One of the requirements of being an NASM personal trainer is earning continuing education credits. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the ISSN Sports Supplement Workshop here in Tampa. My friend Chuck invited me to go with him, and I immediately said yes. Sports, Nutrition, Education – sign me up!
It was an all day event with multiple sessions, ranging from body building overview to a session on sports nutrition for kids.
I took notes on all of the sessions, but really want to talk about two of them.
My favorite session was actually the first one of the day – Energy Thermodynamics Revisited: A Strategy for Improving Body Composition and Performance. The two speakers were amazing – Dan Benardot PhD,DHC, RD, LD, FACSM and Susan Kundrat, MS, RD, CSSD. Both individuals were incredibly knowledgable about the practical implications, which I really appreciated.
Here are a few highlights from Dr. Benardot:
- Humans are energy first systems. Energy needs to be used at the right time
- All physical activity results in an increased rate of energy expenditure and an increased rate of body fluid loss
- Physical active people don’t eat enough and they don’t drink enough – interesting because these are they most important aspects of a prime athlete
- Tend to supply needed energy and fluid after they need them – people don’t so this with their cars, so why do they do this with their bodies?
- Meal Size, meal frequency & diet quality – we have control over all of these things
- Leptin & Ghrelin – L deals with lower weight and G deals with higher weight
- 3 meals a day from a human physiology standpoint is too little. You end up with low blood sugar. Results in increased fat intake
- Increased energy intake is not matched with higher activity, resulting in higher body fat
- The longer you wait in between meals, the more insulin you will make, which in turn, turns into fat quicker
- Breakfast skipping is the worst – even before running, its important to get in at minimum 200 calories
Logic: A 25% reduction in energy intake will lead to a 25% reduction in weight
Reality:The amount of calories burned after weight loss is lower than would be expected by the amount of weight that was lost.You don’t just lose fat mass, but you also lose metabolic mass – not ideal. It becomes a temporary loss in weight, and then you bounce back up to normal.
The way we look at energy balance is not that accurate. Normally, we look at a 24 hour period, but this isn’t the right way. Our body functions differently from day to day, based on what we eat, when we exercise, etc.
Smaller, more frequent meals that dynamically match energy expenditure to stay in good energy balance throughout the day. He compared it to stopping many, many times on a cross-country trip to fill up a car –> makes perfect sense to me.
+- 400 calories throughout the day was associated with lower body fat levels. Energy balance can easily be corrected with just the moving around of some calories. For example, instead of eating a huge lunch and a small dinner, make the meals equal in calories, by not actually adding calories, just moving them around from lunch to dinner.
Susan, an incredibly smart Registered Dietician, was up next. She works with college athletes on a day to day basis to work through ways to get them to eat healthier for optimal performance. If you are a college athlete with limited funds, you may not always make the best nutritional choices. It is her job to make sure these students are educated and making good decisions.
Possible barriers to optimizing energy intake
- sleeping in – rather than eating breakfast
- knowing what to eat
- learning to prepare meals and snacks
- food cost
- finding time to eat during the day
- choosing high quality food
An optimum high performance nutrition program can be the difference between being a good athlete and being a great athlete
Take a 3 Tiered Approach
- Frequent Fueling (focus on timing)
- High-Quality Foods and Fluids
- Fine Tuning for Personalized Needs (weight management, bone strength, anemia prevention, immune enhancement)
Strategies for a healthy lifestyle
- Optimize Breakfast
- Eat every 3-4 hours during the day
- Fuel 1-2 hour before training and within 30-35 minutes after training
- Maximize nutrition
A few quick tips
- Getting in fuel early in the morning is critical. Just a greek yogurt and apple juice (easy for body to break down and not acidic) is even enough
- Optimal fats should be ingested to decrease inflammation and aid recovery – low fat diets inhibit optimal performance
- Focus on a wide range of protein sources to reach optimal performance – 1-2 protein sources per meal
- Branch Chain Amino Acids – aid in recovery, decrease soreness, etc.
Not eating after 7pm is a complete misnomer. People that do this actually have higher body fat percentage overall. Just be smart in what you eat throughout the day, and you will not need to even worry about such a thing. We eat food – we don’t eat nutrients or numbers.
After the session was over, we were given the chance to ask questions. I approached Susan with a question that has been on my mind lately. I asked her what she thinks of the Paleo diet trend that is going on right not. She mentioned that it is completely based on the individual. She mentioned that she has seen some good results from it, since it helps to get people to eat real food, rather than so much processed food that is out there right not. However, the same diet doesn’t work for everyone – no one should ever really be on one diet. She is all about being practical. It’s not always practical to go all one way, or all the other. Do a good mix of what works for you.
I mentioned that I really enjoyed 2 of the sessions, but I think I will have to leave you with one for now. This is a bit of information overload as it is. There was so much information presented, and I did my best to jot it down and soak it in. It was really incredible!
Have you ever been to a fitness based conference? What were your thoughts?