Cupertino High School Cross
of the Pioneers
Head Coach Paul Armstrong
Health and Fitness
This page was last updated: 8/17/14
Fine-tuning a diet to
fuel your active life
By Alex Kostich
Makeover will focus on nutrition for the endurance athlete. A year ago, Bob
Petraglia from Boston, Mass., began swimming 800 meters three times a week
for fun and fitness. As most of us find, he was addicted to the endorphin
rush that his newfound exercise provided, and within six months Bob was up to
2,000 meters six times a week (with 3,000 meters on the seventh day).
This fall, he plans to race in the annual 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater swim,
and depending on how that goes, perhaps a five-mile swim in St. Croix.
These are ambitious goals for a relative newcomer to the sport, but having
spoken with Bob I’m confident that he’ll be crossing the finish
line in both events with no problem at all.
Bob had questions regarding his daily diet and how he could maintain or gain
back some of his weight; he has dropped 18 pounds since he started swimming,
only half of those pounds intentional and necessary.
At 5’9” and 152 pounds, Bob needs to be about 160 pounds,
according to Leigh Fish, MS RD, a Los Angeles-based registered dietician who
specializes in athletes (her boyfriend Josh also happens to be a triathlete
on the US National Team!).
Given that I am not a registered dietician or nutritionist, I have deferred
all advice that follows to Leigh — and have only served to break it
down into a reader-friendly article (and I’ve learned a few things from
our guest source in the process …so thank you, Leigh).
Bob writes that he feels healthier, more alert, and a lot hungrier than ever
before since he began swimming on a daily basis. This is natural, and he
needs to increase his intake of carbohydrates in a specific way to avoid
losing more weight — while sustaining the energy he needs for optimum
Most people assume that binge-ing on pasta, grains and breads is the best way
to gain the quick energy needed for endurance training. Wrong.
According to Leigh, Bob needs to keep his metabolism running all day long
with frequent snacking, and not just three large carbo-friendly meals.
“Eating only large meals may not give you the sustained energy that you
need for an intense swim workout, especially if your most recent meal was
more than two hours before the training session,” she explains.
“Although you wouldn’t want to have a large meal right before
your swim, a small snack which is mainly carbs, such as a cup of juice or a
half a granola bar, would be just right.”
Bob supplied me with a comprehensive daily diet breakdown of foods he eats
and snacks on (which I forwarded to Leigh), and vegetables were the only food
group that was somewhat neglected.
“Including vegetables in your lunch and dinner meals is very
important,” says Leigh, “because it allows you to eat a large
volume of food without a large amount of calories. Be sure to choose an array
of colors when eating fruits and vegetables, as this will provide you with
the multitude of vitamins and minerals that you need before, during, and
after your workouts. Remember, not everything comes in a pill, even if
it’s a multivitamin.” (Great advice, if you ask
me … like most people I know, I rely on vitamins more than I should
for my daily allowances).
Bob’s diet could also use more dairy, and Leigh recommends consuming it
after the tough workouts.
“Reloading with a protein/carbohydrate food is useful to replete any
glycogen stores that may have been lost in heavy training. Good options are a
glass of milk, low fat ice cream, cottage cheese, or yogurt.”
Bob’s consumption of protein is Herculean, with generous daily portions
of chicken, nuts, hamburgers, and tuna. Leigh reminds him that fish and eggs
are another protein source not to be overlooked.
Bob’s only apparent vice is a passionate addiction to Doritos. A
whopping five times a week at up to 10 handfuls a pop, this is the one area
that gave Leigh the right to slap our subject with a major meal makeover.
“‘10 healthy handfuls a day’! Now really, how healthy can a
handful of Doritos be? A good substitute here would be pretzels," Leigh says.
"In the meantime, weaning yourself off the Doritos would be a wise option
since your dependence seems to be so … immense! "Allow yourself
Doritos three times a week and limit your intake to two handfuls that fit
into a small bowl. If you want more, refill the bowl ... with pretzels!
Slowly, your dependence will just turn into a now-and-again indulgence.
Comment from the peanut gallery: My guilty pleasure is ice cream, and since
speaking with Leigh I’ve begun weaning myself off of those
easy-to-consume-in-one-sitting Ben & Jerry’s pints. Instead,
I’ve stocked my fridge with Ben & Jerry’s frozen yogurt, and
I now only allow myself a half-pint (served in a bowl instead of right from
the carton). Hopefully I’m getting my post-workout protein fix while
weaning myself off of those oh-so-good-but-oh-so-bad fat calories.
As far as monitoring his weight, Bob need only step on a scale once a week.
Daily scale-stepping will show minor fluctuations that can wreak havoc on
one’s psyche and contribute to hyper-self-analysis — not a good
road to go down.
Instead, a weekly weigh-in can give you a consistent reading that over time
will paint an accurate picture of where your body weight is, and should
Bob is an avid vitamin- and mineral-taker, and although Leigh admits that
most people would rather rely on a pill for their essential needs, she stands
by her claim that there is no comparison to vitamins nd minerals gleaned from
She does, however, suggest the occasional extra dose of Vitamin C and E,
given the endurance athlete’s above-average training intensity:
“Vitamin C and E are good antioxidants, especially for endurance
athletes who experience a great deal of oxidative damage during long bouts of
cardiovascular activity. It can’t hurt to take this, but also may not
be necessary each day.”
Finally, the last bit of wisdom that Leigh offered to impart to Bob (and
possibly to more than a few readers of this column), is the “if a
little is good, then a lot is better” misconception about protein
Given Bob’s healthy meat consumption discussed earlier, there is little
reason for him to boost his protein intake with powders and energy bars in
his between-meal snacks.
“Considering the intensity level that you are swimming, you need, at
the most, 1.2b/kg of protein per day," Leigh said. "For a 152-pound man, this
is only 83 grams of protein. 1 cup of milk for breakfast, 3 oz. of turkey and
1 slice of cheese for lunch, and 5 oz. of turkey for dinner provides about 87
grams of protein. Some protein powders in smoothies can offer up to 25 grams
of protein (and 100 calories), all of which are unneeded in Bob’s
Although the above overview is broad and has been written to apply to the
general active population, it is important to note that the feedback came
after a comprehensive analysis by a registered dietician. It was based on an
individual of a certain height and weight, with detailed specifics of the
subject’s diet plan. Anyone considering a drastic change to their
eating habits (for better or worse) is urged to consult a registered
dietician or nutritionist who can outline a plan to address each
individual’s specific needs.
The Importance of Muscle
Excerpted from Active.com 8/20/02
Runners therefore need to do
everything in their power to accelerate muscle recovery after exercise.
First, in the first two hours after completing each workout, they need to
take in water, carbohydrate, electrolytes, protein, and antioxidants. This
will promote rapid rehydration, replenishment of muscle and liver glycogen,
and muscle tissue repair, and will reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness.
Runners should also stretch their running muscles immediately after each
workout, as this accelerates the removal of metabolic wastes from the muscles
and prevents tightening of the muscles.
And finally, at some point prior to the next workout, runners should engage
in self-massage to reduce tissue welling, increase bloodflow, and relieve
muscular adhesions and trigger points.
Knowing how to
use your mental tools can boost your running performance and
By Dr. Rob Udewitz
During most runs the road is laid out in front of us and we can see
where we are at and where we want to go.
I often do my most challenging runs on the Reservoir in New York
City's Central Park. There is a spot I've noticed at the Reservoir
where the path turns and I can see only a few feet ahead. However, if
I look to my left I can see clear to the spot where my hard run will
end in about 400 meters.
It is at this moment where my mind has a choice. I can keep my
gaze forward and see only where I'm at, or I can look to my left at
see where I want to be. On the surface, my first choice promises
nothing more than limited scenery, my own heavy breathing and the
pain of lactic acid buildup. The second choice holds the promise of a
beautiful view of the water and the place I want to be , the place
where all the pain will stop.
Initially, the better choice seems obvious.
George Sheehan (Running to Win, 1992) wrote, "Of all the
lessons sport teaches us about life, perhaps none is more dramatic
than the danger of focusing on the outcome."
This statement is most closely associated with our tendency to
focus solely on success or failure and winning or losing. Most of us
know that when these factors become our primary goal, performance and
pleasure usually suffer. During a strenuous workout or challenging
race, a primary focus on the finish line (even if you're not worrying
about your time or place) can also put you at a disadvantage.
Goal setting and quieting your mind
Runners sometimes wait to "figure out" goals such as distance and
pace during the actual run. They can fill their minds with thoughts
like "run hard to that lamppost" or "just one more lap around." The
mental chatter of goal-setting and goal-shifting during a run can
detract from the pure pleasure of your run.
Setting a goal prior to your workout will allow you to quiet your
mind of these thoughts and allow you to focus on your run. When
setting your goal for a run, account for variables like
cardiovascular conditioning, workout schedules, weather conditions
and how you feel that day. If your training calls for a harder
workout, try setting a moderately challenging goal before the run
based on these factors.
Then make modifications, if necessary, after you've warmed up. If
your schedule calls for an easy day, try to keep your mind on making
your run as comfortable as possible. Setting a goal while allowing
for flexibility will put your mind at ease and reward you with more
Distraction and running
There are many places to direct your attention during a run.
Running is a great opportunity to experience nature, people-watch or
just review the struggles and triumphs of your day. Others prefer to
listen to music that inspires them to persevere or distracts them
The problem with distraction, however, is that it leaves little
room for awareness to experience what you are actually doing.
It's possible that we freely place our minds on everything else
because running can come so naturally to us. Running is easy and most
people can do it with minimal instruction, but it can also be very
hard, requiring great effort. As the distance and intensity of a run
increases, the simple mechanics of your stride begin to change and
break down. Maintaining some focus on these elements will help you
stay efficient, more comfortable and are guaranteed to bring you more
pleasure during your run.
Staying in touch with your mind and body during a run will help
you reduce negative thoughts and physical discomfort. You'll also be
better able to avoid injuries by differentiating between types of
pain. When you are unable to maintain your form because of
discomfort, you are at a greater risk of injury and are better off
slowing down or stopping.
Checking in with your body also allows you to warm up better and
get into the flow of the run more evenly. If you are listening to a
Walkman, the intensity of your run is more likely to be dictated by
the tempo of the song rather than how you actually feel.
Subsequently, you may go too fast before you've sufficiently warmed
up and leave yourself prone to injury.
Body awareness on the run
You might think that running comes so naturally to experienced
runners that they freely allow their minds to wander. Actually, elite
runners often use a flexible style of focus that changes with the
demands of the run. When the going is easy, they may pay attention to
other things, but they continuously "check in" with their bodies.
When the going gets tougher, they pay particular attention
internally, to their minds and bodies.
