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Sports Nutrition In 5 Easy Layers

Glamour Of Nutritional Supplements

Nutrition is a high tech business with millions of pounds of research being spent on the latest ergogenic aides, but for most people getting the basics of nutrition right will reward them with maximised sports performance, healthy weight loss and body, and a robust immune system. Unfortunately the basics on nutrition are often not met, being eclipsed by high tech products such as creatine, HMB, weight loss tablets such as Proactol, Zotrim or Alli, or the plethora of weight loss and fitness supplements that are marketed to us.

A common mistake made by those looking for improved sports performance, weight loss or health is to look for a supplement to do the job. People concern themselves with exotic products rather than addressing the basics first.

Hierarchy Of Nutritional Needs

Considering nutritional needs to be a hierarchy of needs is a good way to develop a successful nutritional strategy. You may be aware of food pyramids – the ones you learn in cookery at school, or the ones found on sites such as the Good Food Guide – but these have some fundamental flaws in them (for another blog post). Consider the pyramid to have a wide base representing the most fundamental of nutritional needs, and an narrowing towards the top representing nutrients that are gradually more specialist towards the top. The more specialist needs we see at the top should only be considered once the fundamental base needs have been met.

Base Layer 1 - The Fundamentals: The basic needs of nutrition can be met by including a balance of the macronutrients carbohydrates, fat and protein. The balance will vary with your lifestyle requirements and body type. Essential to get the system working is water and fibre, both soluble and insoluble. These will largely be met if you consume lean meats, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish. Limit your intake of sugar and refined grains which are considered to be anti-nutrients and actually contribute no nutritional value apart from energy, yet use up resources in the process. Add protective and micro-nutrient rich foods such as variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. Try to include raw or lightly cooked foods as the nutrient content may become denatured by intense heat.

Layer 2 – Protection:

Part of life is oxidation, and this is part of exercise too. As a metal car rusts so do we, and when we talk of anti-oxidants we are usually considering ways of limiting or repairing the damage caused by the aerobic nature of our body functions – free radicals affect our health and well being. Once the fundamentals are established you can consider tweaking your micro-nutrient needs to include anti-oxidants that are essential in combating free radical damage to the body including immune system.

Consider the fruit and vegetables you do consume according to their anti-oxidant content. The richer in anti-oxidants the better able to combat the oxidative stresses placed on the body by air pollution and intense exercise, both of which place damage on the cells of the body. Taking a broad spectrum multivitamin may add to the daily protection from free radical oxidation, and a regular intake of omega 3 oils, through foods or supplement form will also help.

Below is a table of high antioxidant food types. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in biological samples. The higher the ORAC the more antioxidants are available. (US Dept. Agriculture; Brunswick Laboratories; JACS)

FOOD: ORAC UNITS PER 100G

70% cocoa solid dark chocolate 13500

Pomegranate 10500

Dried prunes 5770

Red delicious apples 4270

Raisins 2830

Kale 2410

Blueberries 2400

Garlic 2320

Blackberries 2040

Spinach 1700

Brussels sprouts 1580

Strawberries 1540

Alfalfa sprouts 1450

Broccoli flowers 1290

Raspberries 1220

Beets 1170

Plums 949

Red bell peppers 810

oranges 750

Corn 720

Cherries 670

Onion 560

Eggplant 510

Cauliflower 510

Cabbage 480

Potato 460

Sweet potato 430

Leaf Lettuce 410

String Bean 390

Carrot 340

Yellow squash 280

Iceberg lettuce 230

Tomato 195

Celery 130

Cucumber 110

Layer 3 – Fueling For Sport – Real Food

Now you have a good general diet, an availability of macronutrients and micronutrients and a consideration of how best to protect our body from free radicals for health and immunity, it is time to consider what and when is best to eat. Also an optimum hydration strategy will be useful for those performing exercise – whether for sports or weight loss.

Fluid needs are closely linked to air temperature and humidity, plus the intensity and duration of your exercise. If exercising aim to begin fully hydrated – a guide is to keep your urine a light straw colour, and re-hydrate immediately post workout. If you weight yourself pre and post workout, add the mass of the fluid you consumed during the exercise to the difference between pre and post workout weights. Aim to consume 1.5 times this figure.

Example; pre workout 75kg, post workout 74kg, drinks 500ml during workout = 0.5kg so a difference of 1.5kg. It is therefore advised to consume 2.25l fluids post workout.

Fueling your sports from food is also essential. I recommend making a daily 500kcal deficit if you are trying to lose weight. If you use 1000kcal during a workout it is therefore useful to eat accordingly, so you do not have too much of a calorie deficit, and you do not overeat.

