Home Archives 2011 June 19

Daily Archives: Jun 19, 2011

Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy; it takes preparation and lots of it! Several times I will read emails off people stating that they are going to diet for their holiday, then suggest on their holiday they can’t continue eating healthy! Now when you go on holiday, enjoy it and indulge! However, you should keep an eating schedule so that your metabolism maintains its pace and you don’t become catabolic! Here are 4 ways to ensure you at least maintain your muscle whilst on holiday!

Breakfast!

In the boiling hot weather you may just want a piece of fruit for breakfast, but I would insist you have a well balanced meal! Go for a lovely bowl of wholegrain Weetabix with skimmed milk, chopped fruit with it and some low fat natural yoghurt! These are all things you can get in most places abroad, it tastes great any day of the week, it’s easy to prepare and it will help keep your muscle tissue!

Every 3 hour rule!

On holiday still keep your target of eating every 3 hours, personally I have to anyway because I get hungry all of the time! Just something like brown toast, brown sandwiches, brown bagels with salad, chicken, peanut butter, scrambled egg, tuna with mayo and the likes of all work! Sure, have mayo because you want to enjoy your holiday, at least this way you are keeping your protein intake high and muscle glycogen levels topped up!

Remain hydrated!

The chances are that you will be going somewhere hotter than the UK, therefore if you are drinking 4 litres of water a day; it stands to reason you will probably need at least 5 in a warmer climate! Keeping your water intake high is essential in regards to maintain your muscle tissue because it will help with nutrient assimilation. If you become dehydrated you will soon become catabolic!

Research!

For those of you who are really serious about maintaining a good level of nutrition whilst abroad research the locality of where you are staying! This will give you an idea of what types of protein sources are available before you go! This way you can check if certain meats are lean, what’s their protein content and how best to prepare them to make sure they taste great! Indulge in the local food, its all about experiencing life, but do it with your healthy lifestyle at heart whenever you can!

There are 4 things I would advise any serious athlete to do if you’re going away on holiday this summer!! This will help you maintain your muscle whilst you are away from the gym! Eating junk isn’t such an issue, you have to enjoy it! It’s more a case of eating enough protein more than anything else!

Naivety is one of the biggest reasons people fail to see results from their ‘healthy’ eating plan! Major supermarket brands are telling you their product is healthy, it’s low in ‘calories’, it is zero fat, it’s this and it’s that! Well the reality of it is, is that a huge percentage of ‘healthy’ products in our supermarkets are absolutely, totally NOT healthy! When I say healthy I mean they are not a ‘complete package!’ Sure, a cereal may contain fibre which is healthy, but it may also contain 20g of sugar carbohydrates which isn’t! Don’t be blinded by marketing bull!!! Instead learn to recognise yourself if something really is ‘completely healthy’ or not. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants as is red wine, are you telling these should be part of your daily diet? I think not! Here are 3 of the most common ‘marketing cons’ in the ‘healthy food’ sector!

Healthy Cereals!

Some cereals are very healthy; I eat Weetabix regularly with skimmed milk, almonds and raisins because it is a great balanced snack! However, there are certain cereals such as Special K for one, which respectively isn’t quite what it makes itself out to be! Their marketing will advise you as the ‘health conscious’ consumer to eat 2-3 servings of Special K a day over a period of 2 weeks to lose 6 lbs as part of their challenge. To clever thing is if you eat unhealthy, and you follow their advice and eat their cereal and a healthy diet you will probably lose weight. However this is going to be more to do with the calorie deficit which the ‘healthy diet’ provides, and I would also suggest a lot of the weight lost in the first 2 weeks is WATER retention! The sugar carbohydrate content in Special K isn’t low enough to make it a healthy option for a real athlete in my opinion, especially 2-3 times a day! Maybe you would get away with a bowl for breakfast as your body can utilise sugar carbohydrates better this time of the day, however even then there are much better performing breakfasts as part of a healthy lifestyle!

Zero fat!

This trap is so sneaky that consumers are not falling into it; they are JUMPING into it by the dozen! Certain products may well now contain zero fat which is potentially great, BUT if the more sceptical athletes among as were to scan over the ‘carbohydrate’ content and more specifically the ‘sugar carbohydrate’ content you will normally find this is relatively high! Things like low fat natural yoghurt with breakfast is something I advocate because of its health benefits to your digestive system! However, some products don’t have any nutritional values, they just taste good and come across as a healthy ‘stop gap’ between meals! Whilst it is true outside of the body these products contain NO fat, as soon as you ingest them and your body begins to digest the food, at least some of it will probably convert to body fat because your body cannot use the sugar carbohydrates! Don’t fall for this one guys!

