Essential Sports Nutrition

2/2/18

Product Review - RX Bars


Distributed by: Chicago Bar Co., LLC
Based in: Chicago, IL
Website: Rxbar.com

About the Company from the website:
In 2013 bffs who were eager and broke started a business the only way they knew how: the old school, gritty way. They called B.S. on protein bars and started RX in their kitchen and initially sold them door to door and bar by bar. They describe their bars like eating 3 egg whites, 2 dates, and 6 almonds. With no B.S. What’s inside. What isn’t. They think it’s everything you need to know. They describe themselves as not being investors, flavor scientists, or focus groups but instead are industry outsiders with a few healthy ambitions, the usual insecurities, and all the other stuff that keeps them human. They make protein bars with no B.S. and they are real upfront about it.

Products:

Label Claims:
12 g protein bar

Nutrition Facts Examples:
Chocolate Sea Salt  
Serving Size:  1 bar                    
Calories: 200                    
Total Fat: 9 g                   
Total Carb: 22 g     
Fiber: 4g     
Sugar: 12 g                    
Protein: 12 g               
Sodium: 240 mg                 
Iron: 10% DV

Ingredients:
Dates, Egg Whites, Almonds, Cashews, Cacao, Sea Salt, Natural Chocolate Flavor.

Product Flavors:
Chocolate Sea Salt, Coffee Chocolate, Blueberry, Coconut Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Apple Cinnamon

Final thoughts:
  • Dense bar, very satisfying (use caution with any dental issues)
  • Taste may not be for everyone at first bite
  • Unique feature: 12 g protein (not from protein powder)
  • Perfect for traveling/on the go 
  • Simple ingredients


To learn more about our product reviews: click HERE.



1/31/18

Proper recovery nutrition for every type of workout


As a sport dietitian who specializes in endurance sports, one of the most common questions I receive from athletes is, “what should I eat after a workout?”

For the performance-focused athlete, effective refueling strategies can help optimize recovery so that you can achieve the desired training adaptations from your workouts. But recovery nutrition is much more than drinking a smoothie after your swim, bike, or run. 

Specific refueling recommendations vary based on fitness level, volume, and intensity of the workout, body composition goals, menstruation (for females), and daily energy intake needs.

To help you get the most out of your training sessions and to reduce the confusion on what, when and how much to eat post workout, check out this recent article I wrote for Triathlete magazine online. 

To read more: The proper recovery fuel for every type of workout

1/30/18

Don't wait until race week to plan your race day meal



The nutrition goal for any performance-minded endurance athlete is to create a fueling and hydration strategy that delivers carbohydrates to the working muscles based on event intensity and duration and to minimize major dehydration and body mass losses. Carbohydrates and fluids play a very important role in your ability to adapt to training, while keeping your body in good health. By incorporating sport nutrition and proper fueling methods (pre and post workout) into your daily regime, you will not only improve health and performance but you will gain confidence for race day, all while keeping your body in optimal health. 

As simple as it sounds to "eat lots of carbs" before your race in order to load liver and muscle glycogen stores with carbohydrates to delay fatigue, pre­-race fueling is a personalized science that requires time and trial and error. Although I am a proponent of carbohydrate consumption before race day, if you have yet to fine-tune your pre-workout fueling in training, train your gut and develop a healthy relationship with carbohydrates, you may end up with a bloated, uncomfortable and heavy feeling in your belly at a time when you want to feel light, empty and comfortable.

Because exogenous carbohydrate oxidation (how well your body digests and absorbs carbs) is limited by the absorption in the intestines, a limiting factor as to why some athletes are more efficient at absorbing and oxidizing sport nutrition (without GI issues) is related to training the body to accept nutrition while working out (training the gut). Additionally, the carbohydrate content of your diet will influence how well you can digest and absorb carbohydrates during training/racing.

The gut is highly trainable and athletes who regularly consume adequate dietary carbohydrates on a daily basis and consume sport nutrition regularly during workouts have an increased capacity to absorb nutrition while training/racing. If you experience dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting or diarrhea during training/racing, it's important to reflect on the quality of your current diet, your relationship with food (especially carbohydrates), your overall gut health, stress management and your workout fueling/hydration practices. Although some athletes are more susceptible to gut issues during training/racing, most GI issues can be avoided. Seeing that many triathletes fail to establish an effective fueling/hydration plan in training in order to apply to race day (insert too many fasted workouts or not making the time eat before a workout), there's reason to assume that many race day nutrition-related issues can be prevented in training with better planning and application. 


RACE DAY MEAL TIPS

To optimize endurance performance, consume between 1-­3 grams of carbohydrates, per kg body weight, 3­-3.5 hours before your event. For a 130 lb athlete, this would equal 118­-177g carbohydrates (472-­708 calories). Consume an additional 15­-20g of protein and fat to slow digestion, stabilize blood sugar levels and to prevent hunger.   

