Battling A Nervous Stomach

Battling A Nervous Stomach

Race-day nerves can play havoc with your digestive system; those butterflies can feel like they are alive, leaving no room for food.

Q: I was thinking about going to a liquid pre-race meal given that I have had stomach issues, mostly due to pre-race nerves. I try to calm down, but it doesn’t work. This makes it hard for me to test pre-race meals in training, as everything works in training. So, do you think a liquid meal would digest better?

A: Race-day nerves can play havoc with your digestive system; those butterflies can feel like they are alive, leaving no room for that much needed pre-race meal. Skipping out on that meal, though, is not an option, so the goal is to find something that is easily and readily digestible, will sit well even on a nervous stomach and fuel you for the race ahead.

Pre-race nutrition can also play a role in creating calm through familiarity and also reassurance that you have a plan in place. Plan out other aspects of race day so it is not overwhelming, formulate a routine and think through any other logistics. And avoid caffeine, as this could stimulate further anxiety.

In terms of the pre-race meal and the consideration of solids versus liquids, it really comes down to what you prefer and are comfortable with. In regard to energy for fueling you through the race, your muscles will not know the difference. The benefit of something solid is that it is satisfying–your brain and stomach both perceive they have had more of a meal and so you are less likely to feel hungry. However, many athletes are more comfortable with a liquid meal as this is easier to get down, especially when you’re nervous, and it can also help meet hydration requirements. Liquid meals are also convenient, and most can even be packed for travel to a race away from home.

Liquid meals will empty from the gut faster than solid meals, which means that they could also be consumed a little closer to the start time. Whether you are going for solids or liquids, make sure they are low in fat and high in carbohydrate but also contain a little protein. Not only will this add to the available energy and keep you satisfied, it will also slow gastric emptying slightly, meaning a greater sustained release of energy. Steer clear of high-fiber foods, opt for bland over exciting and be sure to adequately hydrate, especially if you have chosen a solid meal.

The amount of carbohydrate and calories you consume should depend partly on what and how much you will consume during the race itself. Aim for about 1.5-4 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body weight (or about 100-250g total). —As for timing, four hours to 90 minutes before race time is the best window.The earlier you eat, the more likely it is that pre-race nerves has not quite kicked in yet, making it easier to eat. The size of your pre-race meal should also depends on timing; the earlier you are able to eat, the larger a pre-race meal you will tolerate. If you choose to sleep in a little more and are eating only 1.5-2 hours before the gun, then eat (or drink) a smaller meal and also be prepared to take in more fuel during the race. If you are racing Ironman distance, I would recommend some solid foods, both in your pre-race meal and during the race. You are going to need a lot of fuel, and if you try to rely on liquids alone, you are likely to fall into the boredom trap and stop eating and drinking altogether.

Personally, I like to have a combination of solid and liquid calories as part of my pre-race meal, which I have 2.5 hrs before a half-marathon distances. My menu generally consists of two or three slices of bread and woather with lemon jus and honey with pollen.

Other good options include cereal and a banana; sports bars, toast or a baget with honey or very small amount of peanut butter; waffles or pancakes with a small amount of honey; and oatmeal.

Both solids and liquids can deliver all of the energy you need. If you are suffering from race-day anxiety, then a liquid meal or sports drink may be an option to deliver energy as well as hydration conveniently. However, if your race-day anxiety becomes overwhelming, then getting adequate nutrition is not your only concern. Find ways to manage the nerves and make them work for you rather than work against you. Try some meditation, breathing excersises morning before race.

From: www.triatlete.com

Pip Taylor 4.march 2014.

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Is Chocolate Milk Actually a Good Recovery Drink?

Is Chocolate Milk Actually a Good Recovery Drink?

Chocolate milk has become an increasingly popular drink in sports. Does it live up to the hype?

