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Nutrition for Fitness

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Right, to clarify some stuff:  Everything I'm putting in here is either right from Pub A-MD-07-006/PW-001, or verified by it, and has been run past a PSP nutritionist, with a Master's in the subject. That makes it Policy, I do believe. I've begun to pay a lot more attention to nutrition lately, since my cardio is so severly curtailed, and I am attending some CF-run courses deaing with it (I recommend the Top Fuel For Top Performance Course. I actually learned quite a bit on that one). I'm putting that right up front, and on top, so nobody can claim it's buried to deep to find. The Brigade Health Promotion Director and the Brigade Health Promotion Manager are proof-reading the thread, so anything I screwed up (although, it's all copied virtually verbatim from the pam) will shortly be corrected.


‘kay, Campers, let’s talk some more in-depth about eatin’ right, what to eat, when to eat, and dispel a few myths while we’re at it.

I think everyone realized that exercise alone is not gonna do much for you. If you hit the weights every day, run for miles, and live on choccy bars and sody pop, you ain’t gonna last too long. To truly get fit, you have to eat right. By proper diet, you maintain (or achieve) your body’s proper muscle/fat ratio, get better results from your workouts, and live a longer, healthier life. Anybody gonna debate that one? No? Cool.

Now, when you’re trying to get fit, or perform better, you need more food. Basic math, really: more output = more input required. Here’s where it gets tricky – not only do you want to ensure you’re putting the proper stuff in, but when you’re actually exerting yourself maximally, your sensation of hunger and thirst is dulled. You don’t feel hungry, even though your body is starving for calories and nutrients.

Now, conversely, sudden decreases in activity often results in sudden weight gain. And the weight is not the good kind. This stems from the fact that desire for food is unrelated to need for food. You are used to eating that much, so you keep doing so out of habit, not requirement. And now, you a fatty.

Everybody trackin’? I’m not just writing this stuff down for the skinny li’l wannabe’s. This is also for those of us out there who just plain eat too much, do too little, and haven’t seen our penile attachments in years.

Food energy = kilocalories. The energy you receive from food is measured in kilocalories (kcal). We’ve long since shortened that to just ‘calories’. Calories are not a bad thing, in and of themselves. It’s the amount of them you intake, and how you use them that is the issue. Fats are a concentrated energy source, and supplies 9 cals per gram. Carbs and proteins both supply 4 cals/gram.

Basic nutrients:
All of the nutrients below are found in everything we eat and drink, to some extent.

Water – You draw water from any number of foods (especially fruits and veggies) and other beverages, as well as from the tap and Evian (naïve spelled backwards). The human body is made up of 65 – 70 % water. Blood plasma is mainly water. Water is your body’s means of cooling itself. Water lubricate the joints and cushions the organs. Most of the chemical processes vital to life occur in water in the body. When you don’t have enough fluid intake to support all of these functions you begin to dehydrate. By the time you feel thirsty, you’ve already lost 2% of your body weight. Now you’re behind the 8-ball already. And thirst is only the first sign of dehydration.

So, whattaya gonna do? Well, like I’ve said elsewhere on here (probably in this thread somewhere) keep a water bottle or something similar nearby and drink small amounts regularly. You want to drink about 2 liters a day, every day. More when it’s hot, you’re exerting yourself, or you want to lose fat. Any extra water you take in, anything that your body doesn’t need is simply removed by the kidneys, and provides Winston Rothschild’s Sewage and Septic Sucking Services with employment. (You pee it out.)

During periods of intense physical exertion, replacing lost fluids is top priority. That means water, not Super-Sports-Blast-Drink. Sports drinks are simply water and sugar. They’re designed so fluid and carbohydrates enter the blood stream as quickly as possible. So, if you’re going to drink ‘em, make sure your diet can allow you to take in empty calories. If you getting a lot of healthy food – wholesome, nutrient-dense food like veggies, meats, grain products, and milk AND if you are burning all the calories you’re ingesting, sure, have a Gatorade.

If you eat nothing but crap food (hot dogs, French fries, cola, tater chips, choccy bars, and booze) you’re ingesting enough calories all right, but they’re useless, empty calories because they have no nutrients in them. Drink water, not Gatorade. Better yet, take some fruit juice (fruit JUICE not fruit punch) dilute it with water, and in extreme situations, add a pinch of salt. Fruit juices contain carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamins.

If you’re a pudgy *******, or have a tendency to become such, water is always your choice of beverage. Trust me on that one.

Carbohydrates – Anyone who advocates high protein – low carb diets is either an idiot or a criminal. Carbohydrates are the key to exercise performance. They’re as necessary for muscle growth as protein, and they’re vital as fuel for intense exercise. Science time: Glucose is the body’s preferred fuel when it is performing hard physical work, or intense exercise. If it doesn’t have glucose, it converts other stuff into glucose. Also, your brain, your nervous system, and your red blood cells depend entirely (ENTIRELY) on glucose for fuel. When you don’t take in enough carbs, your body converts protein to glucose to provide the energy it needs. So, a high-protein diet just means that you’re forcing the body to convert protein, instead of carbohydrates, into glucose, wasting time and effort on the body’s part. It’s far more efficient (and cheaper) to eat enough carbohydrates that the proteins are used specifically for protein duties. Atkins ignored basic science 101. And millions listened to him because he promised something for nothing. And dozens of others have made fortunes peddling “protein miracle drinks” to stupid young men like me. If Joe Weider wasn’t so old, I’d punch him in the throat.

During truly intense work, the heart and lungs can’t supply enough oxygen to the muscles, so it partially breaks glucose down to provide energy (this also produces lactic acid – that burning sensation you feel, and the stiffness the next day). By intense, I mean that 20 second to 2 minute burst you put in when you lift a ridiculous amount of weight or sprint 100 meters. For less intense work, when the body can feed enough oxygen to the muscles, the body uses both glucose and fat as fuel to provide energy.

The body can only store a little carbohydrate. It does so by storing it as glycogen, which is large molecule made up of glucose and water, and stored in the liver and the muscles. Liver glycogen supplies glucose to the blood, while muscle glycogen supplies energy for the muscles.

