This coming Saturday night (7/26), thousands of people will walk together for Walk the Walk America’s 2nd Annual NYC Moonwalk. Participants will walk the streets of NYC in a fight against breast cancer. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak to some of these participants last month. On June 26th, I spoke with Moonwalk participants about the importance of nutrition when completing a marathon. Please read on to see some of the items we discussed:
What to Eat Before a Marathon
2-3 Days Before:
•Mostly carbohydrates, moderate protein, and low fat •Carbs provide the muscles with adequate glucose (sugar) for glycogen storage 3–4 Hours Prior:
•Eat simple, easy-to-digest carbohydrates (moderate protein & low fat) •White bread, pasta, etc. •Avoid high-fiber foods to limit intestinal residue
•Prevent the need for bowel movements •Prevent bloating and gas
Pre-Competition Meal Ideas
•Cheerios with low-fat milk, fruit-flavored Greek yogurt, and banana
•Omelet with cheese and baked hash brown potatoes
•White English muffin with avocado, hummus, and applesauce
•Bagel with natural peanut butter and jam
•Turkey on white bread with a low-fat yogurt
•White pasta with pesto and shrimp
Hydration Before, During, and After
2 cups 2 hours before, and 2 cups during
•Recommended to drink 16 oz. of fluid at least 2 hours before event
•Remember to drink 2 cups for each hour of event
•If > 1 hr. replete electrolytes especially sodium and potassium
•Drink 16 oz./2 cups of electrolyte beverage for every pound of body weight lost during the event
Eating on the “Run/Walk”
•Eat 30–60 grams of carbs for every hour
•15 grams of carbs every 15 minutes
•Eat 90 grams of carbs for events lasting > 3 hrs
•Get carbs from your sports beverage (typically 6–8 percent carbs)or gel packs
What to Eat After
•Eat between 30 minutes and 1 hr. after
•Reload glycogen muscle storage
•Replenish your body with carbohydrates
•Eat protein (about 3 oz.) to help to repair your muscles
•Antioxidants repair free radical damage
•Muscle recovery lasts 30 minutes to 4 hours post-exercise
For more information on the 2014 NYC Moonwalk or Walk the Walk America, please click here to be redirected to their website.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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!
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.
The Scoop on Coffee By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
We’ve heard it before: “Coffee boosts your metabolism. Too much coffee causes dehydration.” But, do these sayings hold any truth? Does drinking a cup or two of java each morning really affect your metabolism? And what about your hydration? Research has linked coffee to numerous health benefits, including aiding in degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, boosting our mood, and the list goes on. We took to the books to find the scoop on coffee. Here is what we found.
Q: What’s the deal with caffeine? A: Coffee stimulates our feel good hormones in the brain!! Makes you feel good (in moderation, of course).
According to a Harvard Health Letter published in Harvard Medical School’s Health Publications, caffeine is absorbed in the stomach and small intestine. It is then circulated throughout the body, including the brain. The caffeine circulation reaches its highest point roughly 30-45 minutes following ingestion. Once absorbed, caffeine affects the dopamine activity in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that involves thinking and pleasure. Think about it that first cup of coffee in the morning – part of that morning rush is associated with caffeine stimulating our dopamine receptors just like sugar and even drugs.
Q: Can coffee be beneficial to brain function? A: Caffeine is linked to better memory!
A study published in 2012 tested the effect of caffeine on older adults with “mild cognitive impairment, or the first glimmer of serious forgetfulness, a common precursor of Alzheimer’s disease”2. The study found that those older adults with little caffeine in their bloodstreams were far more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who had a few cups of coffee per day2.
Q: Is filtered coffee healthier than unfiltered coffee? A: Choose filtered coffee more often.
If you’re drinking unfiltered coffee on a daily basis, you may want to consider switching to filtered. Coffee naturally contains a substance known as cafestol, which has been shown to stimulate LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. However, when brewed with a paper filter, the cafestol doesn’t transfer to the coffee. While drinking unfiltered coffee on occasion isn’t terrible for you, if you are someone with high cholesterol, filtered coffee would make the better choice.
Q: Can too much coffee be dehydrating? A: Caffeine stimulates your bladder, while alcohol actually dehydrates.
A recent study published by University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom tested coffee’s effect on the fluid balance of habitual male coffee drinkers and found no significant loss of fluid balance in men that drank a maximum of 4 cups of coffee per day1.
Q: Does coffee consumption impact blood pressure? A: Coffee can up our pump; think twice if you have already high blood pressure.
It can. According to a study performed by Harvard University, continued caffeine consumption (via coffee) can lead to a slight increase in blood pressure. While coffee hasn’t been directly associated with an increased risk of hypertension, it is typically recommended that those with hypertension, specifically those who are finding it difficult to control, should switch to a decaffeinated coffee.
Q: Can coffee really boost our metabolism? A: Coffee boosts our central nervous system, but it usually takes more than 1 cup.
A study published in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior, the metabolic rate of regular coffee drinkers was found to be about 16% higher than decaf coffee drinkers. The reasoning? Caffeine is known to stimulate the body’s central nervous system, which can increase both breathing and heart rate.
