Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sports Nutrition - Protein Needs for Athletes

Sports Nutrition - Protein

Proteins are often called the building blocks of the body. Protein consists of combinations of structures called amino acids that combine in various ways to make muscles, bone, tendons, skin, hair, and other tissues. They serve other functions as well including nutrient transportation and enzyme production. In fact, over 10,000 different proteins are in the body.

Adequate, regular protein intake is essential because it isn’t easily stored by the body. Various foods supply protein in varying amounts with complete proteins (those containing 8 essential amino acids) coming mostly from animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs and incomplete protein (lacking one or more essential amino acid) coming from sources like vegetables, fruit and nuts. Vegetarian athletes may have trouble getting adequate protein if they aren’t aware of how to combine foods.

Protein Needs for Athletes

Athletes need protein primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise and to help optimizes carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen. Protein isn’t an ideal source of fuel for exercise, but can be used when the diet lacks adequate carbohydrate. This is detrimental, though, because if used for fuel, there isn’t enough available to repair and rebuild body tissues, including muscle.

Recommended Daly Protein Intake

The average adult needs 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight per day.
Strength training athletes need about 1.4 to 1.8 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight per day
Endurance athletes need about 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight per day

How Much Protein is That?

Not much, as it turns out. Here is a list of some high protein foods.

Food, Amount, Protein
Fish, 3 oz, 21 grams
Chicken, 3 oz, 21 grams
Turkey, 3 oz, 21 grams
Meat, 3 oz, 21 grams
Milk, 8 oz, 8 grams
Tofu, 3 oz, 15 grams
Yogurt, 8 oz, 8 grams
Cheese, 3 oz, 21 grams
Peanut butter, 2 tbsp, 8 grams
Eggs, 2 large, 13 grams

Strength athletes believe more protein is important to build muscle. It turns out that strength athletes actually require high carbohydrate intake and adequate glycogen stores to fuel their workouts. It is the strength training workout that leads to increased muscle mass and strength. This is because all high intensity, powerful muscle contractions (such as weight lifting) are fueled with carbohydrate. Neither fat nor protein can be oxidized rapidly enough to meet the demands of high-intensity exercise. Adequate dietary carbohydrate must be consumed daily to restore glycogen levels.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Sports Nutrition - Protein Needs for Athletes

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Sports Nutrition - How Carbohydrate Provides Energy for Exercise

Sports Nutrition - Carbohydrate - Carbs

Carbohydrate is arguably the most important source of energy for athletes. No matter what sport you play, carbs provide the energy that fuels muscle contractions. Once eaten, carbohydrates breakdown into smaller sugars (glucose, fructose and galactose) that get absorbed and used as energy. Any glucose not needed right away gets stored in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. Once these glycogen stores are filled up, any extra gets stored as fat.

Glycogen is the source of energy most often used for exercise. It is needed for any short, intense bouts of exercise from sprinting to weight lifting because it is immediately accessible. Glycogen also supplies energy during the first few minutes of any sport. During long, slow duration exercise, fat can help fuel activity, but glycogen is still needed to help breakdown the fat into something the muscles can use.

Adequate carbohydrate intake also helps prevent protein from being used as energy. If the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrate, protein is broken down to make glucose for energy. Because the primary role of protein is as the building blocks for muscles, bone, skin, hair, and other tissues, relying on protein for energy (by failing to take in adequate carbohydrate) can limit your ability to build and maintain tissues. Additionally, this stresses the kidneys because they have to work harder to eliminate the byproducts of this protein breakdown.

Carbohydrate has other specific functions in the body including fueling the central nervous system (CNS) and brain.

Storing Carbohydrate
One gram of carbohydrate provides four calories of energy. Athletes often talk about carbohydrate loading and carbohydrate depletion which refers to the amount of carbohydrate energy we can store in our muscles. This is generally around 2,000 carbohydrate calories, but we can change this number through depletion and loading. During depletion (from diet, exercise or a combination) we use up the stored carbohydrate.

