Hey everyone! Sorry, I’m still not online or posting very much, this has definitely been a catch-up week with my recent trip and 2 exams, but I have plans to try and change that very soon and to incorporate more of what I’ve been learning in my studies as well.
But, for now, I’m going to share a few SPORTS NUTRITION MYTHS AND FACTS courtesy of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) that I learned while I was at FNCE last weekend:
MYTH: Fueling before training and competition doesn’t improve performance.
FACT: The position stand of the American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada reviewed all of the research on fueling before training and competition and concluded that eating before exercise improves performance when compared to exercising in the fasted state.
MYTH: A large serving of protein will improve my muscle recovery.
FACT: When t comes to protein, more isn’t better. Research shows that a small amount of high quality protein (10-20g) will stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Protein combined with carbohydrate helps to stimulate insulin which will help create an anabolic environment for muscles. Researchers have found that 20g of protein is sufficient to provide the maximum stimulus for muscle protein synthesis after exercise. Consuming more dietary protein will be used as fuel and not for additional muscle building. (That’s why we hear so much about that 4:1 protein-to-carb ratio, carbohydrates help the muscle recovery process when paired with protein!)
MYTH: Consuming calories before, during, and after training and competing will cause weight gain. Plus, they’ll cancel out what I burn while exercising.
FACT: A calorie is another word for energy; athletes need energy to fuel activity. The key to preventing weight gain is balancing the calories consumed through foods and fluids with the proper amount of exercise. Athletes have many choices to stay fueled and hydrated while maintaining weight, or even losing weight. For example, G Series FIT 02 and G2 offter 20 calories per bottle, while providng the same electrolytes. (As you can see, this was definitely written by the GSSI, haha, but I know that some people get caught up in the idea that, since they exercise, that they can eat whatever they want.)
MYTH: Athletes lose only water when they sweat.
FACT: If that were true, sweat wouldn’t taste salty and athletes in the heat probably wouldn’t cramp so often. Sweat contains mainly sodium *salt) and chloride but also other electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. As sodium is lost through sweat, the body’s supply is diminished and muscles are more likely to cramp up. Compared with water, sports drinks keep the body hydrated much better because they contain electrolytes that help retain fluid and replenish what’s lost in sweat. Water does not. (I sweat like a mother, so I make sure that my drink has some electrolytes in them if it’s a hot day and/or if I’m working out continuously for 45 minutes or more.)
MYTH: Potassium is the most critical electrolyte.
FACT: Not true. Sodium is the primary electrolyte (mineral) required during and following sweaty exercise. In fact, it’s possible for some athletes to lose more than 10g of salt (that’s almost 2 teaspoons!) in just one day of hard training. Drinking a sports drink with sodium is important, because sodium helps maintain the physiological desire to drink, enhances fluid absorption and stimulates the rate of hydration.
MYTH: Drinking “energy drinks” is an easy and safe way to get an energy boost before activity.
FACT: “Energy drinks” typically contain caffeine and high concentrations of carbohydrates (read: sugar). The high carbohydrate content of some energy drinks has a negative impact on your stomach, causing nausea, bloating or diarrhea. Although some research shows a small amount of caffeine may improve your performance during endurance activities, a little goes a long way (think 1 cup of coffee). Caffeine intake in excess of 200mg can result in anxiety, nervousness, nausea and the “jitters.” Athletes should seek out energy sources from nutrients like carbohydrates to fuel working muscles without causing GI upset.
MYTH: Sports drinks are only for endurance athletes or athletes working out or competing for more than an hour.
FACT: The shorter the exercise session, the more reason you have to make every minute count. Drinking a sports drink makes it possible to get the most out of every workout. Research shows that athletes who consumed more carbohydrate during a high-intensity activity, like running, compared to those who consumed less carbohydrates show improved performance.
MYTH: Protein improves performance when it is ingested during exercise.
FACT: The most recent research shows that protein in a sports drink consumed during or before exercise does not provide any additional performance benefit. In addition, research suggests that adding protein to a sports drink can slow gastric emptying and produce a “chalky” taste, which may make it challenging for athletes to drink enough to stay hydrated. Especially when consumed with carbohydrates, it is better to consume protein after activity, because science has repeatedly shown that consuming protein close to the exercise bout, especially after exercise, helps with muscle protein synthesis.
Well, I hope that you enjoyed these sports nutrition myths and facts courtesy of Gatorade. I know that, for me, G2 powdered drink mix really helped me keep my pace and energy up on my runs this past summer. If any of you are interested in reading the references used in these myths, just leave a comment below or shoot me an email and I would be happy to send you the journal citation!