Category Archives for "nutrition"

How to Prepare for a Competition Abroad

Preparing for a competition in another country takes weeks in advance to properly adapt the body to new environmental conditions. There are a number of aspects to consider when travelling abroad such as the climate, elevation, pollution, accommodations, food, water, vaccinations, and emergency plans.

Jet Lag

Jet lag is when the body cannot adapt rapidly enough to a time zone change. This results in fatigue, poor sleep and performance. There are a multiple factors affecting jet lag such as the number and direction of time zones crossed, age, individual health, dehydration, stress, alcohol, and excessive food intake. It is estimated to take approximately one day per time zone crossed to re-synchronize the body. It is recommended to spend time outdoors once you arrive at destination to help adjust the sleep/wake schedule. To prevent jet lag, slowly adjust your sleep schedule a few days before travel and maintain adequate levels of hydration and nutrition.

Nutrition

Travelling in another country entails eating a wide variety of exotic foods. Avoid risk of food contamination by avoiding tap water with ice, peeled fruits, shellfish, and buffet style meals. Bring a water filter or water purification tablets. It is recommended to eat foods that are similar to the foods you would eat at home. Scout potential restaurants nearby and determine what to items to pack if necessary.

Avoid high-fiber foods before competition and limit fat as well as protein intake prior to activity. Consume carbohydrates such as bread, rice, or pasta prior to competition. Eat a large meal at least 3 to 4 hours before the competition to allow for adequate digestion. A small snack will take approximately 1 hour to be properly digested.

Emergency Plan

Ensure the coaching staff, medical aids, and/or you yourself are familiar with the medical personnel at the facilities as well as the ambulance and emergency procedures. Apply for the appropriate travel insurance. Remember to pack any required medications and a small first-aid kit. For any acute sprains, immediately rest, apply ice, compress, and elevate the injured part. This is known as the R.I.C.E. method.

Climate

For colder environments, wear layers of clothing with the innermost layer being made out of lightweight polyester or polypropylene, the middle layer made out of polyester fleece or wool, and the outer layer as protection from the wind or rain. Use clothing vents and adjust insulation to reduce sweat accumulation. Only wear the outer layer if it is windy or rainy.

For warmer environments, wear breathable, lightweight materials and protect yourself from the sun with proper coverage by wearing a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves or a thin jacket. Bring sunscreen and proper footwear.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Effects of Energy Deficiency on Performance

What is the “Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) Syndrome?”

The RED-S syndrome refers to impaired physiological functioning caused by relative energy deficiency and may result in impairments in menstrual function, metabolic rate, bone health, immunity, immunity, or cardiovascular health.
Energy availability (EA) is calculated as energy intake (EI) minus the energy cost of exercise (EE) relative to fat-free mass (FFM). In healthy adults, an energy balance is a value of 45 kcal/kg FFM/day.
Low energy availability is where an individual’s dietary energy intake is insuffient to support the energy expenditure required for health and daily living. It may occur in individuals who are required to diet to enhance performance, are pressured to lose weight, go through frequent weight cycling, overtrain, have recurrent and non-healing injuries, or strict regulations.

What happens if I have low energy?

As seen in the figure above, having low energy availability for your body can result in a number of negative consequences on your athletic performance. From decreased muscle strength to increased injury risk, athletes must be aware of the balance between their dietary energy intake and daily energy expenditure when exercising.  Signs of fatigue, irritability, depression, or weakness should be taken note of and addressed immediately.
Low energy availability may be linked to menstrual dysfunction in females or negatively impact bone health in both females and males. A lower bone mineral density may increase the risk of stress fractures which can have serious long-term consequences.


Treatment Strategies:

For individuals who have low energy availability, treatment involves increasing your energy intake and reduce exercise intensity or frequency. Attempt in implement an eating plan that increases current energy intake by approximately 300 to 600 kcal per day. To optimize bone health, include high-impact loading and resistance training at least 2 to 3 days per week. Intake of calcium and vitamin D are especially important for bone health. Having a food diary and/or exercise log is helpful in tracking your meals as well as exercise intensities to estimate what your daily energy availability is.

Reference: RED-S CAT
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How to Avoid Gastrointestinal Problems During Exercise

What should I eat or drink when exercising?

Many gastrointestinal (GI) problems can occur even if one trys to avoid eating before or during exercise. Studies suggest that approximately 30-50% of athletes experience some type of gastrointestinal issue that can impair performance and delay recovery.

The three main causes of GI problems:

1) Physiological
2) Mechanical
3)  Nutritional
During intense exercise, especially when dehydrated, blood flow to the intestines is reduced. This is believed to be one of the main factors leading to the development of GI symptoms.

General Symptoms:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal angina
  • bloody diarrhea
  • other abdominal symptoms (from mild discomfort to sever ischemic colitis)

Classification of Symptoms:

1) Lower GI Tract
2) Upper GI Tract

Runners tend to experience lower GI tract symptoms such as flatulence (excessive gas), diarrhea, or urgency due to the repetitive impact and reduced blood flow to the gut. On the other hand, cyclists may experience upper GI tract symptoms  due to the increased pressure on their abdomen while in an “aero” or crunched position of the body. These mechanical effects may be minimized with training.

Tips for Athletes:

1) Avoid high fiber foods in the day and several days before competition
2) During training, diet with adequate fiber will keep the bowel regular
3) Avoid aspiring and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
4) Use of NSAIDs prior to a race is strongly discouraged, especially for athletes with a history of GI problems
5) Avoid high-fructose foods (especially drinks that exclusively contain fructose)
6) Avoid dehydration as it can excaerbate symptoms and start races well hydrated
7) Ingest carbohydrates with sufficient water or drinks with lower carbohydrate concentration to prevent very high concentrations and osmolalities in the stomach
8) Practise new nutrition strategies and make sure to experiment with pre-race and race-day nutrition plan many times before the race day to reduce the chance of GI symptoms from occurring
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.