Certified Sports Nutrition
TOP 3 REASONS TO SEE A CERTIFIED SPORTS NUTRITIONIST
As a naturopathic doctor and certified sports nutritionist, it’s my responsibility to help patients make more intuitive decisions around food. You can eat all the healthy foods in the world but, without these essentials in place, it will inevitably be very difficult to maintain an optimal balance in your nutrition and diet.
One of the most fundamental aspects for nutrition is ensuring you have enough recovery. I mean this in a couple different ways:
Enough sleep over night. Sleep is essential for regeneration, including for our digestive system and for muscle growth. We don’t grow muscle during a workout, we do it at night in response to the release growth hormone. Many people I work with have trouble with insomnia which can alter our blood sugar regulation, appetite and cravings which makes it more difficult to stay on a meal plan.
Secondly, having enough rest between workouts and periods of recovery in training programs. This rest allows your body to catch up to the physical demand you’ve been putting on it. I work with my athletes to spot the signs of overtraining.
Thirdly, recovery from a strict meal plan. Give yourself a break periodically to enjoy food and experiences with friends and family. I frequently schedule such meal plan breaks in with my patients. I also encourage my athletes to be strict only 80% of the time which leaves 20% room to enjoy.
Lastly, a staple I try to include is enough recovery for the digestive tract, or time over night for the digestion process: i.e. not eating too late one day and too early the next. Our digestive tracts require approx. 8 hrs to finish digesting our food from the previous day and another 4h to complete our natural detoxification pathways. In general, I try to have my patients leave 12h between dinner one day and breakfast the next – kind of like an intermittent overnight fast.
During the training and outdoor seasons, Vancouverites tend to work their bodies A LOT! Even as a weekend warrior, if you do more than 6 hrs of physical activity with elevated heart rate then it’s A LOT. Why is this important to know?
Your body has a finite amount of energy – there is a limit in how much energy your body has and can use. Where the energy goes in your body depends on the demands on your body. Your body must decide how much goes to your immune system, digestion, muscles, etc. If you do not eat enough and work out a lot, then your body must start making difficult choices.
Does your body send most of the energy to your muscles for recovery? What happens if you do not have enough energy to produce hormones? In the case of progesterone or estrogen, periods may become irregular in women. Likewise, low testosterone – a hormone that’s important in men & women – decreases long-term performance and can show up as a plateau, or even regression, in performance. Or what if there is not enough energy to go to your immune system? Then, you may end up sick more often and for longer with more time off of training.
How much energy overall – or the upper limit of energy – is dependent on how much you eat. In order to build a strong body, the amount of calories we eat through food must match how much we are working out. That way, all the systems of the body are working optimally.
How do you know if you’re eating enough calories in your diet? Well, if you are constantly hungry, this is your body telling you it needs food. And sometimes, it’s just about knowing your body and what it’s trying to tell you. A big part of my medical practice is trying to decipher appetite, cravings and what they mean.
The optimal amount of protein is dependent on your goal for training. In general, the algorithms used to calculate the value are:
(Between 0.8 to 1.2) X (your body weight in lbs) = (in g protein)
For example: If I weigh 120 lbs, I strive to get 120 g of protein in a day in order to build muscle.
CAUTION: If you have a medical diagnosis or condition(s), please consult a doctor on the right amount of protein for you.
This is not as easy as you’d think! Let’s say, you ate:
2 eggs on toast and avocado for breakfast.
For lunch, a salad with some tofu.
And, dinner is chicken with sweet potatoes and veggies.
That sounds like you’d be obtaining enough protein from your diet because there is a protein source which each meal. In truth, you’d only be getting 60-80 g of protein – which in my case, is only half of my goal protein intake.
In addition, you want to make sure that you have variety in your protein sources – not just animal! Healthy plant sources include:
And especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian, ensuring that you have a variety of complete protein sources throughout the day. Ex:
* Rice and beans
* Beans and corn
* Whole grain toast and nut butter
You can begin to see why it’s important to have someone with a nutrition background make you a meal plan to ensure you eat enough rest, calories, and protein!
A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR
As a naturopathic doctor with a CISSN sports nutrition certification, much of what I do in medical practice every day is create meal plans for athletes to cover their nutrition and dietary needs to achieve their performance goals. If you are interested in a meal plan that is tailored to your individual needs, book in for a free 15 min Meet & Greet at: mvmtlab.janeapp.com