You should be getting around 45 – 65% of your energy (calories) from carbs. For a person engaged in intense physical effort this equals 6 to 10 grams of carbs for every kilogram of body weight. The carbohydrate to protein ratio should be 5:1 for optimum energy production/athletic performance. During, and after, intense activity your energy requirements need to be met by carbohydrates. This means you will not have to waste body protein for energy. Yeah, not quite what all those supplement companies and bodybuilder magazines would like you to believe, huh? Following aerobic and muscular exercise you will need protein to help repair damaged body tissues and build new muscle mass. Lack of energy nutrients can become an issue if you are on a long operational or training exercise where activity levels can be very high. Thus it is especially critical to eat adequate carbohydrates during and after long events or training. To optimize your protein use adequate carbohydrates must be eaten.

Where do ya find ‘em? In grain products like cereal, bread, rice, pasta, etc. Fruits and veggies also provide carbs, especially the root vegetables like potatoes (NOT French fries! These USED to be potatoes.), turnips, carrots and beets. Milk and yogurt contain lactose, which is a form of carbohydrate. Meat alternatives like legumes, nuts, and seeds have carbs as well. Sugar is a form of carbohydrate.

The less processed the food, the better for carb sourcing. Eat fruit, instead of drinking fruit juice, eat brown bread instead of white, etc. In fact, the less processed the food, the better, period. Every step along the way robs a little bit of nutrients from all foods.

Protein – When protein is digested, amino acids are released. Amino acids are the building blocks the body uses to construct and repair damaged tissue, to build muscle. When you work out intensely, you damage the body, and force it to make itself stronger and able to exert more effort. Amino acids and protein also work as hormones, enzymes, and transporters of other chemicals in the body. Protein provides structure for the body. However, you don’t need excessive amounts of protein to get big muscles, or for any of the other reasons that the supplement companies try to shove down your throat.

When adequate energy is available, amino acids are used to build and repair damaged tissue, to work as hormones, enzymes, and to transport chemicals in the body. However, to the body, energy for survival is more important than growing bigger. If you don’t eat enough carbohydrate-rich foods, the liver breaks down amino acids to make glucose for fuel. The body breaks down ALL non-essential protein to ensure that it has energy for the cells. You don’t get bigger. Your body goes into a catabolic state, where it feeds on the muscle, instead of growing it.

The body CANNOT use more than 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day to make tissue. That’s a scientifically proven fact, folks. 1.7 g protein/kg bodyweight/day. The body is unable to store excess protein as protein or as amino acids. It is either used as energy or stored as fat. Protein produces more by-products than carbs, and more harmful by-products at that.

The average sedentary fatass civvies male needs about 64 g/day of protein. An 80 kg (175 lb) soldier training heavily can use up to 136 kg/day. You don’t need to intake massive quantities of protein powders and pills, and cans of tuna very 20 minutes to reach this. The average North American diet supplies more than enough protein for athletes. By choosing a sensible amount of food from the four food groups, and eating 4 – 6 small meals a day, you can easily reach 136 g of protein. Eat a healthy diet, as outlined by Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, and you WILL get enough protein. Even a vegetarian will get enough. Anyway, during an intense strength- training program, you only require an additional 28g of protein to meet your body’s needs. The majority of the protein you require is resynthesized from protein that you break down during training.

So, you see where I’m going here? Carbohydrates are actually more important to building an athlete than protein. And, being a hard-core carnivore, that breaks my ******* heart. But, science has proven it. You only need about 10 –35% (at most) of your daily energy intake from protein. If you’re very active, you don’t need to increase your intake of protein alone, you need to increase your food intake, period. You need to eat more carbs and fat, as well as protein. As long as 10% of the food you eat in each sitting (meal or snack) is protein, you’re getting enough. And, that’s easily done by simply following the Food Guide. If you eat very little throughout the day, then you need to increase the amount of protein in each sitting to the 35% mark. But, then, you’re not going to perform as well, anyway.

It’s ridiculously easy to eat enough protein for muscle growth. Foods from all 4 groups contain protein, it’s only the amount of protein in each that varies. Meat obviously has the most, with cereals having the least. Even a snack of crackers and an apple has protein in it, even though you don’t have meat or a meat-alternative in there. Throw a tiny bit of peanut butter on the crackers, and you’ve got a high-protein, high-carbohydrate, after-workout snack.

Protein Supplements – They’re not all evil. They’re not totally a waste of money (just mostly). Some protein supplements, and many meal-replacement supplements, also contain carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and, as such, can have a place in situations where perishable food is not an option. In this situation, choose a supplement that has a greater carbohydrate content. But, they are never supposed to replace actual, you know, FOOD!

In terms of nutrient value, food is a much more economical and nutritious choice. Supplements lack the important extras such as fiber, phytochemicals and the proper balance of vitamins and minerals that foods have. Your body was designed to extract the nutrients it needs from food, not from chemically created supplements. Too, many of these supplements provide low quality protein, too much of a single amino acid or too few essential amino acids, resulting in waste and strain on the digestive system. Ingesting protein as a single amino acid can inhibit the absorption of other essential ones as they compete for the same absorption sites in the digestive tract.

If you want extra protein, rather than spending big bucks on protein or amino acid powders, try good old skim milk powder – it’s cheaper and contains whey as well as other proteins. Mix it into milk, puddings, soups, sauces, even meatloaf. Believe it or not, the best supplement out there is probably Carnation Instant Breakfast, with some fruit, say a banana.

Fat – Fat is not an instrument of Satan. It’s a vital part of a healthy diet. VITAL part. Okay? Fat supplies essential acids and is needed to absorb certain vitamins. It adds to flavour, adds texture, and reduces hunger since it is absorbed so slowly. Taking too much fat out of your diet will leave you hungry and unsatisfied. So you’ll turn to ice cream, or an entire cake, or live on McFatburgers. Remember, fitness is a lifestyle, and if it’s no fun, who’d want any part of it?

Most of the fat in the North American diet is added to food at the table (butter, salad dressing), during cooking or preparation (deep-frying), or during processing (potato chips, crackers, cookies). Only a very small part of the fat you eat is a natural part of your food (meat, cheese, nuts).

In the body, fat stores a large amount of energy in a small space. Fat is much more compact than glycogen. Even a very lean person stores enough energy as fat to fuel several workouts and a couple marathons, if there were no other factors involved.

Most of the time, your body uses a mixture of fat and carbohydrate as fuel for light exercise. If you are running, and can talk comfortably, you’re doing exercise that uses fat and carbs as fuel. When you kick it up a notch is when you start to use the carbs, and after it’s all over, you start to use the protein to repair stuff.

