2/25/11

Racing nutrition

I can't believe it is almost March!!
I signed up for the Gate river run 15K for March 12th but I am not sure if I am feeling 'it' at this moment. I have my eyes set on New Orleans 70.3 (and Kona) and my internship is keeping me entertained with little room for "free-time". I guess I have a week or so to think about it but I believe that you have to mentally prepare for a race, just as much as you need to train for a race. Right now, there is not much room for visualizing and getting excited to push my body to the max. I'm 100% exhausted and my training is a great way to start my day and relieve stress. Over the years, I have learned to center my energy around a race and be 'ok' with not doing every race that is on the "to do" list...in the case that I am not feeling energized to do the race. More often than not, if the mind isn't excited for the race, the body won't be either.

I don't believe in compromising my training (or exercise) routine when I feel busy or overwhelmed. Sure, some workouts get moved around and workouts may change in volume and intensity. But wouldn't it just be silly of me to tell myself that I am too busy to exercise or train???? Could you imagine if I was counseling a patient and the patient told me that he/she is "too busy to exercise". I find that my role as a future RD (with a background/Masters in exercise physiology) is to lead by example. With a little creativity and a flexible and consistent schedule, exercise is simply part of the plan when wanting to live a healthy and balanced life.

About 2 weeks ago I spoke to a running group in downtown Jacksonville regarding racing nutrition. The group consisted of around 40+ newbie runners, training for the Gate river run.
One of the key points in my talk was talking about things in a race that are in your control. My April Iron Girl article will discuss these things in more detail.
My biggest suggestion to newbie (or veteran) athletes, when creating a practical race day nutrition plan, is to consider two factors. The duration of YOUR race and the intensity of YOUR race. The nutrition for the athlete running a 15K in 1 hour and 10 min @ 70% max HR is going to be a bit different than the athlete running a 90 minute 15K at 90% max HR. The faster you run, the higher the HR (ridding the body of CO2, while providing the body with oxygen-rich blood). The longer you run, the greater the risk of experiencing fatigue (mental and tissue breakdown). The higher the HR the quicker use of stored carbohydrates. Because muscle glycogen is the proffered fuel source during intense activity, it’s very important that you focus on a constant stream of fuel throughout the duration of your race. Therefore, in addition to focusing on your individual nutrition needs in the daily diet, it’s important that you create a pacing strategy that is based on your current fitness and previous training routine. Important to your fuel intake, it is important to maintain a consistent pace throughout your race. This will allow you to take in and use fuels as efficiently as possible, thus reducing the chance for fatigue in the early periods of the race. Keep in mind, that with a higher HR rate, comes the risk for GI distress because it’s often difficult to digest and absorb calories while the heart is pumping a great amount of blood to the working muscles. Even if you have a few weeks/months left until your upcoming race, I can’t stress how important it is to be realistic with your race day goals. Sadly, no amount of nutrition is going to make you run 6 min/miles if you haven’t trained your body to do so.

2/23/11

Carbo-loading

It's hard to sum up all the fantastic info in my latest issue of Nutrition Action (March 2011) that came in the mail today. I loved the front page that featured the words CARO LOADING in large print. Sadly, the article isn't geared towards athletes but rather to the average American.

Pg. 3 - 6:
In 1970, the average American consumed about 430 calories a day from grains (wheat, rice, corn, oats, etc.), according to the USDA. By 2008, we were up to 625 calories a day, a huge bump. And roughly 90% of the grain we eat is refined, not whole. Only one other category - fats and oils, which includes butter, oils, margarine and shortening - supplies that many calories. (So much for the popular notion that we've been on a low-fat diet). Added sugars also climbed, though less so. They're up by about 60 calories a day sine 1970.
How does so much refined grain creep into our diets? Restaurants pile on the pasta, rice, pancakes, breads and other cheap carbs.

Many restaurants combine multiple carbs into one meal. That burrito stuffs rice into a tortilla. And that's after you dive into the free basket of tortilla chips or polish off a cheese quesadilla appetizer.
Like many Italian restaurants, Olive Garden offers unlimited bread with your pasta. That often follows an appetizer like bruschetta (on white bread) or artichoke spinach dip (with while bread) or fondue (with white bread). And no one's offering whole grain chocolate cake or tiramisu for dessert.

It's not just restaurant food. We're eating bigger bagels, muffins, doughnuts, scones, ice cream, cones, pretzels, cookies, wraps and slices of bread (most of which are made with white flour). "People see bread labels that say '15 different grains,'" says Kris-Etherton. "They think, 'Wow, this is super.'" They don't notice that each slice has 100-120 calories and a bagel can easily have 300 calories.
"But if you look at a thin slice of bread, which has 70 calories, that's what we used to eat before," notes Kris-Etherton. Now 70-calorie slices are called "small".

"Roughly 30 percent of our calories are coming from SoFAS - solid fats and added sugars," says Kris-Etherton. "We're eating way too many added sugars. But we also have to be mindful of the amount of refind grains we're eating."

"The bran in whole grains is an excellent source of fiber that can help keep you regular," say Lichtenstein. "Most people don't get enough of it."

Refined grains are lower in vitamins (like B6 and E) and minerals (like copper, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc) than whole grains. The potassium may lower blood pressure, and the magnesium may protect against diabetes. Why miss out on those and other nutrients that are stripped away in refined grains?

2/22/11

I quit

No..I would never do that. But I could sure use an interning break!

