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Body Composition

Feb 15, 2021

Beyond a fat percentage

Anthropometry or Kinanthropometry is a term to describe and assess physique in athletes and individuals. Even if you are not heading for the next Commonwealth Games or Olympics, assessing physique characteristics helps us to monitor changes with training programs, describe our body shape, guide us to predict a safe weight loss and can track certain health data. In many sports including long-distance running; where body mass must cover a great distance, being lean can be an advantage. Optimising body competition can offer a competitive advantage for some sports.
It also allows us to track whether the desired weight is both healthy and realistic for the individual. This includes identifying excessively low body fat mass which may become detrimental to health. Regular assessment and tracking of body composition is an important component of monitoring change in periods of training cycles and nutrition.

Beyond sport, however, improving and tracking body...

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Myth busting immunity for athletes

Feb 01, 2021

Despite common belief, we cannot in fact “boost” our immunity. However, there are a number of ways that you can maintain  immunity by optimising your nutrition and hydration, particularly if you are an athlete. 

 Genetics do play a part the rate and susceptibility to picking up infections, but there are a number of other factors to consider too. 

 

Stress and sleep have an impact on the immune system. High stress and inadequate sleep can decrease white blood cell functioning and increasing risks of upper respiratory chest infections. Trying to manage external stress with self-care strategies and prioritising your sleep can help reduce this risk. Interestingly - recent research shows that alongside other sleep strategies, eating two vitamin C rich kiwis before bed could help with getting a better night's sleep! Taking large doses of vitamin C however, will not “boost” your immune system.

 

Nutrition When it comes to...

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Home Made Kefir

Jan 25, 2021

Kefir is a great daily product that is quick and simple to make as I just found out!

Kefir has become quite the rage in the natural health community, but there is a fair bit of research to suggest positive benefits for gut health too.

Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow's or goat's milk with added Kefir grains (not cereal grains, but grain-like colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble a cauliflower in appearance!)

Kefir is a powerful source of probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that can influence health in ways like aiding digestion, helping weight management and even mental health!

Probiotics like those in kefir can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut, which can often help people with IBS.

Full-fat kefir is not only a great source of calcium, B vitamins but also vitamin K2 — which plays a central role in calcium metabolism and may aid bone health.

All in all - a pretty powerful little addition to add to your diet!...

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Can I get enough protein as a plant based athlete?

Jan 06, 2021

Plant based Athletes & Protein

 

So first there was the rise of being vegan, which has moved more towards plant based eating.

In fact, the move to including plant based eating at some meals has been shown to have many health and environmental or sustainability advantages. Certainly including beans, pules, soya and grain sources of protein such as quinoa and rice is a great way to introduce some variety into the training diet.

There have not been many studies to date on the effects of following a plant based diet on performance but the current evidence does not state a negative or positive effect on performance. 

HOWEVER

Often we see low protein intakes when athletes are stripping back their diets whilst trying to make weight, in aesthetic sports or decreasing energy intake at the cost of meeting energy needs.

A stark protein deficiency sees a compromised immune function and ultimately a loss of muscle mass as the body uses it as a source of energy to meets...

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Vitamin C for Immunity

Jan 05, 2021

Contrary to popular belief taking a vitamin C supplement will NOT ward off the common cold or SARS-Cov2.

The most recent research and a Cochrane review does not support for the general population that taking high doses of vitamin C reduces the common cold. It is possible it may reduce the duration by about a day but does not reduce incidence.

Some studies show that for athletes and soldiers under intense physiological stress, taking vitamin C reduced the incidence of catching a cold by 50%. However, we should exercise caution in some of these older studies with high doses and it may not show as much benefit in a longer-term study. Interestingly research has started at Wuhan university with 140 patients to test if very high doses of IV vitamin C could improve outcomes or symptoms; this will not be completed until September 2020 (Peng, 2020), and there is no evidence currently that that vitamin C will prevent or indeed treat SARS covid 2.

Vitamin C is important and does have a role in...