Minerals & Vitamins – The human body does not make minerals or vitamins. It has to draw them from food. If you are eating a variety of healthy, wholesome, nutrient-dense food, you’re probably getting enough, though. If you avoid food from a particular food group, you may not get enough calcium or iron. If the variety or the amount of your food is restricted, you may have a problem, and might want to look into a supplement, such as a basic multi-vitamin (or a V8 a day). Vegetarians and vegans may need to find alternative sources of B12, since this found in meat. They can look into tablets or iron-fortified foods. Or, maybe you could just start to eat with some common sense.

So, how do you plan your diet so that you get all the nutrients you need, every day? Easy. Eat a small meal six times a day. Each meal should have 1/3 of your plate covered with Fruits/Vegetables, 1/3 covered with Grain Products, and 1/3 covered with Meats/Meat Alternatives, and have a glass of milk or a yogurt cup a couple times a day. Or, for those who want a lower-fat diet: ½ Fruits/Vegetables, ¼ Grain Products, ¼ Meats/Meat Alternatives, with a glass of skim milk. Don’t bother with scales, calculators, and fancy plans. Just look at your plate, divide it up, and chow down. It’s that simple. You can even do that on the road. (Of course, my plate is 2/3 Meats/Meat Alternatives, 1/3 Grain Products & Fruits/Vegetables combined. But, do as I say, not as I do.)
Food Quality and Quantity:
A variety of foods from each food group increases your chance of eating all of the various nutrients your body needs for athletic performance. Hell, for simple health!

By selecting more grains and cereals, you obtain more fibre than you would from any highly-refined products.

Dark green and orange vegetables and orange fruits give you more vitamins, and more of the plant-type chemicals that are linked to good health.

The brighter the fruit/vegetable, the more anti-oxidants are found in it. Red peppers are just about the bestest veggie out there.

Lower fat milk products and leaner meats supply less fat to your food intake, obviously enough. But, look at what the label actually says, and compare it to the so-called regular-fat product. Leaner meats are usually cheaper, too, since more fat, equals more taste. (Unless it’s advertised as low-fat, of course.)

Dried peas, lentils, and beans provide fiber and both protein and carbohydrate. Pork nad beans for brekkie, anyone?

Fatty fish, nuts, and seeds contain good quality oils, and healthy fat.

Why ‘diets’ don’t work:
1. People stick with one for a limited time, then go back to their regular habits.
2. The body thinks it’s starving due to the sudden drop in caloric intake, and starts holding onto the calories as fat.
3. Food provides taste, enjoyment, and a feeling of being full. Without that feeing of satiety, the body, and the mind, craves more food. You’re not needing food, but you’re still ‘hungry’.  Desire for food vs. need for energy. Find the middle ground, and enjoy!
A true ‘diet’ is just eating sensible amounts of healthy, wholesome food, for the rest of your life. With, of course, the occasional binge on fat pills, or booze, or McFatburgers, or what have you. “Moderation in all things” includes moderation itself!

How Much Food Do You Need?

Well, hunger is a big clue. If you’re hungry all the time, to the point of dizziness, irritability, or even simple lethargy, you need more food. If you eat a lot, and still feel like this, you’re probably eating crap, aren’t you? If you’re in training, and feel like this, you either need more rest, or you need to eat real food, and stop with the stupid bars and powders. Drink more water, too.

If your bodyweight is staying relatively the same, with very slight fluctuations, and you have lots of energy, you’re probably balancing your food intake to your energy output. Well done, you!

If your bodyweight is staying relatively the same, but you’re always tired and your workouts suck, you may need either a) more food, b) food more often, or c) more food variety. (You can’t live on boneless, skinless chicken breast and steamed rice, dude. Those bodybuilders have thousands of dollars of chemicals screaming through their systems, giving them all kinds of energy, and they STILL pass out onstage, or drop dead offstage. Eat a damn pizza!) If your energy expenditure is greater than your food intake, your body will try to save energy wherever possible. It then leaves you listless and dopey, even after 8 hours sleep.

If your weight drops significantly, obviously you’re using more energy than you’re taking in. And vice versa for weight gain.

How Much Energy Do You Need?

Overall, we know that there is a large variation in the amount of energy people expend. Skinny li’l dudes on the go all day expend more energy than Rosie O’Donnell does in a week.  Your energy output is the energy used for three components:
1. Resting Energy Expenditure
2. Thermic Effect of Food
3. Energy Requirement for Daily Life

Resting Energy Expenditure – the energy needed keep you breathing, your heat pumping, and, basically, all the stuff your body does to keep you alive. This is about 60-70% of your body’s total energy use every day. It can vary as much as 20% between two individuals, however. Any number of factors impact on it – age, muscularity, size, sex, amount of food eaten, etc. An average 24 year-old, 5’4” 125lb, female has REE of  1,260-1,500 calories per day. An average 34 year-old, 6’4” 250lb, male has an REE of 1,700-2,360 calories per day. That’s the amount of energy your body expends just existing in the course of a single day.

There are any number of places you can find charts showing you your own REE, and they all vary slightly. Go ahead and look for them if you want to get that fussy about it. It’s not that imperative, really.

You can also use the Harris Benedict Equation:
Men: 66 + (13.7 x wt in kg) + (5 x ht in cm) – (6.8 x age) = Basal Metabolic Rate
Women: 655 + (9.6 x wt in kg) + (1.8 x ht in cm) - (4.7 x age) = Basal Metabolic Rate
Choose an activity level and multiply that by the BMR you found for yourself above.
· Sedentary – little/no exercise, desk job (x 1.2)
· Light – light exercise/sports 1-3 times week (x 1.375)
· Moderate – light exercise/sports 3-5 times week (x 1.55)
· Very Active - hard exercise/sports 6-7 times week (x 1.725)
· Extremely - hard exercise daily, very physical job (x 1.9)

Or you can use the Gatorade Sports Sciences Institute calculations:
Men: 1.0 x wt in lbs x 24 hours x (0.64 for low activity, or 0.68 for moderate activity, or 0.73 for high activity) = total calorie needs
Women: 0.9 x wt in lbs x 24 hours x (0.64 for low activity, or 0.68 for moderate activity, or 0.73 for high activity) = total calorie needs

That’s the amount of energy your body expends just existing in the course of a single day. Find all three and get an average if you like. Again, it’s hardly imperative, but you may find it interesting.

Thermic Effect of Food – You know how sometimes you feel warmer after you eat? That’s your body using energy to digest and absorb food. Energy is lost in the form of heat, so you feel warm. This is the Thermic Effect of Food, and it varies with the type and amount of food. It comprises about 10% of your daily energy output.

