Thursday, June 23, 2016

Your sweat rate: How to check it and why it matters


When I work with any athlete, one of the first questions I ask is, "what is your sweat rate?". Ninety-five percent of the time, I get a blank stare. When creating a performance nutrition plan, knowing your sweat rate is critical to make sure fluid replacement during exercise is adequate (but not too high). Here is why:

The importance of water
Water plays major roles in the body at any given time, but especially during exercise. During exercise, water inside your body cools your core and muscles, keeping you from overheating too quickly. This helps your perform stronger and longer. In addition, water transports nutrients to your muscle for use in exercise metabolism and then "cleans up" by transporting metabolites away from your muscle to be filtered and excreted. Water plays a key role in preventing dehydration, which also keeps the athlete mentally "on" throughout the workout. Finally, water acts as a cushion to your organs to protect them in case of impact during sports.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

5 recipes every athlete should try this summer


As the weather warms, some athletes begin competitive season, while others hit off-season training. Either way, warmer weather calls for a solid nutrition base to help the body stay hydrated and fueled. Here are five lighter recipes that will keep you cool (and well-fueled) this summer.

Avocado Smoothie
Instead of the usual fruit, try a new smoothie using avocado instead! A refreshing drink bursting with omega-3 fatty acids to help those training muscles recover. If you do not drink cow's milk, replace with soy milk to make sure you still get a source of protein.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Is Beetroot Juice the Answer to Your Performance Woes?

In the sports world, many supplements come and go - some are food-based and others...not so much. A recent food-based player is beetroot juice or beetroot powder. Companies such as Beet Elite and Beet Boost sell powdered beetroot that can be mixed into water and taken like a shot 30-60 minutes before exercise. But what is beetroot juice, why all the hype and does it really improve performance?

Nitric Oxide
Beetroot juice or powder is a source of nitrate, which is converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide regulates blood flow and muscle contraction within the body. Higher levels of nitric oxide equals more oxygen to flow to the muscles. This can be beneficial for athletes because better blood flow means better oxygen supply to working muscles, allowing the athlete to push harder for longer instead of hitting the wall too soon. However, beets are not the only food source of nitrates. Other vegetables considered high in nitrates (over 250 mg/100gm fresh weight) include celery, arugula, rhubarb, butterhead lettuce and spinach.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Runner’s Cramps: Why You Get Them and How You Can Prevent Them

runner's cramps: how to prevent them
Thanks to Jessica Bratko from Athletico for the interview and writing of today's blog post!

Most runners have experienced it: your run is going smoothly and you’re feeling great, then all of a sudden you succumb to the dreaded side stitch, calf cramp or that feeling of “having to go.” Muscle and stomach issues can stop a runner dead in their tracks. With varying spring temperatures, muscle cramps are more common, as there is little opportunity to adjust to the change in weather.


Even with all advances in modern science, the true cause of exercise-induced cramps is still widely misunderstood. Kate Davis, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, consultant sports dietitian/nutritionist and owner of RDKate Sports Nutrition in Naperville, Illinois provides great insight regarding why cramps may occur while running. Kate has had numerous experiences working with institutions like the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, as well as the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO and IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Check out what she had to say below to learn how to minimize, prevent, and act quickly when cramps occur.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How to plan and grow a performance-enhancing garden


In the Midwest, it is almost outdoor vegetable garden time! Those who start seedlings inside have already begun the process; outside planting generally begins around Memorial Day Weekend. While you wait, now is a great time to plan your garden. Here are some tips to help you plant a successful and performance-enhancing garden.

1. Determine your garden location
Here is a great resource for choosing a smart site for your garden. In short, choose a spot with plenty of sunshine and with access to a water source. Don't plant next to a large tree or shrub, as the plant will not only create shade but also take nutrients from the soil. Once you have determined your spot, the soil quality makes a huge difference. However, to best know what to add to the soil to make it great for planting, do a soil test. Soil testing is the best way to know where your soil falls short in nutrient content. It also will make the actual gardening part easier since you have already perfected the soil.

2. Find your planting zone calendar
To know when each vegetable can be planted or transplanted, find a planting zone calendar for your location. A quick internet search for "garden planting zone" will bring up many links that allow you to enter your zip code to find your zone number. Once you have your zone number, you can find a planting zone calendar like this one