Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fuel for the "Average Joe" work out

I read this on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. 

Great tips for the "Average Joe" just working out for weight loss or weight maintenance. 

Super athletes, you will need a more enhanced nutrition plan. 

Tips for Fueling Your Workout without Over Doing It

Oatmeal and Blueberries
By Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN, CSSD
Heading to the gym after work for a quick workout? Out for a morning walk with the dogs? Working out is good for our physical and mental health. Although many individuals workout for weight loss or maintenance, exercising burns fewer calories than you might think. For example, you burn about 100 calories for every mile you walk or run. Yet, the average energy bar provides about 250 calories and a 16-ounce fruit smoothie has 350 to 400 calories, so it is easy to overdo it.
Here are some tips for fueling your workout without sabotaging the calorie-burning effort of exercise.

The Morning Workout

A low-intensity morning workout — such as a walk, bike ride, yoga or round of golf — requires very little fuel. Concentrate on hydration and a small carbohydrate-rich snack, like 16 ounces of water and mini-bagel or a 100-calorie granola bar. That will give you enough energy to compensate for an overnight fast without loading up on calories. After your workout, eat a smart breakfast of quality carbohydrates and protein. This can be a hard-cooked egg, a slice of whole-grain toast and 100-percent fruit juice, or oatmeal with berries and fat-free milk.

In the Evening

If you exercise after work, plan to eat lunch 3 to 4 hours before your workout. Good choices include a grilled chicken salad, a grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato soup, or a turkey sub with baked chips. A healthy lunch will provide enough calories to sustain a late afternoon workout, but give yourself a little energy boost 15 to 30 minutes before your workout by eating a banana, orange slices or a handful of grapes. Concentrate on hydration; water is a good choice for exercise lasting less than an hour, but consider a low-calorie sports drink (about 20 calories per cup) if you are exercising for more than an hour at a higher intensity. If you are working out for more than an hour in a hot, humid climate, consider drinking a sports drink (1 cup) and water for the next fluid break.


After a workout, re-hydrate with water. If you are heading home and eating dinner within a couple of hours, there is no need for a post-workout snack. If your meal will be delayed, then recover with 6 to 8 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk, 6 ounces of low-fat Greek yogurt, or a stick of string cheese with a few whole-grain crackers.
Try not to fall into the cycle of skipping breakfast, eating a light lunch and, then, exercising after work with little fuel on board. With this scenario, you are more likely to overeat after your workout because you are so hungry from not eating enough during the day. Another mental trap is rewarding a good workout with high-calorie or fatty foods. Rewarding your workout with food and high-calorie fluids will undo your efforts in the gym; instead, treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers for a job well done.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fueling Water Polo - Warriors 2013 Edition

Water polo is one of the toughest sports. It requires many skills such as speed, endurance, strength, and power.  Proper nutrition is the key to achieving your optimum performance, both individually and as a team. Eating the right foods at the right times can:
  • Allow you to train longer & with more intensity 
  • Reduce fatigue 
  • Reduce risk of injury 
  • Help you recover more quickly from practices and games
  • Improve your overall performance

Fueling Water Polo

Carbohydrates (Carbs): whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, rice, fruits, veggies, crackers, low-fat milk & yogurt.
  • Carbs are the main fuel for sports, so most of your calories should come from carbs. 
  • Your muscles use carbs for energy during practice and games, and carbs are also the main fuel for your brain. 
  • Eating carbs before practice will help keep your energy high throughout practice and allow you to train harder. This will help improve your overall performance. 
  • Carbs also “refuel” your muscles after practice and games. Refueling as soon as possible after practice increases your muscles’ energy storage (glycogen) for your next practice. Overtime, this can help you recover more quickly and make practices seem easier, allowing you to train even harder. 
Protein: fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, beans, soy foods, milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • Protein is necessary for muscle recovery and repair after practices and games. 
  • Protein is also very important for growth and development during the teen years. 
  • Getting the right amounts of protein will help you stay healthy, increase muscle mass, and improve your game. 
Fluids → water, sports drinks (Gatorade), milk, 100% juice