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Importance of Vitamins and Minerals For Athletes

Jan 04, 2021

Quick turbo, shower, piling the kids into the car, and just about remembering to grab something on the way out the door ?! Sound familiar?!

It might be with your tightly packed schedule each day that you just about manage to hold it together with remembering protein in a post-training snack or meal which just happens to have some carbohydrates and probably has some suggestion of green to it!

But do you ever consider the smaller micronutrients and whether you are meeting your needs as an athlete? I would imagine that with the suggestion of a micronutrient that you think iron but what about zinc, selenium, calcium,  Vitamin D, and B12 to mention but a few?!

As exercise causes many changes to metabolic pathways we may have increased requirements for some micronutrients. Athletes who restrict energy intake, under fuel, or who avoid certain groups of foods may be at higher risk of deficiencies. 

For starters lets start with the big guns:

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Iron - There are several...

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Do Athletes Need Extra Protein and is it Important?

Dec 29, 2020

Guest Writer: Rachel Dervish (MSc, ANutr, Sports Nutritionist) 

We all hear about “macronutrients” and “protein” but do we really know what we are talking about here?!

Protein is an essential macronutrient (AKA major nutrient) found in every single cell in our body. It is required for all life functions, including growth and repair, hormones, enzymes and immunity. Made of 21 building blocks or amino acids of which 9 are considered to be essential, meaning they cannot be synthesised or made in the body so must be obtained in the diet.

The others are known as non-essential as they can be synthesised in the body.

Proteins that contain all the essential amino acids are known as “complete proteins”. For example; animal products, such as meat, fish and dairy.

Proteins that do not contain all the essential amino acids or inadequate quantity are known as ‘incomplete”. For example, most plant proteins are incomplete however quinoa and soya...

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Why do we forget about hydration?

Dec 28, 2020

Why are electrolytes important for athletes? Why do athletes take salt tablets?

Difference between electrolytes and sodium:

Sodium is the main electrolyte that is lost in your sweat with fluids and plays a crucial role in maintaining your fluid balance. Often we use sodium and electrolytes interchangeably but it is sodium, in particular, we are talking about with regards to hydration status. 

It is true to say that sweat does contain other electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium that are involved in many processes but it is not crucial to replace these electrolytes during training and racing. Sodium is important as we all have individual sodium sweat rates so if you are losing a lot of sodium then you need to pay particular attention to losses and make a plan of how to replace them.

Why do we forget about hydration? 

Why is it that we stick to a plan with our training sessions for the day, planning out work, childcare and even who is cooking dinner; but often...

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Have your Christmas Cake and Eat it!

Dec 28, 2020

Let’s face it; it has not exactly been a normal year! No races really to speak of limited training outside of your home or with squads a little in the way of feeling like you have really had a killer year, with medals, podium places or that sense of achievement. 

So Christmas may feel a little different for us athletes with the downtime that we usually have not felt quite the same as after a hard season. That doesn’t mean however that we can’t all have some fun!

Food is not just fuel to nourish our bodies ready for the next training bout or race.  Food is for many a part of religious and historic festivals, a social part of getting together with family and friends forming a major part of Christmas festivities too! Food is also able to nourish our soul sometimes. It should not be seen as something to feel guilty about.

In fact, so many athletes that are so careful with what they eat throughout the season, or even over restrict affecting performance but we...

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Best recovery drinks for triathletes

Dec 28, 2020

Best recovery drinks for triathletes

One just needs to trawl through an online website or walk into a supermarket and they are hit with an array of “recovery” drinks; from UHT long-life bottles to aisle upon aisle of fresh milkshakes and permutations of yoghurt based and milk-based breakfast and health drinks!  We often find ourselves by-passing the standard chocolate milk, but may instead be drawn to the more expensive and interesting BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) or even waters laced with protein, or plain milk with added whey proteins and the building blocks of protein as BCAA.  And what about the addition of protein to plain water, coconut water, smoothies and juices?! 

Phases of recovery

Did you know we often think of recovery in two phases: “acute” (straight away) and “chronic” (longer) recovery phases?  

Acute recovery takes the form of the first couple of hours, so when we talk about recovery drinks this is...

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