Focusing inward gives you greater control of your run. Our
tendency is to try to ignore the pain that can come from a tough run;
but when we ignore, we ultimately lose control.
Becoming involved in the rhythm of your breath, choosing a
specific breathing rhythm like "three steps in; two steps out", can
help your lungs more efficiently exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide
and flush lactic acid from your muscles. Maintaining awareness of
your form can help relax your muscles, reduce pain and allow you to
run faster and farther.
Our first inclination is to distract ourselves from negative
thoughts when we feel their weight bearing down on our minds. If we
consistently ignore a persistent thought, we often end up fueling its
power and pull. We are telling our mind that it is too scary to "go
there," and our fear subsequently grows.
Paying attention to these thoughts might be another path to
managing them. If you really follow your thoughts, you may notice
that they are more associated with how you might feel in the
future, rather than how you actually feel in the present.
We may think, "Wow, how will I ever finish this run if it feels so
tough now?" Even though the future could be as short as a few seconds
away, you really cannot know for sure how you will feel down
During a tough run, we may worry that we cannot maintain intensity
or even make it to the finish. But these thoughts, although very
real, often have no basis in reality. We do, however, have control of
the present moment.
If we remain aware of our thoughts we are better able to
understand their basis in reality and connect with how we actually
feel in the present. Finally, you leave yourself open to the very
real possibility that you might actually feel better down the road!
If you keep bringing your mind back to the moment you will be
better able to manage how you feel during your run. You may notice
that you feel pretty good or you may be able to change your breathing
and form to help yourself feel better.
Many runners successfully manage negative thoughts by noticing
them while detaching from them emotionally. Some effective strategies
might be to think, "Oh, there are my negative thoughts again." Or you
could actually say hello to them and invite them in. Much like an
annoying houseguest, these thoughts are often less emotionally
draining when you welcome them and take them lightly.
If you really are having difficulty with negative thinking,
you may experience a great sense of power in knowing that you can
maintain the intensity of your run while feeling so lousy.
Let your mind flow
The beauty of running is that there is so much time to think. The
ability to engage our bodies while allowing our mind to flow may
account for the great emotional benefits of running. There are no
right or wrong ways to think or feel, but having some mental tools to
try will reward you with the most pleasure from your runs.
Proper fueling prevents
fatigue during long workouts
By Nancy Clark, MS, RD
I'm at the gym from 5:30 to 7:00 pm and feel exhausted by the end of my
workout. What can I do to prevent fatigue?"
"I'm training for a marathon ... I dread the
long runs. I'm dragging after 12 miles. Any suggestions for how to boost my
"I'm whipped by the end of my after-school
soccer practices ..."
Sound familiar? Preventing fatigue is the No. 1
concern of active people who exercise for more than an hour.
This article can help you enjoy high energy and
enhanced stamina during long, hard exercise sessions. (For shorter exercise
sessions, a pre-exercise snack and some water should fuel you well.)
To prevent fatigue during extensive exercise
that lasts for more than 60 to 90 minutes, you have two nutrition goals:
1. To prevent dehydration
2. To prevent your blood sugar from dropping
The following tips can help you reach those goals.
Sweat and dehydration
When you exercise hard, you sweat. Sweating is
the body's way of dissipating heat and maintaining a constant internal
temperature (98.6°F).During hard exercise, your muscles can generate 20 times
more heat than when you are at rest.
You dissipate this heat by sweating. As the
sweat evaporates, it cools the skin. This in turn cools the blood, which
cools the inner body. If you did not sweat, you could cook yourself to
A body temperature higher than 106°F damages the
cells. At 107.6°F, cell protein coagulates (like egg whites do when they
cook), and the cell dies. This is one serious reason why you shouldn't push
yourself beyond your limits in very hot weather.
When you sweat for more than an hour, you lose
significant amounts of water from your blood. The remaining blood becomes
more concentrated and has, for example, an abnormally high sodium level. This
triggers the thirst mechanism and increases your desire to drink.
To quench your thirst, you have to replace the
water losses and bring the blood back to its normal concentration.
Unfortunately for athletes, this thirst
mechanism can be an unreliable signal to drink. Hence, you should plan to
drink before you are thirsty. By the time your brain signals thirst, you may
have lost 1 percent of your body weight, the equivalent of 1.5 pounds (24
ounces) of sweat for a 150-pound person.
This 1 percent loss corresponds with the need
for your heart to beat an additional three to five times per minute. This
contributes to early fatigue.
Thirst sensations change with age and older
people, even athletes, become less sensitive to thirst. For example,
56-year-old hikers became progressively dehydrated during 10 days of
strenuous hill walking. The younger, 24-year-old hikers remained adequately
hydrated. This means older people, in particular, should carefully monitor
their fluid intake.
Light-colored urine, in significant volume, is a
sign of adequate hydration.
Most athletes voluntarily replace less than half
of sweat losses; thirst can be blunted by exercise or overridden by the mind.
To be safe, always drink enough to quench your thirst, plus a little more.
If you know how much you sweat, you can then
replace those losses according to a plan. To learn your sweat rate (and fluid
targets), weigh yourself naked before and after a workout. For every pound
(16 ounces) you lose, you should strive to replace 13 to 16 ounces (80 to 100
percent of that loss) while exercising.
This requires training your gut to handle this
volume. Do not drink more water if your stomach is already sloshing; enough
You might find it helpful to figure out how many
gulps of water equate to 16 ounces, and even set an alarm wristwatch to
remind you to drink on schedule. You'll also need to plan on having the right
quantity of enjoyable fluids readily available. Do not be in such a rush to
start your workout that you fail to bring with you the sports drinks and
fluids that will enhance your efforts.
Carbohydrates and blood sugar
As I?ve mentioned above, you can significantly
increase your stamina by consuming a pre-exercise snack that provides fuel
for the first hour of the workout and by drinking adequate fluids during
The third trick to enhancing endurance is to
consume carbs after an hour of exercise. Depending on your body size and
ability to tolerate fuel while you work out, you'll want to target 100 to 250
calories of carbohydrates per hour of endurance exercise.
The larger you are, the more calories you need.
For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should target about 250 calories
per hour, such as 8 ounces of a sports drink every 15 minutes, or a
250-calorie energy bar plus water.
During a moderate to hard endurance workout,
carbohydrates supply about 50 percent of the energy. As you deplete
carbohydrates from muscle glycogen stores, you increasingly rely on the carbs
(sugar) in your blood for energy. By consuming carbohydrates such as sports
drinks, bananas, or energy bars during exercise, you can both fuel your
muscles as well as maintain a normal blood sugar level.
Because your brain relies on the sugar in your
blood for energy, keeping your brain fed helps you think clearly, concentrate
well, and remain focused. So much of performance depends on mental stamina;
maintaining a normal blood sugar level is essential to optimize your workouts
and boost your stamina.
Your body doesn't care if you ingest solid or
liquid carbohydrates, both are equally effective forms of fuel. You just have
to learn which sports snacks settle best for your body: gels, gummy bears,
dried figs, animal crackers, defizzed cola, whatever.
Despite popular belief, sugar can be a positive
snack during exercise and is unlikely to cause you to "crash" (experience
hypoglycemia). That's because sugar feedings during exercise result in only
small increases in both insulin and blood glucose. Yet, too much sugar or
food taken at once can slow the rate at which fluids leave the stomach.
Hence, "more" is not always better.
Because consuming 100 to 250 calories per hour
of exercise (after the first hour) may be far more than you are used to
taking in during exercise, you need to practice fueling while exercising to
figure out what foods and fluids settle best.
You'll learn through trial and error which
snacks help prevent fatigue, boost performance and contribute to enjoyment of
your long, hard workouts
protein: The truth about supplements
By Nancy Clark, MS, RD
When you look at the ads in almost any sports publication, you cannot
help but notice the supplement industry is hard at work promoting
protein powders, bars and shakes.
Their goal: to convince athletes they need extra protein to build
muscles and recover from exercise. Never before have I talked to so
many frenzied athletes, bodybuilders and marathoners alike, who are
worried their standard diets are protein-deficient and inadequate to
support their sports program. They commonly ask: What's the best
My response: Why do you think you even need a protein supplement
in the first place? You can easily get the protein you need through
standard foods. Believe it or not, very few athletes need any type of
Yes, protein supplements can be helpful in certain medical
situations. For example, an athlete with anorexia may be more willing
to consume a protein shake than eat tuna, cottage cheese or chicken.
Patients with cancer or AIDS often benefit from protein supplements
if they are unable to eat well.
But I have yet to meet a healthy athlete who is unable to consume
adequate protein through his or her sports diet. Hence, the purpose
of this article is to look at the myths and facts surrounding protein
supplements, so you can make informed decisions regarding your sports
How much is enough?
Only 10% to 15% of total calories need to come from protein.
Although athletes require slightly more protein than does a sedentary
person, a hungry athlete tends to eat hefty meals with large portions
of protein-rich foods.
That extra peanut butter sandwich, second chicken breast at dinner
and taller glass of milk satisfies any and all protein needs without
Following are recommendations for a safe, adequate protein
(numbers are given for grams per pound of body weight, with an
example for a 150-pound person):
- Sedentary person: 0.4 gms/lb; 60 gms/150 lb person
- Recreational exerciser, adult: 0.5 - 0.75, 75 -112
- Competitive athlete, adult: 0.6 - 0.9, 90 - 135
- Growing teenage athlete: 0.8 - 0.9, 120 - 135
- Dieting athlete, reduced calories: 0.8 - 0.9, 120 - 135
- Maximum for all healthy athletes: 0.9 gram/lb (2 gm/kg)
Note: Protein needs change depending upon calorie
intake. That is, if you are dieting to lose weight and are in
calorie deficit, you will need more protein than if you are
eating adequate calories. Your muscles burn protein for energy
when fuel is scarce.
Example: If you weigh 160 pounds and want the maximum
acceptable protein intake (0.9 gms pro/lb), you'd need 144 grams
of protein ? an amount you could easily consume from a day's diet
that includes 1 quart skim milk (30 gms protein), 1 can tuna (30
gms pro), and 8 ounces chicken breast (70 gms pro).
The small amounts of protein you get from the foods that fill
out the rest of your diet (cereal, bread, broccoli, frozen
yogurt, etc.) will bring you to more than 144 grams of protein.
More protein will not be "better."
And no scientific evidence supports the idea the protein or
amino acids in supplements are in any way superior to the protein
from eggs, milk, lean meats, fish, soy or other ordinary
Is more better?
Eating more than the recommended protein intake offers no
benefits. Apart from being costly, a protein-based diet commonly
displaces important carbs from the diet. That is, if you have an
omelet and a protein shake for breakfast instead of cereal with
banana, you'll consume fewer carbs to fuel your muscles
Carbs are the primary fuel for athletes who do muscle-building
resistance exercise. Once your muscles become carb-depleted,
fatigue sets in and your workout is over. Your diet should
provide extra carbs, not extra protein.
