H-Town Run Tourists

4 supplements that will help you drop weight before race season.

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

"Supplements" is almost like a dirty word. Most people steer clear of this topic. There are 3 main reasons why people are hesitant to use them.

Reason #1: Supplementation gets a bad wrap for not having the purest products.

Reason #2: They can be very expensive. Is it really necessary to take on a new expense?

Reason #3: There are too many products from too many sources. You can get them online. That is over whelming. You may feel that the salesperson at the vitamin store may just be trying to sell you anything. For these reasons, It is hard to know who to trust. It is important to find a brand you trust from a trusted source.

Why I recommend them and think they are something to consider.

Back in 2005, I began running after I had already lost weight and was on supplements. Runners, myself included, often think that we can lose weight by our running program alone. I had not come to the full appreciation that often times runners are misguided to this fact. As mileage racks up, we often times rationalize a burger and beer diet thinking that we earned it. Then, we have not lost our weight and wonder why. Supplements are a great way to get kick started. They give you the much needed energy to handle workouts. Here are the ones that I use and why. You decide if supplements are right for you.

Multivitamin

With any new training plan, I 100% suggest getting on a multi-vitamin. You are repeatedly putting your body under stress that it is not used to. This can cause havoc on your immune system. A multi-vitamin can help by filling in the gaps of much needed nutrients. You should be on a meal plan that supports your goals which gives you the macronutrients your body needs to perform. A multi-vitamin provides your body with the micronutrients it needs to perform. Just to be clear. Macronutrients means the food you eat that has the nutrients in it. Micronutients means the straight shot pill form of those nutrients.

Added Benefits

Multi-vitamins Increase your collagen production (AKA joint lube), a necessity for runners.

The B Vitamins provide energy, increased metabolism, and red blood cell production.

For ladies, multivitamins often contain folic acid, which are great for hair, skin, and nails.

Fish oil

Good old omega 3 fatty acids is the next go-to supplement. If you can't eat the macronutrient in wild caught salmon and other fatty fish, you can take the pill form. Your Omegas are essential for your brain function, your metabolism, and provide more good lube for your joints. This means more calories burned and less injuries.

Protein shake

Protein is vital to lose fat and build lean muscle. These muscles help you go the distance and give you speed. The thing is, to get all the protein that you need, you will be literally shoving food in your mouth all day. To help get you all the protein you need, definitely start drinking protein shakes. You are going to have to trial and error which are best for you and your performance and body. There are many types of protein. The most common are whey, plant based, casein, and egg white. Personally, with running, plant based is best on the stomach and won't slow you down. Casein, which is what I am using now, is optimal for late night use. It is slow absorption which means it will not make you bloated and cause discomfort while you are sleep. Try some and see which is best for you.

Fat Burner

If you are like me, you want to see results quickly. It is totally optional, but try a fat burner to speed things up. There are a few types so stay with me while I try to explain them in simple terms.

L-Carnitine: an amino acid that is a key ingredient in many fat burners. It is already in your body and simply put helps with the formation of mitochondria (which causes your cells to burn energy). Before I scare you, next…….

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA):

An amino acid that is naturally occurring in proteins such as milk, beef, lamb, and others. it assists with building lean protein while reducing body fat. Next.

Calcium Pyruvate:

I could give you the long explanation, but basically it sends out any unnecessary glucose before your body adsorbs it. It also transports protein to your muscles to promote growth. Remember going the distance.

We have now built a solid supplementation program for you. Funny enough, the fish oil and the multi-vitamin act as mild fat burners too. Begin taking these, you will see your gains increase exponentially…..or is that losses?

Remember, supplements are called supplements because they assist a healthy diet. People, who do badly on supplements usually abuse them through ignorance or bad habits. If you experience nausea or any other bad side effects is is probably because you did not eat enough as many supplements are to be taken with food.

I get my supplements online at Bodybuilding.com. They have a huge selection, but they offer spot on reviews from customers that use them. Look for the supplements that have hundreds and thousands of reviews as opposed to the ones that do not. Stick with the high scoring brands. They offer many articles about supplemenation. They are written by bodybuilders who can be quite technical, but they know their stuff.

