: What makes PocketFuel different than other products like it?
Heidi: PocketFuel is WHOLE FOOD FUEL packaged in an entirely new way. We believe in using the best ingredients and the most innovative packaging we can. We use no preservatives or additives and are committed to selling something that we are passionate about. If we don’t LOVE the taste and texture of something, it doesn’t make the cut!

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Heidi and Mark, co-founders of PocketFuel

John: What are your favorite outdoor activities/adventures?
Heidi: All of us at PocketFuel are committed and stoked athletes. We run, bike, swim, ski, kite, paddle, surf, hike, sail…. whatever gets us OUT playing and enjoying the day. Some of us compete in various events like triathlons (PocketFuel founder Mark’s next event is IronMan Coeur D’Alene) & ultra running (Sales director Heather Pola’s next event is Coyote Backbone 100K Ultra) but we make sure we never lose the FUN!

John: If you could have one celebrity eating PocketFuel, who would it be and why?
Heidi: OOOH, don’t get me started!

John: Where do you expect PocketFuel to be in 5 years?
Heidi: We will be in the pockets and bags of life loving individuals around the globe.

John: How should readers get in touch with you if they have any additional questions?
Heidi: Send us an email right from our website at pocketfuelnaturals.com; we answer that right away or check us out on Facebook & Twitter.

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Spandex Rolodex and Riding Against Cancer

On February 10th, I organized a group of buddies to participate in the Bethesda, MD Cycle for Survival. Our team name was Spandex Rolodex – so you can tell we took ourselves very seriously. I try to ride my bike outside as much as possible, and usually avoid the indoors whenever possible (because I spend enough time there as is). However, when I heard the story behind Cycle and the partnership with Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, getting involved was an easy decision.

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My brother-in-law, Joe, had a good friend, Jennifer Goodman Linn, who was diagnosed with sarcoma, a soft tissue cancer that was attacking her abdomen, in 2004. (According to Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, more than half of cancer patients have a form of the disease considered “rare”, including sarcoma, pancreatic, uterine, cervical, brain, metastatic melanoma, stomach cancer, as well as all pediatric cancers.) Following her diagnosis, she founded Cycle for Survival in 2007 as a way to bring people together and raise money. In 2011, the cancer got the best of Jen and she passed away. However, Cycle has become a huge and very well organized (and very fun) event, raising $29.2 million overall and $11.7 million this year alone for Memorial-Sloan Kettering. So, Jen’s legacy lives on. Big time.

I didn’t know Jen but I think we all know someone who has fallen victim to cancer. A good buddy’s mom died last month from uterine cancer (one of the rare forms of cancer). I went to the funeral in Vermont and like death often does, it reminds us that it’s better to live for today and to spend it with people that make you smile.

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For those of you who have been to a spin class, Cycle for Survival is basically that on steroids. But a lot more people are smiling here. Each rider takes a 45 minute shift and each shift has a spin instructor who resembles something between Rocky Balboa and Susanne Summers. John and I (pictured above) rode two shifts each and soaked the floor below us with sweat. There are moments when Cycle feels like a religious revival, in the best of ways. (*I’ve said the same thing about Bruce Springsteen concerts.)

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You should check out Cycle for Survival and sign up with a team of friends. If you are intimidated because you don’t ride bikes, etc, etc, don’t be. My mom did it and she is __ years old (she would kill me if I put this out publicly but let’s just say she was born a while ago.

Learn more here.

spin bike cycle for survival kona kase

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