Energy Requirement for Daily Life – this is the physical activity you do each day. Whether it’s work or play, all physical activity adds to your energy output. Sedentary desk jobs use few calories, manual labourers have a much higher energy expenditure, obviously. Then, we have to factor in the amount of physical activity spent in recreational pursuits.

Many physically active people, people who know a lot about exercise and such, underestimate the amount of food they actually need on a daily basis. On the other hand, many more people who have reduced physical activity levels eat as though they were burning’ up large amounts of energy. This is why 50% of the CF is overweight or obese. (Yeah people, HALF the CF is overweight, or flat-out obese.) An estimate of your energy requirement can help you figure out the amount of food you really need. Some examples:

Computer work per hour:
24 year-old male = 115 calories. 44 year-old male = 100 calories.
24 year-old female = 85 calories. 44 year-old female = 80 calories.
Run 10 km/hr:
24 year-old male = 770 calories. 44 year-old male = 720 calories.
24 year-old female = 580 calories. 44 year-old female = 540 calories.

So, by adding your Resting Energy Expenditure with your Thermic Effect of Food, and with your Energy Requirement for Daily Life, you can figure out just how much energy you really need in a day. Then, you can look at the amount of energy you intake form your food in a day, and see where you’re sitting. Remember, if you choose to do this, it’s not exact, and it’s only a rough guideline. Your body will tell you when it needs more food, or more exercise. You just have to learn to listen to it. Be aware of your hunger. All the calorie counting in the world doesn’t compare to how healthy you feel. Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re satisfied. Keep your portion sizes sensible, and your food choices healthy, and remember the 1/3 rule. Remember that intensive exercise dulls hunger, but immediately after exercise is when you need to eat the most.
· You use about 2 litres of fluid (8 cups) each day, even before you begin any strenuous physical exercise.
· Thirst tells you to re-hydrate, but thirst is dulled by physical activity.
· You start to feel thirsty when you are already 2% dehydrated. By that time, you’ve already lost 2% of your body weight in water, and your performance can be lowered by 15 or even 20%.

Keeping Energy High All Day:
- Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Fuel up with some quality food at breakfast. Eat as soon as you can upon waking, even if it’s just a small bit of yogurt, or half of a piece of fruit. And get some water in you immediately.
- Keep your energy high by eating at least every 3 – 4 hours all day. This is where the six small meals a day comes in. And, contrary to what I thought previously, eating after 20:00 isn’t a no-no, unless it’s in excess of the body’s caloric needs for the day. Which is just common sense, really. No matter when you eat, if it’s more food than you need, then it’s gonna be stored as flab.
- Include foods from all 4 food groups with every meal.
- Drink water. All day.
- Eat high-fat foods sparingly – nuts, margarine, salad dressing, plant oils. A tip on salad dressing: by adding water to it, you reduce the fat intake, and don’t lose any flavour. And when you order it, order it on the side, so you can control the amount you get. The same with gravy.

A slice of bread is about the size of a cd cover. Anything with more mass than that is more than a portion of bread.
A hamburger bun and ½ a bagel are each about the size of a hockey puck. So how about them Timmy’s bagels? 3 – 4 servings of grain products each.
Serving of rice? About the size of a small cupcake wrapper.
So a club sandwich is 3 portions of grains.
Spaghetti is at least 4 servings of grains. Usually more, with our portion sizes.

Medium size portion of fruit or vegetable is about the size of a tennis ball.
The typical portion of veggies with a meal is usually about 2 servings.
A carrot is one portion.
A side salad is about one portion.

A serving of meat is, sadly, about the size of a deck of cards. So a steak dinner is about 2, or even 4 portions.
A chicken breast is about 2 portions.
A serving of fish is about the size of a chequebook.
A tuna sandwich is one portion of meat. (And two portions of grains.)
An omelette is one portion.
A package of nuts is anywhere from 1 to 4 portions.

A serving of butter? You shouldn’t be putting more than an amount equal to a stamp on your bread. Again, Timmy’s is juuust a little heavy.
Fuel Before Workout:
The more glycogen you can store (yeah, we’re back to glycogen and carbs and stuff), and the longer you can save your stored glycogen, the better you can perform, especially on long-distance, endurance activities.

So, maintain a high-carb diet, (1/3 rule) to ensure your glycogen stores are full. And eat carbohydrate food before exercise to provide blood glucose, and to top up your glycogen stores.

During low-intensity exercise, your cells use a mix of carbs and fat for energy. A well-conditioned, fit person has a better oxygen delivery system and can, therefore, use more fat as fuel than your basic fatbody. So, the fitter you are, the more fat your body burns in exercise. Neat, no? The fitter you are, the easier it is to stay that way.

Timing Your Food Intake:
The length of time between your meal and your workout determines how much, and which, foods to choose. (I know, obvious. Gimme a break here. I’m stretchin’.)
So, for a large meal with carbs, protein, and a little fat give it 3-4 hours to digest;
for a small meal, give it 2-3 hours;
and wait 1-2 hours for a carbohydrate snack or liquid meal.

What to Eat Before Workouts:
- Fluids, obviously
- High-carb foods: grains, veggies, fruit. Beans and lentils are sources of slow-released carbs, but high-fibre foods can cause serious discomfort, unless you eat them often.
- Choose foods that are easy to digest. Proteins and fat digest slowly. Limit them, especially if you have to work out soon after eating.
- Pick foods that are familiar and won’t upset the stomach.
- Unless you eat them often, avoid highly spiced food, or ones high in fibre. Or did I say that already? Yeah, I did.

Fluid Replacement:
For workouts less than an hour, all you need is water but for workouts lasting longer than an hour, you may want to make sure you’re getting some carbohydrates and sodium. That’s where your super-snazzy hi-tech sports drinks come in. Or diluted fruit juice with some salt added. (Gatorade is about the best sports drink on the market, which makes sense, I guess, since they were first.)

(They WERE first, right?)

So, anyway, to encourage fluid intake, keep water handy (cough*water bottle*cough), keep beverages cold, add some slight flavour.

Remember, concentrated drinks draw fluid from your body into your digestive tract. This can lead to cramping, diarrhea, and simple G.I. discomfort. It slows liquid absorption, and increases chances of dehydration. So, I’d just avoid concentrated drinks completely prior to, and during, a workout.

