Saturday, March 22, 2014

Eat Wet Foods for Optimal Hydration and Body Weight – Year Round

Runners, cross country skiers, speed skaters and cyclists are likely to be year round endurance athletes, including running, cycling and in-line/ice skating in our schedules throughout the more temperate months of the year. Yet despite all the exercise, many endurance athletes complain of training related weight gain. The more training they do, the heavier they get. What could explain this phenomenon? Well....we are all not equally gifted with our internal energy balance, that is, eating and drinking enough to rehydrate and refuel and meet our needs. Some of us have a poor drive for thirst during and after our training sessions and the older we get the weaker this drive tends to be. Instead of drinking, some may think they are hungry and will unconsciously eat...and often more than is needed....leading to weight gain, despite a high training volume. When was the last time you thought about using “wet foods” as a way to improve your hydration and achieve a leaner body weight.....year round?? While water, in any form, is excellent for re-hydrating after a sweaty workout, eating wet foods can increase your fluid intake by up to 25% while decreasing the amount of calories from the foods you eat. Check out these tips to help you to get started. Top Nutritional Mistakes Made by Endurance Athletes

Food Group


WITH Wet Foods

Grains & Cereals

Bread, toast, crackers, pita

Granola bars, cereal, popcorn

Muffins, cookies, biscuits

Cake, donuts, pastries, pie

Cooked oatmeal

Cream of wheat

Quinoa/rice/barley risotto

Spaghettia, macaroni, fusilli

Vegetables & Fruit

Dried fruit

Potato chips, vegetable chips

Roasted veggies

Baked fruit crumble

Fruit pies

Fresh veggies and fruit

Steamed or stir fried veggies

Vegetable and fruit salads

Pureed fruits, fruit compote

Fruit and vegetable smoothies

Fruit yogurt

Milk & Alternatives

Brick cheeses

Soft cheeses

Shredded or grated cheeses

Low fat/skim cottage cheese

Quark cheese

Tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt)

Greek yogurt

Low fat/skim milk, chocolate milk or flavoured yogurt

Almond/soy milk

Meat & alternatives

Dried meats, sliced meats, roasted, grilled or barbecued meats

Nuts and seeds, trail mix, nut butters

Energy bars with soy protein

Poached or steamed fish

Meat/poultry stews

Meat sauces

More bean than meat chili

Tofu stir fried with veggies

Beef, barley, vegetable soup

Hummus dip with raw veggies

Three bean salads

Lentil or tofu vegetable soup

Black beans with quinoa and veggies


Friday, March 14, 2014

Finding Your Sweet Spot

During very intense and/or extended bouts of exercise, the availability of carbohydrate (carbs) to the exercising muscles and the central nervous system can be compromised by the fuel cost of the activity exceeding the skeletal muscles’ carbohydrate stores. In these cases, providing extra carbohydrate with foods and beverages can make the difference between a top notch performance or a disappointing one. Current carbohydrate recommendations for endurance athlete promote the high consumption of carbohydrate during exercise from 30 up to a high of 90 grams of carbohydrate per hour of exercise in an ultra-endurance situation where you may be working hard for more than 4 – 5 hours. Here are some ides of where to get 30+ grams of carbs: 4 dates 6 small boiled potatoes 4 Fig Newtons 1 granola bar 1 sports Gel 6 graham crackers 500 mL 6-7% carbs sport drink However the potential for gastro-intestinal distress and its effects on performance need to be considered. So how can you determine what your own gut can handle? You need to use your intensive training sessions to mimic the competitive event to determine your “sweet spot”, that is, the amount, type and mix of carbs that your gut can tolerate while meeting the energy needs of the exercising situation. Multiple sources of transportable carbohydrate rich foods and fluids are related to better performance, especially when needs are pushing 60 grams or more per hour. BEWARE…...some athletes may need 4-6 weeks for their gut to adapt to the higher levels of carbohydrate intake. To get started, take a look at the Nutrition Facts Table on the packages of foods and fluids that you currently use to see how much carbohydrate they supply – then do the math and figure out how much of which foods and fluids you are currently taking in when you train hard or compete. Some food and fluid options are in the table below:

Type of Training


Carbohydrate Needs


Timing of Use

Food & Fluid Options PER HOUR

Easy intensity cardio or high intensity weights

30 grams/hour


Split into two 30 minute intervals/hour

·       500 mL sport drink (6% carbohydrate)

·       Water + granola bar or 6 graham crackers

Moderate intensity, endurance training

60 grams/hour

Split into three 20 minute intervals/hour

·       Water + 2 sports gels

·       Water + 1 sports gel + 3 boiled potatoes

·       Water + 4 dates + 1 granola bar

·       500 mL sport drink + 1 sports gel

·       500 mL sports drink +  granola bar

Race pace, endurance training or competition (2-3+ hours)

90 grams/hour

Split into six 10 minute intervals/hour

·       Water + 3 sport gels

·       Water + 2 sports gels + 3 boiled potatoes

·       Water + 4 fig newtons + granola bar

·       500 mL sports drink +  4 fig newtons + sport gel