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Upcoming Workshops on Nutrition for Sports, Exercise & Weight Management

NUTRITION for SPORTS, EXERCISE & WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: What Really Works and Why

At this information-filled, 1.5 day workshop, you will enjoy the opportunity to:

–boost your sports nutrition confidence when counseling active clients.

–network with your peers.

–learn from two internationally respected professionals. Continue Reading

Electrolyte replacement: Do you need a sports drink for sodium?

The food industry is again duping many active people. Just today I met with yet-another recreational exerciser who reported buying “electrolyte replacers” to drink after her 10-mile run. The run took her about 90 minutes – way too short to deplete her body of electrolytes. But more critical than that, she had no idea that food – good old-fashioned food – is an excellent source of electrolytes.

Electrolytes are generally referred to as sodium, potassium, and calcium—among other minerals. We all know the typical American Diet offers way too much sodium. That’s why public health messages encourage us to eat less sodium (salt). Even most athletes are unlikely to need extra sodium (unless they are heavy sweaters who are working out for extended periods of time in the heat, like during a tennis tournament, three-hour run, or a 100-mile bike race.)

Rather than needlessly spend your money on a sports drink for extra sodium, just sprinkle some salt on your pre- and/or post-exercise meal. Or have pretzels and a banana for a pre- or post-exercise snack. Or drink chocolate milk instead of a sports drink. You’ll get more sodium (yes, milk contains sodium, as well as potassium and calcium) as well as far more nutrition than in sugar-water (a.k.a sports drink). Or, if you prefer the sports drink, at least buy it as an educated consumer, knowing what it is, and what it is not.

For more information:

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Food Guide for Marathoners

Cyclist’s Food Guide

Super Foods vs Standard Foods: Is one better?

Do you ever get tired of reading yet-another headline about The 10 Best Super Sports Foods, only be instructed to buy exotic fruits, ancient grains, and other unusual items?

Do you really need to spend a lot of money on chia, spelt, and quinoa?

Is anything wrong with old-fashioned peanut butter, broccoli and brown rice?

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Mission Apolo: Built With Chocolate Milk

World-champion short-track speedskater Apolo Ohno has embarked upon training for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. That’s a huge switch from doing a short, intense burst of effort in a cold ice rink to enduring hours of grueling work in the hot Hawaiian lava fields!

Apolo accepted the BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK campaign’s challenge (www.gotchocolatemilk.com) and is training like he has never trained before. He has excellent coaches and I have been invited to be one of his food coaches/sports nutritionists.

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If you eat tons of protein, will you gain muscle?

True or False: College athletes who want to bulk up during the summer should eat slabs of roast beef and drink large protein shakes?

False.  Because the body can utilize only about 20 to 25 grams of protein at one dose, you won’t build bigger muscles by eating a slab of beef for dinner or by downing a hefty protein shake for breakfast. Continue Reading

What about high fructose corn syrup…???

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a double molecule comprised of 45% glucose, 55% fructose—the same as honey and similar to white sugar (50% glucose, 50% fructose).

Although HFCS is deemed evil and fattening, it is less evil and less fattening than portrayed by the media (1). Ninety percent of 567 media reports on HFCS since 2004 replaced science with opinion and were biased to the erroneous (2).

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Recipe for Skillet Lasagna

Looking for a quick and easy dinner tonight?

Try this family-friendly recipe from my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. It is just one of many yummy sports food recipes that are simple to make and taste great.

 Skillet Lasagna

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What to drink on Marathon day?

The day of the marathon, your goal is to prevent dehydration so you stay out of the medical tent! Be sure to drink extra fluids (water, juice, sports drink) the day pre-marathon and then on Marathon Morning, drink up until 2.5 hours before the start. This gives you time to urinate the excess before getting into the corral. (Your kidneys need about 90 minutes to process fluid.) Then, tank up again 10 to 15 minutes before the start of the marathon.

