The goal of every athlete is to be the best competitor in their sport. Some may think you need fancy equipment, expensive clothing, or the latest and greatest trend to be the best you can be. Although these things can be very helpful when training for your sport, you must have basic nutrition taken care before any of these luxuries can be beneficial to you. So, for the next few weeks, we will be talking about the basic elements of nutrition and how they impact you as a competitive athlete. Last time we talked about carbohydrates. Read more
Written by: Kristin Dugan, SPT
The goal of every athlete is to be the best competitor in their sport. Some may think you need fancy equipment, expensive clothing, or the latest and greatest trend to be the best you can be. Although these things can be very helpful when training for your sport, you must have basic nutrition taken care before any of these luxuries can be beneficial to you. So, for the next few weeks, we will be talking about the basic elements of nutrition and how they impact you as a competitive athlete.
Today, let’s talk about….CARBOHYDRATES!
You have probably heard a lot about carbohydrates, but you may not have gotten the full picture or all the facts yet. There are a lot of opinions, as well as misconceptions, about carbohydrates, so it can be confusing as to what to believe. Most consider carbs to be “bad”, “fattening”, and something to be avoided, however carbohydrates are essential to your diet and can be very influential to your performance. The question should not be whether or not you should have carbs, but rather which TYPES of carbs you should consume and at what times.
What is a carbohydrate?
Carbohydrates are one of the three fuel sources the body uses to function. Carbohydrates, or sugars, are densely packed with energy, and can be consumed by food or beverage.
Why are carbohydrates important for athletes?
- Carbohydrates are needed for all activities—whether you are weight lifting, running a marathon, or sprinting toward a vault, you need carbs to fuel the activity. You need other nutrients as well, but without carbs, you would not be able to move longer than a few seconds.
- Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame—as weird as it sounds, you must have carbohydrates in order to burn fat. Fat cannot be broken down by the body without using carbohydrates to fuel the process.
- Carbohydrates are at the heart of brain function—brain cells have double the energy demand of any other cell in your body, and they can only be fueled by carbohydrates. The part of the brain that needs the most glucose (carbohydrate) is the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and memory.
Are all carbohydrates the same?
Carbohydrates are generally classified as simple or complex. Simple means the sugars are easy to break down by the body and enter the blood stream rapidly after you eat them. Complex means the body takes longer to break them down so the sugars enter the blood stream more gradually. Simple sugars should generally be avoided because the only give you a short burst of energy followed by an energy crash, leaving you feeling tired and distracted. Complex carbs are preferred because they give you energy more evenly after being eaten, so you do not “crash” afterward.
Click the following link for examples of simple vs. complex carbs: http://www.floridahealth.gov/chdcollier/smartgrowth/Documents/HealthTips/complexvssimplecarbohydrates.pdf
How many carbohydrates do I need each day in order to maintain a competitive edge?
Your body’s carbohydrate stores are depleted by the time you wake up in the morning, so a healthy breakfast is essential to starting your day off right. Follow the guidelines below to maximize your daily and physical activities.
Here are some general guidelines for carbohydrates:
- For general nutrition needs, <1 hour of moderate intensity exercise: 5-7 g/kg (2-3 g/lb) daily (ex: 100 lb body weight requires 200-300 grams of carbohydrates in one day)
- For 5-6 hours of moderate intensity exercise: 10-12 g/kg (4.5-5.5 g/lb) daily (ex: 100 lb body weight requires 450-550 grams of carbohydrates in one day)
- Consume simple carbs combined with protein 20 minutes before and immediately after exercise
- Consume complex carbs throughout the day, evenly spaced at 2-3 hour intervals
Now that you know more about carbohydrates, are they your friend or your foe? THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
Written by: Kristin Dugan, SPT (Texas State Physical Therapy)
The goal of every athlete is to be the best competitor in their sport. Some may think you need fancy equipment, expensive clothing, or the latest and greatest trend to be the best you can be. Although these things can be very helpful when training for your sport, you must have basic nutrition taken care before any of these luxuries can be beneficial to you. So, for the next few weeks we will be talking about the basic elements of nutrition and how they impact you as a competitive athlete.
Today, let’s talk about….HYDRATION!
Why is hydration important for athletes?
