All posts tagged: sports nutrition

Practice Discipline in these Three Areas to Support Athletic Performance

Speaking on a panel at the Spartan World Championships in Squaw Valley, California may be one of the most interesting angles I have come at nutrition from yet. The panel topic is discipline. Learning to eat in a way that supports what you set out to achieve – in this case completing thirty plus obstacles, over thirteen or more miles while running up and down mountain peaks at elevation – requires discipline to change from eating behaviors that do not support what you hope to achieve. For many non-competitive athletes who want to improve and achieve in sport as a hobby they first have to shift in mindset from exercising to burn calories to then be rewarded with food  to that of an athlete who exercises to train and who eats to train for the reward of achieving something more than the calorie credit to eat lots of pizza after a race. How does someone begin to change the mindset? Well, in my experience as an athlete and working with the pros I have found applying discipline  …

At the three hour mark of a long run I am always on the edge of cramping. Is cramping more fitness related, nutrition or hydration related?

  The answer is that it could be both. Muscle cramps are general caused by tired muscles, which is inevitable in distance running. They can also be caused by a sodium imbalance and dehydration. Staying hydrated is a tricky proposition because there are so many variables that impact how much fluid and sodium you sweat out during your run. Intensity, fitness, heat, humidity and altitude are some of the things that will impact how sweaty you get. How much any body sweats can vary between ten to eighty ounces per hour! That is a high amount of variability. The concentration of sodium in that sweat also varies greatly with an average concentration of about one-thousand milligrams per thirty-two ounces. In other words if you lose two pounds of sweat you may have also lose around one-thousand milligrams of sodium that needs to be replaced by drinking and eating sodium! Of course these numbers are highly variable with the environment and individuality. Determining your sweat rate can be a useful tool in bench-marking how much sodium …

Performance Nutrition Behavior Number Three: Stop Comparing Your Food Choices with Others

For some people, I get the feeling that eating a meal with their friendly dietitian is like going out with their hair dresser on a “bad hair day”.  Let me set the record straight. I pass no judgement on anyone else’s food choices when we are enjoying a meal together. Just as my hair dresser saves his comments on my hair for the chair; I reserve my comments on the diet of others only when prompted.  I believe in everyone’s right to make their own choices about what best serves them. Their reasons are different from mine. Comparisons of food  choices and habits to anything other than our own intentions leads to mounds of unnecessary shame and guilt over food. Performance nutrition behavior number three is to stop this comparison game with others. Never “yuck someone else’s yum” and never rate the quality of your choices to those of others. Also, “should eats” get you no where. Adopting performance nutrition behavior number two provides a standard worth comparison – your own intentions. It allows for …

Performance Nutrition Behavior Number One: Eat!

Working along side some of the world’s most talented athletes and athletic adventurers I  see and hear a lot of interesting food-related behaviors. Not all are good.  Some folks seem to have a challenging relationship with food that gets in their way of helping them accomplish their goals. Whether those goals are to pick up running again after having a baby or to traverse the big ridge lines in the mountains, it isn’t just what you eat that is important but, also HOW you eat. Through my work and my  own experimentation with food as fuel for my tara-sized adventures  have identified  three easily stated but, most difficult to accept practices around food. I refer to these behaviors as practices because like a yoga pose, there is always somewhere to realign or let go. Over the next three weeks I will share my food practices. Eat! Yes, just eat. That is practice-pose number one. Eat in a way that helps you achieve what you have in mind for the day. For example, if you plan …

Why is pickle juice popular at running event aid station?

Pickle juice has come into view as trending “sports drink” and an aid station item at ultra running event. This is primarily for the salt and perhaps to meet some kind of strange endurance-runner palate craving . The craving and electrolyte may have little to do with why some athletes benefit from pickle juice according to this interesting research. Cramping continues to be pretty allusive and an unsolvable problem for many athletes. I think some cramps, the kind that start as small tingles and grow into major cramp, are likely to be triggered by lack of hydration/electrolytes. Ion muscle-channel activators found in pickle juice and mustard that may serve as an “anti-cramp” by helping to relieve the dramatic, sudden, and paralyzing-type cramps that occur in sport. http://web.outsideonline.com/2026376/could-flex-pharma-be-final-cure-muscle-cramps

I workout first thing in the morning, when should I eat?

Question: I workout first thing in the morning, and lately I’m increasing my workout ( adding strength training and interval training). Normally I don’t eat anything before, but I’ve been feeling wiped out during the longer workouts. I’m wondering when you would recommend eating and of that might help me? Answer? It is no wonder you are feeling wiped out!  An increase in intensity and duration of a workout can increase your energy needs, and after an eight hour fast (while you were sleeping), you have little fuel available in your blood stream for immediate use by those  muscles.  You need to get some quick fuel in to fire up the muscles to work better for you! High in carbohydrate food eaten or drank before you get started  can make a big difference in the quality of your AM workouts. If you roll right out of bed and into your workout clothes there will be little time for foods containing fiber, fat, and protein to digest. So keep it simple to limit stomach aches. My …

Energizing Mountain Bike Adventures

Journeying along side many competitive and non-competitive athletes (well, they are competitive too, with themselves) I have seen success come from well-planned nutrition both in competition and training. Considerations range from what to eat, how much, and when to it.  Every sport will have specific considerations along with it’s unique barriers and challenges for staying nourished and energized. Last summer I had the pleasure of attending Crankworx at Whistler Blackcomb  in beautiful British Columbia. ( Oh take me their today!) While I was there I spoke to avid mountain bikers about what to eat when and how it can be their secret weapon to better performance on and off the dirt. You can listen to some of what I shared from with the athletes from the kitchen here: Hanging with legendary Hans  and Carmen Rey was also an awesome treat for both me and my boys who got to join in the fun. Once they heard that Han would be joining in with their  superstar Danny Macaskill they become mesmerized. Perhaps the most exciting thing …

Deep Nutrition Thoughts: Sweet Potatoes

  One of  the favorite parts of being both a runner and a dietitian is observing the eating habits of other runners before, during, and after a long training run or race.  The variability is hardly surprising given a lot of people are either afraid to eat, don’t know what to eat, don’t think about it enough, or do think about it and have  adapted a routine that suits them. It gets even more interesting to observe athletes who are traveling to compete or train. I have seen suit cases full of persimmons and most recently met a runner who goes no where without fresh sweet potatoes! She throws sweet potatoes into her suitcase to have just in case she has difficulty finding foods that will giver hear a boost when she is traveling to races. She can eat them whole, cooked, raw, whatever, and be all set to do what she loves, run. Carbohydrate is of the highest priority before (3-4 hours), during, and after a long run, and a sweet potato certainly has …

Boston Marathon Energy Nutrition Plan

Expectations for my Boston Marathon experience have been re-calibrated. Gone is the goal of a marathon PR. Boston marathon is not going to be about a PR. I don’t need that kind of self-inflicted pressure at this point. Maybe later on, but not today. For me Boston will be about  opening up my vulnerabilities, putting aside my fears, and going for it with what I have available to work with today. It will be about coming together with the people of running,  digging deep into the experiences of the one-hundred and twentieth Boston Marathon, and riding the wave of emotions  marathons inevitably bring (happy, sad, disappointment elation ? Who knows?) How will I do it? I will sloooow down, smile (smiling relaxes me and makes the running feel easier. Yes, I am serious!), and maybe even hug along the way. Then, I will move in for a really strong 10K  finish. Of course, I will also apply my sports nutrition knowledge, tested and approved by my body on long runs and many trial and errors. …