Fueling Your Workout
Alison Tedrow, Senior Dietetics Student, Iowa State University
Have you ever heard someone say they like to workout on an empty stomach because then they burn more fat? This is one of the most detrimental workout myths out there. The reality is, working out on an empty stomach breaks down muscle instead of building it and will most likely lead to not having the energy to complete a good workout. This is because the body's preferred source of energy is carbohydrates. When a workout is completed in a fasted state the body will use whatever carbohydrates are left, then protein from muscle degradation, and finally fat. Food is fuel, and just like a car can't run without gas, the body cannot run without food. Therefore, proper nutrition can make the difference between a good workout and a sluggish workout. The keys to successfully fueling a workout are meal or snack composition and timing.
What is eaten immediately before a workout, if anything, is an important item to consider because this is what the body will primarily rely on to get through the workout. It is generally considered best to provide a good source of simple carbohydrates and protein. Why? Because carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy and simple carbs will be absorbed quickly. However, during a long workout (2 or more hours) consuming a combination of complex and simple carbs would be best so that the complex carbs can fuel the later part of the workout, due to slower absorption. Protein will promote quick muscle recovery and help to minimize damage. Research has shown that supplements that combine carbohydrates and protein reduce muscle damage and soreness because of the response created by both the myoglobin and the creatine kinase in muscle (1). Supplying a pre-workout meal with carbs and protein can be as simple as making toast with peanut butter, mixing Greek yogurt with berries, grabbing a handful of raisins and almonds, or blending a protein shake. Precisely how much one should eat is going to vary by the intensity, frequency, and duration of the workouts. In addition to eating before a workout it is also important to remember to properly hydrate with plenty of water.
Timing of a pre-workout snack or meal is just as vital as what is eaten. The exact best time to eat before a workout is going to vary from person to person so make sure to experiment a little, but generally between thirty and ninety minutes before a workout is going to be best. Eating too close to a workout will cause the stomach to compete with the working muscles for blood to help digest the food, which can cause stomach cramping and nausea. Eating too far ahead can cause the body to run out of fuel before the workout is complete, causing the body to feel tired and fatigued. Not only does correct timing fuel the workout it also can increase lean body mass and increase muscle strength gains during resistance training (2). Now what about those morning workouts? Those can be tricky, but the best option is to eat some combination of simple carbs and protein immediately after waking up so that by the time the workout has begun the body has had adequate time to process the food. If this does not seem like enough time, a bed time snack the night before could also fuel the workout (3).
While both what is eaten and when it is eaten are important, the trick is putting those together. Meal or snack and timing should vary by how close it is to the workout. For example, if a workout is planned for 4 in the afternoon, consuming a substantial lunch 3 to 4 hours beforehand and then a snack approximately 1 hour before should provide sufficient fuel. A substantial lunch would allow the metabolism to continue supporting the body through the day and should include all of the macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. An example of a food containing all of the macronutrients could be a turkey and cheese sandwich with mayo. The pre-workout snack should be modeled as discussed above including simple carbohydrates and protein to provide the fuel needed for the workout. However, if time did not permit for lunch until closer to the workout consuming a lighter lunch may end up being the best option. Adjusting your meals and snacks can be easily achieved as long as proximity to the workout and meal or snack composition is considered.
No matter what your exercise plans may be, make sure to also plan your pre-workout nutrition. With good meal or snack composition and timing you will be providing yourself ample energy to have a successful workout. Just remember, if you can't fuel it you can't move it!
For questions, contact:
Carrie J. Leiran, MS, RD, LD
The Nutrition Centres at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines-Des Moines
Baty, J. et al. The effect of a carbohydrate and protein supplement on resistance exercise performance, hormonal response, and muscle damage. Journal of strength and conditioning research/national strength and conditioning association , 21:321-329, 2007. (1)
Clarke, N. Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Champaign: Human Kinetics, 2008. (3)
Cribb, P. J. and Hayes, A. Effects of Supplement Timing and Resistance Exercise on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy. Med Sci Sports Exercise , 38:1918-1925, 2006. (2)
We might want to take some diet advice from our European friends from across "the pond." Research has shown following a Mediterranean-inspired diet (heart-healthy eating pattern based on traditional food and cooking styles) reduces your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
Eatright.org explains what this diet places an emphasis on:
- Plenty of exercise and enjoying meals with others.
- Eating fish or shellfish at least twice a week.
- Eating plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.
- Replacing butter with healthy, liquid fats like olive oil.
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
- Small portions of red meat.
- Red wine, in moderation, if appropriate.
Iowa Health - Des Moines to Become the Presenting Sponsor of the Downtown Farmers' Market
DOWNTOWN DES MOINES - The Downtown Community Alliance (DCA) is pleased to announce opening day for the Downtown Farmers' Market is Saturday, May 4, 2013. The DCA is also excited to announce Iowa Health - Des Moines is the new presenting sponsor for 2013 Downtown Farmers' Market season. The Market spans nine city blocks and is held in the Historic Court District in Downtown Des Moines, every Saturday morning, rain or shine and even holidays, from May 4 - Oct. 26, 2013.
"Our new presenting sponsor Iowa Health - Des Moines is the perfect partner to help educate our community on living a healthier life. People are taking a step in the right direction by purchasing fresh local food at The Market and Iowa Health - Des Moines will help take it to the next level," says Kelly Foss, Downtown Farmers' Market Director.
