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Monday, July 28, 2014

Train Low, Compete High?

“Training low” (with low carbohydrate stores) and "competing high" (with muscles fully loaded with glycogen) as a means to enhance competitive performance is receiving attention from coaches, elite athletes, and researchers alike. A 2005 study (1) with untrained subjects suggests that training with deplete glycogen stores can enhance adaptive muscle responses to conditions that might occur at the end of a competitive event. Training low might also reduce reliance on limited glycogen stores. When Hansen’s subjects “competed” with loaded glycogen stores, they performed better.

These results have raised questions and controversy. If you restrict your carbohydrate intake during training, you will become unable to train hard, and that can hurt your athletic ability. Sports dietitian Louise Burke PhD of the Australian Institute of Sports suggests inserting a few “training low” sessions into the training program where the focus is on making “aerobic” gains. You would want to target the sessions in the week where quality, intensity, or techniques are not as important.

You can train low by having either low blood glucose or low muscle glycogen; both scenarios can happen during a second training session in a day. Note: Adding caffeine to a “low” training session can enhance power by about 9%, but this still does not match the power generated by fully glycogen-loaded muscles plus caffeine.

Training low is not much fun. For most ordinary mortals, staying well fueled on a daily basis is a smart investment. I suggest you fuel your muscles on a daily basis with quality grains, fruits and vegetables. By being well fueled, you'll be able to work hard and enjoy improving your performance.

Best wishes,

(1) Hansen A, C Fischer, P Plomgaard, J Andersen, B Saltin, B Pedersen 2005.Skeletal muscle adaptation: training twice every second day once daily. J Appl Physiol88(1):93-9

Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
Sports nutrition counselor, consultant, speaker (Philly 1/24; Pitt. 2/7; online 24-7) (books, handouts, PowerPoint talks)

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook NEW Fifth Edition
Food guides for soccer, new runners, marathoners, cyclists   iPhone app: Recipes for Athletes

1155 Walnut St, Newton Highlands, MA 02461
617.795.1875  Fax: 617.963.7408

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trust a Registered Dietitian – Not Supplement Store Personnel

Research suggest approximately 50% to 98.6% of university athletes use some form of supplements in hopes of improving exercise performance capacity and training adaptations.1,2 It’s even more staggering to think some athletes are more likely to obtain information from employees at nutrition stores.3 Registered Dietitian Travis Piattoly said it best, “Would you go to a pharmacist who was unlicensed for advice on what drug to take? “Why should it be different for supplements?”  

                For registered dietitians, it may be hard to keep up to date on the potential adverse effects of all the dietary supplements on the market. The good news is there are several websites dedicated to providing information/potential hazards of common dietary supplements. One site you may find most beneficial is The site has several resources available for both RDs and athletes. One resource on the website is the USADA “High Risk Dietary Supplement List.” (It is required to fill out some short information before you can access the list.)
                The list contains several brand names and the company who makes the dietary supplement. Additionally, the list states what the label says and includes useful comments concerning certain substances. i.e.
·         Product lists prohibited substances on the label.
·         Testing detected the presence of oxilofrine (methylsynephrine).
·         Product openly lists to contain a prohibited substance.
·         Testing reveals the product contains N-methylphenethlamine, and DHEA.
·         Product lists a prohibited substance on the label. Product also advertises itself by stating it is “EPO blood doping technology.
                Unfortunately, you cannot always trust what supplement companies put in their products. And as we all know, reading the ingredient list does not always tell you what may or not be in the product. At the end of the day, athletes are responsible for what supplements they take. Athletes interested in taking supplements should talk to a registered dietitian – your anti-doping tests may depend on it.

Gavin Van De Walle is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, a NANBF Natural Competitive bodybuilder, a nutrition columnist for “The Collegian,” and a dietetic student at South Dakota State University. Once Gavin becomes an RD, he will aim to achieve the distinguished Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SCAN Symposium 2014 In Pictures

CEUs on the sunny shores of Lake Erie...
Soy Science Presentation
Great sponsors and great speakers.

