Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nutrition in the Park!

What a beautiful morning! I had a great time at Almaden Park talking to the Links, Inc. group about nutrition. The most common issue that comes up with athletes and exercisers who train in the morning is skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast and then trying to work out is like driving your car with the "low fuel" light on. Sooner than later you WILL run out of gas! When this happens, your workout may be sluggish, your training will be less effective, and your performance in your sport (or your exercise goal) will suffer because you haven't trained at your best.

"Breakfast" does not have to be a fancy, sit-down, throw-down event. It can be as simple as fruit and yogurt, a bowl of cereal, half of a bagel or piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter. These carbohydrates provide that much needed "fuel" for your muscles and your brain.

What is the biggest reason why people skip breakfast? You guessed it...."I just don't have time". I've heard this from athletes time and again. However, during my sports nutrition seminars I perform a little experiment. I ask for a volunteer from the audience and actually time them with a stopwatch to see how long it takes them to make a simple half bagel with PB. It usually takes them only 25 or 30 seconds. I think we can give ourselves at least that much time to fuel our bodies correctly. It will give us that much needed energy boost in the morning so we have a great workout and productive day!
Fuel Excellence!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hey Golfers - Not up to par on your hydration? It could affect your performance.

You're coming up on the 15th hole. You are fatigued, hot, and you feel a headache coming on. You've been fighting the course for the past 5 holes, and it is winning. Your game was going great during the front nine, but now it's crumbling. Why does this always seem to happen? There could be one, simple solution....Hydration!

Golf requires the physical skills of endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility as well as keen cognitive function, concentration, and anxiety control.
Scientific research shows that dehydration negatively affects all of these important attributes that are critical in the game of golf. If your strength and endurance are compromised by dehydration, perhaps your drives might not go as far. If your balance and flexibility are off, your chances of slicing increase. If your concentration is hindered, your putts may not fall; instead of that coveted birdie, you find yourself 3-putting for bogey. 

Staying hydrated throughout the round may be the key to improving your game. Here are some simple solutions that may help:
  • Start hydrating the day before by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • 2 hours before your round, drink approximately 2 cups (16 oz) of water.
  • At the start of each hole, drink at least 1/2 cup of fluids (water or sports drinks), even when not feeling thirsty. For some of us, the thirst mechanism doesn't kick in until we are already dehydrated. What is a 1/2 cup? It's about 4 gulps or swallows of your water. 
  • Avoid alcohol (and this is where I lose you golfers 21 and older). But seriously, if you are serious about your game, you may want to consider that alcohol causes dehydration. Coupled with 4 hours of play in the heat and humidity, alcohol could really blow your game.
These are just a few tips to get you started. Everyone is different, so try a few of the hydration tips above to see what works best for you. 

Play hard and hydrate wisely! 

Good luck to the SJSU Men's Golf Team. Have a great season!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tips for fitting exercise into your busy day.

Exercise goes hand-in-hand with good nutrition: it makes weight control much easier and it is also good for your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a MINIMUM of 150 minutes of "moderate-intensity exercise" (e.g. brisk-walking) each week for adults ages 18-64 (with a physician's clearance of course). That is 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week at a minimumExercising for one hour on most days is better, but to get started, 30 minutes per day can be your goal.

If you are currently not exercising at all, it may feel impossible to fit 30 minutes of exercise into your already hectic day: making lunches for school, commute traffic, work, soccer practice, grocery shopping, homework help, cooking dinner, etc. Here is a solution that may help you get started.

***Solution: squeeze in 3 short 10-minute bursts of exercise throughout the day totaling 30 minutes for the day. As long as you are doing your activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time, you will be reaping the important health benefits of weight control and reducing your risks of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It can also help improve your mood and mental health too. 

Here are some ways you can fit in 
short 10-minute bursts of exercise during your day:

  • Power walk at your lunch break.
  • Walk the kids to and from school at a brisk pace.
  • Work in a building with stairs? Walk the stairs for 10 minutes during your break. 
  • Instead of sitting and watching your child at soccer or ("insert sport here") practice, jog around the field.
  • So, you don't stay and watch your child's sports practice? No problem. Show up 10 minutes early to pick them up and do a brisk walk then.
  • Hint for game days: Most kids need to show up early to their games, meets, matches, or tournaments to warm up. This is a good time to do your jogging or walking.
  • Take a family power walk, hike, or bike ride after dinner.
  • Get a running "Buddy" (especially the 4-legged ones) to join you on your jogs or power walks.
  • Like to shop? Wear your running shoes and do a 10-minute power walk in the mall.
  • Housework is no fun, but with the right intensity, it counts as exercise! Vacuuming, mopping, and mowing the lawn are great ways to get the heart pumping and burn calories. 
  • Instead of watching the kids play, join in! Shoot hoops, jump rope, or play tag. 
  • Rainy day? Turn on the tunes and DANCE like nobody is watching! 
  • Can't miss your favorite show on TV? While watching, do jumping jacks,  push-ups, sit-ups, etc. during the show. 
Remember, if you can do longer than 10 minutes at a time, that is best.
10 minutes, 3 times a day is the minimum. 

Do you have any ideas that work best for you? Post them here!!

Now that you're done reading this, get up and go exercise! 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Despicable" Deal

So I went to see "Despicable Me" at the movie theaters this summer with the kids (funny movie, but I digress). We were offered a "great deal" (which I turned down)...all-you-can-eat HUGE tub of popcorn and free refills on the GIANT soda cup for a mere $12 or so. I can't remember the actual price but cheap for movie theater standards.
What that sounds like to a dietitian: "What a deal, unlimited amounts of calories and two days worth of saturated fat while you sit on your booty for 2 hours."  Check out the link below for the despicable details of how you can sit, enjoy a great movie, and unknowingly consume a whole days worth of calories and fat in less than 2 hours.