Thursday, December 24, 2015

'Tis the Season: Holiday Travel Workouts

We're all creatures of habits to various degrees, and a change from our normal routines is enough to put a scare in some people.  But adaptability and an openeness to change can be the best possible thing for most people.  A switch in training when on the road sometimes allows you to hit your old training program with a refreshed vigor when you get back and a newfound appreciation for other workout modalities.

For many people that are regularly physically active one of the things they take into account when they travel for work or vacation is how they're going to be able to keep training.  Often times hotel gyms don't have the best resources of equipment and depending on what type of gym membership you have, you might not be able to access your gym in another city if you don't belong to one of the big name gyms.
 From my experiences traveling to new places for work or vacation, I've been able to use all of the listed modalities to great effect.  They're simple and effective ways to stay in shape while unwinding from your normal routine.

 Running: this one is my favorite while traveling because I can kill two birds with one stone.  Aside from getting a workout in, I'm a bit of an explorer and love both nature and architecture.  An early morning run in a new place is a great way to get acquainted with your surroundings.  The best part is that wherever you're at beach, city, rural town, you'll find somewhere you can run.

sample workout: fartlek run - this is an unstructured run where you mix everything from jogging to sprinting as you please into a 40-60 minute run.  

Swimming: this doesn't even feel like exercise when you're doing it on vacation at a beach and it works just as well if you're at a hotel.  In a hotel setting it requires a bit more structure as you're in a confined space.

sample workout: distance swims - set a goal line of where you want to swim distance wise and go for it.  When I do these on the beach I swim parallel to the shore.  If done in a pool you can time your laps.

Bodyweight training: people can be quick to write off body weight training but the possibilities are endless and you can continually progress.  Depending on your body weight and relative strength a body weight workout is tough as is but if you want more of a challenge just adjust your center of gravity or add explosiveness to it.  As an example progress from squats to pistol squats or push-ups to plyo push ups

sample workout: 15 squats, 15 lunges, 15 glute bridges, 15 pushups, 15 second bear crawls - repeat  sets as many times as possible doing them at a pace of 4 seconds on the contraction with a 2 second pause.

Shadow Boxing: this is a great aerobic and anaerobic exercise, and embarrassingly enough something I always do if I find myself in an empty elevator somewhere.  You can focus on technique or conditioning by choosing your pace and what you want to do when shadow boxing.  This is a workout that you could literally do in the bathroom of your hotel room.
sample workout: 9 rounds x 3 minutes each.  Start the first 3 rounds practicing simple combinations you like.  

Next 3 rounds incorporate more movement by using some footwork.  Final 3 rounds go all out, shadow boxing at a fast pace.

Complexes: Up till now I avoided the use of a gym but if you do want to take advantage of your hotel gym when training, from what I've seen as limited as a hotel gym can be all the ones I've been to have at least had some light dumbbells (usually maxing out at like 25 lbs).  

Sample workout: Grab whatever available weight they have dumbbell/barbell/kettle bell/weight plate that you know you can properly handle in a fatigued state.  Set your timer for 10 minutes and do a squat-deadlift-overhead press-row until time runs out.

Resistance Bands:  they're so light and easy to store that you can take them with you and workout wherever you want.  You can follow any of the workouts listed above for complexes or bodyweight training to get a major pump.



Erick Avila, owner of www.ergogenichealth.com a company that provides individualized training programs and nutritional consultations for athletic events and weight loss. Erick works as a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist with a variety of professional boxers including two ranked in the top 50 of their respective weight divisions.  He’s experienced having worked in both sport and clinical settings, with focuses ranging from general weight loss to hormonal optimization.  Erick has bachelor’s degrees in Exercise Science & Nutritional Science.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Don’t Wait Until It Is Too Late: 3 Reasons to Fuel During a Tennis Match


I’ve seen it before: the player on the far side of the net starts to drag. The opponent, fitter with more energy, picks up on it and starts to elevate up their game. You know how it ends. So, how do you become the opponent who has the energy and fitness? Fueling during a match can make a big difference. Here are 3 very important reasons to chow down during a tennis match.
1.       Tennis drains all your resources.