Urine volume and colour are pretty straightforward indications of your hydration levels: Plenty of straw- or lemon juice-coloured urine = well hydrated.
Dark coloured and small amounts, or infrequent urine = dehydrated. Start drinking.
Weight gain, huge amounts of crystal-clear urine, pissin’ every 20 minutes, means you might be drinking too much water.

Yeah, it’s possible to drink too much water. It’s called water intoxication (hyponatremia) and it’s found usually only found when first-time endurance event competitors drink nothing but plain water at every opportunity. They drink plain water and sweat out all the sodium. It’s far more common when the individual restricts their salt intake prior to the event. Like I said, it’s rare. Too little water is way more common. When you work out for real long periods in hot, humid weather add a little salt to your choice of replacement drink, or just buy a sports drink.

For those who want to get all technical - Use the serving size from the label and the following formula to calculate the carbohydrate concentration for one litre:
(Grams carbohydrate divided by volume of drink) x 1,000 = Grams carbohydrate/litre.

Keep in mind that fruit juice is more concentrated than a sports drink, so requires some dilution, if that’s going to be your choice for a workout beverage.

How much do you need to drink?
First, figure out how much you sweat. Weigh in before and after you work out (do it naked or change into dry clothes. Sweaty clothes weigh too much.) If you exercise for one hour with no fluid replacement, the amount of weight you lost (1 kg weight loss = 1 litre sweat) is your sweat rate. Of course, that changes as the temp and humidity change.

Drinking encourages your kidneys to produce urine, so you actually need to drink 1.5 times as much fluid as you sweated out. (I never do this. I’m always way behind in fluid replacement. Meh, whatever.)
One thing that could be added is, if you did alot of physical activity during the day, you might want to take some form of a protien shake/meal replacement, before you go to bed.  Reason being your body does alot of repair work while you sleep, and that work goes much quicker when the available materials (ie amino acids and such) are right at hand.  You can either buy the products or go the home made route.  The key is for it to be easily digestable, and preferably last a few hours.  If you go the store bought route look for stuff that has "Caesin" protein in it, as it combines both properties of digestabilty and it lasts in the stomach for 4-6 hours. 

Your recovery times will improve, and as an added bonus you won't be as hungry when you wake up in the morning (because it has litterally been slowing eating for most of the night), and your energy levels won't be as low.  This is particularly helpful if you prefer to workout first thing when you wake up.  I do this on a regular basis and have no problems completing even some of the more challenging Crossfit workouts, with little more than a glass of orange juice and some water.
The following link is from the Mayo Clinic...one of the most reputable sites for health and wellness information...the article attached speaks of nutrition as well as hydration, sports drinks as well as water.
At the bottom of this article are links which may be of interest.

Be well  :)


Here's a handy online calorie calculator...it will help you figure out the amount of calories your body requires daily as per your age, gender, activity level and the lot...

Happy calculating  :)


Be well
Fuel During Workout:
Fluid replacement is the biggest concern during short, intense periods of physical exertion.
For exertion lasting more than an hour, add carbs to keep the blood glucose level up and maintain the glycogen stores. Continuous intense physical activity makes it kinda tough to eat solid food, obviously, so you’re gonna want to go with either a drink or those li’l gel-packs.

Your sports drink should be 4-8% carbs (40-80 grams of carbs for a 1 litre drink. See? I did the math for you. What a swell guy I am!) It should also have some sodium in it as sodium adds taste and, more importantly, increases fluid intake. Now, I’m not talking about anything more than a tiny amount of salt, here.

Remember, sports drinks are designed so that fluid, and a trace amount of carbs, enter the blood stream quickly, (basically water and sugar), and they generally have no other vitamins or nutrients. If you’re concerned about replacing other nutrients, as well as carbs, you may want to look into diluted fruit juice. Fruit JUICE, not fruit PUNCH (yes, I said that before, but it never hurts to repeat these things). If you’re doing a 3-4, or more hour workout, you may very well want to look into a diluted fruit juice, with a pinch of salt added. This concoction contains vitamins, potassium, carbs, and sodium.

If you’re more concerned about losing blubber, water is your first choice for a sports drink, however. And, no matter your weight, if it’s a short workout (40-60 minutes), you only need water. Don’t go throwing your money away on Powerade if you don’t need to.

Sugar in the sports drinks:
- Sucrose is the sugar in fruit and table sugar, which is made up of both glucose and fructose.
- Glucose is absorbed more quickly than sucrose.
- Fructose is absorbed more slowly than glucose, as the liver has to change it to glucose before it can be used for energy.
- Fructose is often used to sweeten sody pop and fruit punch.
- Too much fructose during./after a workout can cause cramping and other stomach discomforts.

Energy/Meal Replacement Bars during Workouts:
Okay, if you’re heavily involved in training, (like several times a day), with breaks scattered throughout, you may very well want to shovel something solid into your yap instead of just another drink. This is where so many folks turn to those Vunderbars that promise oh-so-much, and generally deliver not-so-much. Whenever possible, you want to put actual FOOD into your mouth, rather than meal replacement powders or bars. Things like bagels, yogurt cups, fruit, and sandwiches (possibly the very best post-workout snack in the world is a peanut butter sammich, and a glass of milk! Toss in a ‘nanner and you’re set.). Make sure the food is portable and won’t spoil easily (which is one good reason for the prevalence of bars). Choose foods that are easy to eat and digest – low-fat grain products are the best for digestion purposes, since they have about 3 g fat/30 g serving. Your stomach is already working away, and hard exertion makes you feel less hungry than you truly are.
Body Composition and Weight Issues:
Body Composition & weight management is big business in North America, and consequently, there is a LOT of crap being spewed by a lot of people all of whom want your money in their pocket. So, my rule of thumb has become: is what I’m reading in something I paid for, and advocating I buy something else? Or is it free, and published by someone who benefits from my keeping myself healthy? The government wants you to stay healthy because it keeps the cost of Medical coverage down. Don’t believe Muscle and Fitness, believe Health Canada.

We got people over-eating because they’re lazy, and we got people dieting to the point of starvation or using chemicals because of insecurities. The truly ridiculous part is that it’s all so easily solved. Eat sensibly and do the odd push-up.

Increasing Lean Body Tissue:
Your lean body mass and your ability to gain muscle tissue is influenced by your genetic make-up. Period. Full-stop. If your body is not programmed to build 21” biceps, you are not going to do it, so get over it. You were not born to be Mr. Universe. On the plus side of that, your testicles aren’t the size of marbles. You cannot change your genes, no matter what you eat, how you train, or how many chemicals you inject into your bloodstream. If you lift weights, you will get stronger. If you do lots of cardio, you will get faster. If you do both, you will have a low body-fat percentage, and a higher ratio of muscle to fat. If you use steroids you are a moron, and should not join my army.