To highlight the role of carbohydrates in powering physical activity, it might help to first consider a time when the body’s fuel reserves are low: after exercise. During training, we lose significant amounts of glycogen, and it should be replaced quickly. This is particularly important when we train five to six days per week, sometimes working out three or four days in a row. When we work out on successive days, we have about 20–22 hours left to restore losses. If glycogen is not recovered at this time, then we will not be able to perform the next workout at 100 percent capacity. In the subsequent days of training, the body weakens, which in turn can lead to overtraining and injury.

Even successful, high-performance athletes who disregard appropriate nutrition are at risk of these negative effects.

Many people mistakenly think that if they eat a big, rich meal—for example, a huge sandwich—right after training, it will quickly replenish their glycogen stores. But it does not work that way. The speed at which the body can recover after an exhausting effort is limited to about 5 percent per hour. Total recovery of resources takes at least 20 hours. Research indicates that the fastest glycogen resynthesis occurs within the first few hours after exercise, especially when the athlete eats primarily carbohydrates and protein. However, this time may be longer in the case of an inappropriate pre- or post-exercise meal; glycogen recovery could even take up to 48 hours.

Glycogen restoration can be significantly improved by using carbohydrate supplements—sports drinks or energy bars, for example—as they contain ingredients that enable faster regeneration. To supplement or preserve carbohydrate supplies, you can use sports drinks during training, too. It is also very important that the first meal after a workout contain carbohydrates (and some protein), and it should be eaten within 20 to 60 minutes after the end of the exercise.

Q: Is chocolate milk a good recovery drink?

After training, an athlete needs to replenish the body’s carbohydrates and protein. Because chocolate milk offers both, it has become an increasingly popular drink in sports. And the popularity is justified: A glass of low-fat milk contains 158 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbohydrates, and 8 grams of protein. (Refer to the guidelines in the book to review how much of these nutrients are needed in your post-workout meals.) Research conducted on cyclists has proven that after prolonged medium-intensity exercise, chocolate milk has a better regenerative effect than commercial sports drinks laden with carbohydrates. Skim chocolate milk contains carbs and protein naturally, but they have to be added to many sports drinks—usually in the form of artificial chemical equivalents. So, through chocolate milk, you can receive a healthy dose of carbohydrates, high-quality protein to restore muscles, and basic electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium). Chocolate milk also provides vitamin B, which supports energy production, and vitamin D, which protects bones against injury.

 

From: triathlete.com
Justyna and Krzysztof MizeraSep 18, 2019

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🇷🇸 Apsolvent medicine i ekspert za ishranu, skyrunner i ljubitelj pasa.

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What Do I Eat The Night Before A Race?

What Do I Eat The Night Before A Race?

Do I have to have a special meal or follow a strict diet the day before? Do I ever have a beer or a glass of wine?
What do I eat the night before a race? Do I have to have a special meal or follow a strict diet the day before? Do I ever have a beer or a glass of wine?

I get asked these questions a lot. Mostly the people asking are not as interested in what I eat or drink, but secretly hope that their pre-race pizza and lager will be justified or that their lucky steak and chips the night before is the secret to a good race.

So do you really need to join the queue at the pasta party or pester the waiter at the local Italian restaurant as to why they don’t include sports drinks on the wine list? The short answer is no. And the slightly longer answer is a provisional no.

The elements of performance include genetics, training and fitness, nutrition and mental state. Each of these is important on its own, and each influences and interacts with the others.

For instance, for one athlete, knowing she has had ideal nutrition going into her race can boost her mental confidence, but for another, state of mind may be influenced more by his ability to relax and socialize. Similarly, good nutrition plays a role in ensuring one’s ability to achieve optimal training and recovery, yet perfect nutrition will do nothing for performance without dedication and a willingness to work hard.

Still, all of these amount to nothing without at least some natural ability and genetic disposition. The reverse is also true—the world is full of talented athletes who have never gotten off the couch. So the key to performance is to get as many of these elements in sync at one time while recognizing the unique qualities of the individual athlete or situation. So yes, good nutrition is important, especially for racing. But it is not the be-all and end-all of performance and must be put into perspective.