Did you make it out to Huron, Ohio a few weeks ago to attend SCAN?  If not here are a few photos of what you've missed!


Chocolate Milk sponsors

Dr. Kent Eichenauer & Dr. Glen Feltz

Speaking on behavior change & motivational interviewing

Hope to see you next year in Colorado!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Easy Ways to Add Vegetables to Your Diet

The vitamins and minerals provided by fruit and vegetables play a role in exercise performance and recovery following strenuous exercise, and maintaining health and well-being. These nutrients cannot be synthesized by the body so it’s essential that athletes consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to support daily training and recovery from training.
Sub-optimal intake of fruit and vegetables does affect your sport performance. A minimal intake of the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables can lead to fatigue, muscle damage and impaired immune function, all of which can have detrimental effects on training and recovery for competition.

Set a goal – If fruits and vegetables are minor items in your menu, start by eating one extra fruit or vegetable a day. When you’re used to that, add another and keep going.

Try something new – Don’t get tired of the same old thing every day.  Try a new vegetable or a new fruit.

Take advantage of prepared veggies – They’re a little bit more expensive when you buy them this way, but if it’s easier and you’re more likely to eat then it’s a better use of your money.  Bagged salads, prewashed spinach, peeled and diced butternut squash are great ways to cut down on prep time for dinner.

Stock your freezer – Frozen vegetables won’t go bad any time soon, and are easy to add to dishes you already make
o   Throw them in with pasta water in the last few minutes of cooking
o   Add to soups
o   Stir fry them with meat and serve with brown rice for a quick dinner
o   Frozen berries, mango, bananas
o   Add to oatmeal or yogurt with granola
o   Make smoothies with yogurt, low-fat milk, ice

Roast them – Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake at 425° F for 15 minutes.  Try  broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots, butternut squash

Snack – Try baby carrots, celery sticks, broccoli florets or homemade sweet potato chips, dipped in salsa, light ranch dressing, spiced yogurt or hummus. Spread peanut butter on celery, apples or bananas

Cook with them – Sauté fresh or frozen spinach with garlic and olive oil, season with a dash of salt and pepper.  Add spinach, onions, asparagus or broccoli to omelets.

Improve on natureDon’t hesitate to jazz up vegetables with spices, chopped nuts, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, or a specialty oil like walnut or sesame oil.

Eating Out – Add vegetable toppings to your pizza.  At a fast food restaurant, add a side salad with your burger, and eat it first.  Ask to substitute a side of vegetables for rice or pasta when you’re dining out.  Try the carrot cake if you’re ordering dessert!

Tara Boening is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian with a Board Certification in Sports Dietetics. She currently works as a sports nutrition consultant in Houston, TX.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Clean Eating for Runners

You run for health. How can you easily eat clean for health—and performance? The answer is simpler than you may think: Clean eating starts with enjoying a hearty breakfast. That is, not just a banana, but also a banana + oatmeal + hard-boiled egg. This meal will keep you from getting too hungry mid-morning. We all know what happens when runners get too hungry – we not only eat but also over-eat—and we tend to choose foods with sub-optimal nutritional value, such as the chocolate chip muffin that your co-worked so nicely brought into the office. No comparison to your baggie of baby carrots, eh?

If you are like many weight-conscious runners (and most of my clients), you shudder at the suggestion to eat a hearty breakfast. After all, most weight-conscious runners start their diets at breakfast. Plus, you want to save up calories so you can enjoy a hearty dinner. Right?

Well, maybe it’s time to start being as nice to your body as you are to your car: Car + gas = GO! Body + food = Go BETTER! Yes, you will run better and feel better if you fuel by day, dampen your appetite, and then enjoy a lighter dinner. (You’ll actually find this smaller meal will be more enjoyable when you are not starving because you won’t be fretting about your urges to over-eat.)