- 60-65% of your body weight is made up of water, and 75% of muscle is water—good hydration is important to keep your body and muscles working properly, especially during practice and competition.
- Compared to adults, children and young teens have a decreased ability to release heat built up in their body during physical activity—water is the best and most efficient way to cool your body down.
- Good hydration helps prevent injury—drink water to spend more time in the gym training, and less time sitting out at practice when you could be perfecting your skills.
How much water do I need to drink each day in order to maintain a competitive edge?
You must drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, NOT just before practice or events. Each person’s hydration needs depend on their size, the amount of physical activity performed that day, and the nature of the physical activity being performed.
Here are some general guidelines and helpful tips to meet your daily hydration:
- Consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day (ex: 100 lbs = 50 fl oz)
- Drink at least 16 ounces of fluids 2-3 hours before practice or events, then 8 ounces within 20 minutes of the start time
- Drink every 15-20 minutes during exercise
- Drink room temperature water during the day for faster absorption, but cool water during practice and competition to prevent overheating
- You are more likely to drink more water if you drink through a straw
- For every 1 mg of caffeine that you consume
What are some great things to know about water?
1. Some foods can help keep you hydrated due to their high water content:
- Oatmeal (84% water)
- Low-fat milk (90% water)
- Lettuce (99.5% water)
- Tomato (95% water)
- Broccoli (89% water)
- Low-fat yogurt (79% water)
2. Water is a natural appetite suppressant and helps speed up your metabolism
3. Water cleanses your body of toxins and reduces the stress and demand on your body to give you more energy.
4. Water helps build muscle tone, prevents muscle cramping, and helps your joints to move better
5. You are more likely to drink more water if you drink it through a straw
Now that you know the importance of hydration, WATER-you waiting for? GO DRINK SOME FLUIDS!
It can be hard as a parent, coach, or athlete to determine if you or your athlete is feeling pain verses normal muscle soreness. I would like to help define muscle soreness verses injury.
*What is the difference between muscle soreness and injury?
Muscle soreness: felt in the muscle belly, lasting 1-2 days post intense workout, felt upon stretch or contraction of the muscle, progressively decreasing in intensity.
Injury: pain felt without change in activity, lasting more than 3 days post workout, felt upon rest, outside the muscle belly such as joint lines, tendon and ligament insertions, consistent pain (ie. pain with specific skills such as handstands, backwalkovers, dismounts, and etc.), leading to disability, no change over time or progressively worsening, redness, swelling, or numbness and tingling are present.
*What are signs and symptoms my athlete is having pain which is related to injury but may not be telling me?
Icing or heating after practice. Taking NSAIDs (Ibprofen, Tylenol, alieve). Limping at home or after certain skills or events. Favoring one side on skills. Athlete not being as aggressive as normal. A lot of balking or not wanting to perform a skill. Excessively rubbing certain body parts. Wincing with impact or landings. May develop what appears to be a fear of a skill, but is actually avoidance of pain. Noticeable swelling or bruising
*What should I do if I suspect injury?
If you expect injury it is best to seek assistance from a medical provider sooner than later. Develop a relationship with a physical therapist or doctor who can assess the athlete to determine injury verses muscle soreness. Pain is an indicator that something is malfunctioning; it is your body asking for assistance. The longer you ignore the bodies cry for help the more break down will result. Therefore, when you feel these abnormal sensations, learn to recognize them, listen to your bodies cry for help and take action. Taking action sooner than later will result in decreased healing times, faster recovery time, less time loss from the gym, and faster return to full sport activities.
Blog written by: Alicia Shugart, Texas State Physical Therapy Student and Brandi Smith-Young, PT
Photo from Shannonmillerlifestyle.com
PERFECT 10.0 Tips
to Keep Your Optional Healthy This Season
By Brandi Smith-Young, PT
Perfect 10.0 Physical Therapy
DRUM ROLL PLEASE……….. The NUMBER 1 for Perfect 10.0’s Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Optional Healthy This Season is….
Nutrition is the key to building a healthy athlete. The old sane “You are what you eat” is 100% true!! Every cell in your body is made from amino acids found in healthy protein sources. The lining of your gut and your nerves require healthy good fats and cholesterol to remain in a healthy state which is important to allow for optimal nutrient absorption and allow the nerves to be supple to allow the body to get in extreme positions required for gymnastics.
