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brian mackenzieMarc Pro Athlete Spotlight: Brian MacKenzie

It’s hard to believe that there could be any new or earth-shattering developments in the world of endurance sports, but Brian MacKenzie has shaken things up. The founder of CrossFit Endurance, a wildly successful offshoot of the CrossFit franchise that focuses on long distance events and triathlon training, created some controversy with his new approach to running.

We recently spoke with him about his fitness regimen.

The CrossFit Endurance (CFE) approach

CFE uses high-intensity interval training to improve endurance, a topic that Brian knows a lot about considering the 30-plus ultramarathons under his belt. He hosts more than 70 seminars a year in his capacity as coach, teaching athletes about this approach to training that focuses on strength and muscle conditioning. The right balance enables athletes to achieve higher performance in such endurance sports as running, swimming, and cycling.

Brian points out that even doing a simple squat can impact running performance. As the hips, ankles and knees align and interact to perform one rep, an athlete can better understand how the body works. By running alone, you lose the connection with other aspects of movement. Brian’s background as a movement specialist was instrumental in discovering this unique benefit of strength training.

Alternatives to long-distance running for endurance training

Rather than building on distance every week, Brian suggests swapping cardio for strength training to increase muscular stamina, as well as focusing more on functional strength. A typical workout session, aka Workout of the Day (WOD) might include:

o 8 x 200m sprints with a 2-minute rest in between
o Gymnastics
o Bodyweight training, like air squats, pull-ups, and lunges
o Power lifting, including kettlebell swings, presses and tire flips.

CrossFit Endurance is based on this type of high-intensity interval training, as it earns athletes the same results with less running – and much less stress on muscles and joints.

Tactics to improve performance after sessions

Like many endurance athletes, the training doesn’t end for Brian just because his workout is complete.

Unless an athlete dedicates time and effort to a post-workout recovery routine, a hard-core session takes its toll on the body and decreases any potential muscular and performance benefits from all that hard work. The benefits and gains come during the body’s recovery phase. That’s why it’s so important to take all the necessary steps to make sure your body recovers fully after each workout.

Brian highly recommends Marc Pro to marathoners and all endurance athletes. “They want to train more and don’t understand that can’t happen unless they recover better. [They succeed] only to break themselves.”

Brian’s favorite Marc Pro tip: using Marc Pro between intervals / sets vs. just after training. Poof! Mind blown.

Brian’s favorite thing about Marc Pro: ease of use and controllability

There’s no doubt that Brian will continue to find success with his unique approach to training, as he’s gained quite a following among professional sports players. Baseball, football and surfing athletes see the value in strength and conditioning alongside running or other endurance activities. Before long, his theories about long distance running will no longer seem so controversial.

To learn more about Brian and his training approach, follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

peanut butter as performance sports supplementYou might spend a lot of time reading fitness industry publications or searching the Internet for the best health supplements, but sometimes you’re looking for a nutritional boost that’s easy and readily available at your local supermarket. Peanut butter as a performance sports supplement has shown promise among fitness pros and novices alike as it offers many of the same health benefits as other highly touted products. Here’s what the hype is all about.

Peanut butter is a good source of protein

When eaten in moderation – around two tablespoons – peanut butter has seven grams of protein. In itself, this amount isn’t all that earth-shattering, considering that a person who works out regularly and weighs 200 pounds needs about 100-150 grams per day. However, you can boost your protein intake by accompanying your PB sandwich with a glass of milk. Your snack soon weighs in at 28 grams of protein, which is a decent portion of your daily requirement.

It’s great for runners

Carbohydrates are great for endurance workouts like running, but some forms are better than others. Peanut better leads to a more satiated feeling of fullness, for a time period much longer than if you’d eaten pasta or crackers before an endurance run. That sensation can go a long way when you’re approaching the finish line of a 5K or mile 13 of a marathon.

The reason that peanut butter surpasses other high-carb foods lies in the source of the carbohydrates. Refined or simple sugars will send your insulin levels through the roof for a short time after you consume them, but they’ll drop quickly once you’re about halfway into a sweat session. The fat, protein and fiber in peanut butter enable the health benefits to be released slowly, over time.

Reduce your risk of heart disease

A PB&J sandwich isn’t a treat you need to relinquish to childhood memories because peanut butter as a performance sports supplement has a positive impact on heart health. It contains mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, which have been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease when consumed as part of an overall healthy diet. Add it to smoothies or enjoy it as a snack on apples and bananas.

Peanut butter is an excellent source of nutrients

There are more heart health benefits in the vitamins and minerals included with every tablespoon of peanut butter. Folate, vitamin E, and magnesium have been shown to decrease your risk of heart disease while magnesium also reduces diabetes in adults. Peanut butter also contains zinc, which strengthens your immune system and keeps you in the game.

Peanut butter makes a quick, easy snack

The convenience of peanut butter puts it at the top of the list of sports supplements, as you can make up a sandwich in just a few minutes. You can also spread it on celery sticks, add it to a smoothie or enjoy it with an apple to further increase peanut butter’s healthful benefits.

These facts about peanut butter as a performance sports supplement might have you welcoming your favorite childhood sandwich back into your diet. So explore your options and start spooning up the benefits of peanut butter.