Tagged: nutrition

What 200 Calories Look Like in Different Foods

Here’s a photo series showing how much of a given food you get for 200 calories. As you think about your training and race day nutrition, check out the benefits of eating well vs junk food.

Being able to visualize how much of a given food pays back in calories might help you make decisions come snack or meal time.

Vegetables are good value for calories. And I know I’d rather eat three eggs than eight Hershey’s kisses.

Nutrition is a key part of training and racing triathlon. Use these photos to guide your diet and decision making.

What does 200 Calories Look Like?

How many calories are there in the foods you eat?

How many calories are there in the foods you eat?

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #27: Race-day training

I am a firm believer in efficiency and effectiveness in training. I don’t have the time, energy or attention span to plough away for mile after mile racking up insane training volumes. Sign me up for those things that allow me to achieve more in less time and have fun while doing so!

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How are you going to reach your goals?

Today is #27: Race-day training

Prepare for race day with race-specific training eg open water swimming for triathletes

The triathlon season is long and there are many miles to be covered on the road to race day. Along the way do not neglect your race-specific training. What are the things that will save you minutes on race day and help you outperform your expectations?

Adapt your training to the course you plan on conquering. Get plenty of open water training done and be sure to note if the swim is in a lake or sea which can offer very different conditions on race day. Is the bike/run course hilly? Make sure you are training on hills otherwise the effort on race day will surprise you.

Open water swimming is far different and more chaotic than pool swimming. Be sure to tackle the currents, waves, lack of visibility of open water swimming. Work on your sighting so you do not end up swimming extra distance!

Brick workouts should be incorporated into your training. Swim and then bike, bike and then run. Help your muscles adapt to the changeover.

Nutrition is another element you can practice. What will your pre-race breakfast be? What snacks and fluids will you take during the race (be it in transition or on the bike)? Experiment with various foods and brands. You will like the taste of some and your body will reject others – make sure you find which ones before you ruin your race! Find out when and what quantity you should consume in and around your race – that is equally important. Nutrition can make a big difference.

Get your nutrition right for triathlon race day

Equipment is another variable that can make a difference. While a $10,000 carbon bike will help your cycling time, not all of us can afford that investment. Plus you’re doing it to push yourself anyway, right?! With so much equipment there are lots of choices and a lot of margin for error. What socks are comfortable and do not give you blisters? Do you have a pair of goggles that fit well and are comfortable? Are they tinted in case of sunny conditions and do you have a spare pair in case one breaks? Do you have a comfortable cap for the run and tri shorts? What sunglasses will you wear? These are all smaller items that will not make you faster, but knowing them will determine your comfort level and minimize stress in race week and on the day itself.

Practice your transitions – knowing your routine and making it second nature will be the difference between a 45 second transition and a 3 minute one, which in turn could be the difference between hitting your goal time or missing it. Practice what works for you in terms of order of events, whether to eat or not, do you put on socks for the bike, do you dry off with a towel or air dry? etc, etc.

Learn to fix a flat – Murphy’s Law will dictate that you will NEVER get a flat in training but halfway through the bike leg, BOTH your tyres will pop! Be prepared. Don’t end up sitting by the side of the road waiting for bike support to arrive!

Preparing the smaller, seemingly less significant items will give you the mental confidence to race hard. Free your brain from stress and focus on racing hard and fast!

What tips would you add to the list?

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!

Raisins Found To Be As Effective As Sports Chews For Fueling Workouts

Now, I hate raisins. Can’t stand the things. They’re chewy, with a gross texture and a vile taste. Hate them! Pickles and raisins are the only foods I can categorically say I do not like.

raisins for nutrition energy training for ironman triathlon workouts racing energy as effective gels chews

I also dislike those energy gels and chews and was delighted to read that raisins are as effective as the sports chews – and all natural too.

New research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritionsuggests that eating raisins may provide the same workout boost as sports chews.

As I pointed out in a recent post, bananas are as effective as sports drinks, so pack your cycling jersey with a bowl of raisins and a bunch of bananas!

Keep it natural.

Scorchio! 7 “hot” tips to keep cool in the summer heat

Ugh, here comes the summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun and warmth but I can’t bear the humidity. I hate being sweaty before I even reach the office, and the subway in New York City is unbearable. Add to that the extra hassle of hydrating and my pale Irish skin not being able to handle the intensity of the summer sun.

tips for keeping cool hydrated in the summer heat

I’m not the biggest summer fan. Give me 12 months of Spring and Fall/Autumn any day (year!).