If you consume too much protein from supplements, you may also
fail to invest in optimal health. For example, I had one client
who daily ate five protein shakes and four protein bars ? to the
exclusion of standard food. Displacing natural foods with
engineered foods (such as protein supplements) limits your intake
of the vegetables, fruits, grains, fiber, phytochemicals, natural
vitamins and other health-protective nutrients that Nature puts
in whole foods.
Pre- and post-exercise protein
Q. I've heard I should eat a protein bar for a
A. Protein has typically been consumed at meals, away
from the time of exercise. New research suggests eating protein
before you work out can optimize muscle development. Pre-exercise
protein digests into amino acids that are then ready and waiting
to be taken up by the muscles after a strength workout.
This does not mean you'll evolve into Charles Atlas; you'll
simply optimize your body's ability to build and repair muscle at
The amount of protein needed for this benefit is tiny ? about
6 grams (less than 1 ounce of meat). You certainly do not need a
hefty pre-exercise protein bar nor a thick steak. A yogurt,
cereal with milk, or a slice of peanut butter toast will do the
job just fine! A pre-exercise protein supplement is a needless
Protein source (with cost/grams of protein/cost per gram)
MetRx Big 100 Bar: $2.50, 26 grams, 9.5 cents
PowerBar ProteinPlus: $1.95, 24, 8 cents
Tuna, 6 oz can: $0.99, 30, 3.5 cents
Skim milk, 1 quart: $0.75, 32, 2.5 cents
Peanut butter, 2 tbsp: $0.15, 7, 2 cents
Q. I?ve heard I should I eat protein right after I
exercise to enhance the speed of glycogen recovery?
A. Supposedly, eating some protein along with
carbohydrates after exercise stimulates insulin, and that
stimulates greater glycogen uptake. At least five carefully
controlled studies have shown the addition of post-exercise
protein does not offer any advantages when the athlete eats
adequate calories from carbs.
My advice: If you refuel with wholesome, refreshing meals that
appeal to you, you'll inevitably get the nutrients you need.
Fruit and yogurt, nuts and raisins, bagel sandwich, and pasta
with meat sauce are just a few popular recovery foods that offer
an enjoyable combination of both protein and carbs to refuel,
rebuild and repair muscles.
Breakfast: the most
important meal of an athlete's day
By Nancy Clark, MS, RD
Without question, breakfast is the meal that makes champions. Unfortunately,
many active people follow a lifestyle that eliminates breakfast or includes
foods that are far from champion-builders.
I commonly counsel athletes who skip breakfast,
grab only a light lunch, train on fumes, gorge at dinner and snack on "junk"
until bedtime. They not only rob their bodies of the nutrients needed for
health, but also lack energy for high-quality workouts.
A satisfying breakfast tends to invest in better
health than does a grab-anything-in-sight dinner. Sarah, a collegiate
athlete, learned that fueling her body's engine at the start of her day helps
her feel more energetic and also able to choose better quality lunch and
That is, when she has granola, banana and juice
in the morning, as well as a sandwich and yogurt for lunch, she stops
devouring brownies after dinner.
Excuses to skip breakfast are abundant: "No
time," "I'm not hungry in the morning" and "I don't like breakfast foods."
Weight-conscious athletes pipe up, "My diet starts at breakfast."
These excuses are just that, excuses; they
sabotage your sports performance.
Here's a look at the benefits of eating
breakfast. I hope to convince you that breakfast is the most important meal
of your sports diet.
Breakfast for dieters
If you want to lose weight, you should start
your diet at dinner, not at breakfast! For example, do not eat a meager bowl
of Special K for your "diet breakfast." You'll get too hungry later in the
day and crave sweets.
A bigger breakfast (cereal + toast + peanut
butter) can prevent afternoon or evening cookie-binges. An adequate (500 -
700 calorie) breakfast provides enough energy for you to enjoy your exercise,
as opposed to dragging yourself through an afternoon workout that feels like
If you are trying to lose weight, you should
target at least 500 to 700 calories for breakfast; this should leave you
feeling adequately fed.
To prove the benefits of eating such a big
breakfast, try this experiment:
1. Using food labels to calculate
calories, boost your standard breakfast to at least 500 calories. For
example, add to your english muffin (150 calories): 1 tablespoon peanut
butter (100 cal.), 8 oz. orange juice (100 cal.) and a yogurt (150 cal).
Total: 500 calories.
2. Observe what happens to your day's
food intake when you eat a full breakfast vs. a skimpy "diet breakfast." The
500+ calorie breakfast allows you to successfully eat less at night and
create the calorie deficit needed to lose weight.
Remember: Your job as a dieter is to fuel by day
and lose weight by night. Successful dieters lose weight while they are
sleeping; they wake up ready for another nice breakfast that fuels them for
another high-energy day.
Breakfast for the morning exerciser
If you exercise first thing in the morning, you
may not want a big pre-exercise breakfast; too much food can feel heavy and
uncomfortable. However, you can likely tolerate half a breakfast, such as
half a bagel, a slice of toast, or a banana before your workout.
Just 100 to 300 calories can put a little
carbohydrate into your system, boost your blood sugar so that you are running
on fuel, not fumes, and enhance your performance.
You'll likely discover this small pre-exercise
meal adds endurance and enthusiasm to your workout. In a research study,
athletes who ate breakfast were able to exercise for 137 minutes as compared
to only 109 minutes when they skipped this pre-exercise fuel.
After his morning workout, Jim, a banker, felt
rushed and was more concerned about getting to work on time than eating
breakfast. Using the excuse "No time," he overlooked the importance of
refueling his muscles.
I reminded him: Muscles are most receptive to
replacing depleted glycogen stores within the first two hours after the
workout, regardless of whether or not the athlete feels hungry. I encouraged
Jim to be responsible! Just as he chose to make time for exercise, he could
also choose to make time for breakfast.
One simple post-exercise breakfast is fluids.
Liquid breakfasts take minimal time to prepare and very little time to drink,
yet they can supply the calories, water, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and
minerals you need ? all in a travel mug. (You can always get coffee at the
Because Jim felt thirsty after his morning
workout, he found he could easily drink 16 ounces of juice or lowfat milk.
Sometimes, he'd make a refreshing fruit smoothie with milk, banana and
Later on mid-morning, when his appetite
returned, Jim enjoyed the rest of his breakfast: (instant) oatmeal,
multi-grain bagel with peanut butter, yogurt with granola, a banana ? or any
other carbohydrate-rich foods that conveniently fit into his schedule.
This nutritious "second breakfast" refueled his
muscles, abated hunger and curbed his lunchtime cookie cravings.
Breakfast for the noon-time, afternoon and evening exerciser
A hearty breakfast is important for people who
exercise later in the day. It not only tames hunger but also provides the
fuel needed for hard workouts.
Research has shown that athletes who ate
breakfast, then four hours later enjoyed an energy bar five minutes before a
noontime workout were able to exercise 20% harder at the end of the hourlong
exercise test compared to when they ate no breakfast and no pre-exercise
snack. (They worked 10% harder with only the snack.)
Breakfast works! Breakfast + a pre-exercise
snack works even better!
What's for breakfast?
From my perspective as a sports nutritionist,
one of the simplest breakfasts of champions is a wholesome cereal with lowfat
milk, banana and orange juice. This provides not only carbohydrates to fuel
the muscles, but also protein (from the milk) to build strong muscles, and
numerous other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, vitamin C,
iron (if you choose enriched breakfast cereals) and fiber (if you choose bran
Equally important is the fact that cereal is
quick and easy, requires no cooking, no preparation, no refrigeration. You
can keep cereal at the office, bring milk to work and eat breakfast at the
office. Breakfast is a good investment in a productive morning.
The bottom line
Breakfast works wonders for improving the
quality of your diet. That is, eating breakfast results in less "junk food"
later in the day. Breakfast also enhances weight control, sports performance,
daily energy levels and future health.
Breakfast is indeed the meal of champions. Make
it a habit ? no excuses!
Sample grab-and-go sports breakfasts
- Bran muffin plus a vanilla yogurt
- Two slices of last night's left-over thick-crust pizza
- Peanut butter-banana-honey sandwich
- Pita with 1 to 2 slices of lowfat cheese plus a large apple
- Baggie of lowfat granola with a handful of raisins (preceded by
8 oz. lowfat milk before you dash out the door)
- Cinnamon raisin bagel (one large or two small) plus a can of
Recovery eating: Don't let
your energy reserves run low
You can speed your recovery considerably and maximize your training gains
after a long race or a hard training session if you eat (and drink) for
Your muscles are most receptive to reloading glycogen in a 15- to
30-minute window immediately following exercise. Blood flow to muscles is
enhanced immediately following exercise.
Muscle cells can pick up more glucose and are more sensitive to the
effects of insulin, a hormone that promotes the synthesis of glycogen by
moving glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells.
It takes at least 20 to 24 hours of refueling with carbohydrate-rich foods
to replenish your muscle stores fully, so daily workouts can leave you
running on low fuel stores. Since the effects of dehydration and muscle
glycogen depletion can be cumulative, inadequate refueling can contribute to
Here are strategies you can use to improve your recovery eating habits and
make sure that you are always running on a full tank.
Don't forget fluids. Your body cannot perform any of its metabolic
jobs well if you are dehydrated. Weigh yourself periodically before and after
a hard workout to estimate how much fluid you need to replace. Remember, "a
pint's a pound" ? every one pound lost during a workout reflects two cups of
water loss. Sports drinks are an efficient fluid replacement since they also
provide carbohydrates and sodium.
Fruit juices, low-fat milkshakes, and smoothies are also good choices
since you get both liquid and carbs. Avoid drinking copious amounts of plain
water if your workout has been over an hour. You'll need to consume some
electrolytes and sodium as well.
After exercise, you can eat or drink your carbs, but do it
quickly. Aim for about half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body
weight (about 50 to 100 grams) within the first 15 to 30 minutes after a long
race or workout. Most sports drinks contain only 14 to 20 grams per cup,
while fruit juices contain about 25 to 40 grams per cup.
The best recovery plan also includes eating carb-rich foods as soon as
you can tolerate them. Try yogurt, fresh fruit, an energy bar, or a
bagel. You may be able to boost the rate at which your muscles store
glycogen, as well as speed up the recovery and repair of muscle tissue, by
ingesting protein in combination with carbohydrate at this time. The results
of one study suggest using one gram of protein per three grams of
Try to eat (or drink) an additional 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates
every two hours until your next full meal. Think of whole grains, fresh
fruits, dried fruits, pretzels, whole-grain cereal and non-fat or low-fat
Don't wait for your appetite to return after a long race. The
longer you wait to eat, the less glycogen you store and the longer it takes
to recover. Intense or exhaustive exercise may depress your appetite.
