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Sports Nutrition


  1. I'm looking for a sports dietitian. Where can I find one in my area? Answer
  2. When is it appropriate for an athlete to eat before a game? How much water do I need? Answer
  3. I am a dietitian and am interested in entering the field of sports nutrition. How do I go about entering? Answer
  4. I play year round premier soccer. I seem to be gaining weight, but I have no clue where it's going. Answer
  5. I read with great appreciation your insight into the need for or lack of extra protein for athletes. Answer
  6. I am an ex-offensive football lineman. I wish to gain 5 - 10 pounds of lean mass and remove the spare tire. What shoudl I eat to achieve my goals? Answer
  7. Am I doing things OK for my goal of inreasing lean body mass? Is there a supplement that can help me with my goals? Answer
  8. I want to reduce my body fat by 2 - 3% down to 9 to 10%. Answer
  9. I was using a rough guess for body fat using things like weight, height, frame type, waist size, etc. Answer


  10. I am a basketball official in the college and university ranks. They want to find out what officials are in the best of condition. What is the best supplement to take the day of the run? Answer
  11. I hear people at my gym talk about protein shakes and amino acid pills. Is there a way of measuring our diets to see if we eat properly? Answer
  12. I am looking for any information you might be able to email to me dealing with hydrostatic weighing. Answer
  13. I am an exercise physiologist. I entered body fat of 7% and I want to get to 5%. Your calculator said I should eat over 4500 calories. I don't think that is possible, do you? Answer
  14. Would you be able to provide me with instructins on how to determine body fat percentage using lots of fat roll measuerments and frame measurements over my whole body? Answer
  15. I run 3 miles per day followed by 1 mile walking. I have body fat of 10% and would prefer it to be 5%. Your calculator says I need 2500 to 3000 calories. I only take in about 1600 and never lose or gain weight. Answer
  16. I am the father of a high school wrestler. He got down to 107. How can we get him down to weight in at 105 pounds the next 3 weeks and not give up strength and endurance? Answer
  17. I am collecting articles for young basketball players to improve their game. Can you direct me to a nutrition / diet source I can use to educate them? Answer
  18. I am a 24 year old masters swimmer. I have ben getting cramps a lot recently. I am taking a potassium supplement. However this hasn't solved my problem. Answer
  19. I am working on my thesis on body image of athletes versus team sport athletes. I am having a very hard time locating current research on this topic. Answer


  20. I want to gain mass in the form of muscle mass or fatty mass. I am a football player. I will get killed unless I put on some bulk and fast. Answer
  21. I have been told that soft drinks are extemely bad nutriitonally. I was told by one of my track coaches taht they could negate the effects of cardiovascular training. Answer
  22. I would like to get an idea of a good diet that would be for my activity level. My exercise consists of basketball, racquetball, running and some weights. Answer
  23. Recently I went for a fitness test and was tested with 28.4% body fat. The fitness instructor advised that I lose 10 pounds of weight and reduce my body fat percentage to less than 20%. Answer
  24. I am a 15 year old runner. Would you be able to lend me some tips on what to eat and drink prior to the 5K runs? Answer
  25. I am a long distance runner and follow a low dairy lacto-ovoo vegetarian diet. I would like an analysis of my diet. Answer
  26. I started weight training and began taking MetRx . Then I heard about B/G algae. I also started taking Pycnogenol for hay fever. I don't know if I am taking too much? Answer
  27. I do a lot of running. I don't like eating and/or I can't eat enough to keep my energy level up. Answer
  28. Do they still encourage carboloading for athletes? Answer
  29. My swimming coach told me to lose 15 pounds. I am 15 years old. I don't feel fat. Answer


I'm looking for a sports dietitian. Where can I find one in my area?

If you are looking for a dietitian with expertise in sports nutrition go to Find a Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionist RD and click on your state on the map of the U.S. You can also find a dietitian at the American Dietetic Association. Include your zip code or city / state, the type of service you want (individual consultation) and expertise in sports nutrition.


I have some questions, that I need the answers for a paper by tonight.

When is it appropriate for an athlete to eat before a game? What are the nutrients an athlete needs? How much water do I take in during a game and how often do I need that water? I need to know ASAP.

Athletes should eat a meal at least 4 hours before a game and drink at least 2 cups of liquid one hour before a game as well as drinking water during a game. You want to stay fueled and hydrated for best performance.

Depending on the athlete's sport (most are start and stop like football, basketball, baseball, hockey), nutrient needs are not higher for athletes than for non-athletes other than protein in sports that require a larger muscle mass (football) and cabohydrate in sports like running that burn a lot of fuel. Remember that athletes spend more calories than non-athletes and tend to eat more food. Food has nutrients so any increased vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin and niacin that help convert fuel to energy for the body would be provided by the additional food an athlete eats.

You want to be hydrated before your game and stay hydrated during a game. One way to determine how much water you need is to weigh yourself just before you suit up for a game and weigh yourself after a game (assuming no one dumped the cooler on your head) before you shower. That way any sweat you lost that has evaporated would be reflected in the difference between your pre-game weight and your post game weight. One gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. So for every 2 pounds you lost during a game, you should drink an extra quart of water next game. Measure how much water is in your water bottle and then use that volume to determine how many water bottles you need to drink. Plan to drink water over the course of a game. If you need an additional 1 quart of liquid due to sweat loss and a game lasts 4 hours, then you should drink 1 cup or 8 ounces of water every hour. Another variable in planning how much water your drink is the temperature and humidity where the game is played. If the temperatures are above 70 and the humidity is above 50%, you will need to drink more liquid and may not sweat as much especially if your uniform covers most of your body which would prevent any sweat from evaporating which cools the body.


I am a registered dietitian and am interested in entering the field of sports nutrition. Most of my clinical experience so far has been in long term care. Please advise me on how to go about entering sports nutrition. Also please inform me about any web sites in this area of nutrition. Thank you.

First, explore what job possibilities there are in your community. I would recommend you network with dietitians who practice sports nutrition in your area. Find out what market there is for another sports nutritionist. Are there professional sports teams or a sports medical clinic where you live or a college with a Physical Education or Exercise Physiology department where you could teach.

Second, would suggest you join SCAN which is the sports and cardiovascular nutrition DPG (dietetic practice group) of the American Dietetic Association. SCAN has a great newsletter.

Third, I would recommend taking sports nutrition CEUs (continuing education units) from reputable people like exercise physiologists or sports dietitians at your local university, community college or sports nutrition conferences.

Lastly, Melvin Williams has written a good book "Nutrition for Fitness and Sport". Read it or "Exercise Physiology" by Frank Katch, Vic Katch and William McArdle.

Good luck with your career change.