Low calorie!

A lot of chocolate bars and crisps are now stating an immensely low calorie content which is OK, but it doesn’t mean they are guilt free. In fact, this very topic is partly why I don’t like counting calories too much and why I think it has its limits! For example, a chocolate bar may only contain 88 calories but 95% of that is going to be bad for you, nothing to aid recovery, fat loss or anything else! On the other hand, a balanced healthy snack you put together may contain twice the calories, but 95% of them are useful to the body! Are you really telling that the lower calorie option, in this instance the chocolate bar is better for you? ‘’NO WAY Jose’’, is what I say, so don’t start telling yourself low calorie junk food is OK for you! Sure, it is BETTER to have low calorie junk food when you are having a cheat meal, but it isn’t ‘good’ for you!

From this quick guide I hope you are better prepared to avoid been caught out by these marketing traps which are rife within our supermarkets!

As the final and third part of our ‘Tennis super feature’ we are going to be discussing some of the very best supplements for a tennis player to use in order for them to maximise their performance! Supplements play a key part in almost any athlete’s diet now and more and more athletes have become wise to it. Gone are the days where ‘weight trainers’ of some description use supplements, instead athletes from all backgrounds use supplements!

L-Glutamine

This amino acid has become a staple in many athlete’s supplement programme over recent years and with very good reason indeed! L-Glutamine is a fantastic supplement due to its ability to aid recovery within any athlete! In short, L-Glutamine will increase the rate of protein assimilation within your muscles, thus leading to a faster rate of recovery. For a tennis player L-Glutamine can help them avoid excessive levels of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) between games, which could really impinge their overall performance! There are many L-Glutamine formulas on the market, however Reflex do a fantastic product and it is also great value!

Waxy Maize Starch

This is an excellent source of carbohydrates which has the ability to fuel a tennis player like no other carbohydrate in a sense! In short, waxy maize starch is fast digesting, however it doesn’t upset your blood sugar levels like other fast digesting carbohydrates do. Therefore it is perfect to take before a match to ensure your muscle glycogen levels are full! It could also be used during as well as after your game to replenish your depleted muscle glycogen levels! As a tennis player it is vital that your muscle glycogen levels remain as full as possible to maximise your endurance! PhD Waxy Maize Starch is a superb supplement based on this very ingredient!

Protein

Bodybuilders and powerlifters are not the only guys who need plenty of protein! To ensure your body is always in peak condition as a tennis player you need to give your body the right nutrients to aid recovery! Protein is an essential nutrient in this process! Using a multi-blend time phased protein before a tennis match will ensure your muscles are drip fed muscle repairing amino acids! Right after your game you should take on some whey protein isolate to shuttle amino acids directly into the muscle cell. Remember, if your muscles aren’t recovered properly how can you perform to your maximum ability!? Gaspari Myofusion, PhD 6hr Blend and CNP Pro-Peptide are also excellent multi-blends. For fast acting isolate Gaspari Intrapro, Reflex Instant Whey and PhD Whey HT+ are all great options!

Those are the supplements which I would suggest are vital to any avid tennis player! Of course there are other supplements out there which can also benefit them, but these are the bare ‘essentials’

Maintain a good level of aerobic capacity whilst holding on to your hard earned lean muscle tissue can be a hard balancing act to pull off! It is mainly going to come down t genetics, your diet, what your cardio exercise is and how to use certain supplements. Let’s take average Joe who wants to have a ‘beach body’ physique, yet he also enjoys jogging 4 miles every weekend to keep his aerobic capacity high! What should he do to avoid muscle wastage? Here are 3 tips I would suggest to avoid becoming catabolic!

Utilise food!