If we don’t replenish these stores, we can run out of fuel for immediate exercise. Athletes often refer to this as "bonking" or "hitting the wall." In the same way, eating large amounts of carbohydrates can increase these stores. This is often referred to as carbohydrate loading or carbo-loading. Our maximal carbohydrate storage is approximately 15 grams per kilogram of body weight [15 grams per 2.2 pounds]. So a 175-pound athlete could store up to 1200 grams of carbohydrate [4,800 calories]; enough energy to fuel high intensity exercise for quite some time.

How Carbohydrate Fuels Exercise
Carbohydrate stored as glycogen is an easily accessible source of energy for exercise. How long this energy supply lasts depends on the length and intensity of exercise and can range anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes or more. To avoid running out of energy during exercise, start with full glycogen stores, replenish them during exercise and refill them after exercise to be ready for the next workout.

Types of Carbohydrate
Carbohydrates are also divided into simple and complex forms. Simple sugars (carbs) are absorbed and converted to energy very quickly and provide a rapid source of energy. Fruit and energy drinks are a good source of simple carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates take a bit longer to be digested and absorbed into the body. They also take longer to breakdown and therefore provide energy at a slower rate than simple sugars. Examples of complex carbohydrates are breads, rice and pasta. Starch and fiber are also considered complex carbohydrates but fiber can not be digested or used for energy. Starch is probably the most important energy source in an athlete’s diet because it is broken down and stored as glycogen. Foods high in starch include whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, and grains.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Some Tips...

Here are some tips on eating prior to a game or power skating session:

The Pre-Event Meal should be:

- Small
- Eaten approximately 2 - 3 hours before the event so as not to be full or hungry when competing
- Mainly carbohydrates (comlex) which are more easily digested than protein or fats
- Moderate in protein and fats
- Include water
- Not too high in fibre
- Food the athlete likes and has confidence in

Please, don't confuse a small, pre-event meal with how you should be eating in general. You will need alot of calories, and it is normal to eat alot during the development part of your season. The pre-event meal simply refers to the 2-3 hours prior to your icetime or training time.

Here are some Pre-Event suggestions:

- Cereal with skim milk and banana
- Poached egg on dry toast with fruit juice
- Vegetable soup and crackers with skim milk
- Blender shake: fresh fruit, skim yogurt, orange juice, ice cubes

MYTH: Quick energy foods like pop, chocolate bars and honey will give you tremendous energy for performance.

FACT: These foods can actually harm rather than help if you eat them an hour or less before your performance. The simple sugar activates insulin and causes the sugar in the blood to be removed too fast. The resulting low blood sugar can leave you tired or weak.

MYTH: Drinking water while exercising can cause stomach cramps.

FACT: On the contrary, it may be dangerous not to drink water during exercise, especially in hot weather. A 1 to 3 kg weight loss due to sweating can harm your performance and may lead to dangerous dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of fluid needs. The thirst mechanism is actually dulled during and following exercise. Drink water before, during (every 10 to 15 minutes) and after exercise whether you are thirsty or not. Rule of thumb: For each pound of weight lost as seat, athletes should drink 2 cups of water.

Why is water so important? Water functions in the body as:

- a solvent in digestion
- a major portion of the blood
- a lubricant
- a coolant (for prevention of overheating)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today two games 7 are to be played. Find more info here:

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Guest Nutritionist Ann Sertanze

Proper Nutrition for Sportsmen

If you are a sportsman or sportswoman, you need to think about your diet. This applies to people who have just started exercising as well as top athletes - there is some evidence that those in the process of getting fit have a greater need for certain things - proteins for example - than already fit athletes in training.

So what should you eat to stay healthy while you're in training? People who are exerting themselves physically need a higher calorie intake than others. So long as you are not overweight, eat more than you did when you were not working out. Aim for roughly 8.5 calories for each kg of body weight. So if you weigh 100 kg (or 220 pounds), consume 850 calories for every hour that you exercise.

