Fueling Your Passion: Ensuring Adequate Nutrition for the Athlete

Fueling Your Passion
Ensuring Adequate Nutrition for the Athlete
By Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

In this post, please note that another name for sugar is glucose.

Photo Credit: chuddlesworth via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: chuddlesworth via Compfight cc

Calling all athletes!

Whether you’re running the NYC marathon or your first triathlon, nutrition is an important key to performance excellence. Knowing the best foods to eat before, during, and after you compete is essential for a successful event and, of course, not “bonking out”! Here’s the lowdown for fueling your race.

 

2 to 3 days before the event:

Consume a meal consisting mostly of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein plus some amounts of fat; it’s the most favorable repast for athletes before entering a competition. Eat simple, easy to digest (lower in fiber) carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta approximately two to three days before you compete. Louis Burke, PhD, recommends this lower residue intake to minimize intestinal contents —and therefore prevent the need for bowel movements during the event.1 Eating this way is a key element of running free from bloat and gas during the competition.

 

This meal focuses on carbohydrates because they are digested faster than protein and fat, thus providing the muscles with adequate glucose (sugar) for glycogen stores (your body’s storage form of glucose). This gives athletes enough energy reserves to maintain higher and longer levels of intensity during the event.2 Adequate glucose storage in the muscles will prevent you from experiencing weakness and fatigue when participating in events requiring extra endurance.

 

Pre-competition meal:

Eating your pre-event meal three to four hours before the game or race is another key element to performing at your very best. A balanced meal will provide you with the maximum available energy you need for competition. Giving your body enough time to digest the meal is key.3

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Here are some good examples of pre-competition meals—to be consumed 3 to 4 hours before the event:

  • Cheerios with low-fat milk and fruit-flavored Greek yogurt with banana
  • Omelet with cheese and baked hash brown potatoes
  • White English muffin with avocado and hummus and an applesauce side
  • Bagel with natural peanut butter and jam
  • Turkey on white bread with a low-fat yogurt
  • White pasta with pesto and shrimp

 

 

Hydration: 2 cups 2 hours before—and 2 cups during!

Keeping yourself well hydrated both before and during exercise is essential to successful performance. Drinking two cups of fluid (8 oz. per cup) at least two hours before your event can be helpful in preventing dehydration. It’s also important to make sure that you drink another two cups of water for every hour you are competing.5 Preventing dehydration can keep you from feeling fatigued and can prevent your muscles from cramping during your competition. If you’re an athlete participating in an event lasting over an hour, you should also think about electrolyte depletion. Excessive sweating causes you to lose important electrolytes such as sodium and potassium—and can adversely affect your performance. To replace lost electrolytes, consider choosing a sports drink such as Gatorade which will aid in electrolyte repletion and rehydration. Sports drinks usually contain carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. Gatorade (and other sports drinks formulated especially for athletes include water, glucose/sugar and electrolytes) provides the ideal ratio for rehydration and repletion of electrolytes and glycogen stores.6

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Recovery foods:

Recovery foods to consume at your post-event meals are just as important as your pre-event meals. During exercise, your body breaks down its muscle glycogen stores. When your body uses the available glucose in your blood, it needs to switch to reserves. It can quickly break glycogen down into glucose which causes the glycogen stores to become depleted. Due to this breakdown, replenishing your body with carbohydrates is crucial for adequate recovery.7 Make sure you eat enough carbohydrates to restore the glycogen in the muscles that was depleted during the event. Protein will help to repair the muscles that were stressed. Antioxidants are also beneficial at this time; they aid in repairing any free radical damage that occurred during your intense exercise. In general, consuming carbs and proteins within thirty minutes of your workout is ideal for muscle recovery. This muscle recovery period will last for about 30 minutes to four hours post exercise.

 

Here are some post-event meal ideas to help you recover and prepare for your next workout:

  • Oat bagel toasted with almond butter and fresh strawberries
  • Whole grain wrap with grilled chicken, hummus and tricolor peppers
  • Whole-wheat burrito with white rice, beans and veggies
  • Grilled salmon and quinoa with steamed squash
  • Smoothie with low-fat milk, banana, peanut butter, protein powder and wheat germ
  • Spaghetti and meatballs with spinach

 

On average, it’s recommended that a female athlete (about 5’4” and 140 lbs.) consume approximately 500 grams of carbohydrates and 76 to 89 grams of protein per day. It’s recommended that a male athlete (about 6’0” and 180 lbs.) consume approximately 700 grams of carbohydrates and 98 to 113 grams of protein per day.7

 

Providing yourself with the proper energy foods both before and after your competition can make a huge difference in your performance. Eating a low residue, carbohydrate rich diet is important for your pre-event meal while eating within thirty minutes of a competition is crucial for your post-event recovery. What you feed your body both before and after competition can be the most important key for turning an adequate performance in your event into an excellent one!

