Getting the most out of your ability. That is the goal of all athletes no matter what the sport or age. And no matter what your natural gifts, the right equipment, right training plan, the right sports psychology and finally the right nutrition will compliment those natural gifts. Do you want the chance of using your genetic ability to the full potential that God has given you?
Try understanding calculus 3 without understanding Algebra. Trying to write a new software program without understanding how to copy and paste. Knowing how to shoot the puck without knowing how to skate. How about a Triathlete being a great swimmer but not knowing how to build a run program. All above are scenarios for frustration and underachievement. The same hold true in Nutrition. If your nutrition plan for this season and life depend on a few articles or books your success is a tiny window that most likely you will not pass through. Nutrition will be one of if not the deciding factor on who wins or loses. Who gets makes the team or who does not. Who gets the scholarship or who does not? On who has the chance to use their gifts to the full compliment of their nutrition plan.
When I race in a Pro Race it is usually less than 1% the separate the last Pro from the 1st. Nutrition many times is that difference. Without understanding a bigger picture you also set yourself and your family up for underachieving your full potential. This is your potential in both performance and health. Some Elite athletes have been asked if they would sacrifice health for greater performance and many answered yes. Well you can have both if approached with a proper perspective and choice. Performance is much more than volume and practice. Even the most talented athlete on the Team or in the race will be limited by how they fuel, rebuild and protect the cells. Using what we know about nutrition will send you to a career of great performance and health. If you break your nutrition down into some basics that are easily understood, the choices that you make will be based on knowledge and not simple orders from an article or book. We will break Nutrition down into 2 Parts.
- Sports Nutrition
- Immune Nutrition
By breaking this down into 2 separate groups I believe it will help us understand and differentiate between the plethora of diets, supplements and information. This will help us into knowledgeable, wiser choices. Knowledge is understanding facts. Wisdom is knowing how to apply the knowledge.
Many rely on little knowledge that guide their nutritional choices. Those choices will affect them and their family’s performance and health.Nietzsche “ Better to know nothing than to half-know many things”.
Free Will is putting knowledge and wisdom into practice.
In a Study at University of Chicago, Pro athletes were studied to determine common characteristics of these achievers that led to their success. What they found that is was another child in the family who was the most talented. The child who became the professional athlete looked to go outside of the circle. The child that excelled had extreme determination, extreme hard work and vision to get the most out of their ability. They took their Free Will and choose to reach for the stars.
Lets try to break it down so that we can understand this dynamic topic. We’ll never fully understand the human body and how physiological dynamic works but we can continue to see what good studies show to be the path to Optimum Health and performance. The nutrition recipe for success will not be achieved with a one sided (missing ingredient) approach. You need both the Sports Nutrition and the Immune Nutrition recipe no matter what your level of giftedness presents. Remember this is not just for your performance but also your health.
Sports Nutrition and Immune Nutrition are different though they are related. There is the chicken and the egg, which one came 1st I do not know but both are need to continue the life.
– Relates to nutraceuticals and other food products (Electrolyte drinks, carbohydrate/protein drinks) that will benefit the athlete’s performance during a practice or game.
Example- Gatorade, Energy Bars, carb loading, pasta after the game/race
Proper Sports Nutrition via carbohydrate intake before during and after will allow you to refuel the Glycogen (sugar) that you used as fuel during the workout. This timing is crucial to keeping the fuel tank on full. Once it is empty that athlete’s day is done! Not something that you want if you still have 20-30 minutes to go in the game, practice or race. I see many parents who feed their child some sugary snack before and after a game or practice. Little do they know how they have already put that child one step behind their potential.
After the event the 30-120 minute window is also essential to help the athlete prepare the muscle recovery and refuel process. If you miss that window and do not re-fuel the muscles and liver with the proper carbohydrates, your next few days will result in decreased performance and suppressed immune function. After a workout your body is craving this re-supply of sugar (glycogen). Your body is saying please refuel me. Unfortunately most amateur athletes will occasionally miss this window. This will impair the rest of their week’s workouts. They will say I feel a little sluggish or the parent wonders why Johnny is one step behind. They may be the most talented but they are like a racecar running on dirty fuel or a reserve fuel tank. on E. After a workout or event presents an opportunity to enjoy carbohydrates that may be a poor choice during other parts of the day. The delicious good quality breads or pastas are an excellent choice for the efficient refuel that they will supply to the cells. During other parts of the day or right before and event or practice the breads, pastas may not be a prudent choice, but after practice or event they are excellent!
Can you have a great game or race being fueled by Gatorade? Yes
Is there a superior choice in Training/game/race day fuel? Yes
What is the difference in the choice of products?
Well with products that are sweetened with Simple sugars or Fructose the Insulin results are dramatic.
We have gone from 20lbs/person annual consumption of sugar to 120-150 lbs in last 100 years. This has resulted in many negative consequences for performance and health. A single gram of sugar raises the blood sugar significantly which will lead to impaired performance and health. Choosing a Carbohydrate product that is low or void of artificial, sucrose (corn syrup), fructose sweetener will lead to performance gains without changing any other factors. Dietary Fat and fiber can help in the reduction of the blood sugar swing associated with sucrose or fructose sweetened products though consuming fiber and fat before or during practice, race or game is a challenge. Choosing a Sports drink or food that is sweetened with Maltodextrin would be an improved choice.
Here are results with a simple sugar/fructose intake.
- Reduced capability of using fat as fuel. As athletes we have an unlimited supply if we allow our body to access.
- Simple sugar metabolism involves many B vitamins so we deplete our B supply in the blood. Many long and short term negative consequences to any missing or low levels of B vitamins. Any missing B vitamin may cause a severe suppression to our immune system leading to degenerative disease. Athletes are not immune from Cancer, Heart disease, diabetes
- Sucrose and Fructose increase oxidative damage via the glycation of protein. This is a cause why athletes are still increasing in #’s of diabetic or insulin resistant cases.
