addiction to exercise

New research shows that people who feel compelled to take part in ultra-marathons and other severe endurance races are not masochists but are quite possibly addicted to exercise.

A new study in the August edition of the journal Behavioral Neuroscience showed running may indeed be addictive to the brain in the same way as heroin or morphine.

Stan Jensen is a good example. Author of, he has competed in 20 marathons and 125 ultra-marathons in his lifetime. He said he considered his first race “fun”, but one marathon was not enough and he eventually morphed into an ultra-marathon runner. “There was a time at which I was definitely addicted to running. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the way I felt when I ran and I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment when I finished,” he said.

But it’s not just the brain that keeps you going. You have to have adequately prepared your body and organised nutritional snacks to eat along the way. this is imperative to keep up your stamina.

Whilst researching various ultra-marathons I have come across the name of Hammer Nutrition. Many athletes laud their products, so I thought I should have a closer look as to who and what is Hammer Nutrition…

Hammer Nutrition is a company that understands the needs of endurance athletes and seems to have covered most corners of this market. They pride themselves on marketing quality products to endurance athletes around the globe – a complete line of the finest fuels available. Their products contain only ingredients that promote healthy, steady energy production. None of their products contain any added simple sugars, artificial flavors or colorings, or any questionable, fad, or unproven ingredients.

Kathleen McCormack, having completed the 624 miles, 47,000+ ft of elevation gain, 44:41 total time California Triple Crown Stage Cycling Race, said that to keep her body fueled properly during all those hours on the bike, she relied heavily on Hammer Nutrition products like yummy Caffé Latte Perpetuem, Banana Hammer Gel, Endurolytes, Anti-Fatigue Caps, and Endurance Amino and last but certainly not least…  the fabulous SEAT SAVER chamois cream! Post ride, she always goes straight for an ice cold serving of Hammer Nutritions Recoverite to promote adequate recovery.

Mobility or range-of-motion (ROM) around a joint and the ability to run with EASE and in a RELAXED MANNER is often facilitated by increased flexibility.

Each time your feet hit the ground (approximately 1000 times in only 1-mile of running) your body needs to be strong and stiff to resist ground forces and transfer deceleration into acceleration. If you are functionally strong, you will run faster and easier than if you have great levels of flexibility.

“The body is (simply) a chain of stabile segments connected to mobile joints. When there’s a break in that chain, problems usually ensue,” says Gary Cook.

Competitors at the Badwater marathon, the toughest endurance race in the world, who used Hammer products sware by them. Jamie Donaldson, took top honors in the Women’s division again this year, and her time of 27 hours, 20 minutes, 18 seconds was good for 5th place overall. She recently commented that “this was my best-feeling Badwater ever! It was considerably hotter than last year by 5-10 degrees and I didn’t have one stomach issue using only Perpeteum, Endurolytes, and Hammer Gel. Amazing! Also, I LOVED the caffé latte of Perpetuem! That flavor rocks! I placed 1st female in the second fastest time for a woman ever in 27:20.”

67-year-old Arthur Webb of Santa Rosa, CA, finished his 11th Badwater, and his time of 46:35.29 placed him a fantastic 37th overall, but he suffered major problems early on in the race and said “if it was not for the Endurolytes and HEED I probably would not have made it. But consuming these products gave me the ability to finish off the Badwater race in 46:35 and buckled for my eleventh time .”

So who and what is Hammer Nutrition?

Hammer Nutrition has recognised the fact that endurance athletes often focus on carb intake, and leave protein considerations for the weight lifters and bodybuilders. Differences in goals and body type aside, the fact is that endurance athletes also need a considerable amount of protein, mainly in two protein demands:

  • to repair and rebuild muscle tissue;
  • to protect and enhance immune system functioning.

Lean muscle mass can be lost at a considerable rate during exercise, especially if protein is deficient in the fueling and lengthy training sessions greatly stress the immune system. Athletes with inadequate protein intake are susceptible to over-training syndrome, overuse injuries, slow healing of injuries, and catching colds and other ailments.

Whey protein, because of its fast absorption, is the ideal recovery protein for post-exercise use. Soy is best during exercise, as it is least likely to produce ammonia, which in turn contributes to muscle fatigue.

There is a relatively easy system to work out your optimum protein intake in grams should be:

  • multiply your body weight in kilograms (pounds divided by 2.2) by 1.4 to 1.7, depending on the intensity of your exercise.

Serious endurance athletes do need considerable amounts of protein, far above the normal adult RDA, because maintenance, repair, and growth of lean muscle mass all depend on it,as well as optimum immune system function. Low dietary protein lengthens recovery time, causes muscle weakness,and suppresses the immune system.

Chronic protein deficiency will cancel the beneficial effects of your workouts; instead, you will become susceptible to fatigue, lethargy, anemia, and possibly even more severe disorders. Athletes with over-training syndrome usually have protein deficiency.

Pain Killers

The other thing that is of interest to all you marathon, ultra-marathon or endurance athletes out there is you should know the effects that popping ibuprofen pills has on an athlete.

David Nieman, a well-regarded physiologist and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus, was asked to look at the stresses that was placed on the participants of endurance racing.

Nieman and the race authorities had anticipated that the rigorous distance and altitude would affect runners’ immune systems and muscles, and they did, but another of their findings suprised everyone…

After looking at racers’ blood work, he determined that some of the ultramarathoners were supplying their own physiological stress, in tablet form. Those runners who’d popped over-the-counter ibuprofen pills before and during the race displayed, at the end of the race, significantly more inflammation and other markers of high immune system response than the runners who hadn’t taken anti-inflammatories. The ibuprofen users also showed signs of mild kidney impairment and, both before and after the race, of low-level endotoxemia, a condition in which bacteria leak from the colon into the bloodstream.

Seven out of ten of the runners were using ibuprofen before and, in most cases, at regular intervals throughout the race, he says. “There was widespread use and very little understanding of the consequences.”

Rather a solemn article today – but facts that one should know about.