This is a unique sport in which your body uses all of its fuel sources. Your body relies on more than one energy system to make sure your body has the energy and power to perform. Because your body is pulling from all places, it is easy to deplete yourself of everything.

2.       When you finally feel hungry or thirsty it may be too late.
Have you ever heard: when you are thirsty it means you are already dehydrated? You may have already lost 1-2% of your body weight when you finally feel thirsty. In addition, since you have a lot to think about in a tennis match, you may not ever really feel hunger or thirst although your body is running on fumes.

3.       Heat and humidity can be rough.
Whenever I have watched a visiting team from the North play a Texas team, I know what the result is likely to be. They are not used to the heat and humidity. Know that you are not immune to it either. You have to stay ahead of your hydration. Start before you ever get in trouble. An initial sign of dehydration can be fatigue.
Source


Here’s what you do to prevent hitting a wall of exhaustion when you are playing:
·         Think small bites and drinks throughout the match.

·         Try a banana and a sports drink. Eat a small bite of banana and a gulp or two of sports drink at each change-over. A banana and a 20 oz of sport drink should last throughout the match.

·         Hate bananas? Try an energy chew (check your local sporting goods store). Avoid the caffeine loaded drink or chew, look for something that resembles a jelly bean. Try a low fiber granola bar or sports bar.
·         Remember small bites take you a long way.

Continue to watch what the pros do. You never see them chowing down on a turkey sandwich, but you will see them take a gulp of sports drink, then a gulp of water, and a bite of banana. Works for them, it’ll work for you!


Caroline Sullivan is a Houston-based Registered Dietitian and specialist in sports dietetics. She has served as a dietitian for several NCAA Division I top-25 teams including work with basketball, football, tennis, and track & field. She is a member of the USTA Texas Sports Science Committee.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Intuitive Eating: When Weight Loss Isn't the Answer

I recently ran into a woman whom I knew from a class at my church. As single parents, we need plenty of strength, love and encouragement and I probed her with questions of how she was doing. Aside from an ongoing legal battle, managing a home with 2 boys by herself and working full time, she stated her most frustrating problem was “trying to lose 15 pounds.”
My heart sunk a little as I looked at her, knowing that her body size would be considered by society and by most of us as “normal”- slender and tall. At this point, knowing I was in the nutrition field, she persisted to defend her eating habits, seeming frustrated that she had done her “nutrition research” and was eating almost perfectly- why wasn’t she able to lose those 15 pounds she so desperately wanted to?
I nonchalantly suggested, that maybe weightloss wasn’t the answer. She looked at me- almost snapping, “but I am so much happier when I’m skinny!” Her story is powerful, and resonates with so many women who assume that weight loss equates to happiness, health and healing.
The traditional weight loss paradigm of our culture suggests that:
– “Everyone needs to be thin for good health and happiness”
– “People who are not thin are “overweight” because they have no willpower, eat too much, and don’t move enough”
– “Everyone can be thin, happy and healthy by dieting”
(Moving Away from Diets, Table 3.1 page 28).
In line with these cultural expectations is the billion dollar dieting industry. A 3 day cleanse to get rid of toxins? A 60 day weight loss transformation? A 3 week regimen booked with personal training sessions, meal plans and zero taste?
All banking off of these weight loss tenets promising us happiness is achieved through weight loss.
Alternatively, the Health at Every Size® (HAES) offers a gentle, holistic approach to health suggesting that:
– “Thin is not intrinsically health and beautiful, nor is fat intrinsically unhealthy and unappealing”
– “People naturally have different body shapes and sizes and difference preferences for physical activity”
– “Dieting usually leads to weight gain, decreased self esteem, and increased risk for eating problems. Health and happiness are not dependent on weight loss and involve dynamic interaction among mental, social, spiritual, and physical considerations”
(Moving Away from Diets, Table 3.1, page 28).
My personal and professional philosophy moves individuals towards true health enhancement, with little, if any attention to a persons weight. Removing the focus on a persons weight does not negate the attention away from any medical problems or health concerns, but simply recognizes that health is a complex interplay of social, emotional, ecological and spiritual factors. This allows health practitioners to view the person as a whole, rather than a specific focus on parts.
“HAES® proposes that people create health by healing disturbed relationships with food and making peace with their bodies, when and if these relationships are problematic, not by weight loss.” (Moving Away from Diets, page 29).
Growth Exercise:
How might our cultures focus on weight control and thinness part of a bigger agenda?
What are the differences we can notice in our own biases of the way we attribute characteristics to “thin” people and “heavier” people?
Identify times you have believed that being thin or achieving weight loss might make you happier- if you achieved that weight loss, did it ultimately bring you happiness?
If weight loss isn’t the answer, describe what true happiness might look like to you.
To learn more about the basic tenets of the HAES® approach, please visit: http://www.haescommunity.org/about.php
Reference:
Kratina, Nancy King, et al. Moving away from Diets: Healing Eating Problems and Exercise Resistance. Helm Publishing: Lake Dallas, Texas, 2003. Print.

