Q. I’m the coach of both a youth football team and a youth baseball team. in the summer, I’ve have noticed that the kids ask for water breaks during baseball more often than in the fall. Since the weather is typically cooler in the fall, should I schedule fewer water breaks or should I give the football players the same drinking opportunities as the kids in the summer?
ANSWER: Yes, you should indeed schedule as many water breaks! For youth football players, the weather can become tropical inside their uniforms. They can sweat a lot, even if the weather feels cool for the coaches and parents. Yet, because the weather is cool, the kids may not think to drink as often.
If the kids become dehydrated, they will be cranky, tired, and have less fun. One goal of youth sports is to have FUN! So please do offer your team frequent drinking opportunities. You can use the breaks as a time to educate the kids about the importance of staying well hydrated so they feel better and prevent needless fatigue.
As for what to drink, water is generally fine for youth sports. As long as they have had a pre-practice snack, they will have the energy they need to perform well and will not need sugar-based sports drinks.They will not be sweating enough to require the little bit of sodium (electrolyte) that is in a sports drink. Sports drinks are designed to be takenduring endurance exercise that lasts for more than 1.5 hours, such as marathons; sports drinks generally are not essential for youth sports.
While many kids enjoy sports drinks before, during and after practices and games, I’d encourage wholesome foods before exercise (banana,bagel, orange, graham crackers), water during (or water fruit such as watermelon chunks or orange slices if they seem low on energy), and chocolate milk afterwards (if the kids will not be eating a meal soon thereafter). Chocolate milk for recovery contains both carbs to refuel the muscles, as well as protein to build and repair muscles – as well as calcium for growing bones. While the kids should not be training to the point of becoming depleted at which point they would really need a recovery drink, teaching them about optimal sports nutrition practices will invest in their future athletic career when sports becomes more intense.
As a coach, would like to give a sports nutrition book to each athlete on your team?
As a group exercise leader, would you like to raffle a doorprize to the folks who show up for class?
As a health teacher, would you like to provide a practical nutrition text at a minimal cost?
Well guess what: the fourth edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook is on sale!
Special Sale: 24 Sports Nutrition Guidebooks for only $240.
That's one case of books at half price! I can even autograph them, upon request.
Please pass along this info to people who might be interested in this special offer-- --collegiate athletes -- a book for everyone on the team --coaches and parents of youth sports organizations (soccer, football, gymnastics) --health teachers who want an inexpensive text book (or supplemental text) --corporate wellness programs as a give-away upon enrollment
Disclosure: A new 5th edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook is hot off the press. Hence, I'd like to sell the copies of the 4th edition that remain in my garage. The nutrition information in the 4th edition is accurate, so this is still a good book.
Q. How important are carbohydrates vs. proteins for runners?
Today's literature seems to say all sorts of things?
A. Runners (and all athletes) need carbs to fuel the muscles (and the brain)
and protein to build and repair muscles. Carbs and protein do different jobs
in the body so we need to consume both.
All carbs (fruits, veggies, grains and sugars) digest into glucose, the fuel
preferred by the brain. If you have low blood glucose, you’ll feel lightheaded
and dizzy. No need to get to that point with proper fueling
(plus being light-headedis no fun)!
Your body needs more calories from carbs than protein:
--about 2 to 5 grams carb per pound of body weight
(depending on how active you are)
--about 0.5 to 0.9 grams protein per pound
(depending if you are a fully-muscled adult or a growing teenager).
Rather than get caught up in numbers, just be sure to have wholesome grains,
fruits and veggies as the foundation of each meal (two-thirds of the plate),
with some protein as the accompaniment. You’ll end up with the right balance.
But if you have just a protein shake, let’s say for a recovery food,
you will lack the carbs needed to refuel the muscles. Make that protein
shake into a carb-protein fruit smoothie!
Or if you have a chicken Caesar salad (protein and fat), be sure to have a
whole grain bagel with it, or crackers, or add some rice to the salad.
NOTE: If you live near any of the workshop locations, please share this announcement with coaches, athletic trainers, personal trainers,dietitians, nutrition educators, and yes, serious athletes themselves.
“Training low” (with low carbohydrate stores) and "competing high" (with muscles fully loaded with glycogen) as a means to enhance competitive performance is receiving attention from coaches, elite athletes, and researchers alike. A 2005 study (1) with untrained subjects suggests that training with deplete glycogen stores can enhance adaptive muscle responses to conditions that might occur at the end of a competitive event. Training low might also reduce reliance on limited glycogen stores. When Hansen’s subjects“competed” with loaded glycogen stores, they performed better.
These results have raised questions and controversy. If you restrict your carbohydrate intake during training, you will become unable to train hard, and that can hurt your athletic ability. Sports dietitian Louise Burke PhD of the Australian Institute of Sports suggests inserting a few “training low” sessions into the training program where the focus is on making “aerobic” gains. You would want to target the sessions in the week where quality, intensity, or techniques are not as important.
You can train low by having either low blood glucose or low muscle glycogen; both scenarios can happen during a second training session in a day. Note: Adding caffeine to a “low” training session can enhance power by about 9%, but this still does not match the power generated by fully glycogen-loaded muscles plus caffeine.
Training low is not much fun. For most ordinary mortals, staying well fueled on a daily basis is a smart investment. I suggest you fuel your muscles on a daily basis with quality grains, fruits and vegetables. By being well fueled, you'll be able to work hard and enjoy improving your performance.
(1) Hansen A, C Fischer, P Plomgaard, J Andersen, B Saltin, B Pedersen 2005.Skeletal muscle adaptation: training twice every second day vs.training once daily. J Appl Physiol88(1):93-9
I’m training for amarathon and get annoyed by having to stop to urinate during my training runs. I drink a lot the day before, and I drink about 8 ounces 45 minutes before I start. I then have to pee at mile 2, then mile 5. The urine is a light color. I’m tempted to not drink anything…
The kidneys need about 45 to 90 minutes to process liquid; nerves might hasten the process! Try drinking earlier, void the excess, and then tank up again. For example, if have a long run on Sunday at 8:00 am. Drink well the day before (stopping by 7:00 p.m, so you don't wake up 5 times during the night to go to the bathroom), then in the morning, have a good drink by 6:00-6:30. That should give you time to get rid of the excess water.
Alternatively, if drink well the day before and are well hydrated, you could drink 8 to 12 ounces right before you start the run, so the water will be in your system and not in your kidneys.
Experiment and learn what works best for your body!
Could eating beets or beet juice before daily training help athlete strain harder and thereby enjoy better competitive outcomes?
Speaking at a international sports nutrition conference organized by PINES (Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport), AndyJones PhD of Exeter University in the UK reported that consuming nitrate-rich beetroot juice boosts blood levels of the nitric oxide precursor, nitrite, and this helps reduce the amount of oxygen needed during constant-work-rate exercise.
Hence, for the same oxygen uptake, athletes who consume beetroot “shots” (concentrated beetroot juice) might be able to exercise at a higher intensity; for example, a runner might improve by 5 seconds per mile. In general,athletes see about a 1.5% improvement in performance.
However, some athletes respond better to beetroot juice (and other nitrate-rich foods) than do others. Perhaps the initially “strong responders” tend to have a low intake of all nitrate-rich fruits and vegetables and as a result have a lower nitrite baseline?
To boost your nitrate intake, consume not only beets, but also strawberries, rhubarb, arugula, and spinach.
Note: Athletes who take beetroot juice should avoid using mouthwash. Mouthwash kills the bacteria in the mouth initiate the converion of nitrate into nitrite and then nitric oxide.
Most dieters want to lose weight quickly. The problem is that plan tends to backfire. You can lose weight fast or lose weight forever—but not lose weight fast and forever. Most dieters regain about two-thirds of their weight loss within a year and all of it within 3 to 5years.
If you have lost weight quickly, your body will fight for food as a response to having been starved. You’ll have to white-knuckle the situation for as long as you can (but you’ll unlikely win the war against extreme hunger).
If you have lost weight slowly, here are some tips to help you maintain that loss of undesired body fat:
--eat fewer fatty foods
--watch less TV
--have strong social support
--sleep more than 5 hours a day.
Chewing gum can help lean people consume fewer calories, but that is not the case for obese gum-chewers. (Perhaps the act of chewing increases their desire to eat?)
To stay on track, successful dieters should plan ahead by predicting everything that could possibly go wrong with their eating plan and develop strategies to deal with the unexpected. For example, if the waiter serves the salad soaked with dressing (the dressing is not served on the side, as requested), the dieter knows he or she can
If you are experiencing amenorrhea and are no longer getting regular menstrual periods, take note. This is abnormal and unhealthy!
Amenorrhea commonly happens in women who struggle to balance food and exercise. You are likely eating too few calories, as noted by feeling hungry all the time and thinking about food too much. You can achieve energy balance by exercising a little less (add a rest day) and by eating a little more (add a healthy snack or two).
