Five Tips for Nutrition & Exercise
By L. Lee Coyne Ph.D.
Healthy nutrition rules for are the same for the physically active as they are for the sedentary. The exceptions are that the active, in order to perform optimally, require more of some nutrients to compensate for the extra stresses placed on the body and to protect the body from the products of stress like free radicals.
So here are the 5 most important nutritional exceptions for the active person to consider. Contrary to popular nutrition for exercise literature, I do not subscribe to the high carbohydrate diet for optimal energy. At rest, providing one has not recently consumed a high carbohydrate meal or snack, in excess of 85% of energy production is from fat. Even during typical marathon pace (65% of aerobic capacity) 50% of energy is from fat.
Carbohydrate depletion is only a possible limiting factor for high intensity, long duration (over 1 ½ hours) exercise. The nutrients listed below should be obtained from wise food selection and from responsible supplementation and believe me when I say that for optimal health – supplementation is not an option. The amounts of extra nutrients required will be very by individual and based on size, age, gender, intensity and duration of exercise.
- Eat adequate protein – approximately 1 gram per pound of body weight but be sure to spread it through the day because you only absorb approximately 30 to 35 grams per meal or snack.
- Consume extra anti-oxidants. During exercise we produce more free radicals and breath in more oxygen. Oxidized free radicals cause cell damage but anti oxidants, known as free radical scavengers, prevent this oxidation; leaving the oxygen available for energy production. Surveys have shown that up to 40% of Marathon finishers get sick in the week following the race. Protect yourself with anti-oxidants.
- Essential Fatty Acids are necessary to metabolize other fats and provide building blocks for the “super hormones” like prostaglandin’s responsible for many functions including an anti-inflammatory role.
- The “B” vitamins are essential for energy production. Over 35 different biochemical reactions within the famous “Krebs” cycle involve one or more of the “B” vitamins as cofactors. These vitamins are not stored and must be consumed daily if not multiple times per day.
- Last but possibly most important is water intake. If you divide body weight in pound by two that equals the ounces of water you likely need each day. Be sure to spread that intake out through the day. We don’t store surplus water unless there is some serious metabolic imbalance involved.
Lee Coyne, Ph.D. is a nutritional consultant, lecturer and author of Fat Won't Make You Fat and the Lean Seekers coaching program. He may be reached at 1-800-668-4042 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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