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Posts tagged ‘Sports Nutrition’

The principle of specificity

This principle refers to the effect that exercise training is specific to the muscles involved in that activity, the fiber types recruited, the principal energy system involved (Aerobic versus Anaerobic), the velocity of contraction, and the type of muscle. In other words, if I want to get stronger legs then I should train my legs and not my arms. Or, if I want to run faster then I should train sprints and not go out for long slow runs. This may seem an obvious thing to most people but when you see people train you realize that many don’t understand this concept. Let me explain.

There are three basic energy systems in the body:

  1.  Ultra Short-term Performance (10 seconds or less) – 60 meter race: most of the energy comes from the ATP-PCr and the glycolytic systems. Meaning, if you wanted to get better you would have to train those two systems.
  2. Short-term Performance (10-180 seconds) – 200-800 meter race: 70% of the energy comes from the Anaerobic systems but, as you get close to the 180 seconds, 60% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system. So here you would have to train both systems but still put more emphasis on the Anaerobic.
  3. Moderate Length Performance (3-20 minutes) – 800 meter to 10km race: 60% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system in a 3 minute maximal effort but, as we get close to the 20 minute mark, 90% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system. So here you would train in a way that improves both system but put more emphasis on the Aerobic system.

So, imagine I’m a golfer and I want to improve my tee shot. That movement lasts a second or less, meaning I am working Anaerobic, so when I go to the gym I would do explosive exercises that don’t last too long. Let’s say now I’m a boxer, rounds last 3 minutes, I know that the first minutes I will work Anaerobically but as I get closer to the 3 minute mark 60% of the energy comes Aerobically, so here I would make sure to work both systems almost equally but still putting more emphasis on the Anaerobic part

What you have to do now is figure out what system your sport uses and try to improve it.

Hope you enjoyed

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What are ¨Detox Diets¨ and ¨Toxins¨ ?

I want to try to make this blog as simple as possible so that most people can understand these ¨myths¨ once and for all. Let us start by giving some definitions to these words.

Toxin-  It sounds quite scientific but nobody really knows what the hell it is. All these miracle diets will tell you that they will get rid of those nasty ¨toxins¨ but won´t give you an explanation of what they are or how they will get rid of them. If they had a name, the experts could measure these toxins to see if the miracle diets or the ¨detox diets¨ really work. In fact, in 2009 a network of scientist assembled by the UK charity SENSE about SCIENCE contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to ¨detoxify¨. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufactures could define what they meant by detoxification, or toxins (1)!!

Detox- Also sounds really fancy and scientific but if we just made clear that we can´t measure these toxins or that they even exist, then how is a detox diet going to work? I mean what are they detoxifying??? In medical terminology, real detoxification refers to treatment for dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or poisons (to name a few examples) and the treatment usually occurs in the hospital. And guess what…. doctors can measure all these things.

But the best thing of all, and something that I have been stating all through my blogs, is that our body is the best machine we have and it is ready in case we have to ¨detoxify¨ ourselves, and for this it counts on lots of helpers like:

  • LIVER-  It is incredibly efficient at getting rid of noxious substances. It contains enzymes which convert toxic substances into less harmful ones. These are then dissolved in water and removed in the urine.
  • KIDNEYS- Are fundamental in removing acids and regulating the body pH.
  • COLON- Responsible for removing unwanted solid matter from the body.
  • LUNGS-  The respiratory system is also involved in controlling blood pH. We breathe out all that carbon dioxide we produce.
  • SKIN, DIGESTIVE TRACT, LYMPHATIC SYSTEM…….

So in other words, the body is perfectly capable of ¨detoxifying¨ itself and getting rid of all those nasty ¨toxins¨ (whatever those may be). And if it wasn´t capable of doing that you would be in lots of trouble and probably needed to go to the hospital.

But anyway, some people won´t believe this and will try different diets or different methods (colonic irragation to name one) to try to get rid of those ¨toxins¨. To those people I want to say that, before going out and wasting (I´m sorry, I wanted to say spending) your money on those treatments: try this new method, it involves exercising, eating properly and sleeping well 😉

References:

1. http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/debunking-detox.htm

How much water do we really need to drink?

I think we have all heard at one point or another in our life that drinking 2 liters of water per day does wonders to your mind and body. But is this really true? Let´s find out.

2 Liters per day is about drinking 8 glasses of water per day, and if you have ever tried doing that, you have realized that you spent a lot of time in the toilet. So, where did this mythical number come from? Why 2 liters and not for example 1.5 or 3 liters?  Well, it probably started from a study done in the 1940s, where researches calculated that 2 liters is how much water a person’s body consumes in 24 hours, so WALLAH, there you have it, that´s where the magical number comes from. But what also came out of that study, and what a lot of people don´t know, is that we get much of the water we need each day from our food, and this does not include the number of drinks like coffee and tea most of us consume every day. And NO, coffee and tea DON´T DEHYDRATE YOU. Although coffee and tea may act as diuretics, the amount of dehydration caused by these beverages is not equivocal to the volume of the fluid. Caffeine has been shown to cause one milliliter of fluid loss per milligram of caffeine. So let´s give an example to explain.

  • A normal cup of 260 milliliter of coffee has around 90 milligrams of caffeine, so if the caffeine causes one milliter of fluid loss per milligram you would still have 170 milliliter of liquid, So, in other words you gained 170 milliliter of liquid, that´s called hydration.

So we know half of our body is made up of water, we know water is vital to keep the important chemical reactions in our body functioning. But the idea that you should drink 2 liters of water per day has absolutely no evidence to back it up. So what should you ? Drink when you are thirsty, if you have to drink more than 8 glasses per day do it, if you have to drink less than that also do it. In other words, listen to your body and you will be perfectly fine.

References

Fink H, Burgoon L, Mikesky A. Practical Application in Sports Nutrition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc 2006.

Grandjean AC, Reimers KJ, Bannick KE, Haven MC. The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19:591–600.

Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate (2004). Accessed October 11, 2006.

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