I wanted to write something great today or feature a yummy creation, but I got nothing except for a tired brain. I wish I could say that my body was tired from training but it is recovery week and I am taking full advantage of just exercising this week. This morning was 30 min on the elliptical and weights. That's it! Tomorrow I plan to swim and hoping to find my inner-nemo that loves to come out twice a week from 6am - 7:30am.

With 9 1/2 hours of interning at the hospital, you'd think that I would be able to see a dozen patients but I spent the entire day seeing 3 patients. Yesterday I saw 4, which is an improvement from my 2/d average but these three patients had me scratching my head and looking up a lot of info. Because I am still in the "interning" phase of my internship, it's important that I take my time and learn as much as I can so I don't overlook medications, physician orders or status updates. I still love talking to patients but trying to compose a note and sum up everything that is going on with a patient is still a work in progress. I am finally getting the "lingo" but every patient is a new case.

Today I saw a bilateral below the knee amputee which required new calculations for calorie, protein and fluids needs. However, the patient had some changes in blood work which forced me to adjust nutrient needs. I never did calculations on an amputee so this was new for me. I also saw a pt who recently had a few toes amputated and had weight changes. The patient needed a diet change, was on fluid restriction and had several changes in status which had me wondering what I should prioritize in this case. Lastly, I saw a patient who was taken off TPN feeding after speech evaluated the patient with a modified barium swallow. I had to recalculate the patients needs but there was no new weight to figure out needs per kg of adjusted weight and ideal body weight. Needless to say, I learned a lot today and had a headache by 6pm!
The highlight of my day was giving a cancer patient an educational book on diet suggestions during chemo. Talking to the pt made my day and the pt was very happy to have suggestions to help with vomiting and constipation (two of the many side effects of chemo and chemo meds).

Well, my eyes are sleepy and I am off to dream about what tomorrow will bring....

2/21/11

Training to be a RD

What an amazing weekend...weather wise. As for me, 15 hours of last minute studying on Sat and Sun and a B on my mid-term (I had another quiz on medical nutrition therapy on burns, wound, stress and surgery on Fri). The difficulty of the questions exceeded my expectations and I was nearly in tears mid-way through my exam. Giving myself a grade for my test-taking skills, I'm probably a high A for not being the best test taker. I tend to overthink and right now in my pursuit to be a RD, there is still a lot of thinking and second guessing. The body is amazingly complex and I am still struggling putting all the pieces together. But nevertheless, 150 questions and 1 hour and 54 minutes later, I was finished with my exam and I did much better than I expected. Whewww.

My training has really taken a back-seat lately...as has much of the other things I like doing for fun (ex. blogging). But, I had no trouble getting out the door on Sat at 7am for a 3hr and 30 min, 67 mile bike ride. Karel was out of town all weekend, to race 4 races in 2 days. Karel and his teammate James have ended up on the podium for almost every race they have done this weekend and the new Gearlink Pro 1,2 Team is fun to watch in action. Too bad I have only seen 1 race thus far but I know I'll have plenty to watch after April 25th.
Great job Karel!!

While Karel was off racing in Lake Mary, FL, I joined a large group of guys (and 1 other female) for a fast and fun group ride. I LOVE my saturday group ride and the people on the ride. It was Trimarni's (my tri bike for new readers) first group ride and second ride outdoors since IMWI and we had no trouble keeping up with the guys. I wanted to ride longer but my studies were on my mind. Can't wait til next weekend. Karel is off from racing and I am craving a group bike ride with my hubby.

I never realized how difficult it was going to be to be a Registered Dietitian. Throughout this week, I saw people from all stages in the life cycle. I saw people as young as 6 months and some as old as 80+ yrs of age. While interning as an acute care clinical dietitian, I can't help but think about the normal population and how much we take for granted, the normal and healthy body.
When a baby is born, the focus is getting him/her to be as healthy as possible and to obtain the necessary nutrients to grow and age properly. I can't express in words the sadness in a mother and father's eyes when their child is not growing or has developmental problems. Our role as a RD is to prescribe the right nutrients, supplements as well as tips in order to help the child grow. While in the hospital, I walk by the rooms with cancer patients and I imagine myself in the room. It's not hard for me to thank my blessings that I am healthy at this point in my life and that I am taking the necessary steps to reduce my risk for disease and illness.
Because of all that I see in the hospital, you'd think that it would be easy to talk to people in the community, because much of the population (especially those reading my blog) is fairly healthy. Maybe an altered lab or two or a few chronic conditions but overall, most of us are able to live our life how we want and not be confined to a hospital room with around the clock care.
However, for much of our life, perhaps even 20-30 years, we abuse our body. Whether it is starvation from recommended calories, nutrient timing, fueling while exercising (or after exercise) or rigorous exercise (even while injured), many people spend much of their adult life worrying about weight and trying to reach unrealistic goals and expectations with impractical measures. If the entire world was the same weight, I have a feeling no one would really focus on their body image but would rather eat for health. But with such a hype for the "perfect" body in the media (as well as in sport), it's almost as if adults don't really care so much about health but rather about image. Do you know what it feels like to be healthy? Despite having a little jiggle when you run or seeing a little bulge around your hips, do you believe that your weight classifies your success as an athlete? Do you feel as if others are criticizing your body as you are training and racing for a personal best?
With 8 months of interning behind me and only 2 more months to go, I would strongly advise the public to worry less about body image and to focus more on keeping your body healthy throughout all stages in the life cycle.
Thanks for reading!