Hydration

How much should you drink?

Fluid requirements change dramatically between individuals and sports. Fluid losses can be affected by the following:

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE URINE COLOUR CHART

-          Genetics – Some people are genetically heavier sweaters

-          Body size – Larger people tend to sweat more than their smaller counterparts

-          Fitness – Fitter people are known to sweat more earlier on during exercise

-          Environment – Sweat losses are higher in hotter conditions

-          Exercise intensity – Sweat losses increase as the intensity of exercise increases

There is no single recommendation to meet the needs of all athletes. The best way to know how much you should drink is by weighing yourself before and after exercise to get an estimate of fluid lost. Alternatively by looking at a urine colour chart you can see how hydrated you are and work out whether you are drinking enough fluids.

It is important that you spread out your hydration during the day instead of trying to tolerate much larger volumes at one time. Most people can tolerate around 200-300ml every 15-20minutes, however this can vary depending on the intensity of exercise.

What should you drink?

Research has shown that fluid intake in improved when drinks are cold, flavoured and contain sodium. This is why sports drinks can be a good choice depending on your sport.

It has been shown that the intake of carbohydrate and fluid is beneficial for higher intensity exercise lasting over 60minutes.

Water is a very good option during exercise lasting under about 60minutes. It is important to note that water does not stimulate fluid intake to the same extent as sports drinks.

It should also be noted that you shouldn’t rely on thirst to know when to drink. It is much more effective if you stick to a hydration plan.

Can you drink too much?

Yes. Drinking in excess can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. In extreme cases it can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels). It causes symptoms which are similar to dehydration and is also potentially life threatening.

It is quite rare but can occur in endurance events (over 2hours) when a large volume of low sodium drinks, such as water, are consumed along with low sweat losses.

By matching your fluid intake to sweat losses and drinking fluids containing sodium such as sports drinks lowers the risk of hyponatraemia.

 

To get more information regarding your personal hydration Contact Craig. to help achieve your goals

Carbohydrate

Why is carbohydrate important?

Carbohydrate is a major fuel source for exercise, especially during long continuous or high-intensity bouts of exercise. It is stored in the muscle and liver as a substance called glycogen, however the amount of storage available is limited. This is why it is vital that you plan your carbohydrate intake around key training sessions and throughout the day according to the requirements of your sport.

How much do you need?

It depends on your sport. The main factors that influence how much carbohydrate you require include: frequency, duration and intensity of training/competition. Since the training sessions change from day to day, your carbohydrate intake should change to reflect this. On days where activity level is high, carbohydrate intake should be increased to match this. This will help to maximise the benefits you get from your training due to the promotion of recovery between sessions. Alternatively, on days where your activity level is low or on rest days, carbohydrate intake should be reduced to match this.

A good idea is to work out a plan with what food choices you should make to match each session, whether this is meal ideas or simple snacks for recovery. This will not only help you to keep track of your total carbohydrate needs but also ensure that the timing is right to suit the requirements of the session.

What is the glycaemic index?

Glycaemic Index (GI) is a ranking of how quickly carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar levels after ingestion. Foods that have a high GI ranking are digested and absorbed very quickly and blood sugar levels rise rapidly. Low GI foods on the other hand, are digested and absorbed much slower which results in a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

 

Is timing of carbohydrate important?

Yes. There are a number of factors that should be taken into account when planning your carbohydrate requirements before, during and after exercise including:

-          Type, intensity and duration of exercise

-          Frequency of exercise

-          Body composition goals

-          Environmental factors

-          Performance goals

-          Time between sessions for recovery

By ingesting carbohydrate before exercise will help to top up energy stores. This is especially important if your training or competition occurs first thing in the morning or if it will last longer than around 90 minutes.

It can also be beneficial to replace carbohydrate during prolonged exercise through the use of sports drinks/gels etc. Not only will this be beneficial to sports performance but you will also notice effects on muscles (reducing/delaying the decline during exercise) and the brain/central nervous system.

It is also very important to replace carbohydrate after exercise to aid recovery of glycogen sores. Successful sports performance is often reliant on the ability to recover following sessions to be able to do it all again in the next. If you don’t recover properly it can lead to fatigue and a reduction in the ability to train. This can have a knock on effect when it comes to competition especially if your event takes place over a number of days (e.g. tournaments)

 

 

To make sure you have the right amount of carbohydrate for your sport. Contact Craig to help achieve your goals

Protein

Why do you need protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient in the diet which has a number of very important functions including building tissues such as ligaments and tendons, cell membranes and muscle cells as well as acting as enzymes or mechanisms of transport.

Proteins are made up of sequences of 20 amino acids. 8 of which must come from the diet as they can’t be made in the body.

Do different sports require more protein?

Depending on what sport you are doing the amount of protein required will vary. Endurance athletes carrying out heavy training require extra protein to cover a small amount of the energy costs and also to help with repair and recovery following exercise.

Strength athletes who are looking to gain muscle mass, require more protein in the early stages of intensive resistance training. However, it has been shown that strength athletes muscle adapt well to the stress of resistance exercise, meaning the protein requirements in a very well trained athlete is only slightly greater than that of generally active people.

Is it important when you eat protein?

Yes. Although it can be a challenge to fit in a recovery after a workout or competition it is very important that you make sure you do. By consuming protein immediately after exercise it enhances muscle uptake, retention of amino acids and promotes a more positive protein balance. Following exercise your body has a heightened state of protein metabolism which lasts for around 24 hours which means it is important for you to look at the spread of your protein intake throughout the day as well as the period immediately after exercise.

By planning ahead and making sure you have something on hand to eat as soon as possible following exercise to give yourself the best possible recovery.

Can you have too much protein?

Yes. High protein intakes has been shown to increase the amount of calcium that is excreted in the urine which may cause proteins in people who are at risk of weakened bones – for example, female athletes with low energy intakes. High protein intakes are also known to speed up the progression of a pre-existing kidney disease.

Not only does an excessive intake of protein tend to be expensive due to the fact supplements tend to be the issue, but a major concern with focussing too much on high protein foods is they may displace other valuable foods – e.g. fruit and veg.

Should you use supplements?

Generally, you can obtain all of your protein requirements from a well balanced diet. Supplements tend to be very expensive due to the amount of marketing that goes with them to try persuade people to buy them. They usually provide very large amounts of protein but very little other nutrients.

Judging by the amount of protein you are able to get from everyday food sources I find it impossible to justify the excessive cost of supplements and would say there is really no need for the amount of protein that is provided in these products.

 

To make sure you have the right amount of protein for your sport. Contact Craig to help achieve your goals.