It can seem impossible not to gain weight over the holidays with the endless amounts of scrumptious food everywhere you look. In fact, the average weight gain over the holiday season is two to five pounds. Though it may not appear significant, research shows that the weight tends to stay on after the holiday season, and then increases each year. Weight gain during the holidays isn’t a given- -it can be prevented by maintaining a balanced diet all year round, in addition to practicing a few simple tips during the holiday season. With just a few strategies, you can avoid holiday weight gain while still enjoying friends, family and the holiday feast!
Your body is 70% water, and with almost every chemical reaction that occurs in the body requiring H20, it’s a necessity to make hydration a priority. From person to person, all things nutrition look very different, even with water. One way to estimate your body’s needs is to weigh yourself before and after a workout and calculate how much weight you lost during that exercise. That weight loss in that period of time is loss of water, and to replenish that, you should drink about 20-24 ounces per pound lost. It is also recommended that per 15 minutes of exercise, you should drink 4- 6 ounces during the workout. Staying hydrated prior to your workout will lessen the amount you need to drink during, as well as take strain off of your heart by improving blood circulation.
For more info on staying hydrated here is a hockey specific hydration post from Pro Stock Hockey
Workouts of all different intensities can cause damage to the body, particularly the muscle tissue. Protein is the macronutrient that our bodies use to repair these damaged tissues, and as soon as we can start rebuilding, the sooner that the body can recover and be prepared for the next bout of exercise. Foods that are comprised of proteins and carbohydrates together are excellent for giving the body energy as well as protein for recovery. Chocolate milk, whole wheat crackers with tuna or Greek yogurt with fruit are some ideas that bring together both.
Post workout fueling is not a generalized cookie cutter approach so to learn about the specific protein amount that is needed for your body, meet with one of our registered dietitians
Giving your body what it needs before exercise is an essential component to maximize any workout. To achieve optimal results it is beneficial to know the appropriate balance between carbohydrates and protein, specific to both your individual needs and the demands of the workout. Pre-workout nutrition provides your body with a source of energy, a reduced risk of injury and the appropriate type of fuel for your workout.
From yoga to power lifting, the metabolic demands vary so your pre-workout fuel choice should match your exercise. A 30-minute yoga session may only require half of a granola bar prior, while running 90 minutes may require 1.5-2 of the same granola bar. Meeting with a sports dietitian will help you learn what fuel choices are optimal for your exercise regime!
Fall is here and so are these fall superfoods. Packed with vitamins and health benefits these foods are a great addition to any diet.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes are very nutritionally dense. They are a great source of iron and potassium, which help support the immune system and lower blood pressure. Sweet potatoes also offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
Season: September - December
2. Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts get a bad wrap for tasting bad, but cooked correctly they can be very tasty. Brussel sprouts are extremely high in vitamin K. Vitamin K is most known for its role in blood clotting, but also promotes strong bones growth and helps prevent heart disease. Brussel sprouts also provide cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Season: September - March
Parsnips share characteristics to carrots but are much sweeter. They are an excellent source of fiber which prevents constipation and lower cholesterol levels. Parsnips are also rich in potassium and vitamin C.
Season: October - April
One of the great things about cauliflower is there are so many ways to enjoy it, steamed, baked, mashed and the list continues. Beyond this cauliflower has compounds that have been linked to preventing cancer and are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Season: September - June
Pomegranates have been a hot topic the past few years because of their many benefits. They have potent anti-inflammatory benefits and lower blood pressure. They have three times more as many antioxidants as green tea and even have been linked to help combat prostate cancer and diabetes.
Season: August - December
Professional athletes and Olympians are so focused on their nutritional needs and macronutrient balances that many believe they can't slip up and take a "cheat day" of eating whatever they like. But some health and fitness experts think that relaxing the rules temporarily can yield more benefits than sticking to a rigid plan. So, who's right?
Most likely, both groups are correct. That's because cheat days can be as personal as meal choices. One person might see tremendous sports improvements from the practice, while another feels only setbacks. Here's a quick guide to the pros and cons:
In Defense of Cheat Day
You're eating healthy, getting plenty of physical activity, and yet your performance isn't improving the way you want, or you just feel stalled. This is the dreaded plateau.
Being completely restrictive in your diet, can lead to deficits in certain nutrients and calories. Though binging on pizza and cake is not the answer, allowing yourself some freedom in your diet can help physically and mentally.
For some people, a cheat day is seen more as a goal than a reset. You might look forward to it in the same way that you do a holiday or a vacation—as a reward that lets you step away from the drudgery of work. With this perspective, however, cheat days can turn into a binge.
Convinced that you have to eat everything you want in one day, you might rack up thousands of empty calories, and that can take days to balance out. In fact, you might not be back on track before your next cheat day, which means you'll constantly be pushing yourself backward.
In general, what makes a cheat day successful or defeating is how you approach it. If you see it as a way to reset your metabolism, it may be helpful (and tasty). But if you view a cheat day as a reward for your hard work, then it's more likely to turn into a cheat week, cheat month, or cheat year.
Overall, it is important to think about food as a fuel. We need all food groups and a team of nutrients to help us feel well.