 

What do you eat before and after an event? What foods work for your body? Do you have any secrets to your success that you can share with our readers?

 

Don’t miss out on our giveaway! Click here to enter for your chance to win some great fitness prizes!

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Looking for some great ways to stay active this Spring? Check out House of Jai’s fundraising event this Mother’s Day weekend benefiting Saving Mothers!

 

References:

1. “Conference Highlights.” Scan’s Pulse. Spring 2014; 33(2):16-18. 06 Apr. 2014.

2. “Pre-Event Meals.” American College of Sports Medicine. www.acsm.org. Accessed April 13, 2014.

3. Berning J, Neville K. “From The Sandlot to the Olympics Fueling Athletes A Key To Success.” Dry Bean Quarterly. Beaninstitute.com. 2014. Accessed April 6, 2014.

4. Berning J, Manroe M, Meyer NL. “Recommendations for Fitness Athletes on Food and Fluid Consumption.” Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Accessed April 13, 2014.

5. Jeffrey, K. “How to Hydrate Before, During, and After a Workout.” Active.com. N.p.n.d. Web. Accessed April 6, 2014.

6. Caldwell J. “Sports Drinks: Are they effective in improving Athletic Performance?”  Vanderbilt University Psychology Department. http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/gatorade.htm. Accessed April 13, 2014.

7. The Position Statement from the Dietitians of Canada, the American Dietetic Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research in the Winter of 2000, 61(4):176-192. Accessed April 13, 2014.

3 New Moves

I am a person who absolutely loves to try to new things. I am always up for the excitement of a fresh adventure. That’s why I immediately said yes when my friend Jaime asked me to join her at a new class. Thinking I would be attending a different kind of spin class, I quickly grabbed my spin shoes and headed out. Well…perhaps I should have given some thought to the name of the place I was going! “Chaise 23” is definitely not a new place to spin. Rather, think Pilates chair (aka “chaise”) meets aerobics on 23rd Street in New York City.  Well, needless to say, I am totally hooked. I’ve taken four of their classes…and just purchased a ten pack! Three of the four classes incorporate the Pilates chair plus bungees. Honestly, working my arms with bungees is the very best part. I must admit that my arms are not my most favorite part of my body! And I can’t stand working them because I always end up clenching my neck. And then I go home suffering with a stiff, painful neck. The bungees have provided me with an exactly opposite outcome. We work with bungee cords throughout the entire class—and they help me to painlessly access and exercise many more muscles under my arms.

The most humorous and challenging of the classes is “ballet bungee.” There is no chair; you just move like a ballet dancer with bungees. Nonstop! Um…I thought I was quite fit until I participated in this class. Thank goodness I arrived late to class; I honestly don’t know if I could have made it through the entire session. The cardio workout was positively incredible. I plan to wear my heart rate monitor (a recent birthday gift from friends) next time! These classes are such great fun—very different and much cheaper than regular Pilates classes.

When we asked Chaise 23 if they would agree to share a free class with one of our readers, they enthusiastically said “Yes!” So get moving! Comment here for a chance to win a free class at Chaise 23! And don’t forget to say “hi” if you see me there! Click here for more details about the giveaway.

The following weekend we headed out to Eastern Long Island to spend some time with friends. Previously, I had introduced my friends to Soul Cycle; this time they asked me if I was up for something new. So… I joined them at their favorite spin place—Fly Wheel. If you are competitive, need to be pushed or just want to be accountable, spin at Fly Wheel. Men and women are ranked individually by torque (speed and resistance) on a monitor for all to see! This class was definitely not about losing yourself in the movement; rather, it was a breath-stealing race from beginning to end. It definitely made me work harder than I usually do. I earned a 230 torque though I don’t think my performance served as a stress reliever. This class is a totally competitive race to the finish line. And it really gets your heart pumping. I promise that I will be back, but I’ll save it for East End weekends rather than making it part of my weekly movement routine.