If you are exercising regularly it is not usually a good idea to cut back on your dietary intake at the same time - first talk to your physician if you are thinking of doing so. Generally speaking anyone in training should not aim to lose more than two or three pounds a week.

The most essential aspect of proper nutrition for athletes is maintaining a balanced diet. The same goes for the general public, too, of course!

A balanced diet means that you should get the majority of your calorie intake from carbohydrates coming from pasta, rice, bread and so on. Carbs should make up about 57% of your diet.

Fats should comprise 30% of your intake. I don't mean fats like candy bars--I mean good, unsaturated fats like olive oil, fats from fish, fats from avocadoes, and so on. Saturated fats, like butter and shortening, should be avoided in any healthy diet.

Thirteen percent of your diet should be protein. Protein is meat, fish, poultry and nuts. These items are essential to the body's proper functioning.

Go easy on the junk food, including chocolate, cookies, fried foods, and chips. Restrict your alcohol intake and reach instead for water. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains. These elements are the cornerstones of healthy eating.

If you follow the advice above and make sure to vary up your diet, you will be getting all the essential nutrients and won't really need any supplements.

What about supplementation? There are a slew of supplements, like protein powder, available today, but there is not much in the way of scientific proof that they work. Endurance athletes (like marathoners) may want to take additional iron supplements, especially women, but you should check with your doctor first.

A good nutritionist is the first person to see if you think your diet may not be providing everything you need. Sportsmen who are traveling may not be able to adhere to their normal diet and might look to supplements while on the road.

Finally, a note on sports drinks and sports bars. These common items are very popular, in part because they're so jam-packed with nutrients and are so convenient. But be careful: they're full of calories. Also, be sure to give yourself a few hours between eating and working out, so you have a chance to digest properly and let your body absorb the essential nutrients.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Protein – Grow Food

Protein is a basic substance of all body cells. It is important in the structure of many tissues such as muscle, connective tissue, skin and hair. It is needed for growth and repair of body tissues. It is also a necessary component of hormones, enzymes, the immune system and fluid balance.
There are about 20 common amino acids. Nine of these are called essential amino acids because they cannot be made in the body – they must be obtained from food.
Each protein in food has a different pattern of amino acids. Animal proteins have all the essential amino acids in a combination that is most useable by your body; thus they are called “complete proteins”. Plant proteins have one or more essential amino acids present in a limited amount and thus are called “incomplete proteins”. If animal proteins are not part of the diet, a variety of foods containing plant proteins can provide all the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. Protein sources include meat (such as beef, pork, poultry and fish), eggs, milk products, legumes (soy products, dried peas, beans, and lentils), grain products, seeds and nuts. A registered dieticians with expertise in sport can teach you how to select food to be sure you are obtaining the nutrients you need.
Protein is no more essential than other nutrients. Protein is a poor source of energy and too much does not help performance. A balanced diet supplies enough protein for any athlete, providing adequate energy is consumed.
If you don’t eat enough carbohydrate for energy, your body uses the glycogen stored in your liver to maintain your blood sugar level. When the liver glycogen is used, your liver uses protein and other by-products to make the necessary glucose. The long-term result is a loss of your muscle mass and poorer performance.
How much protein do you need?
The general recommendation for protein intake for Canadians is 0.8 - 1.0 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) body weight. Athletes need a little more protein. Athletes who participate in endurance type sports need 1.2 - 1.4 g of protein per kg body weight. Athletes whose sports require strength need 1.6 - 1.7 g per kg of body weight. This is close to the maximum amount of protein anyone can use to build and repair tissues.
During times of growth, protein needs are higher. A child athlete must consume adequate energy and protein for both growth and training. While these amounts will vary with the sport and level of competition, some growing teen aged athletes need 1.8 - 2.0 g protein per kg of body weight.