Please Please Please answer this question. I'm 16 year old female 5 feet 7 inches and 155 pounds. I play year round premier soccer, high school soccer, I'm currently weight lifting and I jog. I wear the same clothes I wore at 140 pounds and my clothes fit exactly the same or better. Only I seem to still be gaining weight, but I have no clue where it's going. It's really depressing.

I'm not going to have a eating problem or anything, but I really, really want to know if I'm eating too much and why I'm gaining weight and where it's going etc etc. I'm very active as you can see above and track starts next week. Please respond.

Considering your exercise routine, you are probably putting on muscle. I would bet at 155 that you have lost inches from your ankles to your neck compared to when you weighed 140. To make you feel better, you could have your body fat tested by a Registered Dietitian or an exercise physiologist. If your body fat is lean for your age (normal is 17 to 27 for your age so lean would be less than 17% body fat), then regular weight charts would be way off and inappropriate for you.

Think about this. Go to a grocery store and pick up three 5 pound sacks of sugar or flour. Now imagine that much volume physically distributed on your body from your knees to your neck. How could you be gaining fat when you have gained 15 pounds and your clothes still fit the same or better??? You probably added 15 pounds of muscle!

I can't tell you if you are eating too much, but if you eat 3 meals a day with a variety of food (meat, milk, fruit, vegetable, grains with a little fat and sugar), relax. Take a look at some pictures of female Olympic track stars. They have huge legs to run on. They aren't skinny minnies! They are strong, healthy women.


I read with great appreciation your insight into the need for or lack of extra protein for athletes. As a high school coach I fight this battle of supplements every day with young athletes. I keep trying to explain that there are no magic pills. A good balanced diet with plenty of variety is best.

Currently I am recommending that our athletes are 55-60% complex carbos with 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight. I recommend about 15% fat in the diet with very little saturated fat.

Please let me know if there are problems with this. I have booked marked your site and plan on visiting often.

Bravo and congrats on sending good nutrition messages about protein supplements. Not needed by anyone! Keep pushing the Food Guide Pyramid (meat & beans, milk, fruit, vegetables, Grains, some fat and sweets).

Your fat recommendation though is too low for adolescent athletes. They need around 30% calories from fat, especially to meet their high calorie requirements. Young growing teens, especially males, cannot meet their calorie requirements on only 15% fat. Besides, the likelihood of eating disorders is much greater with fat content of less than 25%.

If you recommend 55 - 60% carbs and 15% fat, then the remaining 25 - 30% would have to be protein which is still way too high. 0.8 gm of protein per kg body weight is the RDA for adults, slightly higher for adolescents. It is easier to figure protein as a percent of calories. After all, bigger people need more calories and have more lean muscles to build and repair. Large amounts of protein stress kidneys and some new research suggests that a high protein diet may increase homocysteine (non-essential amino acid) levels in the blood which is thought to cause arteriosclerosis, even in very young people.

Have you tried my Healthy Kid Calculator® I designed that will work for newborns to 18 yr olds. It will calculate healthy weights, BMI, calories for maintenance or gain as well as protein, vitamins and minerals. Let your students try my Healthy Kid Calculator® to find out for themselves how much protein they should eat.


My question concerns the age old battle between muscle mass and fat.

Background: I am 6 foot 6 inch, 255 pound ex-offensive football lineman. I've lost 40 pounds since my playing days, but still have some fat to burn (5 pounds). I continue to lift strenuously and admittedly need more aerobic exercise. Your Healthy Body Calculator told me I need 5,300 calories a day, 177 grams fat, 663 grams carbohydrate, 265 grams protein. Basically, I wish to gain 5 to 10 pounds of lean mass and remove the spare tire.

Ten years ago I found that Philly cheese steaks are great for gaining weight, but they are currently not doing my ripped abdominal six pack (inset sarcastic chuckle) any favors. In other words, the only way I ever found to gain muscle included gaining fat.

My basic question is this, "What should I eat to achieve my goals and approach the parameters of the suggested diet?" Please advise.

Congrats on the weight loss. Hopefully most of what you lost was fat.

You are the type of guy I had in mind when I included body fat equations in my calculator. Do you know what percent body fat you are today? If so, include your body fat data when using the Healthy Body Calculator. If you don't know your body fat number, contact an exercise physiologist or a certified trainer for an assessment. These professionals are also the best resource to design or modify a training program for muscle gain.

There is no research available to predict what percent of weight gain is muscle and how much is fat without measuring your percent body fat now then again at 1 to 3 month intervals. Body fat percentage will change over time and can go up or down, but only by 1 or 2 percent over several months. You have to work to maintain muscle and if you don't work out, your body looses muscle and deposits more fat if you continue to eat the same amount of food (calories).

There are many factors (exercise and eating habits as well as being male) that influence muscle gain rather than fat gain. You can measure the end result by knowing your body fat number and following an exercise / eating program to maintain your muscles to lose the body fat. By knowing your body fat percent, how you exercise and what you eat, you will learn with time how your body responds best. How did you arrive at a 5 - 10 pound muscle gain goal if you don't know what percent body fat you are now? Or are you going for a change in visual results?

You could increase your muscle mass without changing your weight by burning off the same number of pounds of fat. The optimal way to gain muscle is by weight lifting and to lose fat is by aerobic exercise. So find an aerobic exercise you like to do and start today, but continue lifting. You're lucky you're a guy because testosterone supports increasing more muscle than fat. Women tend to store more fat because of progesterone and estrogen.

As to your eating habits, Philly cheese steak sandwiches are very high fat and you should rarely (once or twice a year) eat one if ever. As a linebacker, you needed weight including body fat to play your position while protecting your internal organs. Since you no longer play football, you should work to achieve a healthy weight and body fat to perform the work you do now.

Your food should follow the same healthy guidelines as non-athletes - less than 30% of calories from fat. Include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains as well as starches, milk and some meat. You chose 20% of your calories from protein to end up with 265 grams of protein which will not necessarily get you more muscle.

I would suggest you read about homocysteine, which is an amino acid that is highly associated with arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Guess where you get homocysteine? Homocysteine is a non-essential amino acid that is an intermediary product of metabolizing methionine, which is an essential amino acid. Guess where you get methionine? Meat. Homocysteine research is getting a lot of attention recently.

I have read research that showed a shorter life span (54 years) for retired football players and a higher incidence of fatal heart attacks. So I am glad to hear that you are still exercising, but you need some dietary guidance. Read up on homocysteine and make an appointment to see a dietitian to learn how to eat healthy and live longer.


Hello. Just found your fantastic website via a post from one of the misc.fitness newsgroups. What an outstanding job you've done - it must have taken many hours to put it all together! (Does that count as "sedentary" time?)

