Coffee & Doughnuts for Breakfast

  • Written by Dr. Elizabeth Thybulle
If you want to become a stronger, faster and more successful athlete in any sport, then you cannot drink coffee all day and eat doughnuts for breakfast.

Why is that?

Our bodies require certain fuels to perform cardiovascular or resistance/strength training activities. So if you are a weekend warrior, on a co-ed soccer team, or a high school athlete practicing daily and competing 2-3 times per week, it is vital to provide your body with the proper levels of specific macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates), as well as the correct balance of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and amino acids).

The first thing to consider is the length of time you will be participating in your particular sport. The second consideration should be whether it is an aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen) activity.Watching the Seahawks game is neither.

Let’s consider an aerobic activity lasting more than 60 minutes. Such an activity could include swimming, hiking, bicycle riding or playing soccer. It does not include golf or power shopping at the mall. In the weeks that you are training   for your athletic event, the fuel that your body requires should consist primarily of complex carbohydrates and the proper balance of electrolytes (vitamins and minerals).

On the day of the event you should have already determined which foods work best to fuel your muscles. The day of the event is not the time to try something new because you do not want to challenge your digestive system and have it react negatively during your event.

Proper hydration of your body is also vital and you should drink at least 2-3 eight ounce glasses of water two hours prior to your activity. Keep in mind that while you exercise you must continue to drink water at a rate of about four 8 ounce glasses per hour. As you continue an endurance sport (approximately 2-3 hours) your body will switch the fuel source it uses and start to burn fat as fuel, finally!

When participating in an anaerobic activity your body uses different sources of fuel and produces different waste products. Consider weight training as an example. Protein is the primary macronutrient required to repair the muscle tissue that is challenged during your training sessions. You should consume the proper amount of protein within 60 minutes of your workout. (Consult your naturopath, trainer or nutritionist for the proper amount.)

Eating protein in excessive amounts will not automatically make your stronger. Unfortunately, you must get in the gym frequently to make that happen. And, overeating protein even when you are visiting the gym can be detrimental to your waistline because your body simply views it as excess calories and stories it as fat. In addition to consuming healthy sources of protein to repair and build your muscles there are certain minerals and amino acids, (i.e. magnesium and creatine) that are important in reducing muscle soreness, muscle cramps and increasing energy.

As you look at your calendar for 2013 and set your goals for a healthy lifestyle, it is time to schedule some long hikes, a 5km run with your friends, or a goal to bench press 205+ pounds. At Health Moves we are here to help you reach your goals.

We can help you determine how much of each macronutrient you should consume for your particular activity and we can help you find the best balance of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to help you train better, perform better and recover faster.

Dr. Thybulle is a Naturopathic Doctor. She may be reached at Health Moves, (425) 402-9999

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