There’s a large scientific basis for preparing well nutritionally for a race. If the race is two hours or longer, there is a benefit to having loaded muscle glycogen (“carbo-loading”), being well-hydrated and making sure to consume foods that your body can easily digest without causing any gastrointestinal upsets or surprises. However, a wide range of foods can meet these needs—the list extends well beyond pasta—and will also depend on your individual needs. Gender, size, fitness, environmental conditions, nutritional status leading into the event and nerves play a role in what and how much you need to eat the day before a race.

Additionally, while you can store up glycogen in the days leading up to an event, the pre-race breakfast is really the key to ensuring that your muscles are fully stocked and ready to go. So what you plan on eating before the race the next morning and during the race is more important than the previous night’s dinner. If you are dedicated enough to get up early to eat a decent breakfast and have a good race nutrition plan in place, the second and third bowls of pasta the night before become less of a good thing and more of a burden you’ll have to carry around the course with you the next day. In fact, with a reduced training load the day or two before a race, it is highly likely that you will be sufficiently carbo-loaded without even having to think about it for events lasting up to a couple of hours. (Ironman is a different beast when it comes to fueling.)

But the power of food and nutrition extends well beyond the physiological effects. As long as you meet some of the recommended nutritional guidelines, the psychology of food can be far more powerful. If you truly believe that you have a lucky dinner without which you simply cannot race, it really will not matter nutritionally what it is. Of course, if it happens to meet some nutritional needs, then all the better. I know of one professional triathlete who must eat salmon the night before a race, another needs a stout beer and yet another must have a burger from a particular fast food place. I have also heard of pizza (no cheese) and pad thai being necessary components of race preparation. Of course, this psychological phenomenon can be beneficial, as it helps you feel prepared to race or calms you because you don’t have to figure out what to eat for that crucial meal.

However, it can also backfire if you are not prepared to be flexible. What if, due to travel or limited availability, you can’t find that favorite and now-necessary food? Do you panic? Refuse to race? Instead, move on to Plan B, knowing that you can get the necessary nutrition from many other food sources. Remember, too, how many times you have had a good training session even though you probably ate something different for dinner the night before on each occasion, some of those meals more nutritionally balanced than others.

Besides accounting for food and nutrition the evening before the race, it’s also important to relax and socialize. No matter what level athlete you are or how important the race is, being relaxed is paramount to performance. If a glass of wine or a beer helps put you in a positive frame of mind for the day ahead and give you a good night’s sleep, go for it. Nutritionally, you will not ruin your day. Of course, by the time you move onto the second bottle or the fourth pint, it may be a different story.

Whatever you eat, aim to consume some carbohydrates, some lean protein, not too much fat, and something that you know will not cause you to wake up feeling queasy or full of regret. Don’t try anything new. Outside of that, indulge your food superstitions and compulsions. If you are convinced that they will make you race faster, relax you or just put you in the mood for a race, go for it. But also be flexible enough for Plan B.

Pip TaylorAug 15, 2016

Pip Taylor is a registered dietitian and professional triathlete.

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What Should I Eat Before A Morning Workout?

What Should I Eat Before A Morning Workout?

What you eat before your morning sweat session depends on many things, but here’s a quick guide.

What you eat before your morning sweat session depends on many things, but here’s a quick guide based on whether you’re going long and slow (such as the weekend miles on the bike, or a moderate one-hour run) or quick and dirty (such as the mid-week Masters swim sprintfest, intervals or TT efforts in workouts lasting 45–90 minutes).

Long and Slow

Pre-workout: Nothing. Why? For these workouts where it’s all about getting in easy base miles, you can head out the door without pausing for breakfast (you’ll eat during your workout). Your muscles store enough glycogen to keep you going for at least an hour or more, plus training in a fasted state encourages you to become more efficient at tapping into those all-important fat stores—the fuel source that’s vital for long races. (Some medical conditions require eating before exercise, so speak to your doctor or nutritionist if unsure.)