Bio: 
Jaren Soloff is a San Diego based Dietetic Intern through Utah State University and received her Bachelors of Science degree in Dietetics from San Diego State University. Jaren's professional interest include eating disorders, prenatal + lactation nutrition and child feeding practices. Jaren firmly believes in empowering women by providing them with evidence based practices that support all women's innate ability to birth, breastfeed and nourish themselves and their children with confidence. Maintaining a non judgmental and safe space for women to share their relationship with food and body is the center of her practice. As an aspiring eating disorder Dietitian, Jaren is an active member of SCAN dietetic practice group and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can reach Jaren via social media, or email at: jarensoloff@gmail.com

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Athlete's Plate

Could your diet use an overhaul? How would you rate YOUR plate? Eating healthy will always be a work in progress.
Let’s talk about a simple concept that can help athletes fuel for peak performance. There are no gimmicks or quick fixes. The key is to strive for a balanced plate.
One option that works well for many athletes is MyPlate (www.choosemyplate.gov).  Eating in this general fashion promotes balance and would improve the diet of most athletes I know.


This healthy eating strategy divides your plate down the middle. One half of your plate is made up entirely of fruits and vegetables. The other half is divided into protein and grains. Remember the more fruits and veggies you can get in the better. Oh, and don’t forget about your dairy.
For endurance athletes, in particular, the amount of grains should be adjusted based on training needs. We will discuss this concept in a future post.
If you could emulate the plate in the picture at most meals you would really be off to a good start.

Breakfast
This will be based on personal preference but let’s look at some options. Lots of factors may influence breakfast. The biggest factor will be the timing of your workout(s). For instance, is this a pre-workout snack or maybe a post workout meal?
This makes a big difference as many athletes like to have something on their stomach before a workout.
If you’re going to the gym for a weight training session you may be able to eat a regular meal. On the other hand, if you are planning a long aerobic workout, eating a big meal may not be the best idea.
Some people can do it but I can’t.
If I am planning to go long (2+ hours) I would eat early and allow an hour or so for digestion. This means waking up extra early to ensure I’m fueled to start my workout.