Anticipate that, and have palatable food ready to eat.
Make notes about your food choices in your running log to help you keep
track of what worked well and what didn't.
Maximize your potential
through mental training and focus
By Adam Zucco
Focusing on immediate goals is a key part of mental training.
In his book In Pursuit of Excellence: How to Win in Sport and Life Through
Mental Training, internationally acclaimed author and sport psychologist
Terry Orlick outlines his techniques that have helped Olympic athletes and
ordinary people maximize their potential and achieve their goals.
I have been working with some of my athletes in regards to mental training,
specifically focus, using the principles that Orlick explores in his book.
Principles of Focusing
1. Try to remain oblivious to the outside world. Orlick provides great
examples of how well we are able to push ourselves when we are not aware that
we are being "scored." Ask yourself how things change for you when you
realize people expect things out of you.
2. Focus is something that requires practice. The author describes a
technique using an index card with a dime-sized black dot on it. He tries to
study the dot until there is really nothing else in his world other than the
dot. It becomes almost like a controlled daydream. Practice imagery along
with this for the most effectiveness.
3. Learn to put less thought into all of your reactions. This will take some
practice, but try letting your body go a few times and see what happens. Do
not overthink all the things that you do.
4. Learn to use reminders to help you refocus.
If you experience problems focusing, then you have to learn to just let it
happen. Focus is not something that can be forced.
The difference between your best and worst performances usually comes down to
focus. In our worst performances, we most likely let negative,
anxiety-producing or distracting thoughts, like worrying about other
competitors, rule our emotions.
1. Return to the basics and follow a pre-practiced plan.
2. Focus only on your immediate goal.
3. Reassure yourself that you are trained, and that you are ready.
4. Remind yourself of past performances.
5. Remember that your goals are realistic; all you want to do is what you
know you can.
6. Focus on doing what is right for you rather than worrying about what is
7. Imagine perfect execution of your skill.
8. Stay in the moment.
9. Intensify your focus on form.
10. Remind yourself that it is just another performance.
11. If you hate it, leave it.
Breathing 101: Increase
your efficiency for better oxygen uptake
By Thomas Chapple
For some reason we're taught to expand our chest when we breathe. This is not
the most effective way to completely fill the lungs, and is not how our
bodies are designed to inhale.
The diaphragm is the muscle located under the
lungs that is designated to expand the lungs and bring air into them.
To breathe efficiently by using the diaphragm
effectively, think about drawing air into the bottom third of your lungs as
you expand your belly like a balloon.
Try doing this while inhaling through your nose
and you'll notice a relaxing sensation throughout your body.
Take a few moments before each workout to sit
quietly and practice breathing through your nose and with the diaphragm. This
will start your workout in the right frame of mind and with correct
Keep reminding yourself how to breathe with the
diaphragm throughout your workout, and return to it if you fall back on
Another breathing aid is to focus on exhaling
forcefully during climbing and hard efforts. Once you've developed the habit
of filling your lungs completely by breathing with the diaphragm, your body
will take care of the inhaling portion on its own.
By forcing the air out of your lungs you'll
develop a more complete, efficient breathing cycle. Short, shallow breaths
don't completely fill or empty the lungs and will dilute incoming oxygen with
I've also found that airflow improves if I drop
my jaw and open my mouth in an oval shape (vertically) during hard efforts
Feeding our muscles: A
key to smart training
By June M. Lay
Today we discuss "feeding our muscles" since the fuel we give our
muscles plays an important part in being able to "smart
weight train" and it's also an important factor in avoiding
So, whether our goal is to tone, get strong, gain muscle, heal
from an injury, or participate in a sport activity, we need to feed
Many of us think that if we eat lots of protein, we'll get lean,
strong and we'll build muscle. Let me say now that it is the
carbohydrates that we eat that gives us the energy to push the
weights, to use the protein we do eat to build muscle.
Those of us who participate in endurance sports such as running,
cycling etc. know the importance of eating a diet high in
carbohydrates with some extra protein. But did we know, for instance,
that carbs are the foundation to our performance, whether to power
our tennis game, aerobic workout, or bodybuilding routine?
So, here are a few sport nutrition rules to "Feed our muscles":
Eat enough and often enough
When we eat enough calories and we eat often, we fuel our muscles,
not just for getting around, but for all the additional activities,
especially if we are active in sports.
When we restrict our calories too much (this goes for us dieters)
over a period of time, we send a signal to our body that a famine is
coming. The body may then adjust our metabolic rate to slow down to
conserve calories. Result? Most likely less strength, less energy,
and even higher body fat!
Yes, let's eat the dreaded starches! When we eat enough
carbohydrates, we give our muscles the fuel to work out hard. This in
turn will give our body the need to utilize all that protein we're
taking in to make more muscle (when we tone we add muscle fibers too,
so this is not just for bodybuilders).
Carbohydrates also feed our brain, so when our blood sugar levels
are low from not eating enough carbs, we will impair our energy,
focus, and performance.
When we are in short supply of carbs, the process of turning
protein into fuel for our muscles and brain is costly to our body. We
impair our performance, our ability to build and repair muscle, our
health and even our ability to lose weight (ever get constant sugar
cravings after eating mostly protein?).
Lastly, high-protein diets can cause dehydration. This is deadly
to our energy.
Water is stored in our muscles with carbohydrates. This is the
energy source for our muscles. When we need to produce energy, the
stored carbohydrates are used and water is released during the
We need water to make and release energy. Guess what happens when
we are dehydrated? We get fatigued easily. Water aids stamina and
performance, and it helps to ward of those muscle cramps during
Eat a balanced diet
This means that for those of us who eat lots of protein, we also
need to eat enough fruits, veggies and grains. And for those of us
who are vegetarians, it is important to get enough protein, iron,
calcium, B12, and Vitamin D. Supplements, sports bars and sports
drinks are not a substitute for real food.
I call this being choosy about what kind of calories we eat. If I
want a tough workout, I will choose a nutrient-dense food over a junk
food. Of course, there is always room for a little junk -- I
recommend no more than 10% of our total daily calories (that's about
200 calories for most of us).
So, if we want to look good, feel energetic, and perform well,
let's "feed our muscles." Have we eaten enough carbohydrates; eaten
often enough; eaten wisely and had enough water? If the answer is
yes, we're off to a good start.
Want energy? Time
your eating and exercise
By Deborah Shulman, Ph.D.
For Active.com 10/3/2003
"To give me energy." This is the usual response when I ask why
someone has eaten an energy bar or other food in the hour or so
before starting exercise.
In fact, the opposite is true. Eating an hour or even half an hour
before exercise is likely to make you feel tired and sluggish.
Twenty-five years ago, if a food or drink label proclaimed "high
energy," it would have sounded a death knell for that product. In
contemporary times though, people interpret that to mean that it will
give them high energy.
Red Bull drinks proudly display that they are high-energy drinks.
Sports bars are high-energy foods. Consequently, people eat or drink
them so they have high energy during exercise.
In the nutrition world, "high energy" is synonymous with "high
calorie." The way that the body deals with high calorie, particularly
high sugar, is by releasing insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone.
When you eat a high-calorie, high-sugar food an hour before exercise,
you will start exercise with high insulin levels.
This has two important results. First, it will change how you
perceive exercise. You feel sluggish and it feels hard. This is
called the rating of perceived exertion, or RPE. Your RPE is higher
when you start exercise with high insulin levels.
Second, you will burn a lower amount of fat for fuel. Insulin
lowers fat removal from the fat deposits and reduces fat metabolism
inside the muscle. Consequently, you rely more on carbohydrate for
Obviously, if you are trying to increase fat metabolism, it is
counterproductive to eat an hour or half an hour before exercise.
In general, during the day, it is better to time your last meal or
snack to be two hours before the start of exercise. If you wait too
long, however -- say, three or four hours after eating -- you'll
spend the whole exercise session hungry and fantasizing about
In fact, the best time to exercise is after an overnight fast. At
his time, blood levels of fat, growth hormone and testosterone are
all high. Under these conditions, fat metabolism will be at its
highest. Even better if you've had some coffee beforehand.
Those who have low fasting blood sugar in the morning may want to
eat a banana, a sports gel or some juice within five minutes of
starting exercise. You know who you are: you feel dizzy and shaky in
the morning until you've had something to eat. If you eat a small
amount a few minutes before starting, you won't get a substantive
Instead of eating before exercise, eat within 30 minutes of
finishing your exercise session. It is common for people to make the
mistake of not eating after exercise, either because they think the
increased metabolic rate will help them lose weight or just because
they're not hungry. In reality, during exercise you are breaking down
protein from the muscles, liver and kidney. This catabolic state
persists after exercise.
The more intense the exercise -- such as a heavy strength training
session at the gym or an interval workout at the track -- or the
longer the exercise lasted, the more muscle breakdown will occur.
This when insulin is your friend. Insulin is a growth hormone and
stops muscle breakdown. This is the best time to get larger doses of
carbohydrate. Your glycogen storage tanks will be low and the
combination of insulin and carbohydrate will refill them to be ready
for the next exercise session and will help your muscles grow.
Soccer: 7 nutrition
By Dr. Don Kirkendall
For Active.com, 10/24/2003
Think nutrition is an easy topic? See if you have the answers to
these myths common in soccer.
1. Your performance in a game is not affected by
what you eat
You would think this is true, from reading the scientific
literature on just what soccer players eat. Nutritional recalls from
the 1970s to the present show that soccer players choose a diet that
is around 40% carbohydrates, 40% fat and 20% protein.
Virtually every study on athletic performance, be it a team sport
or an individual endurance sport, shows that a diet rich in
carbohydrates improves running performance. The more carbohydrates
you eat, the more and faster you run, especially late in the game.
What is discouraging is that in the very early '70s, the Swedes
showed that soccer players with low muscle fuel (glycogen) walk about
50% of the game. And that was 30 years ago. What might be even more
discouraging is that over half of a national team in the 1994 World
Cup thought food had nothing to do with their game. Players eat what
is put in front of them.
2. Sports drinks are just a product of marketing;
they are no better than water
No question that water is well understood by the active public.
The days of fluid restriction during sports are long gone. But
researchers have been looking at improving on water ever since the
advent of Gatorade. The timing, volume, temperature and components of
sports drink have been under continual study.
For example, a drink does no good if it stays in the stomach, so
the concentration of sugars is limited. A drink does no good if it
doesn't get from the small intestine into the blood, so there is an
optimal concentration of salt in the drink. And a drink isn't all
that effective if it doesn't stay in the body -- meaning that the
volume of drink and salt concentration, again, are critical.
