Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is my sport supplement safe and effective?

With the fall season in full swing, this is about the time I start getting questions from coaches and trainers. Should my athletes take this? What do you think about that? I thought now would be a great time to re-post a previous article I wrote about evaluating supplements. This will help anyone who may be looking to take a supplement, but want to make it is safe, effective and legal. Any time I use the word "supplement" in this post, I'll be referring to ergogenic aids in the form of powders, pills, capsules, or tablets (also known as dietary supplements).

The Nutrition Business Journal estimated that sales of all nutritional supplements (including vitamins and minerals) in the United States in 2010 was somewhere around $28.7 billion. Supplements sales have steadily increased 6-7% per year since 2009, which is higher than the 5% growth the industry saw yearly from 2000-2009. Sales were highly driven by dietary supplements such as vitamin D, probiotics, fish oil, and CoQ10.

With the multitude of products on the market today, how do you know if what you're taking is safe (won't affect your short- and long-term health), effective (actual does what it claims to do), and legal (doesn't contain banned substances for your sport)? Before I go any further, let me be clear on one point: If you are under the age of 18, you should not be taking ANY ergogenic aidsThe long-term effects of most supplements on growing athletes has either not been studied or is unfavorable. So, until you are 18, don't even think about it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

3 Foods you should avoid before a workout

While what can and cannot be tolerated before a workout varies among athletes, there are some foods that should be avoided in the 30 minutes before a workout. This is because these foods in general will not provide enough of the appropriate energy needed by working muscles in a short enough time frame.

1. Nuts
A great source of protein and fat, nuts provide zero carbohydrate. Since carbohydrate is the muscle's preferred source of energy during a workout, this is a problem. Plus the protein, fat and fiber found in nuts will slow down digestion, which means it will take much longer for this less-than-ideal energy source to get to your working muscles. To fix this, pair nuts with dried fruit (carbohydrate source) and eat at least 60 minutes before a workout to allow time for the energy to get to your muscles.

2. Cow's/Soy Milk
While milk contains carbohydrate and protein, the ratio is not what you need before a workout (i.e. not enough carbohydrate). To fix this, choose low-fat chocolate cow's or soy milk. The added chocolate will provide carbohydrate as well as anti-inflammatory properties (from the cocoa). Assuming you can tolerate milk products, this is a great option before a workout. But make sure the chocolate milk is low-fat. Fat slows down how quickly your muscles receive the nutrients. Drink this about 45 minutes before your workout.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Top 10 tailgate food swaps

This week, enjoy a guest post from my intern, Ashley!

Be Extraordinary,

It’s that time of year again; football is back in full swing! Everyone enjoys the cooler weather and cheering on our favorite teams with our friends and family. Tailgating goes along with football season, which usually means a variety of tempting foods within an arm’s reach. If you are training for a race you might think that you need to avoid these parties so you don’t ruin all the hard work you have put into your training. The good news is you don’t have to! You can enjoy tailgating with your friends and family while sticking to your training plan.

Here are 10 typical tailgate foods with perfect healthy swaps perfect for a person in training:


1. Wings are a delicious and messy appetizer that everyone loves, but are typically fried and high in fat. This baked chicken wing recipe is lower in fat, but still provides full flavor that you love.

·         Using Greek yogurt in the blue cheese dip lowers total fat and provides protein and calcium.

·         Make it your own: substitute hot sauce for a sweeter BBQ sauce if you don’t like spice.

2. Nachos usually contain excessive calories and fat, but if done right can be healthy. This recipe of chicken and bean nachos are an appetizer everyone will enjoy.

·         Chicken: great source of lean protein, which can help protect against muscle damage during a workout

·         Beans: good source of protein and fiber that will keep you feel full longer

·         Shredded cheese: provides calcium and is lower in fat and sodium content than processed nacho cheese

·         Swap Greek yogurt for sour cream again!

·         Offer fresh pico de gallo, salsa or guacamole on the side and serve over corn chips. 


3. Fresh salsa or pico de gallo are great choices.  Both are a good source of vegetables, which contain vitamins essential for athlete’s immune systems and helpful to reduce muscle soreness post workout.

4. Swap Greek yogurt for sour cream in dips like spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip or French onion dip. This spinach artichoke dip recipe is full of flavor and sure to be a hit!

·         Artichokes and spinach are high in iron, which is essential for providing oxygen for your muscles during a workout.

·         Serve fresh cut veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, or snap peas with your dip instead of chips.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shopping Online for Performance-Enhancing Snacks

Recent articles in Eat to Compete have focused on snack ideas for athletes on-the-go. Busy athletes often have little time to shop. Did you know that many food items are available online? Through Amazon Prime (~$80 per year membership), users can get free 2-day shipping as well as additional "Subscribe and Save" discounts by setting up automatic delivery of items (not available for all items). While I admit I only use this for diapers and wipes currently (yes - I'm a mom), what a GREAT idea for busy families with hungry athlete mouths to feed! Check out this short list of recommended food items with links to purchase on Amazon.
*Indicates Subscribe & Save Available
+Indicates Free Shipping available for Prime Members

Plum Organics Mish Mash *+ [for toddlers, I know - but you can eat them too!]
Clif Mojo Bars *+ [there are many bar options; I just picked one]
Planters Trail Mix - Fruit & Nut Packets *+
Bear Naked Granola *+
Kashi Go-Lean Cereal Cups *+
Justin's Natural Peanut Butter Packets (case of 10) [almond butter packets and jars of either nut butter also available]
StarKist Tuna Packets *
Fig Newtons Individual Packages *+ [48-packs also available]
Microwave Popcorn Snack Bags *
Pretzel Bags +
Kashi Whole Grain Crackers *+
Bare Naked Baked/Dried Fruit Packets *+
Single Serving Hummus Dip Packets
GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals: Sunbutter & Crackers *+ 
Go-Go Squeeze Applesauce Pouches *+
100% Juice Boxes +
8-oz chocolate milk cartons +
8-oz soy chocolate milk cartons *+
8-oz almond chocolate milk cartons *+

Be Extraordinary,