My apologies

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I apologize to everyone who has visited the blog in recent months and has been met with the same ol' posts.

I am truly sorry that we have not been able to provide more information.

A couple of new blog editors will be taking over in the coming months and will be doing their own thing, so be sure to check back.

Good luck to all who are heading into final exams and who are graduating - I feel your pain and joy. :)

Have a good one!

Blog on hiatus

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Final exams are creeping up, so we're going to take a short break from the blog, but make sure to come back over Christmas break because many more posts are planned.

Topics will include:
Eating before competition
Eating after competition

Good luck with exams, and have a great holiday!

Whatcha wanna know?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New poll!

What do you want to learn more about??

We're in need of topics to research and write about, so tell us what you want!

If you want to know more about something that is not listed in the poll, or if you want something more specific than is listed in the poll, use the comment page (at the bottom of this post, to the right). No Google account needed!

Fluids are good.

Friday, November 2, 2007

We always hear that we should drink fluids when we exercise, and judging by all the water bottles in the gym, I guess people are getting the message.

But how much fluid should you drink?

And what is better - plain ol' water or Gatorade?

Well, here's some info to help you make the decision!

First off, let me tell you about the dangers of not drinking enough - dehydration. It is the most common problem among athletes.

Very simply, dehydration is when you do not drink enough fluids to replace the fluids that you lose (such as through sweating). This is what it can do to your body:

  • nausea
  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • muscle cramps
  • bloating and flatulence
  • premature fatigue
  • decreased endurance, strength and fatigue
  • decreased mental functioning
  • decreased motivation to exercise
Doesn't sound too good, does it?

The goal of fluid replacement is to try to replace as much fluids as possible. You may not be able to replace all of the fluids lost while you're exercising, but you can minimize dehydration.

Here's something you can try: drink about 250 mL of fluid (1 cup) for every 15 minutes of exercise, so if you're exercising for one hour, you should drink the contents of a 1 L bottle in that time. This may seem like a lot, but you do not have to drink all 250 mL at once, every 15 minutes. Instead, try drinking a mouthful or two every few minutes. Drinking small amounts more frequently can minimize the risk of an upset stomach, too.

So what do you drink? Is water good enough, or should you be drinking a sports drink - like Gatorade?

Plain ol' water will do for most activities, but if you're not concerned about burning calories, you can try a sports drink. Sports drinks have a little bit of salt, which makes it taste better and also stimulates thirst, so it's easier to drink more fluid. The added flavour also doesn't hurt.

If your sport is an endurance sport, which means you're exercising for more than an hour without stopping (think marathons, distance cross-country skiing, etc.), you will likely benefit from a sports drink. Not only is it extremely important to replace fluids, but the carbohydrates in sports drinks can help to replace some of the carbohydrate you burn as you exercise.

Carbohydrate = energy, so this would be good, right?

Watch out though, because you want to make sure that the concentration of carbohydrate in the sports drink is 6% - 8%. The body slows down absorption when the carbohydrate concentration is above 8%, which means that you are much more likely to develop a stomach ache. So, before you buy a new sports drink, you might want to do some math.

Look at the facts label on the bottle. It will tell you how much carbohydrate is in the sports drink, but chances are it won't tell you how much is in 100 mL ( 6 grams to 8 grams will give you a concentration of 6% - 8%).

Let's do an example: Gatorade Thirst Quencher. It says that there are 14 grams of carbohydrate for 240 mL of fluid. First, divide 240 mL by 100 mL and you get 2.4. To find out how many grams of carbohydrate are in 100 mL of Gatorade, divide 14 grams by 2.4 = 5.8 grams. This means that Gatorade has a carbohydrate concentration of 5.8%, so it likely won't cause an upset stomach.

Want to make your own sports drink? You could always combine 1/3 cup sugar, 4 cups of water, a pinch of salt and either a 6 gram package of unsweetened Kool Aid or some lemon juice. This will give you a 6.7% carbohydrate sports drink.

To wrap up this post, I wanted to point out that there are two ways in which you can monitor your state of dehydration. First, you can check how much fluid is lost during exercise by comparing pre- and post-exercise weight. If you lose weight, that means that you have lost water and will need to replace this fluid (3 cups of fluid for every 1 pound of body weight loss).

