Friday, September 16, 2011

Food Facts Friday! FLUIDS!

So, this blog has already shown its value! This past week, my niece came to the gym with me. Cool, right? She wanted her old Aunty to show her some upper body strength and conditioning exercises. We worked on Chest, Shoulders and Triceps. Then, the moment happened.....
My Niece & L'il Red at the WTC Run To Remember
...she told me she has been running! Wow! You go girl! But wait, there is more .... I asked her if she was enjoying running aaaaaaand ... she said, "YES!"

I am so happy - I could cry! Tears of joy, of course - see because I would like to think that I was tad bit inspirational here! 

So we got to talking about running and she asked me some questions about drinking water and running:
  • Do you drink water before you run? How much?
  • Do you carry a water bottle with you when you run?
  • What do you drink when you run?
  • After your done running, do you drink water, gatorade, low fat chocolate milk?
Excellent questions girl! These are universal questions with answers that every athlete should be familiar with - especially runners.

Runners need fluids because they can easily become dehydrated - which could lead to some serious overheating - potentially resulting in cramping, nausea, stomach ailments, confusion, weakness and fatigue. Still, we also do not want to over-hydrate, because this can lead to hyponatremia.

Hyponatremia can occur if the rate at which you are taking in fluids, exceeds the rate at which you are losing fluids, like through sweating. During hyponatremia, blood-salt levels are diluted, which oddly enough, can present symptoms similar to dehydration: cramping, nausea, stomach ailments, confusion, weakness and fatigue. And apparently smaller and slower long distance runners - or those who are not well trained - are at the biggest risk of hyponatremia because they are drinking more fluids over the course of time while trying to finish a long distance run.

So here are some general guidelines for FLUID Intake, before, during and after a run:
  • Drink 2 cups (1 cup is 8 ounces) of fluids 2 hours before running.
  • Drink 5 to 10 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. (Note: If I am running less than 1 hour, I don't usually carry a water bottle with me - unless the temperature and humidity are unusually high).
  • During a race, try to get about 3 to 5 swallows before tossing those little cups full of fluid.
  • After running, drink at least 2 cups of fluids for every pound lost. 
  • If you regularly workout for more than an hour, determine your sweat rate: weigh yourself, nude, before a workout, work out for one hour, dry yourself off and re-weigh yourself, nude.  Re: For every pound lost, consume 16ounces of fluids.
This is all great, but I bet you're wondering, "What does she mean by 'fluids'"? 

Water is fine, especially if you are exercising less than one hour.
Sports drinks are recommended for workouts that are one hour or longer.

Sports drinks are recommended for workouts that are 1 hour or longer because they contain some sugars (hint: avoid those with high fructose corn syrup). These sugars fuel our muscles and brain, while providing electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and chloride, which enhance our ability to absorb and retain fluids. 
No HFCS's Here!
Now, about that low fat chocolate milk...

If you are working out for about an hour or more, the ACSM recommends that a recovery drink or snack, be consumed within the first two hours after the endurance exercise. This recovery drink or snack, such as lowfat chocolate milk, yogurt, or a peanut butter sandwich, should have a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. The idea here is to maximize muscle recovery, while minimizing the DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness.

The low fat chocolate milk and recovery drinks have received a great deal of press lately - and that has to do with the fact that they contain whey protein. Whey protein is easily broken down and absorbed by the body, which could help speed muscle recovery, especially after an endurance workout. Of course natural sources of whey protein, such as low fat chocolate milk, yogurt and ricotta cheese, trump the processed whey found in a sport recovery drink.

Still, sports recovery drinks have their rightful place in recovery efforts - they are convenient and provide whey protein without lactose - which is good for those of us who are lactose intolerant.

My Favorite Powdered Recovery Drink
Well, a big thank-you to my niece, who inspired me to write this blog entry - I hope I can continue to inspire you to run, be active, eat healthfully and

Train Smart Today! 

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