A progressive weight resistance training program (anaerobic exercise) will cause your muscles to get stronger and bigger.
Muscle growth is gradual. For an adult, 10 lbs a year is about average. For a youth, with the sky-rocketing metabolism, it can be less. Or, with the various growth producing hormones, it may be considerably more. But, it will be based entirely on your genetic potential.
Aerobic exercise will reduce fat stores and help gain a lean appearance, as well as the more important health benefits gained from it. Too much cardio exercise can use up all available energy, not leaving enough to build muscle. Your body enters a catabolic state, and feeds on the muscle to gain the energy it needs to survive.
As body fat is reduced, but muscle tissue grows, your weight may not change, or may increase. So, don’t get hung up on weight. Gauge yourself on how you feel, and on your performance.

Muscle does not grow while exercising. It grows in the rest periods between workouts. If you don’t account for enough rest and recovery time between workouts, you ain’t gonna get stronger, faster, or bigger/leaner. In fact, you’ll start to feel worse, and lose muscle tissue, while the body start entering starvation mode, and tries to store energy as fat tissue. So, factor in 48 hours between workouts for each muscle group when weight training, and cycle your cardio exercise so that you don’t do sprints or hills every day. Get enough sleep. No sleep = no recuperation = poor health.

The human body needs energy to build amino acids into muscle tissue. That energy is calculated in kilocalories. We covered that a while back, remember? Figure on 500 -1,000 additional calories a day to grow your muscles. Exact recommendations are impossible to give, and anyone who says they can is trying to sell you something. Your own genetics will determine how your body will utilize the calories you ingest, so watch what develops. If it’s muscle tissue, great! If it’s fat tissue, drop a few calories from your diet.

Again, you need adequate amounts of protein, but not excessive amounts. Go back read that post again, just to be sure it’s sinking in, and deeply enough to resist the clarion call of Muscle Media & Ironman Magazines. 20, 000 calories of protein will NOT make you a Mr Olympia competitor, but it will empty your wallet.

Check out this link: www.coach.ca/e/nutrition/resources.htm. It’s recommended by PSP. Since their jobs are entirely dependent on your performing better, getting fitter, and staying in shape, I’d say it’s probably safe to trust them.

Fat Loss:
Losing fat is only beneficial when it leads to better athletic performance, better health, and you feeling healthier. Lots of folks who are in pretty close to optimum shape, are trying, right now, to lose fat. Fat they don’t need to lose, but do need to have for energy to feed their next workout. Because they want to reach a bodyweight that is not only unrealistic, but unhealthy. That is what we in the Infantry call “being stupid”.

On the other hand, there are more people out there who definitely need to lose a lot of body fat and aren’t doing a thing about it. That is what we in the Infantry call “being lazy”. And they then go on to suffer a myriad of illnesses, discomforts, and injuries because they are lazy. That is what we in the Infantry call “being stupid”.

If you do need to lose fat, don’t go on crash diets, and start using ephedrine. You shouldn’t lose more than 2 pounds a week. If it’s too rapid, it never stays off. And it puts an unnatural strain on your body. The more gradual it is, the better your body adapts to the change, and the more permanent it is. The more gradual it is, the more it is a result of a change in mind-set, which is WHY it is permanent.

- Aerobic activity uses both carbohydrates and fats as a fuel source. Aerobic activity is necessary to use up stored body fat.
- After physical activity, your body continues to use energy at a higher rate than it would at rest without the exercise. The harder the exercise, the longer your body uses energy at higher rates.
- Weight training stimulates muscle growth, causing an increase in basal metabolic rates, meaning your resting energy expenditure rate is higher. More muscle = more fat burned all the time.
- 1 lb of fat stores 3,500 kcal of energy. So stop using the elevator, start using the stairs. Stop circling the parking lot of a half-hour to get a spot by the doors. Park as far away as possible. Instead of using the cart, carry a couple baskets through IGA. “Waste” energy whenever you can. Fidgeters burn more calories than people who sit still. Gum chewers burn calories. Don’t e-mail the guy down the hall, get off your ass and walk down to his office.
- Eat food from all food groups, and eat enough of it. Resting expenditure rate slows down when food intake is restricted.
- Eat 6 times a day. By constantly feeding the body, keeping a stable blood-sugar level, it never stores too much energy as fat.
- Eat every 3-4 hours. Bring healthy snacks with you on the go. It’s not that difficult if you put a tiny amount of thought into it.
- Fluid, dude. Drink water. Carry that water bottle around. Don’t buy the Coke, or that 4th Double-Double, buy a bottle of water, or a fruit juice. Have a friggin’ V8!
- Eat breakfast. Always.
Oooops! Skipped a page. (Yeah, a lot of the stuff I’m spewing out right now is from an official DND pub. I‘m using it to verify the stuff I‘ve already written is factual, and to help keep myself organized and on-track. I‘ve also got some true SME‘s proof-reading this entire thread. If you find a post of yours has disappeared, it‘s because a lady with PSP, who also has a Master‘s in the field and a fairly nice-to-look-at tush, has told me it‘s bollocks. The same holds with any revisions I make to any posts, including mine. Wish I could have gotten this on-line. It would have saved me HOURS of typing. But then, we wouldn‘t have these HI-larious spiels of mine, now would we? And where would the fun be in that?)

Fluid and Food replacement after Workouts:
Obviously, the more you sweat, the more fluid you need to replace. And that is your priority. Get the water into you. Or the sports drink. Or diluted fruit juice with a pinch of salt. Coca-Cola is not a good post-workout drink, nor is beer. No, not even light beer, dumbass.

When the physical work stops, glucose and amino acids are moving across the cell membrane, into the cell, but soon slow. Eating carbs right after exercise restores muscle glycogen stores. And that’s a good thing.  So, eat a carb-rich food within 15 minutes of exercise, and a little protein. Anywhere within 90 minutes after a workout will restore glycogen, but the sooner the better. After 2 hours, your rate of nutrient movement has slowed down to normal resting rates.