Second, monitoring the colour of your urine on a regular basis can tell you if you need to drink more water - you're okay if it's the colour of dilute lemonade, but if it's a darker shade of yellow, drink up!

Also, you should be aware that it is possible to drink too much fluid, and this can be dangerous.
Remember guys, feel free to leave comments and ask questions! You don't need an account to leave something in the comments section - just click on the 'comments' link just below this post and it will take you to the right page.

What's with all the Protein?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Protein is a very important part of the diet. Think about this: DNA is the 'code' that makes us who/what we are, right? Well, DNA makes protein molecules, and these protein molecules are involved in just about everything. If you don't consume enough protein, your muscles start wasting away, you lose energy, you are more likely to get an infection, and your body just doesn't work properly.

No wonder athletes are concerned about how much protein they are eating.

Question is: Do athletes really need to take protein supplements?

Let me voice my bias here: I wholeheartedly believe in doing everything you can do get your nutrients through food. The body is designed to digest food and get the necessary nutrients from food. There are cases when I would consider a supplement, but I would not make a general recommendation that all athletes should take Product X.

As far as protein goes, the typical North American diet contains more than enough protein. If you consume animal products (meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs) on a regular basis, and you get a number of servings each day, it is very likely that you don't need a protein supplement.

If you are a vegetarian, then you may have to pay more attention to the protein that you are eating to make sure that you are getting enough. Vegetarians also have to worry about pairing up different protein sources in order to get the right balance of protein in their diets. We can do another post on vegetarianism at a later date, if anyone is interested.

My suggestion to anyone out there in blog-land who is concerned about protein would be to get Heather or I (or any sports nutritionist) to calculate how much protein you need, and to translate this into actual food. You might be surprised how little food you need to meet your protein requirements.

Problems with a diet that is very high in protein:

- Protein is not stored in the body to be used later. The body uses what it needs, and then it breaks down the rest and gets rid of it through the urine.

- A diet high in protein may mean that there is less carbohydrates. Carbohydrates give you energy. Protein does have calories, but it is not really used for energy. The only time it is used for energy is when there is not enough carbs and fat to fuel the body, and this leads to a loss of function.

- Eating large amounts of animal protein (like meat) may increase the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet, which can lead to heart disease (and yes, even athletes can get heart disease).

- If you are using a protein supplement, you are probably spending a lot of money. Protein powders made from whey are among the most popular on the market, but do you really know what you're paying for? Whey powder is the protein that is left over from the cheese-making process, but without the calcium. Getting protein from milk would give you the benefit of the calcium, and it would also give you carbohydrates. It just may be cheaper, too.

- Some protein supplements, especially powders, may have other ingredients added. Always look at the ingredient list to make sure that no banned ingredients have been added. When in doubt, don't let a salesperson talk you into buying a product.

Any questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below. P.S. You don't need to have a blogger account to be able to do this!

Welcome to MSVU Sports Nutrition!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hi! We thought we'd tell you a little about ourselves. We are both students in the BSc. Applied Human Nutrition program at the Mount, are active members of Student Nutrition Services (SNS), and have an interest in sports nutrition. We also completed Bachelor's degrees before coming to the Mount, so we have backgrounds in everything from biopsychology (Ash) to kinesiology (Heather). We hope to continue on with what Candace Weaver was doing last year with the Mount sports teams with this blog.

The main purpose of this blog is to get information out there to athletes (as well as to people interested in fitness), and we are also looking for tons of input from you guys so that you get what you want. We are hoping to provide sport-specific nutrition information to those who want it, and we are not limited to this medium - we can also do presentations, one-on-one consultations, group consultations, etc. Whatever works for you!

Here's what you can do....

1- Let us know your sport(s) so that we can tailor the information for you

2- How do you want to get your info? The above suggestions are only that - suggestions. Feel free to come up with something else.

3- At the bottom of each post is a 'comments' link. You can click on it and add your comment to communicate with us and with everyone else.

Please feel free to ask us plenty of questions. If we don't know the answer, we'll find it for you.

Have a good one!

-Ashley and Heather-