Iowa Health - Des Moines plans to offer special programming every Saturday during the season that will focus on living well. Market patrons can expect to interact with Iowa Health - Des Moines staff on all topics from eating healthy, child safety, screenings and weight loss.
"We are proud to be the premier sponsor of the 2013 Downtown Farmer's Market," said Eric Crowell, Iowa Health - Des Moines President and CEO. "This partnership provides us a wonderful opportunity to support our local farmers, to reinforce the health benefits of eating fresh, locally grown foods, and most importantly, it confirms our commitment to the community we serve."
The Downtown Farmers' Market supports producers from 47 counties across Iowa, offering seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables and so much more. The Market also offers specialty and artisan food, provides a variety of local art and entertainment and offers learning opportunities. Foss says, "We are looking forward to sharing even more great news in the near future about additional enhancements to the Downtown Farmers' Market in 2013."
The Downtown Farmers' Market began in 1976 with just 15 vendors and an average of 200 shoppers and operated July - September. Today, The Market has grown to more than 200 vendors and an average of 20,000 visitors each Saturday during May - October. The Market also produces a Wednesday Farmers' Market in the fall and a Winter Farmers' Market in November and December. Last year opening day attracted a record crowd of nearly 40,000 people.
The Downtown Farmers' Market is produced by the Downtown Community Alliance and is presented by Iowa Health - Des Moines. Media partner is Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. In 2012, The Downtown Farmers' Market was named one of America's Best Farmers Markets by Country Living magazine.
- 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup trans-free margarine (chilled)
- 3/4 cup fat-free milk (chilled)
For the topping
- 6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain fat-free yogurt
In a large mixing bowl, re-sift the flours, baking powder and sugar together. Using a fork, cut the chilled margarine into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the chilled milk and stir just until a moist dough forms.
Turn the dough onto a generously floured work surface and, with floured hands, knead gently 6 to 8 times until the dough is smooth and manageable. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 8 squares. Place the squares onto the prepared baking pan and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer the biscuits onto individual plates. Top each with 1 cup strawberries and 1 1/2 tablespoons yogurt. Serve immediately.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Managing Muscle Strains in the Athlete
Dan Sweet, PT
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Des Moines Outpatient Therapy West
If you are an athlete, parent of an athlete or a coach you probably have been challenged by muscle aches, pains, and strains common with all recreational and competitive sports. Determining the severity of the injury is sometimes difficult because the athlete doesn't want to be pulled from participation. However, it is often the most important factor to insure the safety of the athlete. The one common goal should always be to return the athlete to competition in the safest and most efficient manner.
There are many components to consider when evaluating an injury to determine the severity and/or ability to return to play. Initially you should consider the history and/or mechanism of the injury. Did the injury gradually build up, or did it occur on one specific moment in training? Injuries that can be isolated to one specific event generally indicate a more severe or complex injury. Gradual symptom onset typically indicates overuse type injuries, or injury due to training errors. If a collision occurred there is a greater probability for a variety forces and torques involved therefore more risk for injury. Is there any acute swelling? Significant, acute swelling is a sign that the body itself has recognized that an injury has occurred and it has started the inflammatory/healing response. Are they able to maintain full, fluent movement of the joint without pain or hesitation? Are they able to walk or run without hesitation or a limp? If an athlete is hesitant with movement of their body at game speed, they will be at a disadvantage when facing an opponent leaving them susceptible to re-injury, or a more significant injury. After considering the above factors, if you feel the athlete sustained a significant injury, you should seek medical attention through the school's athletic trainer, or physician's office.
After evaluating the injury, the focus turns to injury management. The initial goal is to reduce pain and swelling as well as maintain full, pain free range of motion of the affected joint and surrounding joints. Rest, ice, elevation and a compressive wrap may help with any swelling that may have occurred. Simple movements of the joint can be done in addition to gentle stretching to restore joint mobility. Promote weight bearing if this can be done without hesitation, instability or pain. Light to medium level cardio activities such as stationary bike, elliptical or water exercise can be done to promote early mobilization without directly stressing the affected area.
As the injury heals the athlete will become more comfortable with movements and use of the affected area. At this point you can continue to advance the intensity of cardio activities, progress stretching, and begin to incorporate "pre-game" warm up type activities or sport specific strength and conditioning. The athlete should continue to be monitored for any signs of hesitation with these activities and not be allowed to advance to more strenuous activity or contact if hesitation is observed. Throwing athletes should be evaluated with short toss before being progressed to long toss. Running/agility athletes should be evaluated with straight forward/backward movement before incorporating any cutting drills/activities. Jumping mechanics should be evaluated for body control before combining with running and more complex activities.
The recovery time frame from the initial injury to return to competition can vary from a few days to several weeks or months. It's dependent upon the severity of the injury and most importantly varies from athlete to athlete. It is important to allow adequate time for tissue healing, as well as a full return of strength and agility. Following a stepwise approach to any muscle strain will allow for a safe and efficient return to sport, and will contribute to greater longevity of the athletes career.
If you have any questions or need assistance in evaluating an injury or rehabilitating an injury feel free to contact an UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Des Moines Physical Therapist or Athletic Trainer.
Dan Sweet, PT
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Des Moines Outpatient Therapy West
6001 Westown Parkway Suite 205
West Des Moines, IA 50266