Nutrition And Sport
Nutrition And Sport
John Spencer Ellis (Author, TV Show Host, Trainer and CEO, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association) gives expert video advice on: What do muscles use for energy during exercise?; What should I eat before I compete in an athletic event?; Should I take extra vitamins and minerals? and more...
Are there certain dietary requirements athletes should follow?
Every athlete will have different dietary requirements. For example, an endurance athlete will consume and burn more carbohydrates. However, an endurance athlete also needs quite a bit of protein because of the intensity of the workout may actually break down the athlete's muscle a lot and athletes need the protein to help replenish that breakdown. If a strength athlete also needs carbohydrates, but probably can get away with a little higher percentage of protein. So really there is no one-size-fits-all diet or meal plan for athletes in general.
How many calories do I need per day?
There are different things that contribute to your total caloric needs in a day. Your RMR, your resting metabolic rate is if you were to sit down for 24 hours, close your eyes, and not move; in those 24 hours, you would need 'X' number of calories to maintain your current structure as it is. In most people, it's going to be roughly 1,200 to about 1,800 or 1,900 calories a day. Then, you have what's called the thermic effect of food. When you eat food, your body charges a toll of sorts, and you have to consume or burn calories; you're burning calories to process the food that you're eating. Then you have your daily activity on top of that, which could be driving your car, walking around, and going up and down stairs, and then your physical activity on top of that. That is your total caloric needs for the entire day. So, let's just say for example, those needs were 2,500 calories. If you wanted to drop a couple of pounds a week or a pound a week, you would reduce your total caloric needs. For example, we're at 2,500; if you went down to 2,300, hypothetically, then you have a 200 calorie-a-day deficit, so over a short period of time, you'd drop a pound or two. That way, you cover the basic RMR, the resting metabolic rate, but you don't go into starvation mode; all the bases are covered and you could have gradual, safe, steady weight loss.
What do muscles use for energy during exercise?
Your muscles use glycogen for energy during exercise, and the glycogen is stored in your liver and in your muscles. You only have so much that you can store. How much you can store depends on how fit you are. The more you train, the more you prepare, and specifically the more endurance activity and exercise that you do, the more opportunity your body gives yourself to store more and more glycogen in the muscle and the liver. That's how athletes get better, stronger, faster, and have more endurance; they're able to do so because their body has the ability to store more energy in the form of glycogen, again, in the muscle and in the liver.
What should I eat before I compete in an athletic event?
Eating before an athletic event will depend on what type of athletic event you're doing. For example, if you're to go out and run a marathon or go for a long bike ride, you will need more fuel stored in your body. If I'm doing something short in duration, maybe it is a 5-meter swimming competition, I will still eat something appropriate which could be a balance of proteins, fats and carbs, but in smaller amounts because I don't want my stomach so full as it's just an all-out energy burst; I don't need to have so much energy. Yet you need to have the right type of energy available to your body.
Should I take extra vitamins and minerals?
I believe that athletes should take a multivitamin and mineral. First and foremost it has to come from proper training, proper rest, whole foods, and putting it all together in the right sequence. However, we don't live in a pristine world, there are toxins, chemicals, herbicides, pesticides and then there are also free radicals that are produced in our body from doing different activities. Due to all of that I call taking a vitamin and mineral supplement an insurance policy; simply to make sure that all the bases are covered.
What is a "nutraceutical"?
A nutraceutical is a nutritional supplement such as a vitamin or mineral that has shown to have efficacy or effectiveness through various clinical studies, such as at a university, to the point where we can actually verify that it does what it claims to do.
What are "Omega 3 fatty acids"?
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish, Alaskan halibut, salmon, sable fish, butter fish, even sardines have them. Farm-raised salmon only has about half the omega-3 as wild Alaskan salmon. If you see sockeye salmon, you know that you're getting wild salmon, because they haven't figured out how to farm raise it yet. Omega-3 is absolutely essential for heart health, for brain health, and actually there are some studies that have shown that it's helping kids with ADD, ADHD, and autism. It's essential as one of the necessary tools to reduce the likelihood of senility and Alzheimer's as well, and this is just the beginning. Everyone should be having omega-3 in their diet, whether it comes from a plant source, like flax seed or flax oil, or from an animal source, like salmon. So, please investigate this, learn more. It's always best to get it from a food source rather than a supplement, but if you don't like salmon, or you're allergic to it, or whatever the problem may be, please get it in a supplementation form. It's inexpensive and absolutely will improve your health.
What are "whole foods"?
Whole foods are simply foods that don't come in a package. They don't come in a box. It doesn't mean you're eating a whole turkey. It means that it's a whole food meaning that it hasn't been ground to a flour or ground to some sort of finite components. It's whole. It's like, for example, rice that hasn't had the husk removed from the rice. It's whole. And so that is what will improve your health because as all the nutrient components that helps us stay strong. If you think back there's two reasons why the people that came the generations before us were not as obese as we are now: One is they actually got out and did manual labor. The other is that they ate whole foods because nothing was processed. They hadn't figured out how to put it on the shelf with hydrogenated oils and they hadn't refined it and packaged it in all these different ways. Remember, if something is put in food to increase its shelf life; it will reduce your shelf life. Eat whole foods, natural foods, things that are grown from the ground.
Will eating extra protein help build muscle mass?
Eating extra protein may help increase muscle mass, but only to an extent. Only if you were at a protein deficit, for example. Eating too much protein can actually have adverse health effects. For example, you could get kidney stones from having a very high protein diet. Your body can only absorb so many grams of protein per hour anyway, so if it can only absorb fifteen grams and you're taking in forty, the balance is simply wasted and it may be stored as fat, rather than building muscle mass. So it is not necessary to over-indulge in the protein to build muscle mass. You're better to have a little bit of protein throughout the day and make sure you have it with each meal, but an over-abundance of protein: that's not going to build muscle mass. Proper workouts, strength training and rest is what builds muscle mass.
What is a good pre workout meal?
If it were me and I was doing a form of exercise such as yoga, I would want something very light to eat and I would eat probably about 45 minutes before the exercise session, because twisting and turning and contorting your body with a full stomach doesn't feel very good. If I'm doing a form of exercise such as going on a long bike ride, I would eat a much larger meal, and it will have carbohydrates, proteins and fats, because I want to ensure that I have enough fuel to get home or at least to last a long time before I eat the energy bar to get me home. If I'm doing a form of exercise such as strength training, and I'm at the gym, I may actually have some sort of protein drink that I may sip on during my workout. However, preceding that exercise session I would have a meal about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before, that contains proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Should I go on a detox or a cleanse program?
Detoxification and cleanse programs can be really advantageous. If people go on a program like that and can combine it with a fast, they have to be cautious. Fasting for too long a period of time can actually slow down your metabolism, and that's not good. So, fasts that are very short in duration, maybe specific, under a doctor's guidance, or a dietician's guidance, or maybe you're doing it for a specific religious reason or ceremony, and you do it for a short duration, that's okay. If you are doing sort of a detoxification cleanse program, you're getting rid of both the good and bad bacteria in your body. You have to put the good bacteria back in – that's what helps to digest the food. We get the good bacteria, actually, from yogurt – and it's called acidophilus. People can get that in a supplement form as well and it has to have a minimum of a million and up four billion live organisms in it. Now that may sound like a mad science experiment, but it's actually very, very good for you and that's what helps improve digestion. So if you do a detoxification, a cleanse, and a fast – if you do all that sort of thing, make sure you put back in what are called the pro-biotics, the good bacteria, which helps the digestive tract and helps you assimilate your food and will improve overall intestinal health.