Plain water doesn't have these advantages. A well-formulated drink
has the proper concentrations of sugars, salts, and micronutrients,
making it more effective than water alone.
3. All sports drinks are alike, so just buy any of
A lot of people think this, and the marketing of different drinks
can lead to this perception. But a close look at labels will show
vastly different drinks.
To start with, there are basically three completely different
types of drinks: fluid replenishment drinks, carbohydrate
replenishment drinks and energy drinks.
Fluid replenishment drinks are formulated to provide
optimal concentrations of sugars and salts, leading to rapid
absorption and retention of fluids in order to prevent dehydration
and improve performance.
Carbohydrate replenishment drinks are designed to provide a
fast source of carbohydrates that are rapidly absorbed by the
intestines. These can be used during a game for extra fuel as well as
right after play to start storing energy for the next day or game.
The best drinks have a little protein in them that speeds the uptake
and deposit of fuel into the muscle.
Energy drinks are highly caffeinated drinks that deliver a
small bump in energy due to caffeine's effect on the central nervous
system, not by adding any more fuel to the muscles. Plus, caffeine is
a diuretic, so it can increase urine volume, and any urine loss of
water during exercise is not good.
4. It doesn't matter what players eat after
I go to games and tournaments and see some of the worst post-game
feedings possible: soda, sweet drinks in soft packaging, potato
chips, other salty snacks, chocolate, fries. You've seen it.
The smart team supplies food that will start refilling the muscles
with carbohydrates at just the time that the muscles are most ready
to receive a fresh supply of fuel; the first hour to two after
exercise. And that food probably doesn't come in a bag.
A good supply of carbohydrates is needed, and it can come from a
carbohydrate replenishment drink or other high-glycemic foods like
bagels with jam/jelly, the ingredients for "chex mix" (not the
premixed boxes from the store, but the ingredients minus the oil and
toasting), pretzels, raisins (or other dried fruit). This is even
more critical between tournament games when time is even shorter.
5. All athletes get enough protein from what they
eat, so there's no need to look for other sources
While most every survey of the athletic diet shows that they get
all the protein they need from food, there is a problem. The vast
majority of protein is consumed in conjunction with fat. Marbled
meat, ground beef, fried chicken in the skin all are examples of
protein that is combined with lots of fat.
Red meat should be trimmed of fat, ground beef should be very
lean, chicken should have the skin removed. But one place protein is
often lacking is the immediate post-exercise meal. A little protein
helps in storing new fuel in the muscles faster than when there is no
protein. You can try to figure out a protein source (NOT from a fast
food chain) or simply buy one of the carbohydrate replenishment
drinks that contain protein.
6. I just coach; what the players eat is their
While I have already stated that most all studies show that
players are not eating properly, there is an implicit question. Who
tells the athlete what to eat?
There have been plenty of surveys asking where athletes get their
information and the top two sources are the coach and teammates. Now,
from what we know, teammates are probably pretty unreliable. That
leaves the coach as the primary source of information. But should the
coach tell the player or the parents?
As the player eats what is put in front of them, that means the
parents are now the assistant coach in charge of fuel. They need to
know what to serve and when to serve it. Your new assistant may think
the various versions of the Atkins diet are good for themselves, but
those high-protein diets do the athlete no good when it comes to
providing fuel. Make sure your parents know the facts.
7. Your body is the best indicator of when to
Now, that is true ... if you are a donkey, or a dog. The thirst
mechanism of humans isn't as good.
In fact, the human thirst mechanism doesn't even kick in until you
have lost about 2% of your body weight from sweating; a level where
performance decrement begins to become evident.
Drink early (before play), every 15 - 20 minutes during play, and
at halftime. Put water bottles along the sidelines, in both goals,
supply during stoppages. Remember that playing in the cold is also
dehydrating, so don't forget to push fluids even in cold weather.
There are likely more myths coaches, players and parents may be
following, but by following some of the guidelines mentioned here
will put your team at a significant advantage over the opposition.
Copyright 2002 © Donald T. Kirkendall
recovery: Bounce back faster after games
By Dr. Don Kirkendall
For Active.com, 10/24/2003
A soccer game can take a lot out of you. When the final whistle blows, you
are tired and sore, as expected. But there are things you can do to bounce
back quickly from games.
If you do them, you will have plenty of energy
and less leftover muscle soreness by the time you practice again. If you
don't do them, you might stay sluggish and tender a lot longer.
Nutrition is an important part of recovery.
Nutritional recovery has three components:
During games, you sweat, and when you sweat, you lose two important
substances that your body needs: water and selected minerals called
electrolytes (the stuff that makes sweat taste salty).
After games, you need to put these substances
back into your body, in a little greater amounts than what you lost, sooner
rather than later. Until you rehydrate, your body will have a hard time
keeping cool and you may be prone to cramps and other problems.
Drinking water is just a start because it does
not contain electrolytes. You're better off drinking a sports drink that has
both water and electrolytes. Try to drink at least 12 ounces of sports drink
in the first half-hour after the game ends. If it's a hot day, you may need
to drink even more.
The goal is to drink 1.5 pints for every pound
of weight lost over the next 24 hours, before the next workout. Your urine
should be no darker than diluted lemonade.
You also burn a lot of energy fuel during games. The main energy fuel used in
high-intensity sports like soccer is carbohydrate, which is stored in your
muscles, liver, and blood. The human body cannot story very much
carbohydrate. In a hard game, you can easily burn most of the carbohydrate
fuels in your body.
It's important to quickly replace this
carbohydrate. Until you do, you will not have much energy. Most sports drinks
contain carbohydrates, so a convenient way to put energy back into your body
is to get it from the same place you get your water and electrolytes.
You can also get carbohydrate from foods like
fruits, breads, starches and certain vegetables. Muscles refill with
carbohydrate the fastest immediately after exercise. Don't wait even as
little as two hours after exercise to start, as the rate of refilling becomes
Your muscles are mostly made of proteins. During games, some muscle protein
can be damaged; this is a main reason your legs feel sore and weak after
games. The good news is that your body is able to build new muscle proteins
at two to three times the normal rate after hard exercise. All you need to do
is supply the building blocks -- protein -- to do the job in the first couple
hours after the game is over.
Most sports drinks do not contain protein, but
some of the new ones are adding it. Using a sport drink with protein is a
good way to go because of the convenience. You can get the water,
electrolytes, carbohydrate, and protein you need for recovery all from one
You can also get protein from foods like meat
and cheese, but these foods also tend to be high in fat. When you eat a lot
of fat after hard exercise, or even too much protein, it takes longer for the
nutrients to get through your system to your muscles. This slows down the
whole recovery process.
So a sport drink that contains protein is a
better choice for post-game nutrition. It contains everything your body needs
to bounce back fast, and without anything unneeded to get in the way.
Get a head start on recovery
Using a sport drink with protein during games is
also a good idea for two reasons. First, it will delay fatigue so you can
play harder, longer. In one experiment, athletes who drank a sports drink
with protein were able to exercise 24% longer than athletes who drank a
regular sports drink with no protein.
Second, the protein in the drink will reduce the
amount of muscle protein breakdown that happens during the game, so there is
less rebuilding to be done afterward.
While your muscles are still warm after a game,
stretch your muscles. This will keep your blood flowing, helping to deliver
nutrients to your muscles and to clear away built-up wastes. You can start
drinking your sports drink while you stretch. Later in the day, you can
massage your legs using your thumbs, and this will also help with blood
After you play a game, try not to do anything
too strenuous for the rest of the day. Your body requires rest in order to
rehydrate, re-energize, and rebuild the muscles. At the very least, be sure
to get plenty of sleep that night. During sleep, your body releases hormones
that help your muscles rebuild.
The recovery checklist
After every game:
- Stretch while your muscles are still warm
- Drink at least 12 oz. of a sports drink
Recovery Nutrition for High
Jacqueline Berning, Ph.D., R.D.
for Gatorade Sports Performance News 10/20/04
It's 8:45 p.m. on a school night and you and 35 athletes are loading on a bus
and heading back to school after an away game. Like many high school
athletes, your team didn't eat much before the game, and now they are
complaining that they're hungry and thirsty. As a coach, what do you do? If
you stop to eat on the way home, it will take another hour to get there. Some
of the athletes have homework to do, while others need the extra sleep. If
they don't eat, you know that they're performance will suffer. Research shows
that the decision you make will have an impact on their ability to play and
compete at their peak.
Recovering from Exercise
Not eating and drinking after competition and training can have negative
consequences on future athletic performance. For instance, many coaches don't
realize that it can take up to 36 hours to reload the muscles of athletes who
delay refueling their bodies. Such a delay means that the athletes will not
have the energy to meet the demands of their sport. This is especially true
for sports that have repeated competitions such as tournament play in
volleyball, basketball, soccer, swimming or tennis. Parents and coaches need
to recognize that an intense game or a hard interval-training session can be
just as exhausting as running a marathon. Athletes who fail to refuel and/or
rehydrate during these activities will not have the optimal level of energy
the next day.
What to Eat
Muscle glycogen is the predominant fuel for energy during exercise.
As carbohydrate (glucose) is the primary source of muscle glycogen, it is the
most efficient source of energy for the body and should make up approximately
60 percent of an athlete's diet. Depending on the size of the athlete, that
could amount to anywhere between 300 to more than 600 grams of carbohydrate
each day. Carbohydrate-rich foods include whole-grain breads, rice, pasta,
fruits, vegetables and sports drinks.
A carbohydrate snack consumed within 30 minutes after the competition or
practice will allow the body to start the recovery process faster. In
addition, players need to consume a carbohydrate-rich meal within two hours
after the recovery snack. This ensures that the muscles continue to load with
carbohydrate energy. For most high school athletes, that means eating a meal
soon after they get home from competition or practice.
Protein also plays an important role in recovering from exercise. Although
carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for muscles, consuming a small
amount of protein shortly before or after exercise may help the body recover
from exercise in a different way, by stimulating muscle repair and growth.
This is backed by research that found that adding protein to the recovery
snack does not enhance the muscle's ability to store energy, but instead,
this extra protein is used by the muscles to rebuild after exercise.
Note that it does not take large amounts of protein to get these results. In
fact, when athletes eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein
post-exercise, the carbohydrates are used to refill the muscles with fuel,
while the protein is used to help build and repair muscle tissue.
What to Drink
Athletes need to replace the fluids they lose through sweat to fully recover
from exercise. The easiest way to do this is to consume a sports drink, as
sports drinks have flavor to encourage drinking and contain electrolytes,
such as sodium and potassium to maintain fluid balance in the body. For
instance, if an athlete drinks plain water and does not eat any salty foods
for the two hours after exercise, a significant portion (25 to 50 percent) of
what they drink will be excreted as urine. However when an athlete rehydrates
with a drink that contains both sodium and potassium at the proper levels,
then 65 to 80 percent of the fluid is retained by the body, helping to better
rehydrate the player.