Background... I am male, 48, 6'3", 215 lbs. I workout on a somewhat regular schedule, at least four, sometimes five times per week. At least one, mostly two of those workouts are with fairly heavy weights. My goal is to maintain the current weight level or perhaps gain a little, as well as increase lean body mass. This will probably mean losing more of the body fat (which is currently "estimated" at between 10-11%) than the gaining of muscle. If I absolutely have no time during the day for a workout, I will still do a couple of sets of pushups, crunches, etc. in order to maintain the ritual and minimum overall goal of four times per week. I know that it is difficult for males my age to gain too much more lean body mass (LBM) than is already on their frame without the use of substances of dubious legality. (Actually, I can increase the LBM, but it means that every workout is a heavy one! My knee joints are starting to complain!)

Now my question is this: Am I doing things (in general) ok for my goals? Is there a supplement (or combination thereof) that you know of that can help me with the task at hand? I'm not looking for the wonder pill or any fancy snake-oil medicine - just simple things off the shelf... Thanks very much for your time, and I'm sorry for the intrusion. Again, congratulations on a well executed web-site!!! It is now bookmarked on my browser!!!

Did you try out the Healthy Body Calculator and include your current body fat? Your Nutrition Facts report on page 3 of the calculator will give you a place to start for the amount of calories, fat, vitamins and minerals you need. On page 2, you can customize the percent of calories from fat as well as your weight or body fat goals. FYI, an average male has 19 - 21% bodyfat, so you are already in excellent shape. Most collegiate athletes would be very pleased with 10 - 11% bodyfat. Please be aware that unless you include your percent body fat, my calculator will report that your weight is unhealthy because of basic assumptions regarding fat to muscle ratios (BMI) in an average individual.

You weren't very specific with regards to your exercise routine i.e. what you do and for how long each day. Is your goal body building or wellness? Since your main objective is to reduce bodyfat and increase muscle what percent body fat is your goal? If body building is your goal, then weight lifting will be your primary exercise routine. Your exercise plan should be specific with regards to amount of weight and number of reps (repetitions) for weight lifting. If wellness is your goal, then combine moderate weight lifting with an aerobic sport you enjoy (running, biking, swimming, etc). If your knees complain, try including non-stressing exercise like swimming. Either way, I would recommend talking to an exercise physiologist for a training program.

Your available time seems currently limited, so how do you plan to exercise more unless you re-allocate the time you have available? Thirty to 60 minutes 5 times per week is good. Remember that quality of life includes activities other than exercise programs unless you are competing in a sport.

Hey guys have it better than gals with regard to laying down muscle. Your testosterone levels stay pretty level until age 70, so why do you think your ability to lay down more muscle is limited? It is only limited by your diet (healthy low fat) and weight lifting schedule.

As for supplements, as long as you eat a balanced, healthy diet based on the Food Guide Pyramid, you don't need any vitamin supplement or mineral supplements. Yes, most supplements contain substances that are not identifiable nor beneficial and their labels make claims that are not supported by current nutrition research. If you think you don't eat a balanced diet, a multi-vitamin with 100% of all vitamins and minerals wouldn't hurt. It is hard to accept, but there is no quick fix (pill or supplement) to increase muscles and decrease fat. You have to put in the exercise time.

Thanks for your supportive comments.


Thanks for taking the time, your feedback was a welcome sight!

According to "rough" estimates, I am somewhere between 11-13% body fat. There are a couple of places where it is carried to a more noticeable degree than others - namely the "spare tire" and "love handles". Everything else is pretty lean. And yes, I did try out the Healthy Body Calculator! That, in fact is what prompted me to write! It's a pretty neat program!!! According to the comment on the first page, I am exactly in the middle of the "Healthy Body Weight Range."

Basically, here's the routine: Early 6 AM, crunches and/or reverse crunches, pushups, mild arm/shoulder. Noon (lunch break at work) is a stationary bike for 15-20 minutes (normally set to moderate pace). Evening, brisk walk for approximately 2 miles. All of this happens four or five times / week. Then there are days where I will go to the fitness center after work, 3:30 PM and complete an intense heavy weight workout. These alternate generally between upper body and lower body if on successive days. All of the above includes stretching and when I do the heavy weights, there are warm-ups and more stretching.

My goal is probably 70% wellness and 30% body building. (This is Northern California, got to look decent for the beaches - wink) If I could lower my body fat to around 9-10%, but bring my muscle mass up to a weight level of somewhere between my current 215 and 220, I'd be happy. Recently, I just discovered that my favorite jeans require the "fuller" cut - but NOT due to fat deposits around the seat! It's for the thighs!

Before I came to work (one month ago) I used to ride a bicycle every day to / from my office. It was six miles round trip. Towards the end, I was extending the to-home journey by four or five miles! I guess that it has paid off!!!

Swimming is my favorite aerobic exercise! Period, end of sentence! I have been swimming since about the time I could walk! I still enjoy the heck out of it!

Ummmmm to fit in more exercise time, I could decree that all days now have 30 hours in them! I honestly don't know how it all works out the way it does. Fortunately for me, my workout partner at the fitness club here at work is as highly motivated as I am; she (not a typo) is a VERY strong aerobic type whose body composition rivals those of the so-called "Fitness Competitors!" She could compete and do very well, but (fortunately for me) that is not her goal!!!

When I do use the weights, moderate or heavy, it is for at least one hour! Some days, I feel like working out heavy, but then I'm dead and it's a long drive home (a bit less than 30 miles) in heavy traffic! When I do the moderate weights, which is anywhere from 60-75% of maximum for 10 reps, I feel much better afterwards, but know it's not doing as much good! What a dilemma!

I've heard several things regarding testosterone levels. First, that those of us that have had vasectomies have lowered levels. Second that the levels drop off sharply at around age 40! Apparently, this one (number 2) is not the case!!!

I've heard that you don't need vitamin supplement or mineral supplements from a vast majority of sources. Yes, most supplements contain substances that are not identifiable. No argument here!!! If I can't read it, I don't want it! I do take a multivitamin supplement once a day, seems to help.

I generally skip breakfasts. If I do eat anything in the AM, it's usually some toast, a piece of fruit and maybe if I am lucky enough, there'll be some low-fat cottage cheese in the fridge. Generally, I must fight off my 14 year old daughter and hide it in containers marked with things she doesn't like!

Weekends are spent doing manual labor from 8 AM till 3 PM (some volunteer work in the community building/renovating houses for the less fortunate) so there is no workout possible. But, then again I'm sure that the type of work I'm doing is a very good form of exercise in and of itself! I'm always the one getting asked to lift the heavy things like sheetrock and the 3/4 inch 4x8 pieces of plywood!

Oh well, thanks again for taking the time to write back. I really appreciate your assistance and advice!!! Take great care... Ciao.

PS: I work on the stupid computers all day, but that doesn't mean that I don't get up and walk around at for at least ten minutes in every hour! For sitting exercises (and if not typing) I use a grip strengthener that is so strong and difficult to squeeze, my forearms are burning after only 15-20 reps!!!