For a shorter workout (< 1 hour), I may grab a small snack or not eat at all. After my workout, I would eat my regular breakfast.
Examples of healthy breakfast optionsinclude:
·         whole grain waffles with maple syrup
·         granola cereal with skim milk and berries
·         whole wheat toast with fruit spread or peanut butter
·         orange juice or skim milk
·         oatmeal with raisins and walnuts
·         fruit smoothie
Mix and match these to provide a variety of different breakfast options.
Lunch & Dinner
Because of work and family commitments, lunch and dinner are without question the most challenging meals of the day. We’ve all been there—you ate well for breakfast and lunch only to blow it at dinner. I get it, it definitely happens.
Don’t use your busy schedule as an excuse…you should still attempt to achieve a balanced plate. It takes planning but you can make it happen.
Try not to complicate things. For example, an athlete’s plate at lunch or dinner may consists of
·         a chicken sandwich, veggies, and a fruit cup
·         pasta with tomato sauce, a side salad, and a piece of fruit. Don’t forget to throw some vegetables in your sauce.
·         a bean burrito with a few chips, mango salsa and a piece of fruit.
Snacks
Healthy snacking is important between meals. A small snack (100-300 calories) is perfect to curb hunger and keep you from overeating at your next meal.
Here are a few ideas.
·         pretzels or piece of fruit with peanut butter
·         nuts like almonds, cashews, or walnuts
·         string cheese
·         trail mix is another good option.
·         popcorn (little or no butter).
Usually pairing a carbohydrate and a protein source works best.
Develop an Eating Schedule
Without a doubt it is best to plan a fueling schedule that works for you. Consistency is extremely important. Below I’ve provided a sample schedule.
5:00 am     a small pre-workout snack or nothing at all
6:30 am     post-workout breakfast (normal)
10 am        mid-morning snack
12:30 pm   lunch
3 pm         afternoon snack
6 pm         dinner
It is best to spread your calories throughout the day instead of eating a lot at each meal.
Consuming too much at one meal increases the likelihood that those calories will actually be stored as fat.
With a little bit of planning, endurance athletes can use the plate method to improve their overall diet quality. Eating from all the different food groups is important to achieve proper nutrient intake. The key is to establish an eating schedule that works for you.

About the Author:
JJ Mayo is an endurance athlete, a registered dietitian, and a associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Central Arkansas. His blog, Fuel For Endurance, helps endurance athletes achieve better race results through optimal nutrition. He also just released a sports nutrition online course (Sports Nutrition Made Easy) that has been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration for 7 CPEUs.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Stress And Diet

Scientists at the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research at the University of Zurich researched the role of stress in relation to diet. 

Stress is already liked to health problems and weight gain but the scientists wanted to look at how stress drives you to your coworker’s candy dish versus the apple you packed.  Mild stress may send the most disciplined eater to the vending machine. 

The study “Acute Stress Impairs Self-Control in Goal-Directed Choice by Altering Multiple Functional Connections within the Brain’s Decision Circuits” looks at how stressful circumstances can compromise one’s self-regulatory behavior.  

The scientists took 51 young men and divided them into two groups where one served as a control.  
The participants were asked to look at images of food on a screen and rate them for taste and healthfulness.  

The men in the experimental group were put under “stress.”  Basically putting their hand in cold water to induce mild stress (this increased their cortisol compared to the control group who did not have this done).  The scientists did fMRIs following dress, they found “… that stress increased the influence of immediately rewarding taste attributes on choice and reduced self-control. 
This choice pattern was accompanied by increased functional connectivity between ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and amygdala and striatal regions encoding tastiness” (Maier, Makwana, Hare, 2015). 

Lead author on the study Todd Hare reported “think about an action path that improves your choice… If you know you will have a hard time resisting don’t store snacks at home.” 


You can also find this study on The New York Times Well blog: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/20/candy-brain/

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Does Vitamin C Help Colds?

