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    Blog — Protein

    Eat to win: secrets of success

    What does it take to fuel your engine like a champion? If you’d like get the 'real deal' on nurturing success and live a day in an athlete’s shoes (and food pantry), read on… Here’s a sneak peak at some feeding rituals that allow fellow sport enthusiasts to savour the benefits of an athletic lifestyle and sound nutrition!

    • When asked about the must-haves in the fridge and lunch box, our panel of interviewees responded (in order of importance) : greek yogurt, oatmeal and bagels, bananas and dried mangoes, veggies and rice crackers with hummus and tofu dip, fish, peanut butter and maple syrup, caffeine (!), dark chocolate and fruit chews (!!). What are your favorite items at the grocery store?

    • In sharing advice with regards to eating/exercise, the group suggested: not being fearful of eating to give the body what it needs to excel, breaking down barriers and going beyond the limits we may set for ourselves (nothing is impossible…) and considering consulting a professional dietitian get tips to support training and everyday life. Are you optimizing your chances for success?

    • As for tracking down credible and user-friendly information on sports nutrition, this select sample of clients recommended: going straight to the source and finding a dietitian to team up with, websites (www.active.com, www.ironman.com), magazines (Triathlon Magazine Canada), amongst other sources. What are your favorites?
    • In order to give in to their guilty pleasures without giving up and keeping hunger under control, these gurus tend to: make sure not to skip meals nor snacks and keep to a tight routine, treat themselves only after events (as a reward!), have nutritious foods at arm’s reach, consume foods in moderation, maintain adequate hydration… Readers: do you have any tips to share?

    • Finally, with regards to sports supplements, the athletes gave 5 stars to the following products : bars (Clif, PowerBar and Kronobar were the favorites), protein powder (Vega came in first), chews (Clif and Power Bar were worthy of their attention), gels (Honey Stinger was the first choice) and brews (such as First Endurance EFS). Check out the wide selection of sports nutrition products on athleti.ca!

    Let yourself get carried away in the health-nut craze: it’s worth a taste! You’ll feel better and optimize your performance. Every bit and each bite matters, your body should be treated as a temple. Eating sensibly is contagious, spread the word!!! 

    *Special thanks to Bruno Langevin, Marc Bonds and Jimmy Gosselin for their insight, their time and trust as well as their inspiring stories.


    3 Steps to Recovery

    Many of you are getting ready for D-day, the event that you wouldn’t want to miss for anything in the world. You train hard, putting in time and effort, and thus you deserve to reap the rewards. Nutrition plays a huge part both in your success and your health. It’s known that you are what you eat and this is true not only during exercise but between bouts of physical activity. Follow these 3R’s to keep going without running low on fuel or hitting any roadblocks!

    1. Rethink everyday meals and snacks to make sure they offer their fair share of nutritive carbohydrates (such as couscous, whole-wheat pasta, multigrain bread, fresh fruits with edible peels) and quality protein (lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy or soy products, fish and seafood, eggs and legumes). Although carb-loading can be useful prior to race day, carb-depletion is never a good idea, causing fatigue and muscle wasting. As for protein, endurance athletes (meat-lovers and vegetarians alike) need to take in adequate amounts of precious amino acids for tissue repair and immune function.

    2. Reduce the oxidative stress and acidic burden caused by exertion (without meaning to take away from the benefits of working out…). Exercise increases the need for certain vitamins (C and the B family), minerals (iron and zinc particularly) and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) as these nutrients are lost in sweat and urine. Also, levels of acidity rise (corresponding to a drop in pH…) with effort, which can cause bone loss and other minor ills in the long run. Checking labels and ingredient lists is a smart way to load up on antioxidants and alkaline foods, either in edible or supplement form.

    3. Refrain from consuming too much alcohol (a predictable statement!), fat and fiber (this one may come as a surprise?!), as these can become a nuisance to athletes. The first substance will not only blur physical and mental alertness but also slow lipolysis (the use and burning of body fat for energy) and contributes empty calories. A second possible offender is fat, especially if predominant in the diet, which slows digestion and affects weight management. Finally, too much fiber (although important for digestion/ elimination) overstimulates the intestinal tract and causes bloating, cramping and diarrhea.

    Once this is tried and tested, there’s one last rule of thumb : Repeat! If the formula feels right and the shoe fits, all that’s left to do is go out and play. Cheers to a great training season!!!

    Sports Nutrition Myths: Busted!

    One can’t help wonder if the nutrition information provided by fitness gurus, nutrition companies and healthcare specialists is trustworthy. There is a sea of contradictory news on the best fuels for our hard-at-work bodies. At the end of the day (or training session), how are you supposed to know what to believe? Here are 3 common myths, and the real truth you need to know:

    MYTH #1: Protein is for gym fanatics rather than endurance athletes.

    This statement makes no sense at all. Everybody needs their fair share of amino acids (the building blocks of protein), even those people who are inactive. All cells are made up of protein (including skin, organs, muscle, hair, nails and other tissues), which means that every kilogram of body weight requires at least one gram of protein. Active individuals who average 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis need more protein (roughly 1.4 grams per kilo of weight) and endurance athletes will require as much as 1.6 grams of the precious nutrient per kilogram body weight. Don’t skimp on protein at meals and snacks, and read labels carefully to choose foods with at least 10 grams of protein per serving. Add sports supplements composed of protein or amino acids (such as protein powders and bars, for example) after 2 hours of continuous physical effort to heal muscular wear and tear during a longer training, and to starve off hunger. 

    MYTH #2: Drinking too much water is risky business.

    This statement is running wild and making sports magazine covers. Of course, drinking many gallons of water is useless and can cause a burden on your kidneys and other organs. Also, excessive water intake can lead to hyponatremia, a case of over-dilution of sodium in the blood, with unpleasant symptoms like weakness and confusion. The bottom line, however, is that most sports enthusiasts don’t drink enough water throughout the day and during training. This is worrisome considering that a 1% drop in body hydration (which amounts to just a few ounces of water) can decrease alertness, bring on fatigue and impair physical performance. H2O is a must to replace sweat and urine, keep the body cool (or warm in colder weather) and increase endurance. I swear by the following rule-of-thirst : 10 millilitres per minute of exercising, in addition to the recommended 2 liters daily if you are a woman and 2.5 liters a day if you are a man. When you feel thirsty, it’s usually too late, so drink up ahead of time!

    MYTH #3: Multivitamins are heal-alls and energy boosters.

    Rumour has it that industrial processing is impacting our food sources, and putting us all at risk of nutritional deficiencies. No doubt, our forks are quite far from the farms and fields, but this doesn’t justify our collective vitamin and mineral addiction. Some individuals have greater-than-usual nutritional needs: this is true for athletes, vegans, and people with allergies or other food restrictions, and those with very low-calorie diets, for example. Since any lack of one or another nutrient can cause immune deficiency and fatigue in the long run, supplementation with a multivitamin may be useful in some cases (speak with your doctor and/or nutritionist to evaluate your own specific vitamin/mineral profile).  It is important to realize however that multivitamins do not provide calories, therefore they are not sources of energy. Rather, they serve as metabolic aids for bodily functions, such as energy metabolism and tissue repair. Smart eating and wise fueling are the pillars of healthy living and productive training, so learn to recognize fact from fiction, and consult a professional when in doubt.