Nutrient Timing for Athletes: Does It Really Matter When We Eat Post-Exercise?

            People have recently started to question the idea of an ‘anabolic window’ post-exercise and whether we really need to eat or have that protein shake after our work-out. But where these opinions fall short is in the interpretations of the current research and literature to an athletic population.

            The idea is that a recent meta-analysis found that our total protein intake over a day is more important than the amount of protein we eat after our workout for building muscle mass, and while this is great information it largely gets mis-interpreted in the media. This is because while total protein intake during the day is more important than the amount we eat during the anabolic window (time after exercise where our ability to absorb nutrients is increased). If we are an athlete why wouldn’t we want to take advantage of this time of increased nutrient absorption? Even if the advantage of eating post-workout is smaller than we originally thought, most sporting events are decided a fraction of a second or a very small percentage, so if we aren’t taking advantage of this window (when our competitors are) then we are sure to fall short in competition. As athletes we must remember that we are in the performance business and not the physique business. While having a low body-fat percentage a key contributor to athletic performance, if we are not fueling our bodies properly than we will not be able to perform no matter how low our body fat percentage is. Also remember that protein does A LOT MORE for our bodies than just build muscle, and helps other bodily tissues recover, repair, and regenerate post-exercise.

            Furthermore, for a lot of our athletes they are partaking in two training sessions on most days (one sport session; one lifting session), so in this scenario is it really practical to post-pone eating after one session and not re-fuel before the next one? Does it ever make sense to not fuel before a session when we are in the performance business? Athletes who fuel better, perform better. Athletes who eat breakfast perform better. Therefore, we don’t usually recommend intermittent fasting to our athletes either. While it is totally possible to train after an overnight fast or a prolonged fast period (cue fasted cardio proponents), if it is going to affect our performance in that workout or training session is the small advantage we might get in body composition going to be worth it? This is like popular ketogenic diets (as we don’t generally recommend these to our athletes), as most studies have found performance isn’t improved with these diets (even though body composition might). This doesn’t make us promoters of high carbohydrate diets, but we do need to refuel the glycogen stores in our muscle that our athletes exhaust with high-intensity exercise bouts, especially following competition. 

Bottom Line: If you are not taking advantage of nutrient timing and the post-exercise window as an athlete you are missing out on important opportunity to fuel, regenerate, and repair your body for optimal performance. For athlete’s there is really no situation where it is a good idea to delaying feeding after exercise no matter what you’ve heard on social media.

Here are some guidelines to help maximize your post-exercise nutrition:

Post-Exercise Maximize Glycogen Re-Synthesis (within 30 min):

HIGH GLYCEMIC CARBOHYDRATES 1-1.5g/kg/hr

ADD PROTEIN! 0.25-0.5g/kg/hr enhances effect; as long as <1.2g/kg/hr

Example (70kg individual) ***individual needs may vary***

  • ~70g CHO/HR ~30g PRO/HR
  • (Large Banana, English Muffin with Jam, Protein Drink)

Click here to Book your nutrition session today to ensure your diet and training are working together to have you at peak performance!

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7 Tips For Achieving Your New Years Resolutions.

Most people set resolutions and most people unfortunately don’t achieve them. So, we thought we could help with that. Failure has nothing to do with willpower or lack of effort. It has to do with things that you can readily change in how you approach resolutions.

  1. Set intentions instead of “musts.”. Resolutions tend to come with a “have to,” and we naturally rebel against that type of thinking. That way an intention is an aim or direction in which we are moving and therefore we have steps to take instead of being push forward.
  2. Connect with your “why.” When we have an intention that is a deep desire and we can identify and stay connected to that WHY, it makes for meaningful and achievable resolutions that create happiness in our lives. This may be anything from losing weight to quitting smoking, I few don’t see why, then it’s easier to abandon the goal.
  3. Get out of your own way. Just setting an intention isn’t enough if deep down you don’t think you can accomplish it in the first place, according to John Duffy, Ph.D, clinical psychologist, “Perhaps the biggest misconception is that a good intention can overcome lifelong habits of thought and behavior.” This means “clearing up any negative thought patterns we carry about ourselves, or our capacity for change.”

So how can you get out of your own way?

First, according to John Duffy, it’s important to understand how negative thoughts “drive our beliefs and behaviors.” To do this, keep a journal of both your negative and positive thoughts throughout the day along with the behavior that followed. “We typically find that positive, internal ‘self-talk’ drives positive behavior, and that the opposite is true for negative self-talk,” he said.

Then, replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Negative thoughts are rarely accurate and only serve to sabotage us. Duffy helps his clients either to embrace positive thoughts or to “fake it ‘til they make it,” as he puts it. He also suggested Dyer’s Excuses Begone! to help readers with changing their thoughts. If you’re still struggling, consider seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist or life coach, Duffy said.

Everyone’s perception is their own reality and its important we take care of our thoughts to ensure our perception isn’t skewed by self-doubt or other negative thoughts we collect in our minds eye.

4. Set goals that are in line with your values. A “strong resolution with a solid chance for success bridges that gap between values and action,” according to Duffy. So first identify your core values, he said. Take your top five and use them to create a personal mission statement. Then set your New Year’s goals based on that statement.

An example: “To participate in enjoyable physical activities three times weekly in order to feel strong, boost my mood and improve my overall sense of health and wellbeing.”