Body fat measurement is either by hydrostatic weighing (under water), skinfold calipers (hand held device for measuring fat folds) or electrical impedance (small electrical charge that flows from hand to foot). All of these methods have inherent errors mostly due to technique. The least accurate is the electrical impedance. Basically, untrained and uneducated people often do the testing without adequate preparation. Another method using low dose xray (DEXA) but is usually used for research.

Thanks for the feedback on the Healthy Body Calculator. Play with your current % body fat and different goal percents to see the resulting weight range and Your Nutrition Facts report for how much food to eat.

Unfortunately, "spot reducing" of unwanted body fat doesn't work well. You could do exercises that get the muscles that wrap around your sides by doing side bends in addition to your crunches aka sit ups.

All your workouts are good and varied to prevent boredom. Having an exercise partner is one trick to increase success. You know the other person is there so you show up too and partnering can also increase competition. Yes you are correct in that unless you stress a muscle to exhaustion, it will not grow bigger i.e. heavy weight lifting vs medium. But then since your goal is mostly health, the medium weight lifting should maintain your muscle mass.

What do you drink after heavy lifting? You might want to try a "sport drink" that provides glucose or fructose as weight lifting depletes muscle glycogen specifically in the muscles you exercised to exhaustion. Also, do you drink a lot of water each day? Simple clue is look at the color of your urine. It should be colorless and odorless (unless you eat asparagud) other than the first voided urine after waking up in the morning.

I would recommend you review your exercise routine and strength / muscle goals with an exercise physiologist. Ask if one consults at the gym where you go. Otherwise, there must be a phone book listing for an exercise physiologist where you live.

Never heard that testosterone levels drop after vasectomies. Ask your doctor who performed your surgery or any urologist.

Skipping breakfast leads to eating more later in the day and early morning fatigue. Try to include some carbs i.e. fruit, grains, breads as well as protein i.e. egg, peanut butter, cheese, lean meat. With the workout you do before work, you are depleting some stored glucose (glycogen) with anaerobic exercise i.e. high intensity calisthenics for short periods of time.

You sound like a happy, healthy, mind centered person. Nice to hear you also give your time on precious weekends. Yes lifting a hammer or plywood constitutes weight lifting. I do arm curls with gallons of milk on the way home from the grocery store and I have a squeeze ball on my desk, which helps frustration as well. I've added an exercycle and treadmill to my office for mid day exercise breaks. You don't have to be in a gym or dressed to exercise to keep fit.



One more go-round and I'll leave you alone - that is until I have another question.

I was using a "rough guesstimator" for body fat found on some sports / fitness "expert's" website. It asks for things like weight, height, frame type, waist size, etc. It never produced anything as accurate as a fraction and always responded with "You are between x% and y%" body fat giving two whole percentage numbers as the range. I always pick the middle.

I've used Healthy Body Calculator about three or four times now with varying inputs mostly altering the activity time allocation. Sometimes, I am truthful, other times I lied - just to see the outcome. (The copy kept and printed for reference is the one most close to the truth!)

Oh yeah spot reduction! Aside from the lipo-suckers, I'm well aware of the fallacies regarding the myths and legends of "Exercise your abs with our "Wonder-Ab-Machine" and you too can look like this!" while showing pictures of flawlessly structured models! I hear that the FCC is getting ready to launch a major assault on those infomercials!

Yes on the workouts. I'm also aware of the necessity to "mix things up," as it were. Break the routines. For example, when I exercise arms, I start with narrow grip ez-curls, followed by narrow-grip reverse curls, followed by normal width and finally wide grip where if the hands were any farther out, they'd be on the plates themselves! But one thing that I have a problem remembering is where to start. "Is today the wide-grip starting point? Or do I skip the arms altogether?" Generally, warm-ups commence with about 15 or 20 reps at about 40% of max. Some people say that's too light; others say it's ok.

Interesting about the "sports drink" after the workout. I've never given it too much thought before. Guess I'll start doing that from now on. Thanks.

Unfortunately, the urologist that performed the surgery is no longer in practice. But I suspect that my regular MD might be able to answer or at least dig up the answer for me. We used to work out at the same place up until about two years ago. I think that upon further investigation, I should have questioned the source! Ah well, even knowing you briefly in these two dialogs, I already trust you more than the "other" person!

I've tried to take things like apples in the car with me as I drive off up the freeway to the office. But with a stick-shift Jeep, it gets a little bit dicey trying to eat and up/down shift all of the time! I do, on regular occasions, pre-peel an orange and just eat it a slice at a time. And as far as eating more during the day, it is with great will- power that I do not go down to the grill in one of our cafeteria's and order the biggest, sloppiest double-cheeseburger after the stationary bike ride at lunch!

And finally, I hope that your sentence: "With the workout you do before work, you are depleting some stored glucose (glycogen) with anaerobic exercise i.e. high intensity calisthenics for short periods of time." ...does not imply that I should NOT be doing this kind of thing! I kind of like the little pump after just waking up. (And after the first jolt of coffee, of course!) Actually, the routine is something like this: Wake up, go to the can, brush teeth, etc. fix coffee, turn on the tube for the morning weather and miscellaneous news. While the tube is on, get down on carpeted floor, begin calisthenics. They usually wind up being three or four sets of 25-rep crunches and two or three sets of 15-20-rep pushups. Sometimes fewer reps if I use a couple of assisting devices (shaped like an upside-down U with foam on the grips and t-bars for stability). I use these because they actually give a fuller range of motion. The crunches vary between one set of regulars, one set of reverses and one set where the torso first comes up tilted towards the left, down, then back up towards the right.

Arrgggg! I'm late for my PM workout. Amy will be upset. gotta run. Take great care.


Ah ha. To my knowledge, there isn't a valid body fat estimator using data points like you describe though you might ask an exercise physiologist. Only estimate of body fat is BMI, which doesn't work for athletes or weight lifters who have a disproportionate ratio of muscle to fat. If you really want to know your number, make arrangements for exercise physiologist to dunk you underwater or pinch you with skinfold calipers. If your number isn't that important to you instead set goals of X weight lifted for Y # of reps, aerobic capacity and overall health i.e. blood values during yearly physical.

With regards to photos showing the effect of vitamin supplements or mineral supplements or exercise gadgets, ever heard of air brushing photographs? Most models real bodies don't look anything like their re-touched photos.

If you have problems remembering what exercise to start with, assign exercises based on the day of the week i.e. on M you do light arms & torso, Tuesday heavy legs & buttocks, Wed light legs & buttocks, Thursday heavy arms Fri ?. Otherwise, make yourself a spreadsheet chart or ask your exercise partner what routine you are on for today and you remember her routine schedule. Stick to a routine so you rotate all muscle groups. Different weight trainers believe in different routines i.e. whether to start light or not. The one consistent recommendation I have heard is don't heavy weight lift on successive days and either increase weight or reps, but not both at the same time. You need to spend some valuable time with an exercise physiologist or a certified weight trainer. Get a written, graduated schedule from them to follow.