Food is FUEL and if you are not FUELING up then
your running on empty! !
When you are running on empty the body does not build new muscle, repair from the rigors of training, allow nutrients to be absorbed, restore the energy stores needed to train or allow the tissues to be supple and move through the ranges of motion required to do gymnastics.
Below is a very basic guide to determining nutrition needs, things to make sure to eat, and things to avoid.
Things to EAT a diet rich in:
- Nutritiously dense foods,
- Protein 100-150 grams per day,
- Good Fats (saturated) Omega 3 and Omega 9 (fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon), avocados, olives, chia seed, flax seed),
- Carbohydrates especially pre workouts,
- Antioxidants (berries, spinach, sweet potatoes, pineapples, avocados, black beans, almonds, walnuts, chia seed, flax seed, oats, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cumin, dark chocolate)
Things to Avoid:
- Processed or genetically modified foods,
- Hydrogenated fat,
- Minimal sugar[less than 100 g per day for females, less than 150 g per day for males (get from fruits, not refined or processed sugars)],
- Sodas and other caffeine
Yes there is an app for that!!***
The Loose It! App is a FREE app on the iPhone and droid. It offers a calorie intake based on the profile you put in, however for athletes it under estimates, so take the formula above and in the settings enter the calories you calculated. From there you can enter food you eat for the day search by food, by scanning the bar code on the package, the brand, or even looking up the restaurant. It will help you track your calorie intake, carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake. You can set the settings to track you sugar or sodium and other values. You can enter the amount of exercise you do for the day and it will subtract that from the total daily calories. In the settings you can set your goals to loose weight or to maintain, which for most athletes the goal will be to maintain a healthy body weight.
Use the app to learn food portion sizes. To figure out just what you are taking in at a sit down restaurants verses fast food restaurants. To learn what healthier choices are at restaurants and fast food places. You will likely find that many of your athletes are falling in the red, not meeting their goal calories, protein or fat intake. This is where looking at nutritiously dense foods can help you get the biggest bang for your buck. Example; eat salmon and a salad at a restaurant or a crab salad and get a good high dose of protein and good fats (omega 3). Eat a snack with apple and 2 tablespoons of almond butter. This is a great source of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Look at snacks as small meals and make sure to get in fat, protein, and carbohydrates in every snack. Eat 6 small meals a day.
Ever since being a gymnast I have had a huge sweet tooth. This is my secret to how I have curbed my sweet tooth.
- mix 1-tablespoon raw coconut oil with
- 2-tablespoons of organic almond or cashew butter
- throw a small handful of dried cranberries or cherries or dark chocolate chips on top.
This is a great source of good fat and protein. Good fats and protein help to heal the adrenal system, which is taxed heavily with the stringent schedule and intensity of training as a competitive gymnast.
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO FILL UP YOUR TANK BEFORE YOU STEP IN TO THE GYM!!!!
GOOD LUCK THIS SEASON FROM PERFECT 10.0 PHYSICAL THERAPY AND PERFORMANCE TRAINING!
WARNING:*** Be cautious using this app unguided with athletes you suspect have an eating disorder. Those athletes need to see a nutritionist and possibly a psychologist in tougher cases. If you are in Texas I have a few I work with, just contact me for their names and contact info.
Parts of the information came from Dr. Ruthie Harper at www.ruthieharper.com
PERFECT 10.0 Tips
to Keep Your Optional Healthy This Season
By Brandi Smith-Young, PT
Perfect 10.0 Physical Therapy
Gymnasts tend to use their 6-pac muscles and hip flexors instead of the internal abdominals. It’s important they continuously training the internal obliques, external obliques and transverse abdominus. A manual blood pressure cuff used for biofeedback has been proven to help athletes FIND THEIR INNER CORE. The basic exercise is below. For more advanced core see PERFECT 10.0 CORE: FINDING YOUR INNER CORE. You can order online at the PERFECT 10.0 STORE.
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: FREE SHIPPING
- Place blood pressure cuff in the middle of the low back.
- Pump the blood pressure cuff to 40.
- Tighten abs to 50.
- Belly button pulls up toward your nose and into the floor.
- Then hold 10 seconds.
- Repeat x 20