5.Ditch deprivation. People tend to approach New Year’s resolutions from a place of deprivation, restriction and punishment. The quintessential example is wanting to lose weight. People turn to diets or difficult-to-maintain intense exercise schedules — both of which are the antithesis of lasting habits. Changes to our eating and exercise habits will always require effort and dedication, however we also shouldn’t make it harder for ourselves than it already is!

6. Chop up each goal. Big goals are overwhelming, so sit down and consider the “ridiculously easy mini-steps” that you can take, Jordan said. Make sure they’re “reasonable and attainable,” Duffy said.

Check in with yourself and set weekly intentions, then asses them at the end of each week. When you are making your assessments, be as kind and compassionate with yourself as you would allow for others. Acknowledge what went wrong but also celebrate your success. Then set your next week’s intentions.

7.Create a goal-friendly environment. A common hurdle in accomplishing our goals is creating the settings and circumstances that cultivate them, according to Duffy, who also explained that “a resolution that results in real change requires a shift in priorities.” In other words, if your want to be healthier, stronger and have e better sense of wellness, then you need to prioritize self-care, do the prep work to set yourself up for success (like meal planning and buying groceries to avoid eating out) or even making sure someone is home to take care of the kids while you go to the gym.

New Year’s goals get a bad rap mostly because we set restrictive resolutions that don’t honor our values or ourselves. We set resolutions hastily, minutes before the ball drops, without considering what we truly want. This year let the above tips help you create nourishing, positive and lasting goals.

References:

Tartakovsky, M. (2018). 10 Tips for Setting Successful Resolutions That Stick. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-tips-for-setting-successful-resolutions-that-stick/

Do you want to look like an athlete?

Everyone wants a body like an athlete, and yet don’t eat or train like an athlete!? Training like an athlete is important because athletes can move their bodies like no one else can. Your body is meant to be mobile, versatile, and freely moving – so why not train it to be like that, isn’t that why we exercise? To look feel good and look good?

Eating like an athlete is just as if not more important as training like an athlete. Our 1hr a day we spend working out is only 4% of your day. What you choose to do and eat the rest of it is what can make or break the training goals you have set for yourself. Here are 3 reasons why training and eating like an athlete is important;

1. Better Mobility Athletes need to have more mobility in order to achieve the best performance in their respective sports. Can you imagine a hockey player who can’t do a skate cross-over? Transitioning to your reality…with better mobility comes a better quality of life. Mobility allows you to move more freely while easily doing the simple things in life which a lot of people take for granted. climbing up an uneven step, lift a laundry basket or reach into the backseat for a bag…mobility helps with all of that, not to mention all the fun things we like to do like playing with our kids, going swimming on vacation or taking the dog on a hike etc. We all should be mobile and yes even into “old age”.

2. Better Looking Body; For the most part, athletes generally look really fit and athletic. They have put in the hard work and it seems as though their efforts have paid off. We all know that most people would like a better looking body, but are you willing to put the work in for it? I am not saying you have to put in 10 years or 10,000 hours like an athlete, but a 1 hour workout about 3-5 days a week will do the trick. As a trainer that struggles with their weight, I know the feeling of the extra wobble you want to just go away and I can promise you that if you are willing to put in the time for yourself, you will feel 100 times better the next time you put on a pair of shorts in the summer!

3. Better Nutrition; Athletes keep their nutrition in check a lot more than the general population. This is because their sport demands it. Empty calories and processed foods do not help fuel performance in their respective sports. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a treat occasionally, (careful), but athletes keep their macro-nutrients in check. This means getting an adequate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Athletes also make sure to consume their micro-nutrients as well like; iron, zinc, selenium while getting their essential vitamins too. Eat like an athlete, not only will you be healthier, your digestion, skin and mood will better!

So why do we look at athletes and want what they have so badly but instead of doing a scaled down version of what they do, we drink laxative teas, eat fake food, do mostly cardio or lesser work outs. Stop taking advise from your friends, they are not qualified and please watch out for companies that promise fast results with little change to eating or exercise habits.

CLICK HERE to find out more about how we train our clients to be more mobile, stronger and healthier!

Are You Falling Behind in Your Sport While The Rest Of The Team Advances?

It could be your off-season training. The off-season is the time to check in with yourself. It’s time to identify your weaknesses, inefficient movements and bad habits; to then clean them up. The importance of the right type of training during our season can not be understated. Proper sport-specific training in any sport is the key to an athlete’s performance.

​Off season training tends to be under-appreciated, we see a tendency for most athletes to just stop doing what they are doing when the season is over. I understand the relief of a couple of days or weeks off however, It’s really important after a break to then get back to work! Off season is almost more important for the success for the next season than the season itself. We can clean up bad habits, we can learn new ways to move and become more mobile for the next season. And we can lift some weights to get stronger so we aren’t trying to build strength during the season and can rather focus on technique!

We have to understand that the “in” season is only for maintaining our physical abilities and keeping the strength we achieved during the off-season. So, if you aren’t involved in a strength and conditioning program, you may not be keeping up with the rest of your team or competitors. Change your mindset and lifestyle and not just train for an event or next season but train for life… So, when you are 70+ years old you can do the sport you love without limitations and nagging pain.  When we do proper off- season training supervised by somebody who understands the movements and demands, you will enjoy the next season and not feel like you are falling behind every year.

And the off-season training can be fun too! Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule your free demo session and learn about how SST can help you prepare for your next season!