As to food, try finding something more manageable for your SUV (sport utility vehicle). You can juice fruits and vegetables (- peels) with all the nutrients in the fresh version. Can you drink from a covered mug or perhaps get one of those beverage packs bikers use with a long straw. Depending on what you are willing to do, it isn't time consuming to eat frequently and healthy.

As to the double cheeseburger, well having one a couple times a year won't kill you, so don't sweat it. But if you ate it every week, well that is not a good idea. Why not ask your doctor's clinic, gym or company if they have a sports dietitian you could talk to for meal / snack / workout suggestions? A well-known sports dietitian is Nancy Clark. Look for her books in bookstores.

My comment about your depleting glycogen with your pre-work exercise was regarding your "light" breakfast. You need more food to start the day which is why I suggested adding food before work.

Keep doing the exercise as a better wake up than coffee. Ever tried decafe? You may find you sleep better with fewer peaks and valleys of mental alertness during the day.



On Friday I have a fitness test to take. The reason for the test is that I am a basketball official in the college and university ranks and they want to find out what officials are in the best of condition. The test is a shuttle run. I have to run 18 meters back and forth. During the run back and forth a beep goes at the beginning of the run, the beep is every six seconds, every minute the beep goes sooner every 5 seconds then 4 then 3 and so on until the person taking the test can not run anymore.

What I would like to know what is the best supplement to take the day of the run in order for me to try and get the best results in this run? Stamina stamina stamina. Please help. Looking forward to your help.

Carbos, carbos, carbos and a little caffeine. The drill you will be performing is anaerobic and carbohydrates will be best for 3 days prior to the test. 200 mg of caffeine (2- 6 oz cups of coffee or 2 -12 oz cokes) less than 3 1/2 hours prior to the test will spare glycogen. Also, don't exercise hard during the days prior to the test as this will deplete your glycogen stores in muscles.

There is no vitamin or mineral supplement that will help you at this late date. Since you are a male, I would assume that your iron stores are adequate as long as you aren't losing blood or a vegan. Thiamin, riboflavin and niacin would help long term, but if you eat a variety of carbohydrates, you should get enough of these 3 B vitamins.

Remember to drink water about 20 minutes prior to the test and drink water during the test whenever you can.


I always hear people at my gym talk about protein shakes and amino acid pills. People say I should take them, but I would much rather rely on my diet to supply me with what I need. The only problem is that I don't really know what my diet is doing for me. There are several other people at my gym that feel the same way. So we were wondering if there was a way of measuring our diets to see if we eat properly. We would much rather modify our diets than drink shakes and/or take pills. Can you point us in the right direction?

You are correct in that nutrients are much better absorbed from food than from pills and concentrated supplements. There are a lot of "supplements" out that that make unsubstantiated claims for "nutrients" that I have never heard of nor upon searching is there any research available for these "nutrients".

First, you need to write down everything you eat. Second, you need to nutritionally analyze the foods you eat. Lastly, you need to use this analysis to determine what nutrients you diet is lacking in and then add foods high in these "lacking nutrients" to your diet.

In writing down everything you eat, remember to include foods, beverages and any supplements you do use. Write down the food name and how much (quantity and measure) of what you ate and how the food was prepared. Also, save labels from foods that are not usually available, especially supplements.

Next you need to analyze the nutrient content of everything you consumed. Your choices are either have someone else do it or you do it yourself.

A Registered Dietitian could analyze your food records and produce a very complete report. Their reports could include graphs of what percent of your diet is fat as well as protein and carbohydrate. Dietitians analyze for water soluble and fat soluble vitamins and possibly amino acids and fatty acids. Ask the dietitian to show you the analysis of your diet with and without supplements so you can see for yourself whether or not supplements are necessary. They also could provide a chart of food sources of nutrients that you are lacking.

If you choose to analyze your diet yourself, you will need a nutritional analysis software package that includes amino acids and fatty acids if your concern is protein or amino acid supplements.




I am a Physical Education major. I am looking for any information you might be able to email to me dealing with hydrostatic weighing. I am working on a major laboratory project and could use some assistance. The lab deals with percent body fat, so any additional info on that would help to. I don't know whether you are willing to do this kind of stuff or not. If so great if not that's understandable too. Thanks for your time.

It all started with a Greek mathematician named Archimedes who while taking a bath figured out that his body mass determined how much water over flowed his tub. I would suggest you pick up an exercise physiology book by William Katch & Frank Katch or contact an exercise physiologist at your university as this is a learn by demonstration technique.

Hydrostatic weighing is considered by many to be the most accurate means for assessing body fat (fat floats) and muscle mass (muscle sinks) over skinfold caliper or electrical impedience. However bone density also will affect the results as African Americans have the densest bones, Northern Europeans (whites) average and Asian people have the least dense bones.

The water temperature (4 degrees Centigrade or 95 degrees Fahrenheit) affects water density, swimsuit (nylon), hydration and fed status of the participant are critical. In addition, the participant must practice exhaling all the air from their lungs prior to being submerged under water for 5 seconds. (Can you imagine someone telling you to force all the air out of your lungs and then dunk you under water?) This procedure may be repeated 8 to 12 times depending on the participant's ability to expel air each time. The difference between an obese and lean individual's results from hydrostatic weighting are small (0.93 and 1.10 gm / ml) so the procedure must be done accurately and repeated.

The participant's weight out of the water is determined and then their weight in the water. Air weight is divided by water weight to determine the person's specific gravity (density). The above numbers are close to butter and round steak respectively.


Hello, I am an exercise physiologist. I entered body fat of 7% and I want to get to 5%. Your Healthy Body Calculator said I should eat over 4500 calories and over 100 grams of fat! I don't think that is possible, do you? Thank you for your response.

You did not provide the other data you entered, but if you entered your height, weight, activity, 7% current body fat and 5% body fat goal, the Healthy Body Calculator will accurately figure your calories and fat. It certainly is possible that you need over 4500 calories and 100 grams of fat, but how did you ask to have your calories distributed? The calculator fat percent default is 30% and you can change that to a lower number if you choose.

Also, critically look at how you entered your activity data. If you over estimate what you do in a day, a higher calorie and fat level will result.

I used my experience teaching sports nutrition and working with college and Olympic athletes in designing the Healthy Body Calculator to take into account athletes with low body fat and sometimes above average weight.




I drink only water and skim milk and eat approximately 500 calories per meal (high protein , low fat, high complex carbohydrate, low carbohydrate (sugar?), low cholesterol, lots of greens, veggies and some fruit). I don't snack at all.

I think you were right about my BMR. I think that is what we calculated (1400-1500 calories per day) in kinesiology class. I do live a somewhat active life style, so you'd think that on 1600 calories per day (with exercise) I would drop below 135-lb. eventually.

