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Sport Nutrition Tip - Sport nutrition

Ironman World Championships 2011 - Kona, Hawaii

Are you training for an athletic event? If so, do not overlook the importance of trusting and utilizing an effective sport nutrition training plan. For on race day, your body will perform based on weeks, months and even years of training -  not just because you stuck to a "perfect" race day fueling plan.

Consider that the nutrition before, during and after training will energize workouts and will help you recover faster. For the quicker you recover, the more consistently you can train and the easier it is to notice performance gains within training sessions.

Whether you think you don't need them or desire to change body composition, do not fear and restrict calories around workouts (particularly around an hour or more, however there are some exceptions to this suggestion). In today's society, the typical diet of an athlete does not support training for it often lacks in quality nutrients to support metabolic processes and the composition and timing of nutrients keeps a body struggling for energy and a quick recovery.

More often than not, athletes need to address the quality of the diet during the day (on a daily basis) as well as the couple hundred additional calories they are overconsuming later in the day (and/or immediately post workout) on hard or long workout days as well as the restriction of nutrients that may keep an athlete satisfied and well-fueled.

Prioritize electrolytes, fluids and cabohydrates (this is where the calories are coming from - carbs) as a baseline to create a foundation of proper sport nutrition during workouts. Give your body a little fuel before workouts and take advantage of recovery nutrition post workouts. Most sport nutrition products are designed to match the needs of athletes (based on consistent scientific research that hasn't changed over the past few decades), although there is no perfect product on the market (in my opinion) to match everyone's needs, perfectly. Each athlete is unique pending his/her training and body composition goals as well as fitness level and structure of training so always address your own issues rather than trying to match the nutrition of a training partner, coach or professional athlete.

Reccomendations during a 1-2 hour workout:
*1 bottle per 60-70 min of training
*Prep 30-60g of carbohydrates (maltodextrin based) per bottl, or if you need more calories, 45-75g carbs (maltodextrin + fructose based). OK to do gel + water or powder + water - based on toleration and ability to digest and absorb.
*Be sure your product has electrolytes - magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium, as well as calcium or you may need to add w/ additional powder or pills.
*Sip frequently (common error of athletes) - every 10-15 minutes, regardless of sport, intensity or duration.
*Use additional water to cool body temperature (and for sipping) to help reduce gradual increase in heart rate.

Pre and post training before and after a 1-2 hr workout - keep it simple!
-Cherrios/shredded wheat/oatmeal + milk
-Toast + nut butter
-Banana + walnuts
(around 30-60g carbohydrates + a few grams protein/fat. If tolerable, I find cow's milk (skim) to be the best to help with recovery, but consuming in a pre training snack thanks to the leucine and types of protein in milk).
-8-16 ounces of water (a must!) + coffee (recommended, or tea).
-8 ounces low fat chocolate milk
-Skim milk + whey protein
-Omelet + toast
-Cereal + milk
-Cottage cheese + fruit
-16-24 ounces water (consider adding FIZZ from hammer if sweating a lot or intense workout) + coffee (which has been shown to help with glycogen resynthesis)
(around a 2:1 or 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein post workout. Recommend at least 15-25g protein post workout which would be around 30-100g carbs depending on intensity and volume of activity)
Consult a RD specializing in sport nutrition if you need more guidance on designing an effective fueling routine to enhance your lifestyle and workouts.

Keep in mind that your nutrition before, during and after training is only as good as your ability to digest and absorb nutrition during training as well as your comfort of consuming products/food/drinks around workouts. Always work your way up in nutrition to discover what works/doesn't work. It is not suggested to make yourself bonk during training. Be sure to have back-up in the case that you need more nutrition during a workout - however, the above strategy should be applied conistently so that the body becomes more efficient at using fuels effectively during training.
For a recovery/off day, the only thing that will change in your diet, should be your pre, during and post training. No need to fear a day of off training when you body is trying to recover. A well designed diet will not include "sport nutrition" when you aren't training or needing the body to perform.