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Jose Altuve is on a roll. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

And then there were six. Games left in the Astros’ regular season. Three vs. Tampa Bay then three vs. Philadelphia, all at Minute Maid Park. The first three are important for the Rays as they jockey for Wild Card positioning with the Blue Jays and Mariners. The second three games decide playoffs or no playoffs for the Phillies as they try to stave off the Brewers. The Astros have nothing to play for with regard to the standings but it’s still a fun finish to another fabulous season. 102-54! Matching or topping the franchise record of 107 regular season wins would be grand, but it’s not a goal they’re going to push the limits to achieve. There are a couple individual pursuits of note this final week. We’ll hit those then get to truly important stuff to be settled on before the Astros start their postseason October 11.

Crunching the numbers

Three weeks ago I wrote that Jose Altuve needed a tremendous finishing kick to get there, but that his first .300 batting average season since 2018 was within striking distance. He promptly went one for eight over his next two games, lengthening the odds against him. In 15 games since Altuve has sizzled, banging out 21 hits in 54 at bats for a .389 average. So with six games to go he’s at .297. If Altuve gets 20 more official at bats he needs eight hits.

Yordan Alvarez’s assorted maladies sure cause some indigestion. The knee history, the hands, and now an ankle roll. Yordan is still four RBI short of joining Kyle Tucker with 100+. They’d be the Astros first 100+ tandem since…just three years ago when Alex Bregman (112) and Yuli Gurriel (104) did it.

Setting the playoff rotation

The playoff schedule is stupid in spots, dictated by television. The Astros against To Be Determined in their best-of-five American League Division Series will have game one Tuesday October 11, then a day off before game two Thursday, then a day off before game three Saturday (same is true for Yankees vs. To Be Determined). That’s ridiculous, and gives longtime Astros fans Kevin Brown nightmares (see 1998 NLDS). Unless there’s a three game sweep, game four would be Sunday. Should the series go to a decisive fifth game, there is no off day between games four and five. This impacts starting pitcher planning. Obviously the Astros go Justin Verlander in game one and Framber Valdez in game two. Almost certainly Lance McCullers gets the ball in game three. Then (unless the series is a sweep) there is a decision to be made. First, with the two off days Verlander would be available on four days rest. Up 2-1 last year, after a rainout the Astros brought back McCullers on a shorter four days rest (game one was a night game, game four a day game) and Lance blew out his arm again. If up two games to one, pitching Verlander on “normal” four days rest to go for the kill would take him out of the American League Championship Series until game three, and that would be his only starting availability in the ALCS unless you’d foolishly bring him back on three days rest if there was a game seven. So, if up 2-1 the smarter play is to start Cristian Javier in game four which has Verlander ready to go in a do-or-die game five or if the Astros advance in four, game one of the American League Championship Series. If down 2-1 and you pitch Verlander, if there’s a game five it’s the guy you passed over in game four, or Framber on three days rest.

Yes, Javier in game four, over Jose Urquidy and Luis Garcia because quite simply, Javier is better. Unless Verlander or Valdez gets knocked out early, committing Javier to a bullpen role where he’d throw two or three innings vs. the six or so you’d expect out of him as a starter doesn’t make sense, definitely not with the first round schedule. Presumably Urquidy or Garcia will be on the roster for long reliever duty (carrying both would be poor roster management). The Astros have the best bullpen in the Major Leagues. Getting cute and using Javier over Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero, or Ryan Pressly would be silly. Over Hector Neris or Bryan Abreu? Maybe. When Javier is vulnerable it’s walks and home runs that typically get him, so bringing him in in a tight seventh or eighth inning spot would be a dubious choice given the high caliber alternatives.

As for the roster, teams can change it round by round. Carrying 13 pitchers in a best-of-five with two scheduled off days is impractical. The Astros should carry Yainer Diaz or Korey Lee as a third catcher and David Hensley as an extra utility option. 12 pitchers: Verlander, Valdez, McCullers, Javier, Urquidy OR Garcia, Pressly, Montero, Stanek, Neris, Abreu, Will Smith, Hunter Brown OR Phil Maton.

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