The Importance of Post-Workout Salt for Athletes...& Some of Our Favorite Recovery Snacks!
Summer is finally here, and with it comes both heat and humidity. Whether you are working out to stay (or get) in shape, or training for a marathon or triathlon, the increase in temperature may decrease your performance if you do not adjust your intake. Dehydration is a main contributing factor to poor performance and fatigue during training or racing. During the first few weeks of these hot summer months, your body will increase sweat output during strenuous exercises - as a cooling mechanism to keep your body temperature in check. This extra loss of fluids and electrolytes (primarily sodium) needs to be replenished, to prevent dehydration and plummeting performance. Starting at what seems like a small fluid loss, (about 2% of your body weight), you will already suffer from decrease strength, reaction time and endurance during physical activities. There is no easier way to stay energized this summer than ensuring you stay hydrated.
WHAT TO DRINK?
We know that every cell in our body need water, and we also know how crucial it is to drink adequate water throughout the day. When determining whether to drink water or a sports drink, consider environmental conditions as well as exercise duration and intensity. If your workout is between 45 minutes to an hour or longer, a sports drink may be useful in providing fuel (carbs), in addition to replacing fluids and key electrolytes lost in sweat. As the intensity and duration of your workout increases, you'll need to replace more fluids and electrolytes - makes sense, right? For shorter workouts in the intense heat, you may still want to choose electrolyte water. There are many brands that offer low or no calorie electrolyte waters as ready to drink or packets you can mix with water for pre, during or post shorter duration HOT training sessions. I like the unflavored Propel Electrolyte Water best, as it has zero calories, zero flavor and the same electrolyte profile as Gatorade. It tastes like water and does not have any artificial sweeteners. They do make flavored packets as well - for those who want lighter portability or flavor (those contain Sucralose to sweeten them).
POST WORKOUT REPLACEMENT!
You may already know that post-workout fuel should incorporate both protein and carbohydrate, in order to repair muscles and refuel "your engine." However, you can further optimize your post-workout recovery with the addition of fluids with salt, which will help replace electrolyte loss during exercise, and promote fluid balance/rehydration. Of course this is especially important during the sweltering heat of the summer. Try these post-workout re
ing options, to help keep your electrolyte balance in check.
***The following recipes are post-workout snacks we enjoy and hope you enjoy. They have been modified from their original versions by our Nutrition Energy Dietitian team, in order to suit the dietary post-workout needs of athletes.
PB & J Bites:
Makes 21 1-inch size bites (1 serving = 3 bites)
- 10 Dates
- ½ cup of Dried Cherries
- 1 cup Salted Peanuts (the added sodium will help replenish the sodium lost in the sweat during physical activity)
- ½ cup Rolled Oats
- ¼ cup Dried Egg White Protein Powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Pulse and blend all the ingredients in a food processor, for about 1-2 minutes, until the mixture sticks together.
- Form 1-inch size balls/bites.
2. Bloody Mary Mocktail:
Makes 3 Servings
- 3 Cups of V8 Vegetable Juice
- 1 tsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp. tabasco sauce
- Combine the vegetable juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and tabasco sauce in a small pitcher.
- Serve over ice and garnish with celery.
**Note: This will help replace needed sodium post training. We recommend pairing with a balanced carb + protein snack (see above for ideas), for full muscle recovery.
Nutrition Energy's 8 Top Tips to Get More Fruits and Vegetables onto Your Plate:
We all know we should eat our fruits and veggies-but WHEN...& HOW often get in the way. We are here to simplify this for you! June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month. What better way to head into the summer months than to be happily eating more vibrant and colorful fruits and vegetables? Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and water. We at Nutrition Energy are certainly suckers for both the great taste and
magnificent nutrition profile
of fresh produce, and hope you are (or will be) too. Try some of our suggestions below, but don't be afraid to get creative and
" fruit and vegetable combinations. Here are 8 tips on how to easily start increasing your fruit and vegetable intake.
Tip 1: Go veggie crazy when preparing your omelets. Eggs make a quick and easy meal any time of the day. Don't feel like cooking in the heat...just whip up some eggs! Add peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, scallions, broccoli or other vegetables of your choice to your eggs for a delicious combo. Don't waste a moment wondering whether the finished omelette will look perfect, or fretting if the omelet breaks (we've all been there!). Regardless of what happens visually, you will end up with a scrumptious and healthy
scramble, which you can pair with beans & avocado or fruit or a whole wheat tortilla for a satisfying and sustaining meal.
Tip 2: Add cauliflower to your smoothie. Yes, I know this might sound unconventional and weird, but if it's blended well, you will never even know it's in there. Cauliflower is nutrient rich and keeps frozen for several months. Try it and let us know what you think!
Tip 3: Craving pizza? - Turn your slice into a haven for fruit and veggies and find just how filling and nutritious one loaded slice can be. Think of the pizza as a blank canvas, and add your favorite fruits and vegetables to create the ultimate pizza masterpiece! **Bonus if you go the extra mile and make a cauliflower pizza crust.