During the marathon, prevent dehydration and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) by drinking 6 to 8 ounces of sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the weather, your body size, your sweat rate, thirst, and pace. Because sports drinks contain carbohydrates (sugar), they can fuel both your muscles and your mind. They invest in greater stamina and endurance.

If sports drinks upset your stomach, drink plain water and nibble on energy bars, hard candies, jellybeans, gels, chomps, or other carbs that you can tuck into a pocket.

Whatever you do, do not OVER-hydrate. If your stomach is sloshing, stop drinking!

Resources: Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

What to eat Boston Marathon morning?

Because the Boston Marathon starts between 10:30 and 11:30, fueling can be a bit tricky. Here are a few thoughts to organize your pre-marathon eating.

On Marathon Morning, be sure to eat two breakfasts…one at home about 5:00 to 6:00 a.m. and one about 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., as tolerated. You’ll likely have to wake up at early o’thirty in order to get out Hopkinton pre-race, You probably will have nervously tossed and turned all night (burning calories), so you’ll want to eat Breakfast #1 at 6:00 a.m. to replenish those calories. Then, carry easy-to-digest food with you for the pre-marathon Breakfast #2. This food helps maintain your normal blood sugar level, which helps your brain function clearly. If you fail to eat enough, your blood sugar will drop and you’ll suffer needless fatigue.

Some popular breakfasts include bagel with peanut butter, two energy bars and a banana, oatmeal with raisins, and poached eggs on toast. Popular items for Breakfast #2 include energy bars, bananas, bagels (plain or with peanut butter), and granola bars.

By eating about 400 to 600+ calories, as tolerated, of tried-and-true training food at Breakfast #1 and then 100 to 300 calories, as tolerated, within an hour or two before the race, you’ll be better fueled for the 26.2 mile adventure. If you will be too nervous and anxious to eat on Marathon Morning, be sure to eat extra calories before you go to bed on Sunday night.

Fuel well, run well, and enjoy the day!

Resource: Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

Is sugar bad for athletes?

Most athletes can metabolize sugar without problems. That’s because exercise enhances the transport of sugar from your blood into your muscles with far less insulin than needed by the body of an unfit person. The unfit body contributes to the rise in blood sugar that triggers the need for excess insulin and leads to the “crash.”

The most common reason for “sugar crashes” (hypoglycemia) among athletes relates to running out of fuel. The shakiness and sweats are because the athlete did not eat enough carbs to maintain normal blood glucose levels and the brain is now demanding sugar. One marathoner thought the 100-calorie gel he took at mile 16 caused him to “crash.”  More likely, he needed 200 to 300 calories to meet his energy needs, not just 100 calories.

Regarding health, some sugars are better for you than others because they offer more nutrients. For example, the sugar in sport drinks provides “empty calories” with no nutritional value (unless they are fortified to give a healthier appearance). The sugar in orange juice is accompanied with vitamin C, folate, potassium, and many other vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that contribute to good health.

While juice offers slightly less nutritional value than you’d get by eating the whole fruit, most anti-juice hype is targeted at overfat people. Liquid calories from juice, soda and sports drinks do not contribute to satiety (fullness). Hence, drinking sugary beverages with meals adds extra calories that can contribute to undesired weight gain. Yet, for active people who want to gain weight, juice can help a skinny athlete easily boost calorie intake while simultaneously adding carbs for fuel that enhances muscle-building workouts.

Even though refined sugar adds “junk calories” to a sports diet, you need not eat a sugar-free diet to have a good diet. A fit and healthy person’s menu can accommodate 10% of calories from refined sugar (World Health Organization’s guidelines). Yet, if you frequently consume sports drinks, gels, and sports candies—as well as other sweets—you can easily consume more than 250 to 350 calories (10% of calories) from refined sugar. Please don’t displace too many fruits, veggies and whole grains with empty calories from sugar…

For more information:

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook