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Friday, 30 August 2013

Pre-Season Nutrition

Proper nutrition during tryouts might not be what helps you make the team or prevent injury but poor nutrition can hinder your chances of success.  During tryouts the physical demands being put on the body are greater than normal.  Typically there are more sessions at a greater intensity than during the season, the body is going to need proper fuel to compete at its maximum potential.  

You can not start eating right the night before and expect everything to work out great.  As with physical conditioning, you need to start fueling your body properly long before you step on the field for the start of the season.  When searching for an ideal diet to use for both athletics and everyday life follow the Canada Food Guide. Fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.  Milk products can work great post activity though typically not recommend prior to activity as they can unsettle the stomach once activity commences.   Athletes need to consume all three of the major macro-nutrients; carbohydrates, protein and fat to fuel the body properly as well as providing it with the proper nutrients for growth and development.  The body uses carbohydrates to create the energy needed for physical and mental activity, eliminating them is very counter productive for any athlete.  

A common question that is asked by coaches, parents and athletes is "when should I eat prior to my event?". It is not a cut and dry answer as every person has their own perfect balance as to when and how much they need to eat prior to activity.  A general rule of thumb is that as the younger an athlete is the closer to start time they should eat.  Their metabolism is faster and will use up the energy gained from eating quicker.  As we age our metabolism slows down, instead of eating a big meal a few hours before the game, the larger meal may need to consumed quite a few hours before with a small easily digestible snack closer to game time.  During pre-season and tryouts there are typically multiple sessions in one day making it hard to find time to eat a good healthy meal and allow the body to digest it.  Eating smaller meals that are easily digestible will give you the energy to compete but not weigh you down or cause cramps. 

Prior to your sessions eat low or medium glycemic index (GI) foods such as fruits and vegetables or beans.  Your body needs carbohydrates to be active so having a bowl of granola or oatmeal, with nuts and fruits would be ideal, a non dairy based shake full of fruits and veggies is an easy digestible option.  Post activity you need to provide your body with both carbohydrates and protein, depending on how long until your next session will decide on the size of the meal.  Protein shakes made with fruits and vegetables are great at this time, just be careful of the amount of dairy you are having.  A couple of other great meals would be a peanut butter sandwich and fruit or a bagel with a lean meat, wild salmon would be a great choice, with either spinach, sprouts or kale. Always drink water to stay hydrated, you can see our previous post on the importance of hydration. You might have heard that chocolate milk is a great post exercise drink, it is as it provides you with carbohydrates, protein, and two major electrolytes; sodium and potassium to help the body rebuild and refuel. Compare other beverages to chocolate milk to see how they stack up.

As tempting as it may be to go through the drive thru for a quick meal DON"T. Fast foods will not provide your body with the nutrients it needs, as well as there is a decrease in blood flow through the arteries and veins due to the vessels constricting.  When you will ask your muscles and heart to react to the physical demands you are going to put them through, they will not be receiving the necessary blood flow to do what you ask.  You will feel lethargic and unable to perform at your best.

Take a little time to plan your meals during this hectic time of the year.  You will enjoy the benefits of providing your body with the food it needs to perform at its best. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Teach an Athlete to Drink

It amazes me that no matter the experience or level of competition that an athlete competes at you still must remind them to hydrate.  Proper hydration is one of the key components in athletic performance.  Dehydration not only effects the body physically but those physical side effects will effect you mentally as well.  Hydration does not start when you step into the dressing room or at the first water break, it is a continual ongoing process.  Think of your body as dam.  You need a water source coming in, a place for it to rest and somewhere for it to go.  The water you consume is like the river flowing into the dam, your body is the the reservoir, and the river flowing out is the water you lose through sweat and urination.  How well do the muscles work if they are not lubricated?  How will they receive the nutrients they need to perform?  Water is used throughout our bodies, we need make sure it has an ample supply.

If you are able carry a water bottle with you so that you can hydrate throughout the day. A 120 pound person should consume 8 - 8oz glasses of water each day if they have not exercised.  For every hour of exercise you should consume 16 oz or 2 cups of water.  It is important to hydrate before, during and after activity.  A good rule of thumb for during activity is to drink 1 to 1.5 tablespoons every 15-20 minutes. Continue to replenish after activity, for athletes who are losing excessive amounts of water replenish with the amount of weight lost during activity.  Yes, chocolate milk is a great post activity drink to help replenish liquid, protein and carbohydrates, I still recommend drinking water on top of that.

For coaches, parents, and trainers be on the lookout for the following as they are signs and symptoms of mild dehydration:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst - dulled with activity
  • Urine that is yellow or gold in colour
  • Decreased urine output — eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Decreased mental awareness
Learning how to hydrate is an something that all coaches, parents, trainers and athletes must do to keep the body performing at its peak.  Your body is 60% water and requires it for many body processes.  Replenish your stores with glorious water.  Sport drinks should not be used by children and only in certain circumstances by adult athletes.  No one should be consuming energy drinks at all and definitely not as a means to hydrate.  As a coach schedule water breaks no more than 20 minutes apart and encourage your athletes to drink.  Parents should check with your children's schools to see if they can carry a water bottle with them, it is amazing how often they will take sips if it is sitting right there.  Athletes, it comes down to you, if you want to succeed you need to provide your body with its major nutrient, so grab a bottle of water and good luck in achieving your goals.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A New Season and a New Beginning

For anyone who had read previous posts you are going to notice a bit of a change.  I am changing this from a personal blog to one more business centered. You are still going to receive great health tips just less about the life of being a mom, unless the children enlighten me on some sort of injury prevention tip.  Another change is that we will be adding guest bloggers, giving them a chance to share their injury prevention and management tips while giving you another perspective.

The basis will still be as our name suggests Eat Right and Ice.  Ask any of my athletes or patients and they will tell you that no matter their injury they were told to ice and if they wanted to achieve success they needed to fuel their body properly.  No matter your sport, activity or occupation the information here will help you achieve the success that is in you.

As we get closer to then end of summer and fall starts to get into full swing so do many sports and activities. Fall can be a very trying time for all those involved in sport.  Athletes are under both internal and external pressures during tryouts, you then throw in the beginning of a new school year and it can play a major factor in their on field performance.  Coaches are dealing with the expectations of their organization and parents as well as juggling work, sport and their own children's schedules.  Parents are now juggling back to school, multiple sport schedules on top of normal daily activities.  With increased stress levels and busy schedules proper nutrition typically goes out the window at a time when it is crucial for athletes to fuel their bodies properly. Proper rest and nourishment help combat mental and physical fatigue which plays a role in injury prevention.

Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on how to get through tryouts healthy and injury free.