If you are like me and love to eat carbohydrates it is best to consume them pre and post workout as you are highly insulin sensitive during and up to 2 hours post exercise, particularly if your training consists of high intensity intervals or resistance exercises. However for best weight loss I suggest you stick to whole grain and vegetable sources of carbohydrates, and avoid sugar.

For athletes my advice is different in that you are not trying to create a calorie deficit. More focus is on recovery for the next session. You should therefore consume your carbohydrates during and after exercise as this is when your body will best use it – absorbing it like a sponge and maximising your recovery and boosting your immune system. If you burn 1000kcal in training aim to replace this with real food during your session – cereal bars, flap jacks and dried fruit. Post workout try to include protein with your meal, whether it is in a milk shake, bowl of cereal or meat and veg meal. Aim to consume a proper meal within 2 hours post exercise and have a snack within 15mins of exercise.

Layer 4 – Fueling For Sport – Sports Nutrition

Firstly I have to say that if you are after weight loss avoid sports drinks at all cost. They are essentially sugar and will do your weight loss efforts no good at all, will make it difficult to create a calorie deficit, and will make it difficult for your body to access fat stores for energy if an available source of sugar is present to use.

My advice for athletes is to use sports drinks to enhance your sport. Although nutrition and hydration needs can be met through food and water such as dried fruit, cereal bars etc, there are benefits of using special sports drinks. They provide a ready source of easily assimilated energy which is essential if exercising for over 1hour in a bike or run race. The stress on the gastric system is minimised and in the case of electrolyte drinks the essential minerals lost in sweat are replaced. The lack of fibre in sports drinks is also beneficial in longer races such as marathon or long course triathlon.

Recently a series of protein:carbohydrate drinks for use during training have been launched. These are particularly useful for sessions or races over 3h in duration as the branched chain amino acids (BCAA) that are catabolised in muscle during endurance events are ‘saved’ by the available BCAA in the sports drink.

Recovery drinks are also a revolution in the quest for swift recovery. In the field, recovery drinks allow athletes to consume a meal within the 15minute window of opportunity bu drinking a 2:1 carbohydrate to protein drink, that often contains vitamins and minerals too. This 15 minutes post race or training session is so crucial due to the ability of the body to use the materials we provide it. We are highly insulin sensitive, and any protein we consume with the carbohydrate will have the extra insulin to deliver it to where it is needed – the muscle – where repair will take place and glycogen will be replenished.

Layer 5 – Ergogenic Aids

If you have the first 4 levels of the hierarchy of nutrition needs sorted then it may be beneficial to invest in some supplements such as creatine, beta-alanine, caffeine or HMB, and depending on your sport each of these may or may not be beneficial. However if you have not fully adopted the principles of real food and sports nutrition there is no way that you will be able to rely on a supplement to realise your potential. Unfortunately as with everything, there are no short cuts and although it may take time and effort the gains you will get from real food and hydration will far outweigh the gains from the specialist supplements mentioned – even if their adverts promise otherwise. It is essential to walk before you can run when it comes to nutrition, and to get the building blocks in place before trying supplements is the key to success.