When runners fuel by day, they tend to eat quality foods:
oatmeal + chopped dates + slivered almonds
eggs + spinach + cottage cheese
Greek yogurt + banana + granola
Whole wheat bread + peanut butter + honey + raisins
Nuts + dried fruit + string cheese

But when runners under-eat by day, well … you know what happens. You start to crave sweets and choose the wrong foods. Hopefully, in your efforts to eat cleaner, you will be willing to experiment with this fuel-by-day, eat-lighter-by-night fueling pattern. How much bad can happen if you try this for just two days?

With best wishes for good health, high energy, smooth running – and clean eating,

Nancy Clark MS RD
Sports Nutritionist

Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
Sports nutrition counselor, consultant, speaker (Philly 1/24; Pitt. 2/7; online 24-7) (books, handouts, PowerPoint talks)

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook NEW Fifth Edition
Food guides for soccer, new runners, marathoners, cyclists   iPhone app: Recipes for Athletes

1155 Walnut St, Newton Highlands, MA 02461
617.795.1875  Fax: 617.963.7408

SCAN Symposium Snapshot Social Media Reminder

Are you attending SCAN this year in Huron, Ohio?  If so, send your photos or thoughts to Twitter @SCANutritionDPG  #SCANSymposium or find us on Facebook.

Friday, June 20, 2014

But isn’t chocolate milk filled with sugar…???

Nancy, I can’t believe you recommend chocolate milk as a good recovery food for athletes after a hard workout. It’s filled with refined sugar!!!!

My response: Yes, chocolate milk (or any flavored milk, for that matter) contains added sugar. For hard-working athletes, sugar is a form of carbohydrate that refuels depleted muscles and feeds the brain. Like the sugar in bananas and oranges, the sugar in chocolate milk comes along with a plethora of nutritional benefits. That makes chocolate milk a better option that chugging a sports drink that offers just empty calories.
A reasonable guideline for an athlete is to limit refined sugar intake to no more than 10% of daily calories. That equates to about 200 to 300 calories a day. The sweaty, tired athlete who recovers with a quart of Gatorade consumes 200 calories of refined sugar— and misses out on positive nutritional benefits that could have been provided by chocolate milk.

Despite chocolate milk's sugar content, the beverage remains nutrient-dense. When athletes refuel with chocolate milk, they get not just sugar that fuels their muscles, but also high quality protein that builds and repair muscles, calcium that strengthens bones, vitamin D that enhances calcium absorption, sodium that helps with fluid retention and replaces sodium lost in sweat, potassium that replaces sweat losses and helps maintain low blood pressure, B-vitamins such as riboflavin, that help convert food into energy, water that replaces fluid lost with sweat … and the list goes on. Plus, chocolate milk offers a desirable balance of carbohydrate and protein. (The muscles recover well with three times more carbs than protein).

Hence, I invite you to pay more attention to the nutritional value of the whole beverage rather than just the added sugar. Chocolate milk offers far more nutrients than the sports drinks that athletes commonly chug after a hard workout. Those sports drinks, as well as other commercial  “sports foods” (gels, chomps, sports beans, sports candies), receive little public criticism yet are generally 100% refined sugar with minimal, if any, nutritional benefits. In my opinion, those engineered sports foods are the bigger nutritional concern than the 30 to 40 calories of sugar added to 8-ounces of chocolate milk.
For more information, read the chapter on recovery foods in the new 5th edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
Sports nutrition counselor, consultant, speaker (Philly 1/24; Pitt. 2/7; online 24-7) (books, handouts, PowerPoint talks)

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook NEW Fifth Edition
Food guides for soccer, new runners, marathoners, cyclists   iPhone app: Recipes for Athletes

1155 Walnut St, Newton Highlands, MA 02461
617.795.1875  Fax: 617.963.7408