When I came to college I weighed 120 lb. and was exactly the same height. My freshman year I gained 15 fat pounds (I didn't work out at all) and then started exercising and calorie counting. I haven't lost a pound since. (It has been a year.) Maybe I have lost fat and gained leg muscle, thus decreasing my fat % (which I haven't measured since my freshman year), thus balancing it out with muscle mass.

I do own a caliper. Would you be able to provide me with instructions on how to determine body fat percentage using lots of fat roll measurements and frame measurements over my whole body? (We used a crude caliper method in Kinesiology, but I have heard that there are better caliper methods).

I don't want to drop below 5% because I have heard that that is bad for you. I don't care too much about image, I just like to be energetic and healthy (and to be able to out run people in cross-country!). Thanks for your advice!

If you don't write down everything you eat and then analyze your food with a nutrition software program, you may be underestimating your calorie intake. Calories add up quickly.

Your assessment of your body composition shift from initially gaining 15 pounds of body fat to starting an exercise program and converting fat to muscle is probably accurate. You are fortunate to have combined the right food and exercise to accomplish this, which is preferred. You are right in that fat is dead weight to a runner, but you do need some body fat for hormone production as well as cushioning and insulating the internal organs.

Skinfold measurements (also called anthropometry) using a calibrated hand held caliper is used to estimate the amount of fat under the skin. It cannot measure the fat in and around your internal organs though. Skinfolds are taken at various areas of the body to determine fat distribution and depends on the gender of the person being measured. It takes lots of experience to become accurate and the measurements still can have a 3 to 5 percent error. To determine your accuracy in measuring skinfolds, you would need other body fat assessment methods and blood tests that determine body protein stores. I used to do hundreds of skinfolds in a hospital and had access to blood work to validate whether or not my skinfold measurements were accurate. I would highly suggest you contact your kinesiology instructor to demonstrate how to measure body fat correctly as it requires demonstration of proper technique, which I cannot provide here. Then do lots of them to perfect your technique. Typically, we measure men at the chest, abdomen and thigh. We measure women at the triceps, thigh and above the hipbone (iliac crest). Then these measurements are averaged and analyzed using tested formulas.

The most valid method for determining body fat is underwater (hydrostatic) weighing. Another method called electrical impedance has gained some popularity, but is dependent on the hydration as well as other factors of the subject being tested.


Hi, I am 5 feet 8 inches, 135 pounds, no upper body (muscle), skinny, medium frame, very healthy and I run 3 miles per day in 24 minutes, followed by 1 mile walking in 12 minutes. The rest of the time I walk to class and study. I probably walk an hour per day between classes. I am white if it makes a difference. I sleep 7 hours per day. I have body fat of 10% and would prefer it to be 5% . (I race and the more fat you have, the more mass you have to lug around with you). Healthy Body Calculator says my caloric intake should be 2500 to 3000. This is twice what most people recommend. I know that I only take in about 1600 calories per day and I never lose or gain weight. Any ideas what my healthy caloric intake would be? Thanks!

PS I took kinesiology and I calculated it to be 1400 kcal per day. I just want a second opinion before I settle into some regiment. Thanks.

There are several issues you need to address. First you are underweight for height by at least 4 pounds. I say this relative to your immune system and overall health. Second, if you want to lose 5% body fat, I would suggest you do that and maintain your weight or possibly gain 4 pounds of additional muscle. See an exercise physiologist or a certified trainer about weight training to increase muscle, especially in your legs, while decreasing body fat. Talk to your kinesiology instructor about who to see for strength training.

Your Nutrition Facts calculated calories are probably correct depending on how you entered your activity hours. If you eat enough to maintain your weight, then the amount of food you eat is your healthy calorie intake to balance the exercise you get. Go back and put your data into the Healthy Body Calculator again as it will give you a specific calorie level and it will consider your current body fat when calculating your results. I'd be very surprised if your calorie requirements were only 1400 unless you are talking about basal energy, which is how many calories, you need at rest without any activities or exercise.

How do you know you only eat 1600 calories per day? Do you write down everything you eat and analyze it with nutrition software? If not, you may be underestimating what you eat and drink.


I am the 48-year-old father of an 18-year-old high school wrestler. My son's weight at the start of practice (Nov.) was 118 lb. By working out at practice he got down to 107 - 108 lb. and then starved himself to 103 lb. to wrestle. Right now he weighs 110 lb. after a two-week lay over between the regular season and the start of the WPIAL's, Regionals and States. How can we get him down to weigh in at 105 lb. the next 3 weeks and not give up his strength and endurance?

After weigh-ins he can gain back up as long as he is back down by the following week. Any help or guidance you could give me would be most welcome. Thanking you in advance.

The issue of making weight concerns me and I know this has been a part of the sport for a long time. On one hand you have a growing teenager who unless he gets the nutrients he needs now, may stunt his genetic height potential and bone density among other things. On the other hand the weight cycling, especially starvation and vomiting to make weight, seriously compromise his strength and endurance. Loss of water or dehydration can reduce athletic performance by 30%.

I would not recommend losing weight to wrestle at a lower class. Instead, I would recommend weight training and wrestling practice to maintain his current weight and compete in the 110-lb. weight class. At 110 pounds, he should only be 5"1 1/2" tall. I would be surprised if an 18 year old male were this short, but possible. More than likely, he is underweight for height. Have you tried my Healthy Body Calculator?

I would suggest looking at the whole picture including wrestling, his weight and height and how these fit in with a healthy lifestyle. After all, isn't that why your son is involved in sports?


I am collecting articles for young basketball players to improve their game. One of the topics is nutrition/diet for athletes. Can you direct me to a source I can use to educate them?

Have you read exercise , fluids , Food Guide Pyramid , protein & amino acids and underweight topics?

Try out the Healthy Body Calculator which could be quite helpful in telling athletes what a healthy weight is (even for those with a low body fat) and how many calories / grams of protein to eat.


I am a 24-year old masters swimmer. I have been getting cramps - calf and toe- a lot recently. On advice of the coach and teammates I am taking a potassium supplement and eating a lot of bananas. However, this hasn't really solved my problem. I think now that it may be a dietary problem. What are the possible causes of these cramps and what if any foods should I eat more of. Thank you in advance for your response.

Calcium may be the problem nutrient, not potassium which is usually lost due to vomiting, diarrhea or diuretic use (water or high blood pressure pills). If none of these indicators fit you and you have normal functioning kidneys, your body will get rid of excess potassium from the supplement and bananas. Have you read the potassium topic?

Do you drink 2 to 3 glasses of milk per day or consume at least 800 mg of calcium by eating dairy products? If not, would suggest you take a calcium supplement and read the calcium topic. High intakes of phosphorus (meat and carbonated beverages) can increase the loss of calcium.