What would a well­-planned pre-race meal look like? 
  • ½ cup granola cereal (40g carbs)  
  • 1 cup blueberries (21g carbs)  
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (3g carbs)  
  • 1 cup milk (12g carbs)  
  • 1 banana (27g carbs)  
  • 1/8 cup raisins (16g carbs)  
  • Total: 119g carbs  
  • (optional add 1/2 cup applesauce for an additional 21g carbs)    
While it's not necessary to consume the exact quantity (grams) of carbohydrate before every long workout, it's to your advantage to start experimenting with similar foods that will be well tolerated in a larger portion, come race day morning. 

To help get you started, here are some dietary carbohydrate food suggestions to combine with ~10-15g protein/fat of your choice: 

Sensitive stomach – stick with low fiber/residue carbohydrates 
  • Saltine crackers  
  • Melba toast  
  • Rice or corn based crackers/cereal  
  • Cream of wheat or grits  
  • Crepes
  • White pita bread
  • White rice  
  • Boiled potatoes  
  • Bananas  
  • Applesauce  
  • Pulp-­free juice  
Iron stomach – select energy dense carbohydrates (high energy per gram of food)  
  • Dried fruit – raisins, dates, figs, apricots  
  • Juice  
  • Granola  
  • Syrup and/or honey
  • Jam  
  • Waffles/pancakes/bread 
  • Bagel  
  • Fresh Fruit  
  • Sport bar 

Creating the perfect pre-race meal can be challenging, especially if you fail to routinely apply good fueling strategies before every long workout. Also, if you only race but a few times per year, this leaves little room for error and a lot of hope that your anticipated food choices will work flawlessly come race day.

Don't let all your hard work in training go to waste.

Considering that an escalation of nerves, anxiety, fear or excitement can lead to unwanted digestive problems on race day, it's to your advantage to immediately start dialing in your race day meal so that come race week, you don't say to yourself, "I have no idea what to eat on race day morning?!?!"

1/29/18

Nutrition information overload is destroying your health




To get the most out of life, we must never stop learning. I'm sure you can agree that there's always something to improve on, new skills to adopt and new strategies to successfully navigate through life.

But with so much information available to you on the topic of nutrition, you may find it difficult to fully understand a specific topic or make good decisions.If you are getting overwhelmed by all of the information available about nutrition, health and wellness, you may be better off knowing too little versus knowing too much.




With the help of the internet, podcasts, documentaries, blogs, media and an endless supply of nutrition books, it's very easy to quickly find information - reliable or not. And with so much information to sort through, you may be learning from someone who actively avoids most to all information that contradicts what they believe in - especially if a brand was created from a specific belief system or style of eating/fueling.

If you claim yourself to be an information junkie, you may notice that your favorite blogs, documentaries, articles, podcasts and videos are filtering out the facts and avoiding the information that contradicts what you think you already know, tried or believe. There's a reason why you have your favorite media sources - because this person thinks like you! Or, is it the other way around??

Since great confidence and support can come from conforming to the ideas of other like-minded individuals, this can explain why people lack confidence in healthy eating when food choices could potentially go against what is popular. Confidence in numbers is also why fad diets and trendy foods are so powerful.....ketogenic diet and turmeric anyone?

There is a lot of information about food and nutrition as it relates to healthy eating and fueling and if you try to read it all, you will always feel overwhelmed and confused. Looking for a precise answer for every one of your nutrition/health-related issues probably doesn't exist. As a result, you may find that with your quest to find more answers or reasons behind an issue/belief, your thinking becomes rigid and extreme. Instead of feeling confused, you now feel conflicted with all the information out there, causing great frustration.

If you find yourself spending an excessive amount of time, energy and money on nutrition information and finding yourself conflicted, lost and confused, I encourage you to put a temporary hold on "learning" and start "living." Unplug yourself from the endless amount of information on health, wellness and nutrition and for the first time, in perhaps a very long time, you can be in control over your health by listening to your body, instead of listening to the internet/media.

If you are on a quest as to a better way to eat, fuel or nourish your body, it's important to learn, ask questions and to be open-minded, without only reading information that is within your own beliefs.

There are a lot of strong opinions, fear tactics, science and suggestions on nutrition which can cause anxiety, stress and exhaustion. You'd think with all the information out there you'd be a bulletproof health guru but it's actually the opposite - information overload is potentially destroying your health.

If you feel this strategy of letting go of reading and learning will bring you back to bad habits or will compromise your health, I suggest to avoid using the internet, your friends or a book/documentary/podcast for help and instead, reach out to a professional (Registered Dietitian) for personalized guidance.