Autumn, the time for bonfires, pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful fall colors... and the sniffles.
Fall and winter are peak seasons for colds. And one of the most popular remedies for fighting off those pesky colds is to load up on vitamin C.
But does popping vitamin C tablets like candy do anything for your cold?
Vitamin C And The Immune System
Vitamin C is required for several functions including making collagen, carnitine, and neurotransmitters. Collagen is a protein found in skin, bones, tendons and cartilage. Carnitine helps with energy production by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria (your tiny power stations) for oxidation. Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that help transfer information throughout your body and brain.
More commonly, vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties. Free radicals are made during normal metabolic processes and spawn from things like pollution, radiation, and cigarette smoke. Antioxidants, like vitamin C, help to neutralize these cell and tissue damaging free radicals.
Does it Help the Common Cold?
Over the last couple decades, several studies involving thousands of people, have examined the ability of vitamin C to prevent and treat the common cold.
But, even ingestion of high doses of vitamin C has not been shown to prevent the common cold. However, habitual vitamin C consumption may reduce the duration of colds by 3% to 13%.
The Verdict
Taking vitamin C will not reduce the number of colds you get per year, but it can help reduce the severity and modestly reduce the time you have the cold.
As always, focus on foods first. Food sources of vitamin C contain several other important nutrients that you cannot get from a supplement. Excellent sources are asparagus cantaloupe, oranges, broccoli, grapefruit, kale and strawberries.
If you choose to supplement with vitamin C, it is best to take smaller doses. This is because the absorption of vitamin C decreases with increased intake. Less than 50% of vitamin C is typically absorbed at intakes above 1 g.
Gavin Van De Walle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and is a certified personal trainer. He is in the coordinated dietetic internship program at South Dakota State University where he is a Master of Science candidate in nutrition with a specialization in sports nutrition. Contact Gavin at www.supranutrition.com  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nutrition Personalities

The first principle of Intuitive Eating is “reject the diet mentality“- which, if you are new to intuitive eating is- a way of eating that is based on ones internal hunger cues and body feedback, as opposed to eating externally, essentially, the diet mentality.
Familiarizing yourself with what “type” of eater you are, or as I like to say, identifying yournutrition personality can help you see where you are, identify diet mentality thoughts and redirect them with a gentle, intuitive approach.
Tribole and Resch define the following 3 eating personalities in Intuitive Eating: The “Careful Eater”, “Professional Dieter”, and the “Unconscious Eater” (Evelyn and Resch, pages 65-80). Below, I’ll summarize some key characteristics of each.
1. Careful Eater
-From the book, the description of the careful eater may be often be depicted as the perfect eater.
-Exhibit constant “food worry” over what goes into their body, what is being served, how its being prepared and so on.
-The careful eater may have a negative relationship with food due to their rigidity in meal plans and self imposed “food rules” (some examples may be “no eating after 7pm, no added sugars with meals, ect.)
Intuitive eating allows careful eaters to eliminate the rigidity they often display, for example countless hours spent meal planning, grocery shopping and food prepping and instead asks them to turn inward to their body’s cues. Intuitive eating also allows careful eaters to eliminate guilt regarding their food choices, and instead respond to their unique preferences.
2. Professional Dieter
– Much like the description sounds, the professional dieter has a mastery of counting calories, carbs and things of the like in the pursuit of weight loss- this distinguishes them from the careful eater, in that they are not interested in health.
– While chronic dieters have an abundance of dieting knowledge, the restrictive cycles of dieting where by they eliminate food groups or certain items often leads to binging or “last supper” eating (having more of the forbidden food, instead of allowing it in a reasonable size)
– It is impossible to live in a healthful way and cultivate a normal relationship with food as a professional dieter
Intuitive eating allows professional dieters “unlimited access to food” meaning that no foods are off limits or restricted. While at first, this is very uncomfortable for the professional dieter, over time having equal access to all foods will decreased the frequency of binges and ultimately create an increase in nourishing food choices as well as fun foods
3. Unconscious Eater 
-The unconscious eater is the multitasker. While they can be caught in a variety of distractions from watching TV, reading or even walking.
– Behavior can range in this personality, however common characteristics may include finishing a child’s dinner plate, reaching for food laying around the house or at work as well as those grabbing something quick from the vending machine.
– It’s important to note that nutrition and wellness may be important to this person, its often the chaos of the moment that leads to the unconscious decision in the moment
Intuitive Eating offers the unconscious eater time to learn to listen to their bodies internal cues of hunger and satiety. Focusing on “just eating” allows time to find the “satisfaction factor” they may have been missing in chaotic eating.
Growth Questions:
1. What nutrition personality do you most identify with?
2. Identify some times in your life where you may have displayed an different nutrition personality- what factors might have contributed to this?
References
Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. Pages 65-80.
To learn more about Intuitive Eating, and view the complete descriptions of Nutrition personalities, please visit www.intuitiveeating.org and be sure to visit their online community for great discussion of individuals committed to “never diet again!.”
Bio: 
Jaren Soloff is a San Diego based Dietetic Intern through Utah State University and received her Bachelors of Science degree in Dietetics from San Diego State University. Jaren's professional interest include eating disorders, prenatal + lactation nutrition and child feeding practices. Jaren firmly believes in empowering women by providing them with evidence based practices that support all women's innate ability to birth, breastfeed and nourish themselves and their children with confidence. Maintaining a non judgmental and safe space for women to share their relationship with food and body is the center of her practice. As an aspiring eating disorder Dietitian, Jaren is an active member of SCAN dietetic practice group and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can reach Jaren via social media, or email at: jarensoloff@gmail.com