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Please consult your health care provider, or contact Viverant for an appointment before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Viverant shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.
In some sports, like wrestling and boxing, fasting is used as a way to drop weight quickly in order to make a certain weight class or to provide an advantage during a match.
Intermittent fasting has become a hot topic in the sports and fitness world, since some athletes have reported stronger results by skipping meals in a strategic way. Some plans call for a 24 hour fast and others just skip a single meal.
Elite athletes are highly in tune with their bodies, and understand the effects of every tweak and change, from drinking an extra glass of water per day to fasting for 18 hours instead of 12.
Those who believe in intermittent fasting claim it helps burn fat while preserving lean muscle and helps flush the body of toxins. One of the major reasons some athletes use intermittent fasting is it teaches the mind about hunger. There is internal and external hunger. Internal hunger are real symptoms your body uses to show you need food, such as light headedness. External hunger is what causes us to eat based on our emotions, like sadness and boredom. Intermittent fasting makes athletes take a deeper look to find out if they are truly hungry or if there are just external hunger cues.
It is important to know almost all of intermittent fasting results are based solely on testimonials and not research. Though athletes will lose fat, some research shows the loss of lean muscle while fasting as well. The argument for fasting to flush toxins also has flaws. The liver and intestines responsible for detoxification need calories to do their job. Therefore fasting could slow down this process or even bring it to a halt. In response to internal and external hunger, although it is important to not eat based on your emotions, fasting and ignoring hunger can lead to binge eating.
Working with a nutritional counselor is the best way to be sure you are eating correctly for your activity level. Though there are many new and trendy diets out there, not all of them are right for everyone.
Athletes often concentrate on eating to fuel their performance in specific ways. For example, Olympians are extremely strict about the quantity and timing of their meals. But it's just as important to consider how food can help anyone—even weekend athletes—prevent injury and recover faster from strenuous exercise.
The key is incorporating more antioxidants into the mix. These help protect the body from problem-causing molecules called free radicals. You're exposed to these through everyday pollutants, and the breakdown of certain medications, but they're also produced as part of the body's normal process. When your body is acting efficiently, these free radicals get flushed away, but sometimes they linger and end up causing cell damage. Antioxidants stabilize free radicals, and render them harmless.
When doing your grocery shopping and meal prep for the week, consider these antioxidant-rich choices:
Fruits and Vegetable:
Berries: If you're going to go with one fruit, make it a dark berry like blueberries or blackberries. The key phytochemicals they contain can not only prevent cell damage, but studies have shown that they lower inflammation, which is crucial for injury prevention and recovery.
Prunes: Although they have a reputation more as a digestive aid (which is also a big benefit), prunes are very high in antioxidants. In fact, they have twice the amount as black plums, from which they're derived.
Oranges: Dark-skinned fruits get the most attention for their antioxidants, but oranges also pack an impressive amount as well. Along with peaches, mangoes, and watermelon, they also boast beta-crytoxanthin, which has been shown in some studies to lower the risk of arthritis.
Dark greens: All hail the kale. Leafy greens are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, so load up on options like spinach, kale, collards, and Swiss chard. All of these are also great for lowering inflammation, and putting more dietary fiber into your meals.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are the go to fat for reducing inflammation. Reducing the inflammation around an injured area will help reduce pain and promote healing. Some studies have even shown that with the correct amount of omega-3s pain killers and drugs a like may not be necessary. Examples: salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts.
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that reside in your stomach. They help with digestion and extremely important to athletes. Probiotics increase antioxidant absorption which helps speed up recovery. Not only that, probiotics also boost the immune system. Examples: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh.
In general, eating more vegetables and fruits, along with healthy fats and lean protein,can keep your immune system stronger, minimize muscle aches, and get you bouncing back faster from even a boot camp workout.
Pre-season practices equal hot long days. Hydration is one of the main priorities for athletes during summer practices. With the heat comes increased sweating rate and dehydration. 1 to 2 percent of body weight lost in sweat causes mild dehydration and more than 2 percent body weight lost can be life threatening. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious issues that affect high school and collegiate athletes every year. The Institute of Medicine says athletes should drink a minimum of 3.7 liters of fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Being well educated on hydration is essential to perform at an optimal level during two-day practices through the hot summer heat.
Before a long practice athletes should drink about 16-24 ounces of water, 2-3 hours prior.
During practice athletes should be drinking at least 8 ounces of fluids every 20 minutes. Athletes that sweat heavily should drink 10 or more ounces to ensure proper electrolyte replacement.
After, athletes should drink at minimum 64 ounces of fluids. It is recommended athletes drink closer to 96 ounces to ensure complete rehydration. A great way determine the correct amount of fluids to refuel is weighing in before and after practices. Athletes should drink in-between16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound they lost.
It is important to understand that when you feel thirsty you are already mildly dehydrated. Stick to a hydration plan and do not decide how much you should drink based on thirst level. Monitoring urine color is also important in ensuring you are fully hydrated and ready for a strenuous training session.
Check out these 3 surprising facts about how top athletes fuel performance—and why you may want to think twice about copying their strategies.
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