  • Fluids are very important before, during, and after training and games. Yes, even though you are in the water, you can still become very dehydrated if you don't drink fluids. 
  • Dehydration can cause headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue. This can really hurt your performance. 
  • It is important to start drinking fluids at least 1 to 2 hours before practice, take quick fluid breaks every 20 minutes during practice, and continue drinking fluids after practice so you can “rehydrate” your body. 
  • Water is fine during games as they are less than one hour long. 
  • However, it is recommended to drink sports drinks with added carbs and electrolytes (like Gatorade) during practice, because practices are long and strenuous. This added fuel will give you energy during the last minutes of practice when your energy is running low. Water with fruit during practice can also work great, but liquid calories like Gatorade tend to digest more easily while swimming.
Tips for Fueling High School Water Polo Practice
on School Days.

ALWAYS EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST AND LUNCH!  How else will you survive the school day?  Student athletes who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom than those who skip breakfast.

Some healthy examples include (but not limited to):
  • breakfastcereal with fruit and milk; large fruit/yogurt smoothie; breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, and ham; pancakes or waffles with fruit and turkey sausage; large bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit and milk; large bagel topped with PB and glass of milk.
  • lunch: brown bag it! Make a healthy lunch at home and bring it to school- PB & jelly sandwiches, deli meat sandwiches, fruits, cheese and crackers, sports bars, water or GatoradeAvoid fatty, greasy fast foods and junk foods because they can cause stomach aches and make you feel tired and sleepy before afternoon practices.

HAVE A QUICK AFTER-SCHOOL SNACK.  It should be small, high-carb food and low in fat so it digests quickly enough before your practice.**
  • Pre-practice snack ideas (have both food & fluids) 
    • Foods: Fruit, granola bar, crackers, or pretzels. 
    • Fluids: Water, Gatorade, small low-fat, skim, or soy milk.
**You now have "Healthy Vending" machines at school, but bringing healthy fuel from home is much cheaper.   

EAT DURING STUDY HALL BEFORE THE LATER PRACTICE SESSIONS:  When study hall and later practice sessions begin, there will be a very long time between lunch and practice, so be sure to bring a "2nd lunch" to eat during study hall.                                                  

REFUEL AND REHYDRATE IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRACTICEEating a snack with carbs and protein as soon as possible after practice (within 30 minutes) helps your muscles recover more quickly. The snack should be readily available in your water polo bag or backpack so you can eat it as soon as possible. Chocolate milk, sports bars, and fruit are a great post-workout recovery snacks.

    EAT A HEALTHY, HEARTY DINNER WITHIN 2 HOURS AFTER PRACTICE; DON'T FORGET FLUIDS TOO!  Your dinner meal will help you refuel and recover for the next day's practice.

    Tips for Fueling on Tournament Days:
    The best food to eat between games will be high in carbs, include a good source of protein, and be low in fat.  And, of course, don't forget fluids! 
    Fatty, greasy foods should be avoided, because they take a long time to digest and may cause stomachaches and fatigue.
    (i.e. NO donuts, fatty pastries, greasy fast foods, etc). 

    Tournament day food ideas that parents can bring and athletes can eat between games:
    -chocolate milk (low fat or soy), fruit, yogurt cups, cheese sticks, bagels and cream cheese, PB&J sandwiches, deli sandwiches like turkey or ham, sports/granola bars, trail mix, pretzels, pita chips, beef jerky, and of course water and Gatorade.

    Remember, the best energy booster and muscle builder for athletes is 
    a healthy sports diet. 

    Go Warriors!

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Golfers, not up to par on your hydration? It could severely affect your performance!