A Coach's Story
Like many high school coaches, Chad Allen, who coaches the men's soccer team
at Douglas County High School in Castle Rock, Colorado, was frustrated with
the amount of time it took to feed his players after an away game. While the
Huskies' road trips are generally not over an hour, stopping and feeding both
the JV and Varsity teams added another hour to the trip. A late afternoon
game with travel and eating would mean the bus did not arrive back at school
until nearly 8:00 p.m.
To solve this problem, Chad implemented a strategy where parents provide
snacks for his players to consume on the way home, thus eliminating the late
trips and the problem of finding someplace to eat after the game. The
strategy is working, as he has noticed an improvement in their performance.
Their attitudes and moods are also better. “It used to be that the kids
were so hungry and thirsty that they were quite irritable,” states
Chad. “Now, we have the chance to relax on the bus ride home, knowing
we will have something healthy and satisfying waiting for us to
Here's a sample of healthy foods to help athletes recover from exercise:
Jacqueline Berning, Ph.D., R.D., is a nutrition consultant for the Denver
Broncos and Cleveland Indians as well as an associate professor at the
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
- Sports drinks, like Gatorade Thirst Quencher
- Granola, energy or breakfast bars
- Bagels with peanut butter
- Sub sandwiches
- Crackers and cheese
- Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, oranges, grapes
- Vegetables such as carrots and celery
- Fruit smoothies (prepackaged)
- Rice cakes or trail mix
- Chocolate milk
- Animal crackers
- Athletes who fail to refuel and/or rehydrate during and after
activities will not have the optimal level of energy to play at the same
intensity the next day.
- To help in the recovery process, athletes should eat a
high-carbohydrate snack within 30 minutes after practice or competition
and a healthy meal two hours later.
- Carbohydrates are the most efficient source of energy for muscles and
they should make up approximately 60% of an athlete's diet.
- Sports drinks are an ideal way for athletes to rehydrate during and
- Having parents provide snacks and sports drinks for the bus trip home
after an away game is an excellent way to help athletes recover from
The spice of life
By Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D.
May 30, 2006
"My diet is so boring ... I eat the same foods every day."
"The waitress at the cafe no longer asks me what I want for
breakfast -- she knows I'll have black coffee, orange juice and a toasted
bagel without cream cheese."
"Is it bad to eat the same foods day after day?"
Many athletes eat the same foods every day, day after day, for years.
Their typical menu is based on bagels, turkey breast, pasta, chicken breast,
frozen yogurt and pretzels.
This repetition keeps life simple, eliminates decisions, and feels safe --
safe from "getting fat" by eating foods with unknown calories, as well as
safe from eating the "wrong food" that might contribute to digestive upset
The benefits of eating a variety of foods
Some athletes are content with their self-described "boring diet." But if
you eat a repetitive diet and wonder about the healthfulness of this pattern,
you might want to think about the benefits of eating a variety of foods.
You'll consume a wider variety of nutrients. For example, if your
only fruit is apples, you'll fail to get the folic acid that's found in
oranges. If your primary protein source is chicken breast, you'll miss out on
the iron and zinc that's better found in beef.
You'll reduce the chances of getting excessive amounts of a food that
might be harmful. For example, if the grapes you eat every day have a bad
pesticide on them, you'll consume a higher dose than if you were to alternate
grapes with bananas, oranges and kiwi. Or, if you eat several
nutrient-fortified energy bars every day, you might get too much of one
mineral, which could create an imbalance with other another mineral eaten in
You'll reduce the need for supplements. Eating many types of foods
makes it easier to consume more of the 600-plus known compounds that food
offers -- including the 13 known vitamins and 22 essential minerals, and
numerous other minerals, phytochemicals, fibers and health protectors found
in whole foods. Whole foods offer more nutrients, and better absorbed
nutrients, than pills. For example:
You'll enhance your overall health.
- The iron in meat is absorbed better than that in pills.
- The fiber in bran cereal is preferable to taking a fiber supplement or
- Getting calcium from milk replaces the need for calcium supplements.
Calcium aside, milk drinkers have a diet that's more nutrient dense
overall than the diet of milk abstainers. Forget the story, "I don't
drink milk, I take a calcium supplement instead." You fool only yourself
by thinking a pill (or two or 20) can replace a variety of whole foods.
Studies suggest that people who
eat a wide variety of food groups tend to be healthier and have a reduced
risk of disease, including heart disease and diabetes. At each meal, you
should plan to eat from at least three of these five foods groups:
- Meat, fish, poultry, nuts, beans and other protein-rich foods
- Low-fat milk, yogurt, dairy and other calcium-rich foods
You should also eat different types of foods within each group. For example,
by eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables (tomatoes, carrots,
spinach, oranges, watermelon, blueberries), you'll consume a variety of the
antioxidants that protect against the formation of cataracts in your eyes.
A tale of two diets
Because eating a variety of foods is so important, the nutrition
professionals in Australia launched a food campaign to encourage Australians
to eat 20 to 30 different foods a week. Currently, most Australians eat only
15 to 18 different foods. I'd dare say the same holds true in this country
(if not fewer different foods)!
Let's count the number of foods typically eaten by two types of active
Diet profile #1: The weight-conscious exerciser
2. Turkey breast
3. Pita bread
6. Rice cakes
8. Energy bar
10. Grilled chicken
11. Sweet potato
Oops! That's only 12!
Diet profile #2: Junk-food junkie
2. Big Mac
4. Chocolate-chip cookies
7. Chinese fried rice
8. Ice cream
9. Potato chips
How many of these items even count towards "real" food?
What's your number?
Now, it's your turn to do your math. For the fun of it (and education as
well), write down what you eat for a week and count the number of different
foods you consume. How did you do? If the number looks grim, here are some
tips for enhancing food variety:
Bread: Select from a variety -- pumpernickel, rye, whole
wheat, multi-grain, sunflower seed. Top with jam, peanut butter, almond
butter, low-fat cottage cheese, light cream cheese.
Sandwich fillings: There's life beyond turkey breast!
Lean roast beef (the kind you can get in a deli) is a fine alternative -- and
offers far more vitamins and minerals. Peanut butter provides positive fats
that lower the risk of heart disease. Tuna with light mayo is OK, as is
Snacks: Be creative and bypass yet-another rice cake,
pretzel or energy bar. How about almonds and dried fruit, yogurt with
granola, an apple with low-fat cheese, vegetable soup with rye crackers or
graham crackers with peanut butter? Target two foods per snack (and
three-plus foods per meal).
Consider cutting back on energy bars that are little more than
sugar-coated vitamin pills with a little added protein. They commonly lack
fiber and phytochemicals -- the important components of the fruits they tend
to displace from the athlete's snack menu.
Pasta: Plain pasta isn't a vitamin-packed food. Pasta
meals get their nutritional power from the tomato sauce on top, the veggies
on the side, and the accompanying protein in the lean beef, turkey, tofu or
beans added to the sauce. Round out the pasta meal with low-fat milk, salad
(lettuce, carrot, pepper, tomato), crusty whole grain bread, and berries for
dessert. You'll enjoy a 10-food sports meal that invests in both performance
Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., counsels both casual and
competitive athletes in her private practice at Healthworks (617-383-6100),
the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill, MA. Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Food Guide
for Marathoners and The Cyclist's Food Guideare available at www.nancyclarkrd.com or www.sportsnutritionworkshop.com.
Copyright © 2006 Active Network
The real value of
By Ilana Katz, M.S., R.D., L.D.
May 24, 2006
A typical problem for athletes is that they lack the stored energy required
for quality training. A contributor to this problem is the common
misconception that protein is a good primary fuel source for strength
training, muscle building and intense exercise.
It's difficult to find a body builder who doesn't rely on some form of
protein or amino-acid supplement, and attributes their success to these
products. These athletes in particular consume much more protein than they
Because this higher-than-necessary consumption of protein can offset the
intake of other essential energy nutrients (carbohydrates), it's not
surprising that many athletes struggle with low energy during a workout.
All nutrients (carbs, protein, fat) get converted to energy in the form of
adenosine triphosphate (ATP), but each nutrient has unique properties that
determine how it gets converted to energy.
It's important to clear up the misconception that protein is a ready
source of energy, and uncover the real value of protein: recovery.
Carbohydrates: Efficient energy
Carbohydrate is the main nutrient that fuels moderate to high-intensity
exercise. Fat fuels low-intensity exercise for long durations. Once stored
carbohydrate is used up, glycogen depletion occurs -- more commonly known as
"hitting the wall" or "bonking."
During exercise, this can be avoided by simply replenishing carbohydrate
stores (eating easily-digestible carbohydrates during exercise that lasts
more than 90 minutes). But glycogen depletion can also occur after several
days of limited carbohydrate intake -- it's like going into your workout on
an empty tank of fuel.
Limiting carbohydrate intake forces the body to rely on fat metabolism for
energy production, which is far less efficient and will limit performance.
The main function of protein is to maintain and repair body tissues and isn't
normally used to power muscle activity. But if carbs and fat aren't
available, then the body will rely on protein as a last resort in order to
satisfy energy requirements.
Protein balance and overload
Dietary protein is comprised of building blocks called amino acids. Once
dietary protein is broken down into amino acids, they join together to
synthesize the particular protein the body needs such as hair, nails,
hormones, enzymes and muscles. The liver is the central processing unit of
protein, monitoring the needs of the body and synthesizing the particular
proteins from the amino acids.
The by-product of protein synthesis is nitrogen in the form of ammonia
(NH3), which is converted to
urea by the liver and extracted from the body by the kidneys in urine.
The consumption of too much protein has a negative impact. As ammonia
builds up it's removed as urea, which offsets the pH balance of blood causing
an acidic environment. The kidneys have to work overtime, using fluids to
flush the nitrogenous ammonia from the blood in order to stabilize pH. This
process increases the risk of dehydration. Excess dietary protein has also
been shown to cause an excretion of calcium in the urine. Both dehydration
and loss of calcium are detrimental to athletic performance.
Furthermore, too much protein upsets macro-nutrient balance, displacing
the intake of carbohydrates and fat and causing the body to rely protein as a
fuel. While protein can supply energy, it wastes valuable resources and
results in a number of undesirable effects.
Nitrogen balance is reflective of the dietary intake of protein being
balanced by the excretion of urea wastes. If nitrogen excretion is greater
than the nitrogen content (protein) of the diet, one is said to be in
negative nitrogen balance. This usually is indicated by the breakdown of
If the nitrogen excretion is less than the content of the diet, a positive
nitrogen balance is achieved and is indicated by the formation of protein.