Carbohydrate Summary Athletes who have normal insulin and immune function can handle moderate intake of sucrose or fructose sweetened foods and drinks. If athlete has impaired Insulin function caused by other poor dietary choices (high intake of sugars, low micronutrient diet) a sucrose or fructose sweetened product would impair Peak performance. A better choice for all would be a maltodextrin sweetened product.
Proper Protein intake after a long or demanding practice, race or game allows the amino acids to rebuild so the athlete will be able to handle the next few days workouts in a higher state of performance. The amount is not as important as how the body will make it available (bioavailability) Eggs provide the best bioavailable form of protein. They are better than beef, fish or soy. There are nutraceuticals that you can supplement that are even higher than the egg. You get other beneficial aspect of nutrition from the whole food (egg, beef, fish, etc) but as far as amino acid utilization for the rebuilding process there are supplements that are superior to whole food.
We have been improving on the improved intake of Sports nutrition products. Gatorade, powerbars etc. We are learning that proper fueling before an intense or long workout/ game can really improve our performance. But most are still missing the 1000’s of phytochemicals, flavinoid, fibers , vitamins and minerals that come from the proper Immune Function Nutrition. That is why 70% of 12 year old all ready have the beginning stages of hardening of the arteries.
This is why very gifted athletes are not reaching their full potential even though they eat what the ads say will make them fitter. This is why athletes are getting injured and burned out at such a high rate. This is why athletes are getting sick as often as the non-athlete. This is a reason even Pro Athletes are still getting cancer.
-Relates to a nutraceutical or other food product that benefits the athlete’s immune function. This in turn will allow the athlete to recover more efficiently, stay well, and have less chance of injury due to the micro tear recovery process.
Example- whole food nutraceuticals, (Omega 3’s,Powered produce a in a capsule, mineral /vitamin supplements, enzymes, etc.)
This Immune Function Nutrition is the overlooked aspect of the average American Athlete. Example Take the 2 same athletes. All environmental conditions the same. One understanding and using both aspects (Sports and Immune Nutrition) and the other using just the Sports nutrition, the one using both will
-Get sick less
-Have less chance of injury
-Have less chance of degenerative disease
-Feel more ready for the next workout (psychological advantage)
Both Sports Nutrition and Immune Function Nutrition are connected to each other. Though the Immune function nutrition Plan overlaps both more completely. Meaning that with the proper diet and nutraceutical intake the Athlete with the stronger immune system will recover faster. Recovery is where the athlete will make gains in performance. As we workout we do millions of micro tears to the muscle fibers. We have inflammation occurring at the cellular level. Intense exercise produces 1000’s of excess Free Radicals. In turn through proper rest and nutrition the muscles come back in a higher state of strength, pliability and size. This is also very relative due to the type of workout and sport that you are participating. If you are a Power lifter compared to a Marathon runner both will experience a different level of muscle fatigue and stress but both require the needed nutrients to help in the recovery process. This aspect (Immune Function) of nutrition is the #1 deficiency in Athletes. It also is the most misused in relation to supplementation.
Lets take a look at some definitions so you can really understand what they are. If we understand we are more likely to act!
Vitamin –any of various organic substances that is essential in minute quantities to the nutrition of animals.
Act as coenzymes and in the regulation of metabolic processes.
Do not provide energy or serve as building blocks.
There are 2 kinds of vitamins
- Water Soluble that are easily eliminated from the body
- Fat Soluble that can be accumulated in excess if ingested (That can be the danger on the Russian Roulette approach to taking vitamins) ex. Vit E, Beta Carotene
So Far 15 mineral have been identified as essential to maintain human health. They help control the body’s fluid, biochemical, and acid-base balance. They play important role metabolic roles by activating enzyme systems and working in concert with vitamins, other minerals and hormones.
Phytochemicals – these are powerful plant chemicals in whole food that most have yet been discovered. These elements are powerful micronutrients that protect the body from the Oxidative effects of our environment. They contain protective properties against illness including cancer and coronary heart disease. A sub group of phytochemical are polyphenols (pigment), which add the color to these foods. Poly phenols are found in olive oil. Red and purple pigments called proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins found in grapes, blueberries, cherries, red cabbage act to prevent degenerative disease of the heart and lungs. Another sub group carotenoids in yellow, green and orange fruits and vegetables have strong anti cancer properties. Polysaccharides are another group of phytochemicals found in teas, shiitake mushrooms, enokino improve the effectiveness of the immune system. Phytoestrogens found in soybeans and flax also add to reducing risk of certain cancers. , Improves estrogen receptors on the cellular level which reduces the effects of menopause and helps in the prevention of heart disease.
** Note there are 1000’s of Phytochemicals yet to be isolated and how these work together is an orchastra set in place by God. This is why getting these via a whole food nutraceutical are paramount to your performance and wellness. Also these are not a focus or included in most of the traditional Sports nutrition products. Choosing proven All Star nutraceuticals and not the latest and greatest marketing product of the month will allow you to efficiently fuel, build and protect your body. Those on my site are some of the best. Juice Plus+ Family being the most proven in America.
Ponder how you Fuel your body. Think it as an engine. If you would feed your engine like the average athletes feeds his body it will probably not run very well. And eventually it will not run at all. (Injury, burnout, illness) But if you Fuel your body before during and after with the Proper macro-nutrients (Water, Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat) Supplement the diet with the best proven nutraceuticals to improve Immune function you will then have the chance to reach your full potential as an Athlete.
“Fair Health is Common, Good Health is Chance, Great Health is Achieved”