Let’s Get Physical

Somethings in life just seem to go together. Take for instance bread and butter, cake and ice cream, soup and salad, and dinner and a movie. The same holds true for exercise and nutrition; they go hand-in-hand.  With the use of this year’s National Nutrition Month logo, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, does a great job reminding us that “Getting Your Plate In Shape” also means balancing food with physical activity.

Today I want to use this post to introduce you to a new feature I am planning  on my blog: Physical Fitness Tips and Exercise Suggestions. While most of my posts are about food and nutrition, starting next month, I want to occasionally mix it up. My friend and co-worker, Austin Howlett , has agreed to help me with the physical side of things. Austin holds a degree in exercise science from UCNW, he is a certified strength and conditioning coach, and he is the director of Cape Fear Sports Enhancement. Austin  personalizes individual and group sports conditioning programs and  tailors them  to age, gender, body type, sport and competition level. His goal is the overall health of the athlete and improved performance.

Anyone who has trained with Austin will attest to his knowledge,  professionalism, and dedication to making you the best athlete go can be. Oh, did I mention he is also a really nice guy?

My first post on exercise/physical fitness will be on core strength and  will  debut the week of April 23. I planned this so I could enjoy the Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness (SCAN) conference in Baltimore, on April 20-22. This way I won’t have to burn the midnight oil to post by Monday!  Registered Dietitians are never finished learning; we must earn 75 continuing education credits every 5 years. When I return I will be sure to share with you what’s current in the field of sports nutrition!

I hope you are as excited as I am about my new feature.  What exercises or insights would help you achieve your goals?  As always, I love to hear from you and promise to reply!

Diane Boyd, M.B.A., R.D., L.D.N.


The Facts of Recovery;Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

I am finding an increasing number of athletes using engineered foods for recovery, and paying far  more attention to marketing than to science. The ads for these products generally have some elements of the truth. However, they do not deliver on providing a complete picture to the athlete. They provide only  the information necessary to sell their product!  Before you spend money at the gym for an antioxidant,  dark chocolate, energy  bar with a label that reads “recovery bar” consider the following:

What is the purpose of  recovery?

When is your recovery window?

Why is this important?

The definition of recovery is “to return to a normal state”.  Post exercise, the components necessary to bring back into balance are: fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein. Therefore, your recovery meals and snacks should be providing all of these. Sometimes one food provides all components of good recovery, other times more than one food is necessary.

While it is true that the window of recovery is optimal within 60 minutes after exercise, this is only crucial for  elite athletes. These are the individuals who train hard and 6 hours later they are back at it. (For example, if you are a division 1 athlete with multiple daily practices, a soccer player competing in 2 games in the same day, or a triathlete doubling up on daily workouts.) If your  exercise routine allows for 24 hours before you get physical again, you have adequate time to restore muscle glycogen.  Just be sure carbohydrates are the foundation of your meals and snacks along with some protein for rebuilding and repairing muscles.

Your recovery foods  should have 3 to 4 times more calories from carbs than from protein. Some good choices of foods with this ratio include:

Low fat chocolate milk

Fruit smoothie

Turkey sandwich

Oatmeal and skim milk

Why is this important? The reason for recovery is to get your body ready to exercise hard again. Proper recovery will optimize performance. Failure to recover properly will inevitably slow you down. Insufficient fueling of the muscles mean they won’t fire as quickly and athletes will slow down or lose power. Fluid and electrolyte losses that aren’t replaced can cause an athlete to cramp. When the brain doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, the athtlete’s ability to process what’s happening on the field decreases, while also decreasing the athlete’s reaction time.  Not  only will the athlete not make the desired play; a slower reacting athlete is at risk for injury.

As a mom of 2 kids in sports, I spend a good deal of time helping them recover. At our house, the favorite recovery drink is low-fat chocolate milk. Chocolate milk provides all of the components of a good recovery food: fluid, electrolytes, carbs and protein ( in the ratio of 3-4 : 1). Nutritional Profile of 8 oz. Low Fat Chocolate Milk:

150 mg sodium, 425 mg potassium, 8 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 154 calories

I also enjoy blending up smoothies. Here is one of my favorites. I discovered this recipe from  Cooking Light and  have made a few minor changes:

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

1 medium ripe banana
4 oz. skim milk
4 oz. non-fat vanilla yogurt
1 T wheat germ
Directions Slice banana and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm (about 1 hour). Place frozen banana and remaining ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving

Nutrition Profile:  127 mg sodium,  915 mg potassium, 15 g protein,  56 g carbohydrate, 293 calories

If you are serious about your sport, you should be serious about recovery. The time is now to feel better, perform better and enjoy your journey. What aspects of recovery can you improve?

Diane Boyd, M.B.A., R.D., L.D.N






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