During: Rice cakes with PB&J; electrolyte-rich sports drinks; banana; natural energy bar; water. Why? After 90 minutes (or 45–60 minutes for beginners) of easy training, you need to start replenishing glycogen and ensuring you have enough fuel in the tank to get through the entire workout as planned. For long, slow workouts, your stomach and GI system should be able to tolerate eating real, whole foods, which will stave off hunger and provide more essential nutrients than relying on gels and sports drinks. Incorporate some electrolyte-rich drinks or salty foods to help maintain hydration.

Post-workout: Scrambled eggs, spinach and smoked salmon with potato cakes. Why? Nutrient-dense foods with protein and carbohydrate within 30–45 minutes after your workout will maximize recovery. Salmon, rich in omega-3 fatty acid, will help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.

Quick and Dirty

Pre-workout: Coffee and a banana. Why? Caffeine can be a performance enhancer. If you’re not a big coffee drinker, you’ll want to practice using it in advance of high-intensity or interval workouts (some athletes say it makes them too jittery). Having a small amount of carbohydrate such as a banana will top off glycogen stores and fuel a high-intensity effort without requiring a lot of digestion time.

During: Sports drink and/or gel. Why? Your gut, just like your muscles, needs to be trained to tolerate fuel on race day. You should periodically practice taking in fluids and gels while working at high intensities to fine-tune your race-day nutrition plan.

Post-workout: Smoothie with whey protein powder, berries, almond butter and full-fat yogurt. Why? After hard workouts, hunger can often be dampened, which is when liquid meals can be beneficial as they are easier to get down. This smoothie with protein, carbs, fats and antioxidants will help replenish glycogen stores and assist in muscle recovery. In addition, drink water as guided by thirst pre-, post- and during workouts.

Source: Pip Taylor

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Wim Hof method (part 2)

Wim Hof method (part 2)

Training of mindset & meditation/concentration

It is generally known that a strong mindset can be an important weapon when it comes to thinking, doing and achieving. In the WHM, a strong mindset is important to realize your inner strength. Concentration/meditation is an important part of this. This concentration is required for what you wish to achieve for certain purposes. If Wim Hof would not concentrate, for example, he would feel just as cold as everyone else. Focus is thus very important.

Autonomic nervous system and concentration techniques

Normally, the autonomic nervous system is independently and subconsciously regulated by the body. The autonomic nervous system regulates functions such as breathing, internal organs, digestion, the dilation and contraction of the blood vessels and the heartbeat. In accordance with current medical opinion, no influence can be exercised over the autonomic nervous system.

It has emerged from a variety of studies, however, that certain concentration/meditation techniques can result in independent, autonomic activity (Phongsuphap, Pongsupap, Chandanamattha & Lursinsap, 2008; Wu & Lo, 2008; Paul-Labrador et al., 2006).

Mindfulness-based stress reduction, for example, has resulted in a decrease in activity in the sympathetic nervous system among fibromyalgia patients (Lush, Salmon, Floyd, Studts, Weissbecker & Sephton, 2009). Proof has also been provided that Wim Hof is able to influence his autonomic nervous system by means of his technique (Pickkers et al., 2011). Researchers at Radboud University have investigated the influence of Wim Hof’s concentration technique on the activity of his autonomic nervous system and the (natural) immune system. During the course of this experiment, components of E-coli bacteria where injected into Wim Hof and 112 other trial participants. The test subjects were injected with this bacteria in a previous study. Administering this substance makes the body think that it is being attacked.

Normally this would result in an over-reaction by the immune system, resulting in flu symptoms (headache, fever and muscle pain) for a number of hours. However, Hof only suffered a mild headache at the time when the flu symptoms would normally be at their strongest. The results also showed that Hof produced less than half the number of inflammatory proteins in comparison to the average of the test subjects who were injected with this bacterium. Study leader Pickkers declared that Hof was able to produce a controlled response to the bacteria administered by means of his concentration technique. This resulted in a so-called ‘fight or flight response’, which ensured that the body produced more cortisol (the “stress hormone”). This increase resulted in a reduction in the immune response, thus suppressing most of the inflammatory proteins (cytokines) causing the flu symptoms.

