• Muscle cramps during exercise
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Muscle cramps during exercise

    Muscle cramps during exercise are relatively common and have been investigated for decades but remain a mystery. Scientists have identified potential risk factors, causes and solutions but evidence is not very solid. Exercise-associated muscle cramps Also known as EAMC, these are cramps that happen during or immediately after exercise (1, 2). Muscle cramps occur in a wide range of athletes participating in a variety of disciplines. These are most commonly reported in endurance-type sports and team sports (1) although this could be due to research bias. EMAC are usually a minor inconvenience but they can vary in intensity and duration, with a very small percentage of the population experiencing severe…

  • Nitrate and exercise performance
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Nitrate and exercise performance

    Nitrate and exercise performance is one of the most studied topics in sports nutrition. Nitrate is one of the handful of ergogenic substances with solid evidence behind them. Keep reading to find out what is nitrate, its roles in the body and how it can benefit your athletic endeavours. What is nitrate Nitrate (NO3−) is an anion, i.e. a molecule with more electrons than protons. Nitrate is naturally found in plant foods such as leafy greens and root vegetables, including lettuce, spinach, rocket, celery and beetroot (1, 2). The role of nitrate in the body Some of the nitrate taken in the diet is converted to nitric oxide (NO) (1,…

  • Can magnesium improve exercise performance
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Can magnesium improve exercise performance?

    Last week we talked about magnesium and health. This week we answer the next logical question: Can magnesium improve exercise performance? What is magnesium? As a reminder, magnesium is an essential mineral present mainly in bone and other tissues in the body. Magnesium and exercise As seen in the previous article, magnesium is involved in many functions in the body, including energy metabolism, bone development, muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium can bind to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy currency in the body (1). It can also bind enzymes that act on RNA and DNA (2). In addition, magnesium is involved in the balance of other essential elements in…

  • Exercising in the heat
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Training

    Exercising in the heat

    Exercising in the heat represents a number of challenges for an athlete, ranging from discomfort to severe health threats. This is particularly relevant this year, as we approach the summer Olympic games in Tokyo, where temperature and other ambient conditions can be severe and non-predictable. Effects of heat on the body Our bodies function best at temperatures between 35 and 39°C (1). Exercise stress can result in exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome, which consists in decreased integrity and function of the gastrointestinal system. This condition is worsened when our core temperature goes up to 39°C. A compromised gut can, in turn, cause other issues such as bacteria entering the bloodstream, decreased nutrient…

  • Krav Maga
    Blog,  Fitness,  Training

    What is Krav Maga and why I do it

    Krav Maga is the self-defence system used by the Israeli Defence Force. Therefore, it is not a sport, a martial art or a fitness class. Krav Maga was created by Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1940s for army purposes. He later adapted the system for civilian populations. There is a grading system that works like most martial arts: with a belt system that reflects the practitioner’s level. This is mainly to determine which techniques are taught to which people. More advanced practitioners, for example, learn third-party protection (i.e. how to defend others). Training topics include holds (e.g. chokes – including head locks, wrist grabs, shirt grabs, bear hugs, takedowns, etc.), weapons…

  • Weightlifting
    Blog,  Fitness,  Training

    What is weightlifting and why I do it

    Weightlifting or Olympic weightlifting (a.k.a. Oly lifting or lifting) is an Olympic sport (hence the name) that consists of 2 lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk (see videos below). When people ask me what I do for exercise (I look fairly strong and fit for a woman my age), I just say “weightlifting” knowing that most people will assume I mean “I lift (pink) weights” or “I do bodybuilding”. Less often, some people think I do powerlifting, which is a completely different beast. I tried to avoid saying the word “Olympic” because some people think this means I actively participate in the Olympic games (LOL!). Training for Olympic…