Tip 4: Love Pasta? - Try using a spiralizer to create zucchini noodles aka: "zoodles". We recommend starting by making a marinara sauce loaded with vegetables, chopping mushrooms, eggplant, carrots, onions, and even squash to your tomato base to give your sauce a great texture as well as a nutrient and flavor boost. Use the sauce over your "
noodles" and even for your pizza in tip 3.
Tip 5: Have we mentioned cauliflower before...? Yes, we have. Because cauliflower is such a star vegetable and is extremely versatile, it is featured in three tips. Tip #5 is to pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor to make "Cauliflower Rice." Sauté it in a skillet over medium heat in a tablespoon of oil, using a lid to cover and create steam to make it tender. Cook for 5-8 minutes. It comes out light and fluffy and can be used as a base for your Buddha bowls, or as a substitute for your favorite rice dishes. Try it on your non-veggies lover friends and see what they think-they just might be pleasantly surprised.
Tip 6: Make hummus more flavorful by adding beets...or make your own hummus with 50% chickpeas and 50% beets. Beets are rich in the antioxidant betacyanin, which gives it that red vibrant color. Beet hummus is not only beautiful, but makes a healthy and nutrient dense on-the-go snack when paired with baby carrots or celery sticks. We dare you to make some and try it!
Tip 7: June is the time of the year when it officially becomes impossible to say no to ice cream. And while you all know that we are a group of Dietitians who are fans of purposely indulging in our favorite treats, we do also sometimes need healthier alternatives. Try blending some of your favorite fruit with ½ cup of low fat yogurt and freezing in molds or on sticks in the freezer, to make a refreshingly healthy popsicles that are 100% natural and 100% healthy (read-ok to eat for breakfast or with lunch and never feel guilty!) You can also add tiny choc chips or coconut flakes if desired.
Tip 8: Craving something salty and crunchy? - Try making kale chips, which are rich in vitamins A, K, C, and calcium-and satisfy that salty crunch craving. Want something on the sweeter side? Slice up ripe bananas or plantains and roast them.
The New Gatorade Endurance Formula
Gatorade has just announced their Gatorade Endurance Formula has been reformulated. This new formulation no longer contains any artificial sweeteners or flavors and also has a lighter flavor designed for prolonged training periods. Gatorade Endurance now offers a multi-carbohydrate blend which will aid in performance and lowering the risk of stomach discomfort during a hard training session or race.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch run and tasting of the new Gatorade Endurance Formula in NYC. I had the pleasure of meeting, speaking and running with many amazing people including GSSI scientist Matthew Pahnke, PhD (@MatthewPahnke), NASCAR great and amazing triathlete Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson), Women's Running Mag Editor in Chief Jessie Sebor (@JessieSebor), Michelle Martin (@mzkm) and many others. We had a great run and strength training session, then sampled all three flavors of the new Endurance Formula. It tasted great, went down smoothly and kept us going strong through both pieces of the evenings' sweat fest. Thanks for the invitation and a great evening!
Product Review: Gatorade Endurance
We LOVE the new Gatorade Endurance Formula! Love that they made the flavor lighter, without sacrificing the much needed carb & sodium content. Love that there is a new cherry flavor in powdered form, and that it is clear (no artificial colors or dyes; uses only Beta Carotene). Love that they changed the carbohydrate blend to reflect recent science and allow absorption of up to 90 grams of (much needed) carbohydrate per hour during exercise with less risk of GI upset. We are very excited that this will be the drink on course at all IronMan branded events and many marathons, including our home event, the NYC marathon this November! Stay tuned for another Sports Nutrition and Hydration for Endurance Athletes Clinic in Central Park this summer-with new Gatorade Endurance Formula sampling. Email or tweet is if you'd like us to inform you of that event date and time once we have it.
Run + optimal hydration with friends = lots of fun!!!
A Note from Lauren...
Summer has definitely arrive in full force! The mercury is rising and the humidity is setting in - thank goodness for cool breezes, weekends at the beach, and ice cream trucks! :)
The most important rule to remember is hydration - and not just for athletes! Everyone needs to increase their fluid intake during the summer months - whether it's through water, other cool beverages, or hydrating fruits and vegetables! Of course, athletes need additional hydration to replenish what they lose in sweat, especially when training for longer periods of time.
Now, don't be using the heat and humidity as an excuse NOT to exercise. Just because the temperature is high, doesn't mean exercise outside isn't possible. Exercise is more challenging in these conditions, so plan ahead and stay safe. Try to exercise in the early morning or early evening when the temperatures are a little lower, drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise, and make sure to listen to your body and not push beyond your limits.
Have questions regarding safely exercising in the heat? Tweet us
or let us know on
. Need some summer motivation? Come see the dietitians at Nutrition Energy and we'll help you stay on track with your goals through the heat of summer!
Lauren Antonucci, Director