When you think about it, it is quite outstanding that it is possible to influence your immune system by practicing a method. The question was: is Wim Hof just an extraordinary case? And can his achievements be attributed to the fact that he practiced this method for many, many years? Or can others also regulate their immune system by doing what he does? Hof is a strong believer that anyone can accomplish what he has realized. In 2013, a research team consisting of Kox en Pickkers (Kox et al.,2014) examined whether others were also capable of influencing their immune system and autonomic nervous system by practicing the Wim Hof Method. To get to the bottom of this, Hof trained 12 Dutch volunteers over the course of 10 days (4 days in Poland with Wim and 6 days at home alone). The volunteers practiced all the ins and outs of the breathing techniques, the meditation techniques (in order to gain superior focus) and were additionally gradually exposed to frosty conditions.

Back in the Netherlands, 24 volunteers –the 12 test subjects that trained with Wim Hof in Poland and a control group of 12 people- received an injection with elements of the E-coli bacteria (the same dose that Wim Hof received in previous studies).

Under normal conditions, the body can react quite strong to this, resulting in almost all cases in flu symptoms. Remarkably though, the volunteers that had practiced the WHM reported far less signs of influenza (meaning symptoms of nausea, headaches, shivers and muscle and/or back pains) than the control group. In addition to this, the body temperature of the first cohort didn’t increase as much in comparison to the control group.

Similarly, the body temperature of individuals belonging to the test group normalized much faster than those who didn’t practice the techniques. Even more important were the blood results. As the studies revealed, the blood values of the

test group indicated far less inflammatory proteins than the control group. As a consequence of practicing the WHM, the test group produced more stress hormones. This hormone is released by enhanced activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which can suppress the natural response of the immune system. This is pretty extraordinary, particularly when you consider that for decades on end the standpoint in medical discourse has been that the autonomic nervous system cannot be influenced. The blood results however, unequivocally demonstrated that the autonomic nervous system and immune system can be regulated. And has thusfar never been proven scientifically. Another remarkable finding is that the immune system can be improved even after a relatively short training session. Tests even showed that showed that even “normal” people are more than capable of channeling their immune system. The research results have fervidly demonstrated that by practicing these simple yet effective techniques within a short timeframe, anyone can gain more control over their health.

The study also showed that the autonomic nervous system can be influenced. The difference between this study and others (Lush et al., 2009; Phongsuphap, Pongsupap, Chandanamattha & Lursinsap, 2008; Wu & Lo, 2008; Paul-Labrador et al. 2006) on the influence of concentration/meditation on the autonomic nervous system is that the body does not relax, but that a ‘fight or flight’ response is produced.

Meditation/concentration techniques are regarded as reducing stress and cortisol levels in the same way (Lush. et al., 2009; Carlson, Speca, Faris & Patel, 2007). You relax your body, causing the amount of the “stress hormone” cortisol in the body to be reduced. The Wim Hof technique can therefore be differentiated from other meditation/concentration techniques.

The Hof technique is not primarily aimed at putting the body into a relaxed state, but rather into an active state. Wim Hof thus has a strong mindset and makes use of his (trained) concentration to achieve certain goals, such as influencing the autonomic nervous system in the above case.

The outcome of multiple tests also outlined that Wim Hof and those who practice his method are able to actively increase the concentration of stress hormones in their bodies. In the process, the production of inflammatory proteins decelerates. By doing so, it appears as though a stress reaction, the typical fight of flight response, can be steered. The following section discusses the latest component of WHM, i.e. gradual exposure to cold, in more detail.

Literature

The Wim Hof Method Explained

By Isabelle Hof, June 2015

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