Nutrition

Carbohydrates are the most important fuel at exercise intensities above 65 percent of maximum effort. A 2010 report by the International Olympic Committee concluded that carbohydrate intake should match the demands of training and competition and may vary considerably during different times of the year. Athletes should consume nutrient-rich carbs (fruits, whole grains, vegetables) in place of simple sugars with few nutrients. Protein intake for athletes should be approximately 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram bodyweight per day. Consuming extra…
If you are new to training and exercise, you undoubtedly have may questions. Where do I start? How do I train? What supplements should I be taking? How long will it take to reach my goals? As you'll learn along the way, the answers to these and other questions ultimately lie within. Each athlete is unique, and therefore has completely unique likes, dislikes, needs, and potential. What works for your training partner may have little effect on you, and vice…
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a silent killer that increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, erectile dysfunction, and kidney disease. It is typically treated with drugs that can have unpleasant or even dangerous side effects. Susan Fluegel and colleagues from Washington State University in Pullman found that whey protein supplements reduced resting blood pressure by 6 to 8 mmHg in people who had high blood pressure. The supplements had no effect on blood pressure in people without hypertension. Whey…
Vitamin D is important for normal calcium metabolism and plays a vital role in maintaining bone and muscle health. Many athletes are vitamin D deficient because they shun vitamin D-fortified dairy products and don’t get much outdoor activity. Vitamin D is produced naturally in the skin as part of a reaction involving sunlight, but it is also consumed in the diet. A review of literature by Enette Larson-Meyer and Kentz Willis concluded that adequate vitamin D levels are important for…
High protein, low carbohydrate diets increase production of acid compounds called ketones. These diets trigger rapid weight loss but can have unhealthy effects. A long term study on mice found that ketogenic diets lead to changes in the beta and alpha cells in the pancreas that regulate the production of insulin and glucagon, two hormones essential for blood sugar regulation. These changes led to a decreased ability to take up blood sugar in the cells. The animals also developed blood…
New techniques using radioactive tracers, CT scans and MRI showed scientists the precise ways in which the cells make new muscle proteins and uncovered the secrets of muscle growth. Muscle cells go into overdrive to make new proteins following meals high in proteins and amino acids. The amino acid leucine is an important nutrient that promotes protein synthesis in your muscles. Leucine activates the mTOR pathway, which triggers muscle growth, and serves as a building block for muscle protein synthesis.…
Several large population studies found that physical fitness is a more important indicator of health and longevity than body fat or body mass index. This suggests that the metabolic capacity of muscle tissue is more important to general health than body composition. A position paper by Bryan Batch from Duke University and colleagues speculated that blood levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are good markers of metabolic diseases. Low levels of BCAA’s are linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary…
Foods and supplements that increase nitric oxide production, such beetroot extract, increase muscle blood flow. Nitric oxide is a gas released by the inner lining of blood vessels (endothelial cells) that is critical for regulating blood flow and blood pressure. This could increase the delivery of nutrients during and after exercise, which could improve performance and promote recovery. Several small, but well controlled studies found that beetroot improved aerobic capacity, endurance, and overall exercise capacity. (ACSM’s health and Fitness Journal,…
Athletes often take ibuprofen to treat or prevent pain associated with training. This is a mistake according to a study from the Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Ibuprofen taken before exercise damaged the cells lining the gut. Exercise stresses the intestines because it causes decreased blood flow, particularly during prolonged, intense training. Adding ibuprofen makes things worse. Ibuprofen is a potentially harmful drug for endurance athletes that can cause intestinal damage. (Medicine Science Sports Exercise, 44: 2257-2262, 2012)
Intensely training bodybuilders and power athletes need more protein than sedentary people for promoting protein synthesis and preventing protein breakdown. A review of literature led by Kasper Dideriksen from the Institute of Sports Medicine in Denmark discussed the ideal protein intake for exercising humans. The conclusions were based on maximizing protein synthesis, reducing protein breakdown and avoiding side effects from excessive protein consumption. Amino acids, particularly leucine, stimulate protein synthesis. Protein synthesis peaks out at a protein intake of about…
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