Q: So, what’s the takeaway? A: We will see you at Starbucks!
As the research we’ve highlighted shows, coffee drinking can benefit our brain health, boost our metabolism, and even help improve our mood. However, too much of a good thing can be harmful – drinking too much coffee can increase our blood pressure and drinking more than 4 cups per day can negatively affect our fluid balance. Though, like most things, coffee can be a part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. A cup or two of coffee per day could be beneficial to our health, but it is encouraged to limit coffee drinking to a maximum of 4 cups per day to avoid any negative side effects.
Laura recently traveled to Peru and came across a great coffee brand known for both their sustainability and commitment to the environment, Puro Coffee. Puro Coffee is sourced from Fairtrade co-operatives made up of hundreds of farmers together to grow the coffee naturally. They even use solar panels and recycle the heat from the coffee roasting process to power their factory!
For more information on Puro Coffee and their sustainable processes, please take a look at the following links:
Killer, Sophie C., Andrew K. Blannin, and Asker E. Jeukendrup. “No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population.” PloS one 9.1 (2014): e84154.
Santos, Roseane M.M., Tracy Hunter, Nick Wright, Darcy R.A. Lima. “Caffeine and Chlorogenic Acids in Coffee and Effects on Selected Neurodegenerative Diseases.” J Pharm Sci Innov. 2013; 2(4): 9-17.
No matter what time of the year it is, staying hydrated is important. Remember, the human body is composed of about 70% of water weight! This means that water plays a major role in maintaining our bodily functions, including removing waste and toxins, maintaining body temperature, and preventing dehydration.
During the summer months however, the heat makes it all the more important for you to stay hydrated. Whether or not you’re physically active, you lose water everyday. This occurs through urination, bowel movements, and sweating. To prevent dehydration, supply your body with water throughout the day. The current recommended total daily intake of fluids is 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women.
Good News: H20 Isn’t the Only Way to Stay Hydrated
When you’re thirsty, water can be one of your best bets. If that doesn’t quench your thirst, it turns out that many of the foods we eat contain water but in various amounts. In fact, according to The Institute of Medicine, the average individual’s water intake from food is about 20%.To help meet your daily fluid requirements, try incorporating foods with high water content into meals or as snacks. High water content foods like vegetables and fruits not only help you stay hydrated, but these key foods contain nutritients, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
If you’re concerned about your H20 intake, here’s a list of our favorite top hydrating foods:
You’ve partied all night, the sun’s up and you’re now feeling the repercussions of the dreaded hangover: a pounding headache, dizziness, nausea and dehydration. When it comes to hangovers, everyone seems to have their own remedy. From a piece of toast or a burger to “slow down alcohol absorption,” to sipping on a Bloody Mary cocktail, in terms of curing a hangover there aren’t actually any cures. There are however, ways to prevent or alleviate a hangover. If your New Years celebrations involved one too many cocktails, wine or beers, here are some old-time remedies to ease the symptoms.
Rehydrate With Water – It’s nothing new, but rehydrating with water should be a top priority. Alcohol is a diuretic and can dehydrate your body…a major cause of the pounding headaches, dizziness and lightheaded feeling. Be sure that for every drink you have, replenish the body with a 1:1 ratio of alcohol to before dozing off to bed.
Pass On the Cup of Joe – Coffee can wake you up, but it like alcohol is also a diuretic. Drinking more diuretics can lead to further dehydration.
Potassium – When you lose body fluid, you also lose electrolytes and potassium. Replace loss electrolytes with a sports drink or whole fruit, like banana, which can also help raise your blood sugar levels if they’re down.
Ginger – Known to prevent symptoms of motion sickness, enjoy this natural herb in a tea or drink ginger ale to alleviate symptoms of nausea and dizziness.
Peppermint – The medicinal property of this natural herb can be effective in the treatment of tension or headaches.
So, what’s the best way to prevent a hangover? Enjoy alcohol in moderation and in appropriate portions. Here’s an idea of what one drink looks like:
Target Heart Rate: “As you work out, monitor your heart rate to stay near the target heart range (start with 220, subtract your age, then multiply by 0.8 to find target heart range). You should be within five of the target range. Monitor pulse at peak and after final cool-off and compare. The difference is known as your cardiac reserve.”
Hydration: “Drink adequate water to avoid dehydration during workouts which can cause nausea, dizziness, muscle fatigue, and cramping.”
Cool Down: “Don’t under estimate the importance of the cool-off period. It burns off lactic acid (which makes muscles feel tired) and adrenalin, while keeping blood from pooling in the extremities.”
Pace Yourself: “While fitness professionals exercise vigorously six times a week, it’s best to start slower. Although it varies by the individual, it’s safe to start exercising twice a week for several weeks, then gradually increase to a maximum of five times a week. Remember to pace yourself, and listen to your body. If you feel pain, stop. Don’t attempt to exercise through pain, or you may aggravate an acute injury into a chronic or even permanent one. If you continue to be bothered by pain more than 24 hours after exercising, see a physician.”