Dr. Susan Kleiner in The News
Frequently Asked Questions
Are sports drinks superior to water?
In some cases — yes. For general types of exercise lasting less than one hour, water is still the best sports drink around. The nutrient you most need to replace during and after these types of workouts is water.
Carbohydrate-replacement beverages and glucose-electrolyte solution drinks (also known as sports drinks) do have their place — mostly for high-intensity intermittent exercise, for exercise lasting more than 45 minutes, and especially for use by endurance and ultraendurance athletes. These products are a mixture of water, carbohydrate, with or without electrolytes. Electrolytes are dissolved minerals that form a salty soup in and around cells. They conduct electrical charges that let them react with other minerals to relay nerve impulses, make muscles contract or relax, and regulate the fluid balance inside and outside cells. In hard workouts or athletic competitions lasting 60 minutes or longer, electrolytes can be lost through sweat. Carbohydrate-only beverages are great for replacing fuel losses during intense exercise when electrolyte losses are not high. Athletes training for hours, and certainly ultraendurance athletes should consider electrolyte replacement as well as carbohydrate and fluid replacement during long-duration exercise.
Where glucose-electrolyte solutions may have an edge over water during exercise of only short duration is in their flavor. A lot of people just don't drink much water because it doesn't taste good. When soldiers participating in a study at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine were given the choice of drinking plain chlorinated water, flavored water, or lemon-lime glucose-electrolyte solution drinks, most chose the glucose-electrolyte solutions or flavored water over plain water. One way to sneak more water in and still get the flavor is to dilute your glucose-electrolyte solution or use one of the flavored low-calorie waters.
For those of you who train hard for longer than one hour, you need to refuel during training. Along with hydration, sports drinks help you refuel. There are many products on the market, and the marketplace continues to change with new products nearly every week. Investigate the research behind products before you believe everything the manufacturer promises.
Can I still build muscle if I'm a vegetarian?
Absolutely! Whether to include or exclude meat in your diet is a matter of personal choice. If you decide to go meatless, plan your diet carefully to avoid certain nutritional danger zones-namely iron, zinc, and B12 deficiencies. These deficiencies can hurt exercise performance. Here are some tips for avoiding deficiencies if you're a vegetarian strength trainer.
Get Enough Protein
Include Some Heme Iron Sources
Watch the Meat-Fish-Poultry Factor
Include Vitamin C Sources
Guard Against a B12 Deficiency
Watch Iron and Zinc Blockers
Consider Iron and Zinc Supplements
Animal flesh is the major source of zinc in our diets. So all styles of vegetarian eaters may be at greater risk of having marginally low intakes of this mineral.
Although dietary supplements are not as good as food, it may be a good idea to supplement if iron and zinc are in short supply in your diet. Daily supplementation of iron and zinc at the level of 100 percent of the DRI is good insurance against harmful deficiencies.
|Combine the following ingredients in a blender, blend on high speed, and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving.
One serving contains (includes almond milk):
Apple Ginger Spinach BerryCombine the following ingredients in a blender, blend on high speed, and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving.
One serving contains (includes apple juice):
Quite probably, creatine is the most important natural fuel-enhancing supplement yet to be discovered for strength trainers. Unlike a lot of supplements, creatine has been extensively researched, with more than 500 studies conducted to date. Of these studies, 300 have focused on the performance-enhancing value of creatine, and about 70 percent of these studies report positive effects.Exciting experiments show that creatine produces significant improvement in sports that require high levels of strength and power, including strength training, rowing, and cycling sprints. Another big plus for creatine: Several creatine supplementation studies have shown gains in body mass averaging 2 to 5 pounds during 4 to 12 weeks of training. It was once thought that this increase was mostly water weight gain. But now we're seeing that a significant amount of the gain is pure muscle, and only a small portion is water.
How It Works
You "load" creatine into your muscles, just like endurance athletes do with carbs. Consequently, you can push harder and longer in your workouts because creatine boosts the pace of energy production in your muscle cells. Creatine supplementation doesn't build muscle directly. But it does have an indirect effect: You can work out more intensely, and this translates into muscle gains.
Creatine usually comes in a powdered form as creatine monohydrate. The latest scientific research shows that the most rapid method of increasing muscle creatine stores is to consume approximately 0.3 gram per kilogram of body weight per day of creatine for at least three days, followed by 3-5 grams of creatine per day thereafter to maintain elevated stores. Ingesting smaller amounts of creatine, 2-3 grams per day, will increase muscle creatine stores over a 3-4 week period.
Because creatine levels will be maintained in your muscles for about 3 weeks, another strategy is to cycle on and off creatine rather than using the loading maintenance phases. Start with a dose of 5 grams per day for about 6 weeks. It will take a little longer to reach saturation levels compared to the loading dose, but the results are virtually the same. Cycle off the creatine for about 3 weeks, and then go back on it again. Your muscle levels and training results will remain high during the off period. This strategy will lighten the strain on your wallet, while still giving you competitive results.
The logic that if a small dose is good, a large dose is better isn't a good idea. The body has a ceiling on the amount of creatine that it will store in the muscles. If you keep taking more, creatine will not continue to load in the muscles.
While loading with creatine, make sure to drink extra water. This may control any cramping that may occur. And you're asking for trouble if you belt down daily dosages of 40 grams or more. Such high doses may cause possible liver and kidney damage, according to some reports. Before trying any supplement, you should make sure that your diet, your training, and your rest is the best that they can be. No supplement can replace food, training, or rest. I also don't recommend creatine for adolescents. With the benefit of growth on your side, the use of creatine should be unnecessary. Check with your physician before supplementing with creatine.
These establishments are a step ahead of the competition in offering healthy choices. This is a list of my newest top 10 (alphabetical order), but many of the restaurants are trying to change to healthier menu offerings and they make the nutritional information easily available to customers.
In Power Eating, Fourth Edition, I list my “best food choices” at each of these restaurants.
|Top 10 Restaurants
For On-the-go Eating
|Here are the keys to better choices:|
The amount of carbohydrate you need in your diet each day varies, depending on your training goals, how frequently and intensively you train, your gender, and your own individual needs. After decades of working with athletes at all levels and in all kinds of sports, I have noted that carbohydrate is needed in highly variable amounts from one individual to another even doing the same level of exercise. In general, to fuel performance, athletes need from 4.5 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight every day. This very large range depends on the factors noted earlier, including the type of exercise, exercise goals, the frequency, intensity, and duration of exercise, gender, and the weight requirements of the sport. Carbohydrate needs are different still when the goal of the diet and training program is to lose fat.
That discussion, as well as customized menu planning guidelines, can be found in Power Eating, Fourth Edition.