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Entries in Nike (2)

Tuesday
Feb162010

Steve Nash's No-Sugar Diet

This may be the first entry so far that is completely self-explanatory, thanks to the title.

 Odds are I don't need to explain to you who Steve Nash is, so instead of repeating his bio, I'll save some time.  I was blown away earlier today when I found out how seriously Steve Nash takes his nutrition and how closely he monitors what foods he eats.  His diet is pretty simple and as "idiot-proof" as it gets:

No sugar.

That's it.  Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate, no calculations, or balancing of macronutrients each day. 

Nash guest-wrote a column for Men's Journal back in December 2009 where he outlined his discovery of what eliminating sugars from his diet could do for his health and NBA career:

"Refined sugars, Dr. Jain told me, impair your immune system. In fact, one teaspoon of refined sugar suppresses our white blood cells for up to six hours, making it a lot easier to catch a cold. I really can’t afford colds during the season, so that’s all I needed to hear: I cut out refined sugars cold turkey. No M&M’s at the movies, no energy bars, no Gatorade — I even had to be more careful when going to Jamba Juice, because sometimes they use sugar-filled juice from concentrate. After a few months, I stopped craving sugar entirely."

"The difference was instantaneous: I slept better, I recovered from workouts more easily, and I had more energy. When we started training camp in September, we were doing two-a-days — four or five hours on the court — and I never got sore. Even more telling is the fact that this summer I traveled all over the world for my foundation, bringing team sports to war-ravaged countries. I was missing out on sleep and still training the whole time, but I never got sick. I’ve got to think it’s because sugar wasn’t wearing me down."

        

Steve Nash is also a big fan of green tea, one of my personal favorites.  His meals in an average day (aside from a fiber breakfast cereal) generally follow Paleo qualities (lean chicken, fish, lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds).  He even replaces the dairy milk at breakfast with rice milk or almond milk.

There's even a site dedicated to anecdotes around Nash's great nutritional habits and the effects they've had on NBA teammates like Shaq (now with the Cavs) and Jared Dudley.

Aside from being a two-time MVP,  one of my favorite pro athletes, and generally all-around cool guy, Steve Nash is yet another athlete who proves that you can compete at a high level, well into your thirties when you take command of what goes into your body.  More times than not, the better foods that go into your system, the better performances and overall health that will result.

Here's a Nike video where Steve Nash shows off his multi-sport skills:

Sunday
Jan242010

Nike vs Under Armour

After group fitness class one day, someone asked me if I had a contract with Under Armour.  Much of my workout gear is from Under Armour, so I assume this is what sparked the question.  My answer was "No, unfortunately" since I am no where close to a fitness model or famous enough to get paid for wearing a specific brand of athletic apparel.  The question sparked a longer conversation between us that eventually landed on the debate of "are you a Nike person or an Under Armour person?"  I thought I would follow up that debate with some informal analysis here.

 

 

 As most know, Nike became famous for being a basketball brand thanks in large part to Air Jordan, and continued today thanks to LeBron and Kobe.  Not many are aware though that Nike originated as a running shoe brand, which is part of the reason they are still prevalent in the track & field market.

  Under Armour basically originated the "dry fit"-style football undershirt, but has clearly branched out into so much more these days thanks to the launch of their running shoe line, and continued branch out into nearly all forms of athletic apparel.

Nike holds a solid presence in football, featured by their Pro Combat line.  I was actually a Nike-guy my entire football life, I never wore anything other than Nike cleats, and that is despite playing for a school with a two-year contract with Reebok until I was a junior.

Under Armour has not yet penetrated the football cleat market as deeply as Nike, but their apparel is closing fast.  They have also been smart to go after the youth/high-school market with their name-sponsored high school football All-American game being one example.  Nike has attempted to counter this with their SPARQ training brand.  

Moving strictly to observations (and admittedly this sample size is limited to what I see at my gym each day or runners I notice while driving down the street) it seems as though Nike is somewhat more popular in the female demographic as it relates to runners.  I've been told their running/fitness apparel is "cute" by lots of women, whereas the options are somewhat more limited for men.  Both genders have great shoe options, however as it relates to apparel, Nike seems to put more of its efforts behind the basketball market (another comparison would be how Adidas directs most of its apparel towards the soccer market).

 While I played football (and high school basketball) in nothing but Nikes, I'm strictly an Under Armour shoe person for running and workouts.  Saucony is an outlier since I do have a couple pairs of their running shoes, but I don't want to stray from the main two focuses of this debate.  When Under Armour launched their running shoe line in January of 2009, I picked up a pair and was blown away with how good they were.  It seems as though the general public consensus is that they are solid shoes, which goes to show that as important as fashion may be, quality always wins when it comes to athletic footwear.

I should also say that I had the chance to meet and workout with Team USA Women's Soccer Olympian (and Under Armour endorser) Heather Mitts recently, who told me Under Armour running shoes were "by far" the best shoe she has ever worn for serious runners and athletes.  I was already wearing UA shoes at the time, so I don't think she was trying to "sell" me. 

I'm not sure what degree of market-share UA may have claimed from Nike since they dove into the footwear and overall athletic apparel battle.  You'd probably have to check with people like CNBC's Darren Rovell (Twitter: @darrenrovell1) or Brian Gainor of www.PartnershipActivation.com (Twitter: @briangainor). 

My .02 cents: Nike is still the king of sports apparel and footwear since Under Armour truly only goes head-to-head in football, lacrosse, softball, and a few other olympic sports contested on the high school level.  Nike largely runs unopposed in basketball, golf, track & field, and a few others.

With that said, it is a testament to Under Armour's tremendous products, sharp marketing, and well-thought-out business plan that they have been able to make up so much ground in a relatively small amount of time.

*Hopefully this is the first installment of these, I welcome comments and feedback on your own Nike/UA product experiences.