Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Food Myths Athletes Believe
As a Nutrition Specialist (certified through LMA), I have the opportunity to work with some of the greatest Sports Dietitians and Nutritionist in the field.
We often have conference calls where we share useful information and updated research in regards sports nutrition, etc. One of the R.D's and nutrition specialist (she's the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sports Nutrition) passed along a great article that I know every athlete can benefit from. I put a few of my own tips in there as well.
Note: These facts apply to all types of athletes.
Top Five Nutritional Myths Among Athletes
Fact or Myth?
To gain weight, simply increase the amount of food you eat.
Fact: Proper nutrition is a combination of eating the right amount of certain foods for your body. Working with a Dietitian who specializes in Sports Nutrition to calculate how many calories and nutrients your body needs to achieve will produce optimal results.
All fats are the same; All fats are bad!
Fact: Some fats are vital for a healthy life. There are several types of fats and they are not all bad. Fats which are solid at room temperature, such as: butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, and margarine, also known as saturated and trans fats, are unhealthy and will likely be stored as fat in the body. However, fats which are liquid at room temperature, such as oils, are known as unsaturated fats. These come in two forms: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Unsaturated fats can be found in foods such as: olives, avocados, oil based dressings,and peanut butter. Certain amounts of unsaturated fats are essential for a healthy body. You can lower your fat
intake by just choosing the majority of your fat calories from unsaturated fats!
To build muscle mass, eat a 12oz steak and buy a jug of protein powder!
Fact: The body can only utilize so much protein in a certain time frame.
Excess protein will be stored as body fat. Whether an athlete is attempting to gain weight or not, protein intake recommendations are different for male and female athletes. Male athletes should consume 20-30 grams of protein every 2-4 hours (this is equal to 3-5 oz. of meat). Female athletes should consume 14-20 grams of protein every 3-4 hours (this is equal to 2-3 oz. of meat).
Before the big race, I should bulk up on carbs.
Fact: Eating the right amount of certain foods at the right time can enhance athletic performance up to 15%! Where would your statistics be if that performance change occurred? Endurance athletes are a whole other breed so in order to find the right combination of quantity, type, and timing of foods, work with a Dietitian who specializes in Sports Nutrition. A sports nutritionist can calculate how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates you need to increase your performance!
During the game or race, only drink when you are thirsty.
Fact: If you are as little as 1% dehydrated your performance can decline as much as 10%! A properly hydrated athlete will have increased energy levels and concentration, more resistance to injury, reduced fatigue, and will be able to build muscle and lose body fat more easily. Do you know the signs of a well hydrated athlete?
Eat To Win-Athletes that believe their performance is related only to practice and
training are not maximizing their potential for success. Don’t let your lack of knowledge be your downfall.
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I have several other articles and tips in regards to sports nutrition so feel free to email if you'd like me to send them your way or post more!