Fitness And Nutrition
Fitness And Nutrition
Jerry Pryde, MD, MPH, CIME (Clinical Chief, Department of Rehabilitation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: Should I drink water or sports drinks while exercising?; Is it possible to hydrate too much?; What do my muscles use for energy when exercising? and more...
Do the nutritional needs of athletes differ from non-athletes?
Nutrition is very important for an athlete because their energy expenditure is higher than most people. They are tearing down proteins in their muscles that they are using and they are also burning more calories. So the nutritional needs of an athlete are going to be higher. They will require higher calorie intake and they will also require higher protein intake. For instance, a marathon runner is going to be burning more calories and they are going to have more of a protein turnover from the tissues in their legs because of these long distance runs that they are doing. The calorie requirements for a merathon runner may actually triple from their normal daily requirements. So it will be important for them to evaluate their diet and make sure that they increase the amount of calories that they are getting while they are training for a marathon runner and that would include increased protein needs. A nutritionist can calculate that out for them.
Should I drink water or sports drinks while exercising?
Sport drinks are very helpful for long-duration activities. If you're riding a bicycle, if you're doing a spinning class, if you're training for a marathon, you want to keep hydrated and use a sport drink because they have some carbohydrate in them and they have electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which will help you stay safely hydrated during the exercise activity. If you're working out in a gym you can choose any type of a drink you want. Plain water or a sport drink: it's purely preference there.
What are "electrolytes"?
Electrolytes are minerals that are found in your body. You have several electrolytes that are very common, and you lose them when you are exercising. Sodium, potassium and calcium, magnesium; these are the four big electrolytes that you want to pay attention to. When you are looking for a sport drink, it's really sodium and potassium that you are primarily concerned with, and you want to make sure you are replacing those electrolytes while you're exercising.
Is it possible to hydrate too much?
It is possible to over hydrate, and over hydrating happens in extended timeframes when you're drinking just water without any electrolytes in it. So, if you're doing an exercise program for an extended amount of time, make sure that you are rehydrating with a fluid that includes sodium and potassium. Don't drink plain water if you're running a marathon.
Is it okay to drink juice while I workout?
With fitness and nutrition, drinking juice on a long-term, long duration aerobic workout program is not a good idea because that juice is going to be filled with lots of simple sugar. Some people prefer juices on a workout, they can use juice if you're running or cycling for a long period of time, but you may want to water that down, maybe to a 5 to 5 mixture. 5% water with 5% juice will reduce the carbohydrate load, but still provide you with the electrolytes and the fluid that you need in your workout.
What do my muscles use for energy when exercising?
With fitness and nutrition, muscles use primarily fatty acids when exercising. Fatty acids are a breakdown molecule from fat; it also uses glucose which is a breakdown molecule from carbohydrate. In a short term fitness activity where the muscle is only having to work for a short period of time (burst of exercise), the muscle is primarily going to use glucose, or sugar for those activities. As the duration of the fitness activity extends out and you're doing that particular fitness activity for a longer period of time, your muscle will begin to run out of its short-term stores of sugar, and therefore start using the longer sugar molecules as well as fatty acids. This is why people who are interested in losing weight are encouraged to do an aerobic exercise program where they exercise for a longer period of time. This is because their muscles will begin to break down fat components and use fatty acids. The fatty acids have a very high stored energy in it, the muscles will then obtain a lot of energy to continue to contract by burning fatty acids, thus fat is burnt. However, in the short run muscles primarily use sugar; in the long run the muscles use both a form of sugar and fatty acids.
How will sugary foods affect my athletic performance?
It's not a good idea to eat sugary foods before an athletic event because the large amount of sugar will be absorbed in your bloodstream and this will cause a large release of insulin, the hormone that causes you to absorb sugar out of your bloodstream. When the insulin is released into your bloodstream your blood sugar levels--your blood glucose levels--go down and they will actually dip down below the normal level. So an athlete may experience a short time frame during the activity where they actually have less energy even though they've been taking in more sugar.
What supplements can I take for chronic muscle and joint soreness?
Dietary supplements have become very popular. Two of the most popular for joint pain or an arthritic joint are Glucosamine and Chrondroitin Sulfate. There have been some studies done in the use of those. In general they work well for weight-bearing joints such as an ankle, a knee, or a hip. I have patients who ask if they should be using those supplements for spine arthritis, people that have arthritis in their neck or in their low back, and the studies haven't been particularly clear on this. I would caution you to watch the dosages. Sometimes because these dietary supplements are not being regulated by the FDA, that their recommended dose on the label of it may exceed what actually was shown to be effective in the studies. So you want to be careful not to take too much of it. Starting low is always the best way to start. Start with the lowest amount and see if that's effective for you.
Should I drink coffee before exercising?
Coffee before you exercise can cause you problems. I can't recommend that you do that. The caffeine in the coffee can cause cardiac arrhythmias for some people. So as you exercise and you put a workload on your heart and your heart has to start beating faster and more efficiently, if the caffeine in the coffee will predispose you for cardiac arrhythmia, the combination of the two could be life threatening.