This is why the “Fitness Industry” pushes those magical bars, and why the gyms have those pseudo-foods for sale in them. Convenience. But I prefer my peanut butter. In fact, as I said earlier, a peanut butter sammich is just about the perfect post-workout snack. It’s a little fat-heavy for quickest absorption, but still almost perfect. And tastier than any stupid power bar, or whatever. Cheaper, too. I can almost buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter for the price of one Super-Duper-Power-Bar. Plus, you get a lot more nutrients from bread and peanut butter than any bar on the market. Yeah - Bread, and Peanut Butter. You don’t need butter with that. That’s just adding useless and unnecessary fat.

Nutrient Value of Common Foods: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/food-ailment/ns-sc/nr-rn/surveillance/pdf/e_NVSCF_eng.pdf
Handy site with charts of the nutrients in food.
As Physical Activity Changes:
When physical activity increases quickly, so does hunger. Your body is telling you it needs more energy to perform the demands your placing on it. Keep in mind that if you place high demands on the body for several hours a day, the physical activity itself will dull the hunger sensations, thus starting a bad cycle. If you’re tired all the time, but exercising a lot, you may need to eat more. Or you may need to eat better (more likely).

When your physical activities decrease, (injured, change in duties, retire from a sport) your appetite doesn’t decrease at the same rate as your energy output. Your body is used to eating half a cow a day, and demands that amount of food. Even though it doesn’t need it. And thus beginneth the chunkification. So, keep the previous info in mind when your activities start to slow down. You may need to change what you eat, when you eat, how you eat, and most importantly HOW MUCH you eat.

Inadequate energy intake slows the REE. Dramatically cutting back on food can make it difficult to lose fat. The body starts to horde the calories, and does it as fat tissue.
Low energy intake, combined with heavy exercise, does not provide enough energy for all the body’s vital functions. (You can’t keep building a fire in the wilderness if all the sticks are being pulled out of your shelter, right? The fire burns, but you freeze to death anyway.) So, your hormone levels drop, reducing reproductive functions (you stop getting’ any because you just don’t want it, as opposed to not getting any because you’re married.) and other normal body functions, like calcium absorption. Yeah, heavy-duty weight training can increase testosterone production significantly, but too much with too little food, can have the opposite effect.

Learning When to Stop Eating:
Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Sounds simple. But folks screw it up. People eat from habit, or for taste.
“It’s 12 o’clock, time for lunch.”
“Dang, this is delicious! I’ll just have a bit more. Okay, a it more. Okay, just one more.”
We always put the same amount of food on our plate, no matter how much/little energy we’ve expended. Or how much we used to eat, compared to what our activity is like now. Some of us have been taught to clean our plates, and will eat it all, no matter what size platter the waitress brings out. I’ll keep eating as long as food keeps getting put in front of me.

We eat quicker when hungry. And because of this, can often keep eating well after we’ve actually had more than we need. It takes about 20 minutes form the time we start eating until the brain detects the rise in blood sugar levels. You can power down a lot of chow in 20 minutes, man. I can scarf back an entire extra-large meat-lover’s in less than that. Gotta teach yourself to pace it out a bit, slow down, try chewing.

For those trying to lose fat, some tips on eating enough:
- Put your gut-wrenches down between bites. Or the sammich. Or pizza slice.
- Sip your drink between bites.
- Eat raw foods like salads and carrots before the meal, or munch ‘em between bites of real food.
- Use a smaller plate. Studies show that if the plate looks full, you feel satisfied with less food.
- Eat foods with more fibre.
- Serve yourself  a sensible portion, and if you’re still hungry 20 minutes later, have another portion, or a snack.
- Practice leaving food on your plate. It helps at restaurants.
- Chew your food well. Taste the stuff, fer cryin’ out loud!

Is stupid. At least as the term is commonly used, anyway. Restrictive eating has so completely screwed up North America’s concepts of fitness and health, that we have children starving themselves to death, and parents who let them. We have people so screwed up that can’t tell when they’re hungry anymore, or when they’re full. They binge. They don’t eat until they’re famished and sick, then eat until they’re stuffed and sick. That’s the extreme, of course, but the influence is pervasive and wide-spread. Even people who should know better are influenced by these bizarre eating patterns and myths.

North Americans want things done now. Instant fixes. And that’s where “Diets” come in. They want to think they can eat crap and still lose fat, and look great. (This brings us back to what we Infantrymen call “Stupid”). Some folks can even do it, actually. But those same folks feel like crap. Which shows that you really are what you eat, I guess.

Diets come and go. Some are re-cycled under new names, some disappear entirely. Not enough, unfortunately. Most of these quick-fix diets create rapid weight loss alright: they reduce the glycogens and water your body normally stores and REQUIRES to be healthy. These diets are very similar to staving yourself, and scientists have studied that in depth.  When carbs are lacking in the diet, the body uses stored glycogen. Water is stored with the glycogen, remember? As the glycogen is used, water is lost, and body weight drops. Significantly. You can drop 10 pounds of water in a day, easy. But you gotta put that back. You keep dropping that much water, you lose weight alright, but you die. The weight is returned once you start getting a normal amount of carbs and water. Which is why so many diets don’t work.

The human body requires carbs for all cells, but especially the brain and red blood cells. It’s so important that the body has a back-up system to be sure there’s always some glucose. Your liver can produce glucose from amino acids. It uses the protein to create it, but if you want to create lean muscle, you do NOT want the liver using protein to create glucose! And you DO want to create lean muscle tissue, remember? It helps keep your body fat down. If the goal is fat loss, you want to keep or gain muscle tissue because it uses energy faster than bone or fat tissue. Protein tissue is vital to maintaining or increasing the Resting Energy Expenditure.

Check here fro reliable nutrition info: www.dieticians.ca/english.

Canada’s Physical Activity Guide:
Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/paguide/index.html
What the hell ever happened to Participaction, anyway?
Okay, troops, let’s talk about supplements.  The straight poop, from someone who truly does give a shit, who has nothing to gain either way, and who has tried everything under the sun, including the illegal stuff once. This is not someone pushing an agenda, because I don’t have any products for you to spend money on, and I don’t have any particular interest in you doing anything but getting and staying healthy. That being said, keep it firmly in mind that I still dislike the lot of you.

As stated before, often, fluids and carbs are the most important part of your diet if you want to become the super-studly, godlike figure that I am. A protein heavy diet is easy to achieve, but isn’t as efficient for muscle growth, and fat loss. As stated previously, carbs can’t be stored for long, and you need to replenish them often if you want to engage in strenuous endurance sports.