The resulting tissue formation, as such, allows repair and recovery from
Pre-workout protein recommendations
In general, a low-fiber, low-fat combination is recommended as a
pre-workout fuel source because it's digested more quickly and thus reduces
the risk of gastrointestinal distress. A small amount of protein combined
with carbohydrate is fine before a workout, but too much protein isn't
Protein digestion is much slower than carbohydrate, so a protein-only meal
may not be fully digested, causing water to be rapidly absorbed into the
intestinal track. This increases the risk of gastrointestinal distress during
exercise, so it's important to avoid a large protein meal several hours
Protein for recovery
Research has shown that some protein consumed with carbohydrates shortly
before and after exercise does help the body recover faster by initiating
muscle repair and growth. Adding protein to a recovery meal doesn't
enhance the muscle's ability to store energy, but it does stimulate
the muscles to rebuild. Relatively small amounts of protein are required for
muscle repair. Therefore, athletes should consume a combination of
carbohydrates and protein post-exercise.
Carbohydrates are used to refill the muscles with fuel, while protein is
used to help build and repair muscle tissue. Within the scientific community,
the optimal ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the recovery process is
Based on experience and experimentation, most endurance athletes find a
ratio of 3:1 carbohydrate to protein works best. This is a general
recommendation, so athletes should be aware of their individual differences;
a little more or a little less might work optimally for each individual.
Nutrient recovery guidelines
A generalized equation can be used to determine recovery requirements.
Most athletes need to consume .5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body
weight every two hours for six to eight hours after a workout. Therefore, if
you're consuming 240 calories (60g) of carbohydrate after a workout, with the
generalized ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein), 80 calories (20g) of protein
should also be consumed.
Here's an example of the calculation for a 150-pound athlete:
- Multiply .5 grams of carbohydrate x 150 lbs. = 75 grams of carbohydrate
needed for recovery.
- Multiply 75 grams x 4 (the number of calories in a gram of
carbohydrate) = 300 calories of carbohydrate.
- If the recovery ratio of carbohydrate/protein is 3:1, then you need 100
calories of protein per 300 calories of carbohydrate. (100 calories
divided by 4 (4 calories per gram) = 25 grams of protein).
Athletes often rely on liquid mixes for recovery. Carbohydrate-to-protein
ratios are often formulated in the pre-made mixes for optimal recovery.
Creating individualized recovery drinks requires experimentation with
different types of carbohydrate and protein to determine which combination
works best for you.
If you prefer to refuel with solid food, here are some healthy options:
- Half of a whole wheat bagel with 1/4 cup cottage cheese or a tablespoon
of peanut butter
- Yogurt smoothie, berries and a tablespoon of protein powder
- Medium sweet potato and two egg whites
- Small turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Bran cereal with skim milk and a few nuts
- Protein bars (many specially formulated with optimal carbs and
Ilana Katz has a master's degree in dietetics with an
emphasis in sports nutrition. She enjoys working with athletes of all levels,
and specializes in body composition and weight management specific to
individual needs. She participates in many endurance and team events in order
to relate personally to her clientele. Ilana is The Sport Factory's
head nutritionist, has worked with many local celebrities, and is the founder
of the nutrition program IndiFITualize. Listen to Ilana on the
Bertradio show (Q100) as well as Dave FMin Atlanta.
Copyright © 2006 Active Network
Stay on top of
your fluid game
By Kim Mueller, M.S., R.D.
June 05, 2006
Determining fluid and electrolyte needs is perhaps the most important step in
helping optimize performance, as dehydration's effects are widespread and
serious. To really understand the importance of hydration, let's explore
water's role in human performance.
1. Water is the medium for metabolic activity.
In order to properly metabolize the calories ingested during activity, an
athlete needs to be hydrated. Even a slight level of dehydration, just one
percent (1.5 lbs for a 150-pound athlete), can contribute to a five-percent
decline in metabolic efficiency.
What does this mean for the athlete? First off, the calories being
ingested, especially solid calories, will be left in the stomach rather than
being distributed to the working muscles, leading to premature muscle
Any fluids ingested will collect in the belly until there's a proper
concentration for digestion. This leads to a shortage of fluid being directed
to working muscles, and results in muscle cramping. During a high-impact
activity, all the food and fluids left in the belly will be jiggling around,
leading to uncomfortable side stitches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
2. Water is a lubricant for our muscles and joints.
Noticeable muscle aches/pains/cramps can occur at the slightest bit of
dehydration and become debilitating as dehydration becomes more severe.
Headaches are also a common complaint.
3. Water helps cool the body
Water can be compared to the coolant we use in our cars. When the coolant
runs low, our cars overheat. Our bodies perspire in order to lower our
internal temperature; as blood flow to the skin increases the internal heat
generated evaporates through sweat. An athlete may have a flushed or blotchy
As dehydration becomes more severe, this process becomes compromised
causing core body temperature to elevate. The athlete may get the chills or
goose bumps when the heat being generated isn't released from the body
efficiently. If left untreated, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion or
heat stroke and potentially death.
For every percent drop in hydration, expect a three- to five-percent
decline in performance. This is huge when you think about it -- it would be
like adding an additional one to two minutes onto a 40-minute 10k runner's
time. Thirst isn't a good indication of when an athlete needs to start
drinking, as our thirst mechanism is initiated upon a three-percent level of
dehydration which equates to a 10- to 15-percent drop in metabolic
efficiency, cooling efficiency, muscle function and overall performance.
Determining sweat rate
Any athlete preparing themselves for peak performance should be on top of
their fluid game -- they need to know their individual sweat rate and
consequent fluid and electrolyte replacement needs. To determine sweat rate,
weigh yourself both immediately pre- and post-exercise on several different
occasions making note of environmental conditions and the intensity of the
Every pound of body weight lost during exercise is equivalent to
approximately 16 ounces of fluid. For example, if you consistently lose one
pound on a 30-minute run in which no fluids are consumed, hourly fluid needs
equal 32 ounces per hour, which is actually the upper end of norm for most
Since 1988, Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) Laboratories in
Barrington, Illinois, have been helping athletes determine sweat rate,
providing valuable scientific research and education in the areas of
exercise, sports science and nutrition.
In August 2004, I had the opportunity to visit the GSSI lab to undergo a
sweat test, which entailed measuring fluid loss and sweat electrolyte content
during one hour of moderate-intensity exercise in warm conditions in their
labs. Prior to starting the test, my weight was taken and recorded. I was
asked to set the speed at an intensity that I was able to maintain easily for
an hour. I was able to freely consume Propel Fitness Water during the run.
During the test, sweat patches were strategically placed on several areas
of my body to help measure the electrolyte composition in my sweat. After an
hour of running, I toweled off the sweat and once again took my weight.
Results of my sweat test at GSSI are shown on the table below and compared
to pro triathlete Chris Leigh, who also was recently measured at GSSI Labs.
With a fluid intake of only eight ounces and a total weight loss of just
under two pounds, my calculated sweat rate was measured at 39 ounces per
hour, as compared to the 74 ounces per hour lost by Chris.
The sweat patches were taken off and run through a series of lab tests
which helped determine the salt concentration in my sweat, which was 172
milligrams per eight ounces, a concentration far below the Chris Leigh, who
has a salt concentration of 350 milligrams per eight ounces.
||28-year-old competitive female age-group triathlete
and runner with no history of muscle cramping.
||31-year-old Australian pro triathlete, who is a two-time Ironman
Triathlon champion, winning the 2000 Ironman California and the 2004
Ironman Coeur d'Alene. In 1997 during the Hawaiian Ironman, Chris
experienced the extremes of dehydration, including vomiting, diarrhea
and severe stomach cramps that led him to collapse just 50 meters
from the finish. Shortly after, he had surgery to remove one third of
his large bowel, as it had died as a result of dehydration (his body
stopped supplying oxygen and nutrients to his large bowel so that
blood could continue flowing to his heart, lungs and muscles).
||1 hr treadmill running at 9.1 mph in a chamber with a constant 76 F
temperature and 70% humidity.
||4 hrs of stationary cycling and treadmill running in
88 F and 71% humidity.
|Total Fluid Loss
|Hourly Fluid Needs
||39 fluid ounces
||74 fluid ounces
|Total Salt Loss
|Hourly Salt Needs
To ensure optimal absorption of calories, peak muscle function and
efficient cooling of the body, it's essential that athletes stay on top of
their fluid game. Determination of sweat rate, which can be calculated by
evaluating total fluid intake and weight loss during activity, should be a
high priority for athletes looking to maximize performance and protect
against serious injury and/or health consequences such as heat stroke.
Electrolytes need to be added to fluids when training in heat and/or
training duration extends beyond an hour. Most athletes require .5 to 1 liter
of fluid per hour along with .5 to 1 gram of sodium during prolonged training
to prevent the detriments associated with fluid and/or electrolyte
Kimberly J. Mueller, M.S., R.D., is a registered sports
dietitian and competitive endurance athlete who provides nutritional
counseling and meal planning to athletes worldwide. For more information
about Kim, visit www.kbnutrition.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
copyright © 2006 Active Network
Feed your hungry jocks foods to fuel performance
By Barbara Mahany
Posted: 06/07/2011 12:01:00 PM PDT
A scary thing happens in the kitchen when a kid, who used
to scarf down half the pantry and call it "just a snack," decides
to take up an uber-taxing sport. And then decides he is going to eat like
A. Take out a second mortgage to cover the grocery bills or ...
B. Get smart, and make sure every bite counts.
We went with the latter when the lanky 6-foot-3 kid in our house decided
to become a varsity rower and put us to the test.
We turned to the sports nutritionist Harper's Bazaar calls "one of
the top 10 experts to help revamp your diet" -- and who counts among
her clients elite athletes and pros, including the Stanley Cup-winning
Chicago Blackhawks, the Miami Heat's Dexter Pittman and the Minnesota
Twins' Jim Thome.
Julie Burns, founder of SportFuel Inc., and the mother of
high-school-age triplets, has long been a walking encyclopedia of
Here's her Gospel for Hungry Jocks (and those who feed them): "What
we tell athletes and kids: Eat foods that will rot and spoil, but eat them
before they do."
She explains: "Say you have a box of (sugary cereal) that you leave
over winter at some cabin in the woods. You come back the next summer, you
can still eat it. But with foods that rot, the reason they become not
edible is that they're alive and they have enzymes. What creates high
performance is clean protein, healthy fats and minimally processed
carbohydrates with all the nutrients and enzymes nature packaged with
Instead of grabbing a bagel, she says, scramble eggs and grab a bowl of
raspberries. You need the antioxidants and the protein.
"The truth is if we don't prepare to eat well, we'll eat poorly,"
She knows too well what kids will eat if they're at an all-day swim
meet, or a rowing regatta, and the booster club -- with best intentions --
hauls in a groaning board of granola bars, PB&J and juice bottles.
