July 8, 2008

Sports Nutrition

With all the talk about hydration, sweat rate, electrolytes, carbo loading, etc. I decided to put together a spreadsheet to help sort everything out. Dug out about a half dozen sports nutrition books and my old notes from graduate school and made some calculators that determine:

*sweat rate
*fluid intake needed during exercise
*daily macronutrient intakes (carbohydrate, protein, fat) in grams and calories based on average number hours/training/day
*daily total calories based on avg hours training/day
*grams CHO (carbohydrate) needed during carbo loading up to 6 days pre-event
*grams CHO needed 1-4 hours prior to event
*grams CHO needed during event
*grams of CHO and protein needed during recovery (within 30 min of finish up 'til next full meal)
*list of supplements and what's in them (there's plenty of space for you to add more)

This is still a work in progress and has limitations:

*My hydration calculator does not take into account water losses from respiration or urination (who measures how many ounces they pee in the woods?).
*The macronutrient calculators are for ENDURANCE athletes, not strength/power/hypertrophy athletes.
*The total caloric needs are based on maintaining body weight, not weight loss or gain.

Once you've plunked in your body weight and gotten all of the grams and calories of each macronutrient you need, you have to be able to measure what you are actually consuming. I use and recommend FitDay, a nutrition tracking software that can be used for free (online version). You can also download a dirt cheap version that has a few more features, and you can add your own foods to the database.

Let the calculating begin!


Londell said...

Good luck... I have the purchased bersion of FitDay and like it...

Wayne said...

Looks like good stuff, Kel. Thanks.

Mindi said...

OK - I cannot follow the nutrition stuff this closely, I admit. However, I can tell you I bonked on the first long runs I did. Here is what I found to be key:

* Hydrate well the day before and eat a few salty foods - I usually don't eat much salt, but loose a ton of it when I run. My favorite is cheese b/c it has calcium, salt and is delish (yes, I live in WI)!

* bring a fuel belt (or whatever variation works for you) - bring water and gatorade and drink it - it is easy to forget.

* get gels with electrolytes. They make a huge difference and largely make the electrolyte pills unnecessary unless it is really hot. My favorites are E-Gels and Power Gels.

* drink a carb drink post long run - my favorites are endurox and accelerade- they are 3 parts carbs/1 part protein - supposedly the best for recovery. Another option people swear by is chocolate milk.

* Key - never give into the temptation to come back in from a long run and not refuel - particularly in the heat - you need the water and the carbs.

Good luck - you are going to kick but this October!!

Londell said...

I read elsewhere you run Hyland Wednesday's... what time... I may join up, if OK as hills are better with another in case we fall down and get hurt, someone can call 911...

Kel said...

Londell - I recommend FitDay to my clients (whether they are seeking weight loss, improved sports performance, or general health) as well as use it myself. I don't run Hyland on Weds, but I'm pretty sure someone said they do (can't remember who).

Wayne - hope you find it useful!

Mindi - I've learned that running trails is completely different than running roads, at least for me. Many of us are already carrying sports drink with us (and drinking 30+ oz/hour), consuming gels with electrolytes, carbo loading before hand, and refueling immediately after with the 4:1 CHO:protein ratio (I prefer Endurox R4, yogurt and chocolate milk fill the bill too) - and still ending up with muscle cramping, swollen hands, upset stomachs, etc. Most gels only contain 30-40 mg Na - I didn't stop cramping until I was taking 400 mg/hour. I finally figured it out after multiple trials over the last few months. Thank you S caps!!

For those who choose to play with the spreadsheets, hopefully it will help you dial in what works for you. At least it provides a starting point ;)

Steve said...

I'll check this one out, Kel. Thanks for sharing!