If you plan on going for a jog to blow the cobwebs off and get your blood pumping, make sure your meals are feeding your muscles with the correct nutrients to decrease the chances of your body eating your muscle! Having at least 2 good meals, with very low G.I carbohydrates, protein and some healthy fats will help ensure your muscles are fuelled. This means your body should have less of a reason to resort to eating your muscle tissue. Post-jog be sure to take in some fast acting carbohydrates from a juicy fruit like pineapple or kiwi, and drink a high quality whey isolate formula such as PhD Whey, Reflex Instant Whey or Gaspari Intrapro! To ensure your body can hold on to lean muscle tissue, even though you jog regularly, don’t let your protein intake fall below 1.5g per pound of body weight!

Supplements!

There are certain supplements which will help keep you anabolic, so that you know when you are lacing up your running shoes your muscles aren’t going to be scoffed at! BCAAs are a must because they will help protect the muscles during your job, and they will also aid rapid recovery. L-Glutamine is another must because it too helps combat catabolism and increases the rate of protein synthesis in the muscle cell. Another supplement I would strongly advise you take before your jog is PhD Waxy Maize! This is a fantastic product which enables the body to replenish its muscle glycogen levels without causing too much of an unwanted insulin spike. Therefore your fat burning capabilities shouldn’t be compromised, yet you know your muscles are full to the brim so you shouldn’t lose muscle mass!

Cheat!

In order to ensure your muscles get in enough calories to recover after your jog, I would always recommend do your run on your cheat day! This is because your muscles will be more open to soaking up calories which helps with recovery, and it also helps you keep your body fat levels lower even when you’re cheating!

For those of you guys who like to carry muscle, but cannot bring yourself to hang up those running shoes this is what I would advise in order to maximise your retention of lean muscle tissue!

 

Part 1 of our ‘Tennis super feature’ discussed ways a tennis player can incorporate a form of resistance training into their schedule to improve their game. In part 2 we are going to discuss which foods should feature in a tennis player’s diet, and when is the best time for them to eat these foods! It goes without saying each athlete is an individual, therefore different foods work better for different people; however a lot of tennis players will benefit from these foods!

Day before match

As we have already established tennis is an extremely intense sport which can go on for hours, therefore it is vital the day before your nutrition is spot on! The day before a match as a tennis player you want to be aiming for 5 good quality meals, with around 2g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight! This has nothing to do with ‘muscle building’ instead it is purely to ensure there are adequate levels of energy available, which can last for the duration of the game. It is vital that the carbohydrates are very slow burning, so you need a very low G.I source of carbs. Sweet potato, brown pasta, brown rice, oats and brown bread are all great options! It is carbohydrates of this nature which provide energy for the longest periods of time, helping an athlete such as a tennis player sustain their endurance for as long as possible!

Morning of match

Breakfast is the most important meals of the day, we are told this from nursery school age! This is one of the few things I really took notice of from my school days!!! Breakfast is indeed the most important time of the day for a tennis player to get their day rolling before a big match! Oats, with mix of berries, ½ banana and some raisins all mixed together with water to make a scrumptious bowl of porridge is ideal! To compliment this, they should have between 100-200g of low fat natural yoghurt with some pineapple chunks to help spike their blood sugar levels. This will actually help them maintain steady blood sugar levels through the game which is vital for energy levels!

Pre-Match

Around 2 hours before a game a tennis player should look to get the final meal in to help ensure their muscle glycogen levels are loaded, their blood sugar levels are steady and they are ready to play! This meal should include slow burning carbohydrates, with sweet potato the best choice because it isn’t too heavy to digest! Protein is also an important nutrient for this meal to help stabilise the blood sugar levels and provide adequate muscle recovery nutrients to the player. White fish is a great choice here simply because it is a fast digesting protein which is easily broken down by the body. You don’t want a heavy slow digesting protein sat in your stomach whilst your playing a match!

During the match

As the match progress the tennis player’s energy levels will begin to fade, as their muscle glycogen levels become more and more depleted. Snacking on small amounts of banana during the short intervals between sets will help keep the muscle glycogen levels full and provide a trickle of energy.

Post-match

After a gruelling tennis match the player will be totally depleted, worn out and their muscles will need plenty of nutrients to help the process of recovery. Taking on some pineapple right after their match, along with some white toast and jam will give them some high glycemic carbohydrates to kick start the recovery! Approximately 45 minutes after this they can begin to take on a meal ideally with baked potato and some quality protein such as chicken to aid the recovery!

There you go tennis players, a comprehensive guide to show what you would ideally eat in the run up to a game, during the game and even afterwards!

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