Wednesday, May 29, 2013

School's Out but Breakfast Should Stay

School is either almost or already out for many athletes. It can be tempting to start skipping breakfast; this often happens when athletes are out of their normal routine. Here's some advice: don't. "I'm not hungry in the morning" or "I don't have time" are not acceptable; they are excuses. Skipping breakfast often leads to overeating as the day continues (especially at night). Make a commitment to continue your performance nutrition throughout the summer, when sometimes training can be at its peak (especially for fall-sport athletes).
Skipping breakfast can lead to:
Early fatigue during workouts and throughout the day
Less effective training
Problems losing and maintaining weight
Trouble concentrating at a workout or a summer job

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why carbs are bad...and good

Low-carbohydrate diets are all the craze. On a weekly basis athletes are telling me they limit their carbohydrate intake because "carbs are bad". I should really create company shirts that say "I [heart] Carbs" (similar to those I [heart] NY shirts). It is a shame that carbohydrates get such a bad rap. However, it is an even bigger shame that often athletes don't really know what these nutrients are for, in what foods they are found or why cutting them is a good or bad idea.

What they do
Carbohydrate (or sugar) is a source of quick energy for your body. When not slowed down by fiber, fat or protein, pure carbohydrate can be absorbed into your system and utilized for energy very quickly (15-20 minutes). This is why the calories in sports drinks, gels, gu's, chews, etc. are 100% from carbohydrate. The point of these products is for them to get out of your stomach quickly and to your muscles where you can actually utilize them. The interesting thing about an exercising muscle is that the higher the intensity of the workout, the more it relies on carbohydrate for energy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tiny nutrition tricks for big workout gains

A few weeks back, I blogged about tiny nutrition tricks for big weight loss (check it out here). But what if you don't want to lose weight? What if you are just looking to improve your workouts to see better results overall? Here are few more "tiny tricks", but this time for big workout gains....

1. Stay hydrated
Hydration is the number one nutrition-related reason for poor performance. Being hydrated means the entire day, not just right before and during the workout. During the day, drink to stay ahead of thirst (thirst  = already a 1% dehydration; performance deficits occur at 2%). Also check your hydration status by assessing pee color (lemonade color is best). Not sure you hydrate enough during workouts? Weigh yourself before and after a workout. If your weight decreases, you didn't drink enough; an increase indicates too much fluid intake; a nearly same number means you hydrated well.

2. Eat to your workout type
Not all types of athletes are the same, so nutrition needs are also not the same.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gluten-free meals and snacks

I work with a growing number of athletes who do not eat gluten. Many struggle with getting in enough carbohydrate for their level of training. They don't know how to be more creative than eating rice and sweet potatoes with every meal. So for all you gluten-free eaters out there, here are 2 days of gluten-free eating.

Day 1

Breakfast: Low-fat cottage cheese topped with fresh berries and almonds; drizzle with honey

Lunch: Wrap made with Rudi's brand spinach tortilla, Boar's Head brand deli turkey, pesto, mozzarella cheese, fresh mushrooms and spinach. Serve with fresh cantaloupe.

Dinner: Lean turkey burger an Udi's brand hamburger bun with slice of watermelon and steamed broccoli

Snack: Low-fat string cheese with mini box of raisins

Snack: Homemade hummus with baby carrots

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nut nutrition a nutshell

Nuts are a great way for athletes to add energy to their training diet that's packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fat. Because these are a very energy-dense food option, it is a great way for busy athletes to meet their caloric needs quickly and nutritiously. Did you know that eating 1.5 ounces of the nuts listed below reduces your risk of heart disease? One study also found that women aged 20-45 years old who ate nuts at least 2 times per week had a lower risk of weight gain and obesity over an 8-year follow-up period than those women who ate nuts less frequently.

Are you aware of the huge variety of nuts? It's not just about peanuts, almonds and walnuts anymore. Read on to learn about the variety of nutritious nuts out there.

Note: 1 oz varies from ~160-200 Calories. A good rule of thumb is to substitute nuts for food sources of saturated fat in the diet (i.e. fried foods, full butter, commercial baked goods, etc.).

Cashews (1 oz serving = ~18)
Source of: copper and magnesium
Flavor: slightly sweet
Use: as a snack - raw or roasted - or added to Asian dishes