    You're coming up on the 15th hole. You are fatigued, hot, and you feel a headache coming on. You've been fighting the course for the past 4 holes, and it is winning. Your game was great on the front nine, but now it's crumbling. Why does this always seem to happen? There could be one, simple solution...Hydration!

    Golf requires the physical skills of endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility as well as keen cognitive function, concentration, and anxiety control.
    Scientific research shows that dehydration negatively affects all of these important attributes that are critical in the game of golf. If your strength and endurance are compromised by dehydration, perhaps your drives might not go as far. If your balance and flexibility are off, your chances of slicing increase. If your concentration is hindered, your putts may not fall; instead of that coveted birdie, you find yourself 3-putting for bogey. All of these scenarios can become even worse on a hot, humid day when the risk of dehydration increases.

    Staying hydrated throughout the round may be the key to improving your game. Here are some simple solutions that may help:
    • Start hydrating the day before by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
    • 2 hours before your round, start drinking approximately 2 cups (16 oz) of water.
    • At the start of each hole, drink about a 1/2 cup of water, even when not feeling thirsty. For some of us, the thirst mechanism doesn't kick in until we are already dehydrated. What is a 1/2 cup? It's about 4 gulps of your water. 
    • Avoid alcohol (and this is where I lose you golfers 21 and older). But seriously, if you are a competitive golfer and serious about your game, you should know that alcohol causes dehydration, even if consumed the day before your round. Coupled with 4-5 hours of play in the heat and humidity, alcohol could really blow your game.
    These are just a few tips to get you started. Everyone is different, so try a few of the hydration tips above to see what works best for you. 

    Play hard and hydrate wisely! 
    Good luck to the SJSU Men's Golf Team and 
    the Valley Christian HS Varsity Golf Team this Spring! 

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Athletes and Alcohol - A Bad Mix

    Athletes train hard and compete in order to achieve their dreams. These dreams may be impossible to achieve if athletes choose to drink alcohol. Consuming alcoholic beverages, even days before or after an important practice or competition, can erase the beneficial effects of training and ruin their chances of achieving optimum performance.

    Alcohol use is of particular concern with collegiate athletes. Shockingly, a national study of college student drinking found that student-athletes have significantly higher rates of heavy drinking than non-athletes.  "Heavy drinking" is defined as 5 or more drinks consecutively for men, 4 or more for women.

    In addition to the health and safety concerns of excessive alcohol consumption,
    here are the Top 10 reasons why athletes should avoid alcohol consumption:

    1. Drinking alcohol after a training session or practice can negate the benefits of your hard work, because it can decrease muscle protein synthesis, impairing muscle growth and canceling out the gains from your workout.
    2. Alcohol causes dehydration, even many hours to days after its use. Dehydration leads to headaches, fatigue, impaired balance, and a host of other problems that significantly impairs performance and recovery.
    3. Alcohol use can inhibit the secretion of Human Growth Hormone, a hormone naturally produced in our body which is important in muscle growth and recovery.
    4. Alcohol is a toxin, and it can disrupt normal cell function and impair the ability of muscles cells to produce ATP, the main energy molecule in our cells. This can deplete your energy significantly, resulting in loss of endurance.
    5. Alcohol is high in calories, low in nutrients, and the body treats it like fat. This can lead to unwanted weight gain in the form of fat storage, which can hamper athletic performance.
    6. Alcohol consumption may inhibit the absorption of some important vitamins and minerals like thiamin, zinc, folic acid, and Vitamin B12. These nutrients are extremely important for energy metabolism and new cell growth, such as muscle cells and red blood cells.  
    7. Alcohol use affects and disrupts your sleep-cycle, reducing your ability to learn and retain new information, such as learning new plays, studying films, and applying strategy during games. 
    8. Alcohol consumption provides only "empty calories" and may displace valuable nutrient-dense beverages important to athletes, such as milk or 100% fruit juices.
    9. Heavy drinking can negatively affect brain and body activities for up to 3 full days.
    10. Two consecutive nights of heavy drinking can negatively impact an athlete's body and brain for up to 5 days!!!
    Is a night of drinking worth all of these negative effects on your sports performance? For the serious athlete in training, with serious goals, a resounding "NO" should be the answer.  Enjoy the party and time with your friends, but volunteer to be the designated driver instead.  