Last but not least is my absolute new favorite—paddleboard yoga. Talk about core work, stress relief and chirping birds! Let me explain. For Fathers’ Day Weekend, we headed out to the Tides Inn in Irvington, VA. When my husband said he had signed us up for paddleboard yoga, I was downright excited. I have wanted to try this type of yoga for the past two years. We enthusiastically arrived at the marina—promptly at 10 o’clock Saturday morning—and went looking for our instructor. As I sat by the water watching a father and son come in off their boards, I started to get nervous. I knew swimming was not my strong suit, but even more important, I wondered how I could do yoga in a life jacket? And then I thought: It’s so extremely hot, perhaps falling into the water may be a refreshing outcome! Well, I started off on my board kneeling and practicing my paddling. The paddling was quite easy for me because I can paddle a canoe. After a few minutes, the instructor joined us and told me I could stand. And yes, I could stand up… very easily. My husband, the instructor and I paddled over to a part of the bay that was a bit calmer, set anchor (literally) and then our yoga movements began.

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Our instructor was phenomenal; neither one of us fell in. We were both able to end our practice with the wheel pose and then finally rest in shavasana—the corpse pose. While quietly lying there, I just listened to the birds chirping and felt more at ease than I ever have…even after any yoga class. Something about being on the water—just you and your board—getting little splashes of water while the sun beats down on you is absolutely beautiful. My yoga practice was 100% about the practice.

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My mind never wandered; I was intent on focusing in my core for balance and, of course, not falling in the water. But it wasn’t fear-based; rather, it made me work from the inside out. If I was sloppy or tried to move without intention, I would fall in. Looking within yourself to find the movement was awe-inspiring and humbling…and very easy to do on this board. After we’d finished and paddled back to the marina, I just let myself enjoy a sheer sense of happiness. I had finally gotten to perform paddleboard yoga and I can’t wait to do it again. I highly recommend that you try it too. By the way, this extraordinary activity was free to overnight guests at the inn.

What are your new favorite moves? Any classes I should try? Where is your favorite place to do yoga?

 

Shrink Session Giveaway

 

Shrink SessionSwitch up your fitness routine with an exciting class that combines cardio-dance, yoga grooves and mantras that you say OUT LOUD while you are moving!  Shrink Session allows you to sweat your way to your most confident, powerful self. While you are working your way to a tighter tush and more toned body, you are also sending a new message of love, gratitude and joy to every cell of your body. As you experience yourself moving into new territories of what you ever believed was possible, remember that all bodies are wonderful no matter what!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

One lucky winner will receive online access to a full Shrink Session workout!

Enter by one of the following ways. You can submit more than one entry by doing any of the following. Just be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you did! Good luck!

  • Leave a comment here and  “Like us” on our Facebook page
  • Follow @MomDishesItOut and tweet @MomDishesItOut is having a Shrink Session #Giveaway
    We’d love to hear about what ways you like to stay physically active and moving!. Giveaway ends on Sunday, June 23rd at 6:00 PM EST.

In the meantime… for a power pick-me-up and a sneak peek of the workout, you can also visit www.shrinksessionworkout.com and sign up to receive a FREE 15 min workout delivered straight to your inbox!

 

BIO:

Erin Stutland is a lifestyle and fitness coach and the creator of Shrink Session: Tone Your Body, Expand Your Mind. As a former professional dancer turned actress, Erin has guest starred on The Soprano’s, Chappelles Show, Sex and the City and more. She combined her love for movement, spirituality and self development into a unique fitness class that has impacted people all over the world.

Shrink Session, now an official class at Crunch Gyms, has been featured in Glamour Magazine, Daily Candy, Shape.com., Hello Giggles, Crazy Sexy Life and reaches people in their homes in Australia, Tokyo, the UK and all over the United States.

Erin runs a coaching business where she has the opportunity to help women create movement in their bodies and their lives. She is passionate about guiding creative entrepreneurs and artists to clarify an ideal visions for their lives and then make a plan of action to get there. She does this and everything with a sense of humor, ease and a touch of sass, because going for your dreams should be nothing short of a good time.

Are you game for September 17th?

Don’t forget to register for Women’s Health “Are You Game?” on September 17th. Laura Cipullo RD, CDE and Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE will be offering free nutrition counseling that day in addition to all of the other cool wellness events. Get the details and register at: .