Your goal is to consume about 15 calories per pound of body weight that you do not burn off with exercise. That means, if you weigh 100 pounds, you my need to eat ~1,500 calories to maintain your weight PLUS another 500 to 800 calories to replace the fuel you burned while training. That totals 2,000-2,300 calories for the entire day, a scary amount of food for some women.
The most important change required to resume menses includes matching your energy intake with your energy output, so you eat enough to support both exercise and normal body functions. Historically, doctors gave the birth control pill to women with amenorrhea; this forced menstrual bleeding. But taking the birth control pill is a “Band-Aid approach” and does not resolve the underlying problem.
I highly recommend you get a nutrition check-up with a sports dietitian as well as a medical check-up with your doctor or gynecologist. To find a sports dietitian in your area, use the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics referral networks at www.SCANdpg.org or www.eatright.org.
With the Boston Marathon right around the corner, thousands of runners are doing their last long training runs. This is the time to practice your fueling so you know what to eat during the marathon. Here are some tips from guest blogger Sarah Gold.
When exercising for more than 60-90 minutes,you want to consume easily digested carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable throughout your run. The following recommendations on what and when to eat during long runs and race day can keep you from hitting the wall.
How much to consume?
The amount of carbohydrates needed will vary from person to person (body size, speed, intensity, and training will all effect this), but aim for between 200 to 300 calories of carbohydrates per hour. This can be from a mix of sports drinks like Gatorade and food like Gu, candy, or dried fruit. Worry not about eating sugary candy. We're talking survival, not nutrition! You'll have plenty of time to consume quality calories after the run.
What to consume?
The goal is to consume food that is primarily made up of carbohydrates. When running for many hours, such as during the marathon, you will want to vary your food choices to keep you from getting tired of eating the same thing for 4+ hours. It’s easy to get through a half marathon relying only on Gu, candy, or dried fruit, but it’s difficult to keep that up for twice the time. You’re likely to get “sugared out,” meaning your taste buds or stomach may not tolerate the same food for that many hours. Varying both flavor and texture can help you get through the race without feeling like you can’t eat as much as your body needs. So, try out a few different options during your longer training runs to see what your stomach and GI tract tolerate and what gives your body the most energy.
Engineered vs. Real Food
The big advantage to engineered food such as Gu, Chomps, Sport Beans, and the like, is convenience. Most come in pre-packaged 100-calorie servings, and they are easy to carry with you. However, real food can work just as well, particularly for slower marathoners who will be pounding the pavement for more than four hours. Here are some common choices among runners:
- Raisins,dates, dried cranberries—or any dried fruit
- Swedish fish, jelly beans, gummy bears, or other chewy candy
M&Ms, mini candy bars, Whoppers
- Sugar cookies, energy bars, granola bars
- Peanut butter and jelly (or honey) wrap*
* If you choose foods that aren’t convenient to carry in your pocket, ask friends or family to stand along your race-day route at points when you know you will need fuel.
If you drink Gatorade or other sports drinks, remember that this contributes to your carbohydrate intake. Just pay attention to how much you are consuming so you can adjust your food intake. Diluted fruit juice can work well for some too.
When to consume?
Your breakfast will likely get you through the first hour to hour and a half of the race. So, most runners like to start consuming carbohydrates whether it’s from a sports drink or food beginning at 45 minutes to an hour into the race. But, pay attention to how you feel during your long training runs to figure out when is a good time for you to start fueling. Some runners choose to start slightly earlier or later. Earlier signs of hunger (or fuel needs) include thinking about food, reduced energy, mood change, or tired legs.
As noted above, plan to consumer 200 to 300 calories per hour.You can spread this out over 15-30 minute intervals, and mix it up between drinks and food.
Remember that it’s important to test this out during your long training runs to avoid any race-day surprises!
Each year, I present a workshop series on "Nutrition and Exercise: From Science to Practice” along with exercise physiologist William Evans. We invited members of AND, ACSM, NATA, NSCA, ACE, and NCHEC and offer 10 hours of CEUs. Athletes and fitness exercisers are also welcome to attend!
The dates and cities for our upcoming Friday-Saturday workshops are:
Sept 20-21, 2013 - New York City - Columbia Teacher's College October 4-5, 2013 - Boston -- Yawkey Specail Olympics Training Center in Marlborough October 11 (one day only) - Providence -- URI Downtown Campus
January 24-25, 2014 - Philadelphia -- LaSalle University February 7-8, 2014 - Pittsburgh -- Allegheny General Hospital