Art Appreciation – A Rich, Rewarding Experience

I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ART BUT I KNOW WHAT I LIKE?Perhaps you’ve gone to a gallery or art museum, looked at the artwork displayed and said to yourself, “What the heck is that? I can’t understand it! Why is this here in a gallery?”Or, maybe you’ve gone to a gallery or art museum and your reactions was, “Wow! Great stuff! I like this! I don’t know why, but I do!”Or, maybe you’ve gone to a gallery or art museum, and, after viewing the exhibits, you walk away feeling bored and disinterested. You may have said to yourself, ” Why do I bother with looking at art? I never understand it. It’s beyond me.”Like any other discipline, art requires the viewer to be knowledgeable about the information it presents. Sometimes we think we should just automatically understand art. After all, there it is, just hanging there on the wall and all we have to do, we think, is just look at it. But do we really SEE it? Often, our response may be, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”
That is just another way of saying, “What I like is really just based on my ignorance.”THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU CAN ENJOY
Liking a certain artwork is a pleasure. You have communicated with visual phenomena and really enjoyed the experience. It can be a very enriching, rewarding experience to know how and why an art form developed or have some knowledge of how and why an artist works in a particular way. More than likely, your perspective is quite limited if you have never studied art or know how it has developed in not only, our Western culture but all over the world.What if you could gain information on the many forms of art that have been produced since humanity began, and how it developed over time to the present day? What would this kind of study mean to you? It would mean that, equipped with that knowledge, you would be able to enjoy a lot more art! Here’s why.The more you know about art and its development, the more you can enjoy looking at art! You will see much more and understand the context, content and style of the art form. And this is the basis of Art Appreciation-a study of how to expand your knowledge of the art world, past, present and future and, with that perspective, be able to communicate with the rich visual/creative world!HOW TO BEGIN
So, how do your start gaining knowledge of this vast art world? Where do you begin?Begin by dipping your toe into Art History. With a basic Art History 101 knowledge you will be able to see how art, as we know it, was not really a term until the science of Art History was developed in our western culture. And, when it was developed, as you can read in many art history books in the library, art has existed as long as humans have been able to pick up a stick, brush or chisel and record their lives and experiences.There are several ways of learning how to appreciate art:ONE — Learn about the basics of art history. How art developed, from the Lascaux cave paintings to modern art today. Older art history books deal primarily with artistic development in Western culture. Newer books add developments in Asia, China, Russia and the mid-East. The study of Art History has, over time, become global. In learning the time lines and factors that produce new perspectives and styles in art, you will not only gain a new historical perspective, but also become acquainted with the various art forms produced over the past centuries.TWO–Choose a certain period or style in art history and learn about it. Perhaps Impressionism interests you. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know the difference between Op Art and Pop Art. Through studying the cultural impact of a certain style on a specific period in time, you can understand why that particular art form developed and appreciate the artwork in a broader context.THREE–Take a tour of your local art museum. Museums offer a wide variety of art educational programs and tours of their exhibits. Or travel and see the actual art in its setting. There are many websites on the Internet listing global art tours and travel, often by geographical location or specific art and architectural styles. On site art tours offer a unique and interesting way to travel and can give you an intimate, one on one perspective with the historical art and culture of the area. Tour groups are generally small in number and conducted by very knowledgeable guides delighted to respond to all of your questions and comments.FOUR-Visit your local art galleries often. Galleries are supportive of their artists and gallery owners and attendants are usually quite pleased at your interest in their exhibits. They will be glad to give you information on the artists, such as whether they are local, where they have shown their work, what awards they have won, and who has purchased their artwork. Keep informed of present and future exhibits. This hands on approach, connects you closely with affordable art that is available where you live and often created by artists who live in or near your area.DISCOVER A RICH VISUAL WORLD
Art Appreciation is as big or small a study as you want to do. Whether you want to make it an occasional outing or a serious study, whatever you choose, learning how art forms have historically developed and understanding what is on the walls in your local gallery will definitely change your perspective.Wouldn’t it be great to be able to discuss a painting on the wall in a gallery, instead of shrugging and muttering, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”
Think of it. Perhaps your response would be more like, “I like the way this artist uses color in an Expressionistic style. The brushwork is so vigorous! There is a lot of energy in the composition. Also, the use of thick paint produces an interesting texture.”Through Art Appreciation you can discover a rich visual/creative world that will inspire you and beckon you to learn more.

Culinary Schools – What You Should Not Overlook When Choosing One?

Once you make up your mind to pursue culinary training, the first thing you have to do is look for reputable culinary schools. In the last couple of years, the number o people interested in pursuing this career has risen and as a result, the number of schools has also risen. This has led to stiff competition as each tries to convince students they offer the best education. Though this is the case, you have to note that all institutions are not the same. For this reason, you have to weigh your options carefully before choosing one. To guide you through his process, consider the following.Research Extensively
Start by exploring the facilities of the institution. This is for the purpose of confirming they have modern raining facilities. Research about the type of instructors they have and the training programs they offer. You should also visit the preferred institution and ask as many questions as possible before agreeing to enroll. There are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself as well.• Ask yourself important questions such as what you intend to do with the degree you get. Are you considering opening your own restaurant or seeking employment as an instructor, food writer, personal chef or caterer?• Do you need to attend an expensive school or will a short term course meet your needs?
• Have you talked to graduates from the selected culinary schools? What do they have to say about them?Understand the School Curriculum
Make sure you understand the curriculum offered by the institution. Majority of the institutions are known to offer glossy brochures showcasing the available classes. However, before making your decision, be careful to confirm that they have a program that will push you in the right direction. You need to ask questions in order to increase the possibility of achieving your goals. Also, ask whether you will be trained on how to be a cook or a chef since there is a difference between the two.Size of your Class and Facilities
Another aspect you need to look at is the size of the class. The fewer you are, the higher the chances you will get the attention you need to be a better student and achieve your goals. In addition to this, make sure they have a modern kitchen and it can accommodate the number of students in your class. This way, you can rest assured of getting the practical lessons needed to make you a better cook or chef.By choosing the best culinary schools, you can avoid the possibility of enrolling in an institution that does not meet your goals and requirements.