Monday, November 2, 2015

Some Like It Hot: Eating Spicy Food May Extend Your Life Expectancy

In Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life, New York Times columnist, Nicholas Bakalar reports:
“Eating spicy food is associated with a reduced risk for death, an analysis of dietary data on more than 485,000 people found” (Bakalar, 2015).

Source


The study focused on participants between 2004-2008 in a large Chinese health study.  The original study can be found in the British Medical Journal.

The researchers factored in patient age, medical/family history, education, diabetes, smoking and other variables.  They  found that when eating hot food (mainly from chili peppers), patients having it 1-2x a week had a 10% risk for death.  Eating spicy food 6-7 times per week reduced the risk by 14 percent. 

“Rates of ischemic heart disease, respiratory diseases and cancers were all lower in hot-food eaters. The authors drew no conclusions about cause and effect, but they noted that capsaicin, the main ingredient in chili peppers, had been found in other studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects” (Bakalar, 2015).


Dr. Lu Qi from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that “We need more evidence, especially from clinical trials, to further verify these findings…and we are looking forward to seeing data from other populations.”


--
Gina Volsko RDN, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator, email her glesako@gmail.com to learn more about blogging for SCAN.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Feeding The Child Athlete

Now that it’s fall and there’s a few months of school under our belts, many children and their parents are back into the swing of school sports. My cousin, being one of these parents, recently texted me to ask about hydration for her 8 year old son who plays baseball in the Florida heat. She said that many of the other parents were sending sports drinks to practice with their kids, and she wasn’t sure that this was appropriate. Being the awesome cousin that she is, she reached out to a knowledgeable Registered Dietitian (that’s me!) for guidance. Not only did I help, but I decided to write a 101 on child sports nutrition:

·         Eating a healthful diet is the priority for your growing athlete. Although children are playing sports and burning a ton of calories, that doesn’t give them a license to eat whatever they want. Growing children need several key nutrients, like calcium for bone health, Vitamin C for immune system development, iron for growth, and protein for muscle growth and repair. These nutrients are only found in healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Child athletes put their bodies through more wear and tear than less active children, so they need to be even more diligent about eating healthy foods for growth and development.
·         Fluids should be the priority. Hydration is so incredibly important for child athletes. Children get hotter faster than adults because they have a greater body surface area for their body weight, so they gain heat faster from the environment than adults. They need to drink very frequently during exercise and cold water is the perfect refresher. A good rule of thumb is that children need about 4 ounces (or ½ cup) of water for every 20 minutes of play.  Make sure you teach your children about the importance of hydration, or they might just forget to drink all together! Fresh fruit is also high in water, and orange slice breaks during practice should be encouraged!
·         Sport drinks are not necessary. Let’s face it–kids love sport drinks because they are sweet.  If you provide them, they will drink them. I’ve read a lot about this and the verdict on whether or not they are needed is mixed. One thing I can tell you is that sport drinks are ONLY needed for intense activity lasting longer than an hour.  You can read all about sport drinks here, but my overall opinion is that kids don’t need them. For exercise lasting longer than an hour, you can replace salt losses with a salty snack like pretzels or saltines.
·         Carbohydrates are the best energy source.  Basically, carbs are what make athletes “go”. They are the fuel for the car. A child athlete’s diet should be balanced and consist of healthy carbs, like fruit and veggie sticks and whole grain crackers, breads, and cereals. Healthy carbs should be consumed 2-3 hours before practice to maintain energy.
·         Lean protein repairs muscles.  Because children are growing, their muscles are still developing. Sports cause muscle breakdown, and proteins aid in muscle repair. While it’s an emerging trend among kids to take protein supplements, this should definitely be discouraged. There are so many healthful protein food choices that kids can eat and enjoy, such as peanut butter, low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese sticks, chicken, turkey, and fish.  A turkey sandwich after practice is the perfect amount of protein to repair worn out muscles!


Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian in New York City.  Natalie believes that healthy food should be tasty food, and she is passionate about living an active lifestyle.  Natalie is a writer for many nutrition publications, and she enjoys sharing her favorite recipes and nutrition knowledge on her blog, Nutrition ├íla Natalie.  Follow Natalie on Twitter @nutritionalanat.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Iron and Women Athletes

Iron plays a key role in oxygen transport and energy production, making it a key micronutrient for all of us especially athletes interested in peak performance.  Iron deficiency is more common with athletes because intensive exercise increases iron loss, and female athletes are at even greater risk because of menstruation and insufficient dietary intake.  To combat this deficiency some dietitians have recommended athletes supplement with iron but this approach has been criticized by other dietitians because of the increased risk of iron toxicity associated with supplementation.  In addition to risks of toxicity other common side effect complaints from iron supplementation include nausea, abdominal discomfort, and constipation.

Sufficient iron is of importance to athletes because of its important roles with maximal oxygen carrying capacity to active muscles and efficient oxygen utilization, two aspects that are critical for performance.  The more oxygen you can deliver to muscles and the more efficient you get at using it, the more you enable yourself to work intensely for a longer period of time.  Iron can be found in dietary sources in two forms haem and non-haem, haem sources are derived from animals and non-haem from all other iron sources.  The absorption rate of haem sources is 40%, whereas the absorption rate for non-haem sources can greatly vary. 

Tannic acid (found in coffee and teas) and phosphates (found in soft drinks), along with calcium can decrease our iron absorption but fortunately vitamin C increases iron absorption. 
Consume foods rich in iron like:
-beef
-pork
-seafood
-legumes
-fortified cereals
-dried fruits,
-dark green leafy vegetables. 

Try avoiding thing like soda, coffee, and tea when you consume these iron rich sources to enhance maximal iron absorption and instead pair your iron rich foods with high vitamin C fruits and vegetables like citrus fruit, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers, and pineapples. 

References

Alaunyte, I., Stojceska, V., & Plunkett, A. (2015). Iron and the female athlete: A review of dietary treatment methods for improving iron status and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Erick Avila, owner of www.ergogenichealth.com a company that provides individualized training programs and nutritional consultations for athletic events and weight loss. Erick works as a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist with a variety of professional boxers including two ranked in the top 50 of their respective weight divisions.  He’s experienced having worked in both sport and clinical settings, with focuses ranging from general weight loss to hormonal optimization.  Erick has bachelors degrees in Exercise Science & Nutritional Science.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Intuitive Eating: CHALLENGING “FAT” THOUGHTS