"You want to make every bite count," she says. "So think
ahead, pack a cooler of real foods: hard-cooked eggs, plain yogurt, turkey
jerky, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and dried and fresh fruits."
Eat Like a Pro
Give these tips from Burns to your teen athletes and
tell them: No need to tackle all of 'em at once. Just take one at a time,
and watch what happens to your sports performance.
Consider grass-fed beef. It contains higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids,
GLA (gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid), vitamins A and E, and
zinc, essentials all.
Add a green drink (a fresh or powdered blend of an alphabet of fruits and
greens) to your daily regimen to boost your vegetable consumption.
Add lemon to water whenever possible; it helps to alkalize your body, which
makes you feel good.
Drink at least one 8-ounce cup of green tea each day. Its wonders are too
long to list.
Chow down on carbohydrates and some protein in liquid form -- whey with
colorful fruit juice and even coconut water -- as soon as possible after
Brazil nuts will boost selenium intake and may have anti-cancer properties.
An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration
August 6, 2013
With the summer heat bearing down, athletes should be especially
mindful of proper hydration. During strenuous exercise in extreme heat,
your body can lose up to two liters of fluid every 30 minutes, and you
need to drink two to four glasses of water for each hour of physical activity.
This shouldn't be surprising when you consider that on average, a
man's body weight is 60 percent water, and a woman's approximately 50
percent. Since muscle contains more water than fat does, the percentage
can be as low as 40 in an overweight person and 70 in a muscular person.
Nothing affects endurance, strength and performance more than
dehydration. It can decrease your cardiovascular system function and
aerobic power and throw off your body's ability to regulate its
temperature. It can also contribute to gastrointestinal discomfort and
overall fatigue, making it nearly impossible to be at the top of your
Dizziness, headaches, profuse sweating, nausea, weakness and visual
disturbances may indicate the onset of heat exhaustion from dehydration.
Drinking water and electrolytes at the first sign of these symptoms may
help you avoid painful cramps. Ignoring the symptoms, on the other
hand, could put you in serious trouble with heat stroke, possibly
leading to seizures and even death.
According to a study
published in June 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), extreme heat contributes to more 650 deaths each year.
From 1999 to 2009, 7,233 people in the United States died from
For prolonged physical activities like marathons, triathlons and
tournaments, athletes absolutely need to replace fluids. After 60
minutes of strenuous exertion, you should also replenish energy-stoking
glucose stores along with the salt that you lose when you sweat. Sports
drinks with added electrolytes may be helpful.
Most sports drinks on the market today—think Gatorade—typically
contain 14 to 18 grams of carbohydrates in the form of glucose per
8-ounce serving, as well as a blend of muscle-friendly electrolytes like
sodium and potassium. One 24-ounce bottle can give your body all it
needs to replenish itself after an hour of intense training in high
Active women should drink at least two liters of water every day, and
men should drink three liters. If you're working out for more than an
hour in the heat, add sports drinks to your fluids, too.
How to Prevent Summer Dehydration
Here are guidelines for athletes to avoid dehydration-related "bonking" (hitting the wall), as well as more serious heat-related illness:
- Drink three 8-ounce servings of water for every pound of body weight you lose during activity.
- Check urine color—the clearer the better!
- Chug as much water as possible 24 hours before competition (hyperhydration).
- Two to three hours before an event, drink 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups of water.
- For events lasting longer than 30 minutes, consume 1/2 cup to 1-1/2 cups of water every 15 minutes.
- Make sure you're losing no more than 2% of your body weight during
competition (a 150-pound runner can lose up to 3% of her body weight in
an hour without proper hydration).
Williams, Melvin H. Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport: 8th Edition. McGraw-Hill. May 2006.
Colleges are beginning to put more emphasis on students' shut-eye
Published: Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am
| Page 1D
As college students return to campus, they're showered in the usual handouts of coupons, condoms and credit cards.
But some schools are also giving students what a growing body of
research reveals could make a huge difference in their college careers:
ear plugs, sleep shades and napping lessons.
officials are finally realizing that healthy sleep habits are a
potential miracle drug for much of what ails the famously frazzled
modern American college student: anxiety, depression, physical health
problems and – more than most students realize – academic troubles. Some
studies have found students getting adequate sleep average a full
letter grade higher than those who don't.
biorhythms make it hard enough for college students to get the sleep
they need, a recommended nine hours. On top of that, campus life turns
out to resemble a giant laboratory experiment designed for maximum sleep deprivation:
irregular schedules, newfound freedom, endless social interaction, loud
and crowded housing, late-night exercise and food washed down by booze,
coffee and energy drinks. Campuses pulsing with energy at midnight by
mid- afternoon resemble Zombie U, with students dozing in library
chairs, on yoga mats and even in coffee shops.
Technology isn't helping, with wireless Internet adding to the 24/7
distractions and students sleeping with their smartphones on. That
likely helps explain data showing college students got about eight hours
of sleep in the 1960s and '70s, seven by the '80s, and, according to
more recent surveys, closer to six these days.
recently, even President Barack Obama told some students at an Ohio
State University diner that he assumed "you guys have arranged it so you
don't have really early morning classes."
No such luck.
"Actually, I failed that," one student replied, telling the president he had one at 8 a.m. the next day.
Now, some counselors and health officials are trying to get the message out in creative ways. At tiny Hastings College
in Nebraska, student peer educators plop down a bed in the middle of
the student union, dress themselves in pajamas, and talk to passers-by
about sleep. Macalester College in Minnesota publishes a "nap map"
listing pros and cons of various campus snooze sites. And many schools
offer seminars on napping (basic lesson: short naps work best).
The University of Louisville
is even planning a campus-wide "flash nap" – think of a flash mob but
with sleeping, not dancing – later in the school year. ("We have to
arrange in it advance so our public safety folks know it's not an
epidemic of something," said director of health promotion Karen Newton).
given the scope of sleeping problems, what's surprising is that such
efforts are exceptional. Major, campus-wide campaigns appear rare or
nonexistent. Experts say professors (and doctors) aren't always good
sleep role models. As for deans and administrators, many seem hesitant
to tell parents who've just dropped $50,000 on tuition that the big push
on campus this year will be for everyone to sleep more.
awareness is growing, at most schools sleep efforts amount to a few
posters on campus or perhaps a few lines in a quickly forgotten talk
during orientation week. While about three-quarters of college students
have indicated occasional sleep problems,
the latest National College Health Assessment found about the same
proportion reported receiving no information from their school about
sleep (though it's possible, in their sleepiness, some forgot).
"The average student is functioning with a clinical sleep disorder," said Lee Ann Hamilton, assistant director of health promotion and preventive services at the University of Arizona,
describing research conducted on students there. They average about 6
1/2 hours per night (though students tend to over-report in such
But sleep time and quality measurements declined over
the course of the academic year, while anxiety, depression and conflict
with family, friends and roommates all rose.
Hamilton's office has been sending students a "Snoozeletter" with sleep tips.
described by junior Sara Campbell, residence hall life at UA makes it
hard even for students trying to sleep – constant late-night chattering,
visitors coming and going, early morning cleaning crews. She aims to be
asleep by 12:30 a.m. or so, but was dumbfounded to find girls on her
hall regularly pulling all-nighters for papers and exams – basically
academic suicide, the research shows.
"Not to speak bad of them,
but a lot of them are freshmen and just decided to wait 'till the last
minute," she said. Her big challenge was managing with a roommate who
tries to keep earlier hours; this year the pair are moving off-campus
together where they'll have separate bedrooms.
Still, Campbell is
applying what she's learned about sleep as a psychology major. This
year, she's arranged her schedule to have classes and work start at 8
a.m. every day of the week. That will be tough, but commits her to
avoiding the destructive pattern that traps many college students –
getting up early one day, then sleeping late the next.
is key," Campbell said. "You can pick a schedule here and have a
different time to get up every day, but going to bed at a different time
every night, it wears on your body."
College mental health
professionals are increasingly asking students about sleep right away,
finding it's often the low-lying fruit for helping students with a range
"When you find depression, even when you find anxiety,
when you scratch the surface 80 to 90 percent of the time you find a
sleep problem as well," said University of Delaware psychologist Brad
Many students who think they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
are often just sleep-deprived. Some simple steps to improve "sleep
hygiene" are usually far preferable to prescribing drugs. (Wolgast is
also seeing more students who've been prescribed sleeping pills, which
he says usually harm sleep patterns more than help).
"On a campus
they're dealing with alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, Ritalin abuse, sexual
assault," Wolgast said. In comparison, sleep "looks like a small
problem. But the truth is if I could wave a magic wand and change
everybody's sleep, there would be fewer problems with pretty much
But Wolgast and others don't have a magic wand,
and have concluded that nagging students, or fighting the campus
culture, is hopeless. Running napping classes – pitched as ways to help
students maximize their sleep – has proved a more effective pitch.
also happily accept earplugs. Hastings, with just 1,200 students,
orders them in bulk from a manufacturing supply company and hands out
thousands, said Beth Littrell, director of campus health services.
guru of the college sleep crusade is James Maas, who over 48 years
taught more than 65,000 students in Cornell University's most popular
class – a sleep-focused version of introductory psychology. Maas
evangelized to his students and experimented on them as well, asking
them to wear sleep-monitoring headbands and showing them
magnetic-resonance images of the brains of sleep-deprived college
"You can see that nothing is going on in their brains," Maas said. "Literally nothing."
students with such photos, along with hard data on how sleep undermines
academic performance, is the most effective way to change behavior,
Maas said. Still, he'd like to see colleges do more: ending early
classes, sound-proofing and air-conditioning dorms, putting sleep
education into the curriculum.
The people most receptive to his
message on campus are usually coaches. A few years back, he made his
pitch to Cornell's basketball coach, who stopped morning practices. The
next year the Big Red became the first Ivy League team since 1979 to
advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
efforts have paid off at a number of boarding schools. After Maas spoke
at the Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts in 2007, the school moved the
start of classes from 7:55 to 8:30 a.m., cut sports practices and
homework expectations 10 percent each, and got students back into dorms
earlier at night.
The results? Twenty percent fewer student visits
to the health center (in a bad flu year); 17 percent more students
taking time for a hot breakfast, and a record increase in GPA. Also,
several Deerfield sports teams enjoyed unexpectedly good years, thanks
to late-season surges.
Of course, boarding schools have more
control over students than colleges. But Deerfield Headmistress
Margarita Curtis said that's no excuse for higher education. She said
Deerfield's efforts worked because students bought into them.
need to appeal to their intellect," she said. "They responded because
they saw that correlation. They saw if you get that extra hour of sleep,
this is what happens in your brain, what happened to that athlete."
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