But, we have to adapt to what we’re given, and he who adapts best wins the race, or at least sustains their training for longer.

Here are seven tips to stay cool in the summer heat:

1) Prepare from the moment you get up. Drink plenty of water first thing in the morning so you start the day hydrated. Get some electrolytes on board pre-exercise. Just like eating, drinking plenty is an important part of breakfast. I keep a water bottle by my bed and drink it is as I get out of bed.

2) Exercise early in the morning before it gets hot. I find this gives me energy for the day. You can also work out later at night when it is also cool, but bear in mind recovery time, nutrition and sleep. Stay out of the midday sun!

3) Another option is to work out indoors, in air conditioning out of the heat.

4) No cotton. No, no, no! Wear dry-fit gear that helps wick sweat away from the body.

5) Freeze your water bottles overnight. As they melt they will provide ice-cold refreshing water! I dare you to pour some over your head – it’ll keep you alert & sharp!

6) Cold showers help regulate your body temperature as well as helping your body recovery after exercise. I love them in the morning to wake me up and I love them after a workout to help me cool down.

7) Protect yourself from the sun. Wear a vented cap and glasses to help keep the sun off but also keep the air flowing and allow heat to escape. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

While the heat sucks and makes each practice tougher, we need to keep training through the tough conditions that we may encounter during a race. With a bit of planning you can manage the heat and minimize the effect on your body.

Going bananas.

I am not a huge fan of sports drinks, gels, etc. Their taste and colour do not appeal, and neither does the fact they are not natural.

Maaaaaybe it puts me at a disadvantage on the nutrition front (probably not, it’s just another excuse for when I race!), but I’ll stick to the bananas and coconut water, and save myself a ton of money in the process.

Here’s an interesting, if academic, article on the merits of bananas. It is sponsored by Dole Foods, so not exactly independent! Some choice quotes:

The bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6, the study showed. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.

“Bananas come prepackaged with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants,” said Nieman, adding the research translates to any exercise.”

I think there are a lot of athletes who don’t like the thought of drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, which are essentially flavored sugar water,” he said. “This type of research shows that you can have healthier carbohydrate sources before and after exercise that will support athletic performance just as well as a sports drink,” Nieman said.

I will now be telling my athletes to stock up on bananas for the bike leg:

energy drinks gels nutrition banana diet hydrating for triathletes triathlon ironman race nutrition

“Banana loading”

Bananas Are as Beneficial as Sports Drinks, Study Suggests
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0037479

ScienceDaily (May 29, 2012) — Bananas have long been a favorite source of energy for endurance and recreational athletes. Bananas are a rich source of potassium and other nutrients, and are easy for cyclists, runners or hikers to carry.

Research conducted at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) has revealed additional benefits.

“We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling — bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink,” said Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the human performance lab and a member of the College of Health Sciences faculty at Appalachian.

“We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas,” he said.

The bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6, the study showed. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.

The study, funded by Dole Foods, has been published in the peer-reviewed online journal PLoS ONE published by the nonprofit Public Library of Science.

For the study, trained cyclists consumed either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during a 75-kilometer simulated road race lasting 2.5 to 3 hours. Blood samples taken from the cyclists before and after the exercise were analyzed at the NCRC Metabolomics Laboratory for more than 100 metabolites — molecules associated with metabolism.

“Bananas come prepackaged with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants,” said Nieman, adding the research translates to any exercise.”

The mode of exercise is not the issue. I think there are a lot of athletes who don’t like the thought of drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, which are essentially flavored sugar water,” he said. “This type of research shows that you can have healthier carbohydrate sources before and after exercise that will support athletic performance just as well as a sports drink,” Nieman said.

About the research team Other members of the research team from Appalachian were Dr. Dru Henson, Department of Biology; Dr. Andrew Shanely, Human Performance Lab; Dr. Amy M. Knab, Human Performance Lab; Dr. Lynn Cialdella-Kam, Human Performance Lab; Dr. Nicholas D. Gillitt, Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory, N.C. Research Campus; Dr. Wei Sha, UNC Charlotte and N.C. Research Campus; and Dr. Fuxia Jin, Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory, N.C. Research Campus