    Fuel wisely to reach your dreams. 

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Heathly Half-Time Fuel for the Performance Athlete

    Do you compete in a high-intensity, endurance sport (like soccer) with minimal breaks during games? 
    Do you find yourself without any opportunities to hydrate or fuel during competition? 
    Do you have a hard time eating a pregame meal because of a nervous stomach or "butterflies"?

    Competing at a high-intensity for long periods of time without a break can leave you dehydrated and fatigued from low energy, especially if you do not hydrate and fuel properly before competition.

    Consider this:
    Three main causes of exercise fatigue and impaired sports performance are:
    1. dehydration
    2. reduced energy stores in muscles ("glycogen")
    3. low blood sugar levels
    For some sports, the only opportunity for a break is half-time.

    Rehydrating and refueling during competition (at half-time) can help keep sports performance at optimal levels and help get you through the second half of the game, especially those crucial final minutes when physical and mental fatigue can really take a toll. This is even more important if you consider those unexpected overtime periods that sometimes occur.

    Halftime is a great opportunity to refuel and rehydrate. Fluids provide the much needed hydration for your body to cool itself and maintain its optimal temperature. Carbohydrate foods provide the much needed glucose (sugar) your brain and muscles use during competition.

    Here are some half-time snack suggestions that provide your body with the much needed fluids and fuel (glucose) to stay strong, delay fatigue, and keep your performance high. These foods are high in water content, high in carbohydrates, and low in fat so they digest quickly.

    • Sports Drinks (Gatorade) or water
    • Bananas
    • Strawberries
    • Grapes
    • Cut-up melon
    • Sliced oranges
    • Apple wedges

    Remember one of the most important rules of sports nutrition:
    Never try anything new for the first time on GAME DAY!!!  
    Try different carbohydrate foods during practice first to see if they settle well in your stomach.
    Everyone is different. What works for a teammate, may not work for you.

    Fuel Excellence!

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Nutrition & Recovery from Injury- Important Nutrients for the Healing Process

    Don't let injuries sideline you on game day. A healthy sports diet can help you heal, recover, and get back in action!
    Protein: Injuries, surgeries, and stress can all increase protein needs, especially in young athletes. The body uses protein to build bone and muscle, heal injuries, and fight infections by keeping the immune system healthy.
    • Good sources of protein include fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, beans, soy foods, milk, cheese, and yogurt.

    Calcium & Vitamin D work together to build and maintain strong bones.
    • Calcium is in dairy foods like milk, yogurt, & cheese; Calcium-fortified soy milk, almond milk, and orange juice; and veggies like broccoli and kale. 
    • Vitamin D is found in fish, eggs, and in fortified foods like milk & some orange juices. Your body can also make its own Vitamin D from the sunlight!

    Vitamin C helps your body to form collagen. Collagen is a protein needed for strength and flexibility; it repairs tendons and ligaments and strengthens bones. Vitamin C also gives your immune system a boost. Make sure you eat plenty of foods with Vitamin C.  
    • Fruits and veggies are good sources of Vitamin C: oranges and orange juice, broccoli, red & green bell peppers, strawberries,  grapefruit and grapefruit juice, tomatoes, papaya, cantaloupe, watermelon.

    Vitamin A is needed for growth & development, bone formation, wound healing, and it helps the immune system work properly.
    • Good sources of Vitamin A include bright orange fruits like mangoes, papayas, apricots, cantaloupe, and peaches; milk, eggs, liver, and fortified cereals; carrots, sweet potatoes, and red bell peppers; spinach, kale, and other dark-green leafy veggies.