Also, would suggest working with an exercise physiologist and making sure you stretch out your calf and foot muscles before AND after swimming.


Hello! I am a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. I am currently working on my thesis, which is, titled Nutritional Knowledge of College Athletes: Body Image Athletes versus Team Sport Athletes. I am having a very hard time locating current research done on this topic. I have looked in Journal of Nutrition Education, American Dietetic Association Journal, MEDLINE, ERIC, Physician and Sports medicine, Medicine and Science In Sports and Exercise and quite a few more. My thesis director said there is current research out there, but she won't tell me where to look. Our library at NIU is not very specific to medical and allied health professions. If you know of any research articles dealing with nutrition education, sports nutrition knowledge of athletes and so forth, I would really appreciate your help. Thank you in advance for your time and cooperation.

Well you have checked the sources I would normally try, especially the ADA Journal December issue, which lists all the articles from the previous year by subject. Did you search Index Medicus? How about contacting Nancy Clark MS RD, (Director of Nutrition Services, Sports Medicine Brookline, Brookline MA) who published books on sports nutrition and is considered an "expert" in sports nutrition? Another person who is into writing about body image is Dayle Hayes MS RD (Nutrition Consultant, Nutrition Associates, Billings MT) and she may have some suggestions.


Unlike most people I want to gain weight. I work out heavily and am really interested in bodybuilding. I want to gain mass, in the form of muscles mass or fatty mass. But my main objective is to gain a lot of weight and fast. But safely. The reason is because I am a football player. I need to put on some more mass because the coaches are going to play me in more positions next year. I used to play "small" positions like safety, corner and wide out. But now they want me to play halfback and backup quarterback. I know I will get killed unless I put on some bulk and fast. Thanks.

To gain weight, it is preferable to gain more muscle mass than fat. However, a football player needs some body fat to help cushion their internal organs from tackling injuries during a game.

You didn't say neither what your weight and height were nor how much weight you want to gain so I will respond in general. If you are maintaining your weight with your current food intake, you will need to increase your calories by 500 per day to gain 1 pound per week, by 1,000 calories per day to gain 2 pounds per week. Your diet should contain less than 30% of calories from fat (16 -33 grams fat), 10% protein (13 - 25 grams protein) and 60% carbohydrates (75 -150 grams carbohydrate). Otherwise, eat a variety of foods. There is no magic muscle builder contrary to all the protein supplement hype out there. It takes daily hard exercise.

At the same time, if you are over 15 years of age, you should start lifting weights every other day. Is there a weight training room in your school or do you live near a public gym or health club? You will need some guidance from a weight training coach so that you effectively build muscle and don't injure your muscles.

Football season is 6 months away and you can gain 24 to 48 pounds. Do it slowly with increasing your food intake and weight training so that you mostly gain muscle.


I have been told that soft drinks are extremely bad nutritionally. I know that they have acids and sugars which are both bad for teeth, but I have also heard that they can lower bone density. I was also told by one of my track coaches that they could negate the effects of cardiovascular training by affecting the oxygen content of blood. Thanks for your time.

Soft drinks basically contain sugar and water. They are not considered acidic. Sugar causes an increase in plaque formation on teeth, which leads to cavities, but other foods like starch have been found to be worse than sugar.

Soft drinks are high in phosphorus, which increases calcium losses by the kidneys. Your kidneys regulate the phosphorus content of your blood and unfortunately, when phosphorus is excreted, it takes calcium along with it. Meat (which athletes sometimes eat too much of) is also high in phosphorus. Read the calcium topic for more info.

Soft drinks because they are high in sugar (12 ounces has 9 teaspoons of sugar) draw water from the blood into the gut to dilute the sugar concentration of the soft drink. This will increase the blood solids including red blood cells that transport oxygen. The net effect is dehydration, which can reduce endurance by 30%, but does not affect the red blood cells ability to carry oxygen. The oxygen content of your red blood cells is dependent on iron stores, your lung capacity and your level of training. Trained athletes take in more oxygen (measured as VO2 Max.)and carry oxygen better in their blood than persons who don't exercise (couch potatoes).

I would not agree that soft drinks negate the effects of cardiovascular training, but I would not recommend soft drinks prior to, during or immediately after training or competition. In fact, not drinking enough water during training or competition would have a similar dehydrating effect and lower endurance.


I would just like to get an idea of a good diet that would be for my activity level. I'm 22 years old, about 140 lb., 5'6'' and work out at least three days a week. My exercise consists of basketball, racquetball, running and some weights.

A healthy diet using recommended servings of the 6 food groups from the Food Guide Pyramid, low fat (25% of calories from fat), moderate carbohydrate (55 - 60%) and protein (15%) a variety of foods in 3 meals per day and drink an adequate amount of water. If you would like to read some good sports nutrition texts read questions below.

I used Healthy Body Calculator to determine your basal metabolic rate (resting) of 1499 calories per day using your sex, age weight and height above. Depending on what else you do during the day, you may need an additional 500 to 1500 calories per day. Some nutrition analysis software can add activity calories plus calories burned per minute for exercises depending on your weight.

For example, if you (at 140 pounds) played basketball for 1 hour you would need an additional 147 to 286 calories per hour depending on whether you play recreational or competitively.


I am 29 years old. I am 5 feet and 4 inches tall and weigh 107 pounds, in general my built is small. I exercise for an hour everyday, usually aerobic and a little weights. Recently, I went for a fitness test and was tested with 28.4% body fat at. This is surprising as I don't look overweight. The fitness instructor advised that I lose 10 pounds of weight and reduce my body fat percentage to less than 20%. I eat moderately and I avoid dairy products, fast foods and fat. I am very careful about food and never drink alcohol or smoke. I am not a meat eater and I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and rice. I think I lack protein in my diet and I have just started eating egg whites. The test results have really surprised me. Where am I going wrong and how can I correct this?

First, I would question the results of the body fat test you had. Body fat can be assessed with calipers, electrical impedance or underwater weighing. All have inherent errors.

Accurate use of calipers takes training and many repeated tries to reach an accurate measurement. Also, several sites on the body should be tested and those body sites vary between sexes.

Electrical impedance testing uses a small electrical current passed from one electrode on your foot and the other on your hand. The accuracy of this test is dependent on hydration since muscle contains 70% water and fat contains about 15% water. So if you were dehydrated, the reading would be higher. Other factors that produce inaccurate readings are alcohol intake within 24 hours (dehydration again), menstruation, etc.

Underwater weighting measures a person's weight while under water. However, the person must be in a temperature controlled testing pool, wear a special suit and be able to exhale all the air in their lungs while underwater and sitting on a special scale. The basis of this test is that muscle sinks and fat floats.

For you to lose 10 pounds, you would have to lose more weight than would be healthy. At your height, your healthy body weight is 120 to 132 pounds. At 107, you are a bit underweight as it is. Considering your weight, exercise and lifting weights, I would say the results of your test were way off. Talk to an exercise physiologist who is educated and trained to perform all the above body fat tests.