Decoding disordered eating and bad body image thoughts starts with doing detective work. The obsessive preoccupation with eating and weight is a coping mechanism to deal with discomfort. A bad body thought is a way of translating our discomfort when we lack the language to decode what is really behind the familiar disordered thoughts.
If we know that our thinking is powerful beyond belief, and we are working towards healing our body image and disordered eating, we must start with the way we speak to ourselves. Below is a 4 step process to help identify, refute and reframe bad body image thoughts to help renew your mind. I use it almost daily to check my thoughts.
Step One: RECOGNIZE
The first step is to recognize, and become aware. Ask yourself, what type of discomfort is taking place? When we begin obsessing about our body, or how bad we are for eating a certain item we are usually trying to displace some emotional discomfort from somewhere else. Bad body thoughts, are abusive. Keep a record of your recollection and try to imagine saying them to you best friend, mother or little sister. Soon, you’ll start to see a pattern and can avoid triggering situations.
Step Two: RECALL
Once you have identified the feeling or thought, dig deep to think about a time where you may have felt this in the past. Our brains are wired to the core beliefs we hold about ourselves, many of which are untrue as they were influences by a variety of factors in childhood. See if you can identify the core belief you were taught and how it made you feel then. Acknowledge that there was nothing you could do then, but there is something you can do now.
Step Three: REFUTE
Refute the core belief you hold and replace it with truth about your present self. Repeat that you had no control over how you felt in the past, but you do have control over who you are now and how you think and feel about yourself. Challenge these core beliefs and assumption by holding them up to cultural ideals. For example, “Who tells me that being a size 10 is wrong? Where did I learn this? Who says that being a size 6 is right? Why?” 
Step Four: REFRAME
Once you’ve explored the backstory of where your core belief is learned from and have decoded it, you now have the freedom to reframe it. Instead of shaming yourself for having another bad body thought, you can use the experience for further growth and exploration. The more you explore, identify and become aware of your thoughts, the more compassion and understanding you will breed on your way to full acceptance of your body, and the more awareness of self you will have.
Bio: 
Jaren Soloff is a San Diego based Dietetic Intern through Utah State University and received her Bachelors of Science degree in Dietetics from San Diego State University. Jaren's professional interest include eating disorders, prenatal + lactation nutrition and child feeding practices. Jaren firmly believes in empowering women by providing them with evidence based practices that support all women's innate ability to birth, breastfeed and nourish themselves and their children with confidence. Maintaining a non judgmental and safe space for women to share their relationship with food and body is the center of her practice. As an aspiring eating disorder Dietitian, Jaren is an active member of SCAN dietetic practice group and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can reach Jaren via social media, or email at: jarensoloff@gmail.com

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Want better endurance for your sport? Juice.....with beetroot juice

Beets are a nutrient dense vegetable being supplemented by a variety of athletes, especially those in aerobic sports to improve stamina.  They’re a good source of carbohydrates, folate, and manganese.  They’re found in a variety of dishes including soups, salads, and shakes.

But their true performance enhancing effect comes from their nitrate content.  Their nitrates have been shown to improve endurance in athletes. [1]  Nitrates get converted to nitric oxide in our bodies and have a vasodilating effect.  This means they open up our veins, this is of benefit to athletes because it makes oxygen transport easier.  The more oxygen you can get circulating to your muscles the more you stay in the aerobic state and the more efficiently you’ll perform in endurance events.  When you run out of oxygen your body begins to run “anaerobically” which means without oxygen.  During this time our primary fuel source is glycogen/glucose which is available in limited amounts. 
What this means for athletes is that it limits the amount of time they can perform, and that’s not a good thing if you don’t have the fuel to finish your event.

From personal experience with athletes I’ve worked with I’ve found that 1-2 cups of beet root juice at least an hour before training or an event has been the most effective way to supplement. 

Sample PreWorkout Shake
1 whole beet
1/2 cup coconut juice
1/3 cup spinach

References


Murphy, M., Eliot, K., Heuertz, R., & Weiss, E. (n.d.). Whole Beetroot Consumption Acutely Improves Running Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 548-552.

Erick Avila, owner of www.ergogenichealth.com a company that provides individualized training programs and nutritional consultations for athletic events and weight loss. Erick works as a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist with a variety of professional boxers including two ranked in the top 50 of their respective weight divisions.  He’s experienced having worked in both sport and clinical settings, with focuses ranging from general weight loss to hormonal optimization.  Erick has bachelors degrees in Exercise Science & Nutritional Science.