Sports nutrition

  • Caffeine, athletes, sleep and recovery
    Blog,  Diet,  Fitness,  Health,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Effect of caffeine on sleep and recovery

    Caffeine is a well-recognised performance-enhancing substance, but the effect of caffeine on athlete sleep and recovery is less known. Coffee and caffeine Caffeine is the most prominent component of coffee and the reason why most people who drink coffee do so. Caffeine is not only present in coffee but coffee is likely the most popular caffeine-containing item among other foods (e.g. tea, chocolate) and supplements (e.g. pre-workout, gums, tablets). As a reminder, the actual amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee varies depending on many factors (learn more in Coffee and health. However, most standard coffee drinks will contain somewhere between 65 and 120mg of caffeine. Caffeine metabolism As…

  • 5 ways to eat more protein
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    5 ways to eat more protein

    Many people struggle to eat enough protein, for example athletes and older adults. Below are 5 ways to eat more protein without necessarily adding volume or energy to your meals. 1. Choose higher protein versions of the same food These days you can find high protein yoghurt, milk, cereal, bread, wraps, pasta, etc. Hence, the easiest way of increasing your protein intake is to choose a higher protein version of the same foods you are already eating. On this topic, many people choose plant-based dairy food substitutes (e.g. milk, yoghurt) without realising that most contain less protein than the dairy-based option. 2. Increase the protein portion size This is the…

  • Why bodyweight matters in sport
    Blog,  Sports nutrition

    Why bodyweight matters in sport

    In recent years, there has been a tendency away from measuring bodyweight in the general population and within sport. While it is true that obsessing with the number on the scale can be detrimental to mental health and overall health by extension, there are several reasons why bodyweight matters in sport. In this article we will use the terms bodyweight, weight and mass interchangeably, with full knowledge that mass is the correct term. Why bodyweight matters in sport Weight and body fat percentage are not necessarily proxies for exercise performance. However, this does not mean getting on the scales is useless. Below are some of the several aspects of sport…

  • How to adjust carbohydrate intake
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    How to adjust carbohydrate intake

    How to adjust carbohydrate intake is the third article in this short series dedicated to this important source of fuel for physical activity. We have described what are carbohydrates and the use of carbohydrate for sports. In theory, carbohydrate requirements can be calculated knowing a few variables, however in practice there is often a mismatch between estimated and actual requirements. Sources of mismatch Wrong calculations Biological factors These include insulin sensitivity and glucose oxidation rates, which will determine how much carbohydrate the athlete can actually use for fuel. Health conditions Actual vs predicted output In many cases, this is the biggest source of mismatch. Some athletes can predict with a…

  • Carbohydrate for sports
    Blog,  Diet,  Food,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Carbohydrate for sports

    The use of carbohydrate for sports has been well-known for several decades. The amount and timing of carbohydrate intake depends on many factors, including the duration, intensity and type of exercise. Roles of carbohydrate in sport As seen in the previous article, the main role of carbohydrate in the body is the production of energy. During exercise, this can translate to: In the time between training or competition bouts, carbohydrate intake is important to: The amount of carbohydrate an athlete requires during and around exercise depends on several factors: It is important to mention the fact that the individual factors listed above can change with habits. When it comes to…

  • Sodium in sports
    Blog,  Diet,  Fitness,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Sodium in sports

    At the population level, health authorities recommend limiting sodium intake to prevent chronic conditions. However, the role of sodium in sports is more complicated, as this electrolyte plays important roles related to performance and recovery. Roles of sodium As seen in the article How much salt is too much?, sodium has roles in the maintenance of plasma volume and transmission of nerve impulses. In addition, it is needed for muscle contraction and glucose transport into cells. As a reminder, glucose is essential for energy production during most types of exercise, as well as recovery post-exercise. Sodium in sports How do we lose sodium The main ways we lose sodium is…

  • eating in Israel
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Eating in Israel for fuel and pleasure 2023

    This is an update on my previous article eating in Israel for fuel and pleasure based on my experience in a Krav Maga training camp, one of the top travel experiences in my life. This time my expectations were high, but my focus was different. The first trip was for an Immersion camp, open to people of all levels. This means training was not super intense. In addition, more than 20 people were from my gym in Sydney, so I felt less social anxiety. This time, I attended an Advanced Instructor Training program, so I knew it would be more technical and intense. We were only 4 Australians attending. Based…

  • Making weight for BJJ
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Making weight for BJJ

    Competing in combat disciplines and other weight category sports require athletes to make weight. In this article we’ll explore what are the challenges and common mistakes when making weight for BJJ. What is making weight? In many sports, including combat disciplines, athletes compete in weight categories (a.k.a. classes) with the purpose of making competition more fair. The actual categories depend on the sport and other factors such as the affiliation or type of event (e.g. Olympic Games vs world championship). Making weight refers to the process of manipulating an athlete’s weight to fall within the limits of their weight class. This usually involves losing weight as it is advantageous for…

  • Training the gut
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Training the gut

    Training the gut is a sports nutrition strategy designed to allow athletes to handle increased amounts of food and fluid to meet their training and competition requirements. Gastrointestinal symptoms Many athletes, particularly those participating in intense and/or prolonged exercise, suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort. The symptoms are highly individual and can include bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting (1, 2). On the most severe end of the spectrum, athletes may experience ischemic colitis and small bowel infarctions, which may require surgical resection (2). Regardless of severity, GI symptoms can certainly affect both performance and recovery (2). Factors The following factors play a role in the development of gastrointestinal symptoms in…

  • Sleep and nutrition in athletes
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Sleep and nutrition in athletes

    Sleep and nutrition in athletes is an often overlooked aspect of recovery and performance. In this article, we explore the multiple factors that can affect an athlete’s sleep quality and quantity. Sleep in athletes Many athletes suffer from sleep issues, including short duration of sleep (a.k.a. sleep deprivation) and sleep disturbances (e.g. insomnia, waking up at night) (1, 2). The factors that may contribute to sleep issues in athletes include: Muscle soreness (1) and pain Intense training (1) Early or late training sessions or competition (2, 3, 4) Poor sleep hygiene, including screen use close to bedtime (2, 3) Stress, nerves and/or anxiety due to competition or other reasons (2,…