Your diet is lacking in legumes, beans and peas. Soybeans and tofu are complete sources of protein and should be added to your meals. If you eat egg whites, be sure to cook them as avidin in the whites destroys biotin also present until cooking the egg inactivates the avidin.


My name is Billy and I am a 15-year-old runner. The cross-country championships are on November 30. My goal to run one of my best 5 K's ever. I'm putting in the proper training, but I need some help with nutrition. Would you be able to lend me some tips on what to eat and drink prior to 5 K runs. I am 6'0", 150 lb. Thank you

One week prior to the championship, eat a higher carbohydrate diet (60% carbohydrate calories), average protein (15% protein calories) and lower fat (15% fat calories). Drink cold water (at least 8 cups per day) as dehydration will reduce your performance by 30%.

For instance, if you eat 2000 calories per day, then you should aim to eat about 300 grams of carbohydrates, 75 grams of protein and 33 grams of fat. The carbohydrate, protein and fat grams can be found on the new food label. Continue the higher carbohydrate diet for one week after the championship to replenish your glycogen (glucose) stores in your body. Then return to eating your regular training diet. A good training diet would include eating a balanced diet and a variety of foods.

Your target weight is 170 to 196 pounds. Considering your age and sport, I am not surprised that your weight is low. You may need to eat 5,000 calories per day just to maintain your weight.

A good reference for you would be a sports nutrition book by Nancy Clark who is a Registered Dietitian. She looks and lives the part of an athlete. Check out a bookstore or your local library for one of her books


I am a long-distance runner (55+ miles per week / 150 lb.) and follow a low-dairy lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. I usually feel great all the time, but I would like to do an analysis of my diet to make sure that I am eating properly, especially for the needs of a runner. Do you have any advice for me?

The milk and eggs add high biologic value protein (complete amino acid profile in each food) to your vegetarian diet. One nutritional problem of long distance runners is increased gastrointestinal losses of iron. This loss would be greater with a diet not containing red meats and / or if you were a menstruating female. Another reason for you to regularly analyze your diet.


How do you know what combinations of what to take to provide adequately for you body's needs? I started weight training and began taking MetRx to the exclusion of my usual (GNC) Ultra-Mega-Gold. Then I heard about B/G Algae and take a couple of tabs of it per day. I also started taking Pycnogenol recently to alleviate my hay fever problems (along with all the other things it's supposed to do for you). But now I don't know if I'm taking too much of one thing and not enough of another. I need a better system than this. What to do?

Quite frankly, I am unfamiliar with the over the counter products you refer to. If you would write back with the nutrient analysis on the packages and ingredient declaration on each package, I could give you feedback.

Weight training doesn't require any magic nutritional formula to increase muscle mass. Basically, muscles will increase in size when muscles are asked to do more work (more weight) alternating with more often (more lifting / reps). Remember to get adequate rest (no weight lifting) and sleep (minimum 8 hours per night) to allow muscles time to recover. Typically weight lifting should alternate every other day to be effective. Protein requirements (63 grams for males 25+ years of age, 50 grams for females 25+ years of age) don't increase. All other nutrient needs (vitamins and minerals) don't increase either, except for energy related nutrients (thiamin, vitamin B1, riboflavin, vitamin B2 and niacin, vitamin B3) as calorie needs increase. If you were to follow the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid and choose a variety of foods, you would probably be eating a balanced diet. If you think you need a nutritional supplement, a daily multivitamin that provided 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances would be sufficient.


I do a lot of running (50+ miles per week) training/running marathons .... I don't like eating and/or I can't eat enough to keep my "energy" level up ... I eat a lot of carbohydrates, fruits, veggies, etc. ... rarely meat ... My question is that what do you think about products like "Ensure" to add some calories to my diet, ... used as a supplement but not as a replacement?

Ensure would be a good between meal supplement, one to three times per day. Sustacal, Meritene or even Instant Breakfast would also be appropriate.

Some exercise programs can suppress appetite and long distance runners can lose blood via the gastrointestinal tract. I am concerned that you do not eat meat which is a complete source of protein and red meats contain iron. Carbohydrates and fruits are a significant source of calories and vegetables a significant source of vitamins. However, you are missing meat and milk. The Food Guide Pyramid which is a good basic healthy diet recommends 2 to 3 servings of milk, 2 to 3 servings of meat, 2 to 4 servings of fruit, 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and 6 to 11 servings of breads, rice or pasta.

You may have to approach your diet from a training program approach. Eat 3 regular meals per day with a variety of foods chosen from the Food Guide Pyramid plan.


Do they still encourage carboloading for athletes?

Yes, modified carboloading is still practiced. Carboloading started with marathon runners in an attempt to store as much muscle glycogen as possible, to run longer. Originally, the diet combined periods of exhaustive exercise and a low carbohydrate diet. A few days before an athletic event, the athlete was permitted no exercise and a high carbohydrate diet. Training programs found that this depletion/repletion diet was unnecessary for the athlete to maximize glycogen storage and produced an irregular heartbeat in some athletes.

The diet has been modified to include moderately intensive exercise with a moderate carbohydrate diet (50% of calories from carbohydrates) during training. Two to three days prior to competing, an athlete is to include a high carbohydrate diet combined with no exercise. A diet with 70 percent of the calories from complex carbohydrates is the goal for the last three days before competing. Complex carbohydrates are starches like pasta, potatoes, rice and bread.

The pre-game meal should be three to four hours before a competition. Athletes should perform on an empty stomach, but not hungry. Also, remember to drink plenty of cold (40 to 50 degree) water before, during and after competing.

The National Daily Council in Rosemont, Illinois has a great booklet on sports nutrition. It has all the basic information an athlete would need about nutrition.


My swimming coach told me to lose fifteen pounds. I'm 15 years old, 5'6" and weigh 123 pounds. I don't feel fat. We practice two hours a day, plus weekly swim meets. What should I do?

The healthy body weight of a female 5'6" is 130 pounds. An appropriate weight range is 10 percent above and below that or 117 to 143 pounds. You are definitely not overweight, especially not 15 pounds. Because of the daily swim practice you get, you probably have more muscle than fat. Muscle weighs more than fat.

I would suggest you talk to your coach about your weight and that you feel good at 123 pounds. Getting down below 123 pounds could probably seriously decrease your swimming performance by decreasing your muscle size. A 15-pound weight loss would also deplete your glycogen stores needed to compete.

I would like to suggest a good, basic sports nutrition book. "The Athletes Kitchen" by Nancy Clark. It contains good information as well as some recipes. Also, the National Dairy Council in Rosemont Illinois has a pamphlet "Food Power, A Coaches Guide To Improving Athletic Performance". Both are specifically geared to the athlete and performance. Buy one for your coach!






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