Fast carbs & Slow carbs: You’ve probably heard somebody talking about “fast carbs” and “slow carbs”. They may not know it, but they’re talking about the glycemic index of food, which is the term used to describe how quickly the glucose from food gets into the bloodstream. You want to eat food with a slower carb absorption rate before exercise, especially endurance exercise, and a faster rate after the workout to replenish the glycogen stores.

The glycemic index is real complex, and doesn’t work when you eat more than one type of food. You have to add the two foods together, do all kinds of math, and you still don’t get the right answer. And, when you prepare a food, you change it’s glycemic index, anyway. And now, the same unscrupulous people who used the high-protein diet, and the lo-fat craze, etc, to make money are jumping on the glycemic index craze to rip off the uneducated. There is no need to avoid ANY food because of it’s glycemic index. Period.
If you are really uptight about the glycemic index, talk to a registered dietician or nutritionist, or something like that.

Glucose load: just a way to compare the amount of glucose that the different types of high-carb food provide. Don’t worry about it. Just another way for the hucksters to sound all scientific-like when they make up their fraudulent advertisements.

I was going to go into detail on how we used to stuff carbs into us, then skip carbs, then stuff ‘em in again, but it’s not worth it. Scientist have found that the old carbo-loading we used to do “back in the day” just don’t work. The principle was sorta sound, but it doesn’t work in practicality. The glycogen stores weren’t always re-filled by competition time. And, since water is stored with glycogen, you’d feel all tight and logy.  Not conducive to endurance events. They did find, though, that a steady high-carb diet stores almost as much glycogen as the old carbo-loading routine, and it’s less risky to your  health, while keeping glycogen stores up, and allowing you to stay more hydrated.  Now, when I say high-carb, I mean around 10 g carbs/kg  body weight. Not 100. And a lot of women had a hard time with carbo-loading. Turns out that women may use more fat and less carbohydrate than guys during endurance sports. Who knew?  But, keeping a high-carb diet seems to work just as well for the gals as it does for the guys. Especially in the recuperation stages.

Carb Supplements: Getting some carbs into you during the event, helps ensure you have glucose for the last few miles/minutes. It’s proven invaluable. Spots drinks, gels, and bars are the tool of choice, mostly for convenience. They’re easily portable, easy to tuck away, and don’t spoil or smoosh like fruit.  However, gels and bars need to be diluted. Sports drinks rush the energy into your system because they’re carried by water. The gels and bars need to pull water away from the rest of the body, into the digestive system. This is not good while competing (or humping up a 95 degree slope, on the 70th kilometre of a 90 kilometre rucksack march, chasing a 22 year old Pl Comd with a bad case of leader’s legs). It causes, in the mild cases, bloating, and in the extreme, dehydration. Not cool, kids. Very uncomfortable, and potentially lethal, if you’re miles into the bad lands with nobody but your Det around. 

To absorb the average energy bar with 40 - 80 g of carbs, you might need an entire litre of water. An entire litre. That won’t impact on your load at all, will it? And it won’t have any impact on re-sup either, will it? And you can certainly carry several litres of water while on a serious run, right?

Protein Supplements:
Now, it is true that people who engage in strenuous physical activity require  more protein than people who don’t work out, the numbers we read about in the fitness rags are way out of whack.

The recommended daily intake of protein for the average North American is 0.8 g protein/kg of bodyweight. That’s your generic, sedentary,  plays ball on the weekend with some golf here and there, but mostly just drinks beer and watches TV.
The American College of Sports Medicine, the Dieticians of Canada,  and the American Dietetic Association all say that endurance athletes need between 1.2 and 1.4 g protein/kg of bodyweight, while strength-training athletes need between 1.6 and 1.7 g protein/kg of bodyweight. 

1.7 grams of protein for every kilogram you weigh. Go ahead, do the math. Holy O’Batshit, huh? Nowhere near as much as you thought, is it? Now, go ahead and run the numbers on how much protein you eat in a day, just from natural food sources. Slap my fanny and call me Sally! You’re already getting way more protein than you actually need aren’t you? Here’s another tidbit: the human body doesn’t absorb much (if any) more than 1.7 grams of protein for every kilogram you weigh. It doesn’t store it. It doesn’t sock it away. So, you are literally crapping away all kind of cash.

So, how’s that 80 dollar bucket of protein powder looking now? Take a look at the label. Where’s the protein coming from? Milk solids? So…ahhh…chances are you’d get just as much protein by drinking a glass of milk. In fact, let’s just take a good look:

1% glass of milk, (personally, I drink 2%, but I have the figures for a cup of 1% so we’ll run with it) a bagel, and a handful of strawberries = 414 calories, 4 grams of fat, 71 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of protein.
1% glass of milk, 30 grams Ultra Whey More, and handful strawberries = 274 calories, 3 grams of fat, 23.3 grams of carbs, and 35 grams of protein.

So, the milk and bagel with fruit gives you more calories, more carbs than proteins, and some slight fat. In other words, the sort of healthy snack you need to become bigger, stronger, and faster. The protein powder gives you more protein than carbs, which we know is the wrong way ‘round, and no fats. But, wait! We’ve already learned that you need carbs and fats to replenish lost energy! Oh, dear. In fact, by looking back at the stuff on how proteins, fats, and cabs work, we see that protein powders (“It’s pow-dah! Say it Frenchy!”) don’t help you at all, really.

Supplements are pricey. Why? Because people don’t educate themselves. Check some labels, kids. Do you really need the Powersauce bar, with the secret ingredient that unleashes the awesome power of apples? Or would a plain cereal bar deliver the same goods? How about a plain ol’ Figgie Newton? There’s a reason they get put in the box lunches, y’know. Hell, dried fruit and trail mix will often supply as much, or more carbs, with extra nutrients. But you go ahead, keep on only eating food in bar form. (3 Simpsons references, 2 paragraphs. Sweet.)

For more info: www.coach.ca/e/nutrition/resources.htm.
I conquer with most of the information here Paracowboy and would like to add a few points if I may...
Your nutritional needs will vary on the setting you are in and the demands on your body...
That being said it is very important to keep your protein levels adequate if you are demanding much from your muscles...there is a research study which proves that even people who are bed ridden benefit from a protein supplement...as those who were not supplemented lost most muscle mass through decreased use, then the individuals who had a protein supplement.

They do have there place...they are used in health care...healing is promoted with an adequate protein intake.

Watch the type of fat you take in...it may not make you fat on the outside but it may be lining your blood vessels and coating your internal organs with some nice fat/plaque build up...I have seen lean people have heart attacks

A heart healthy diet is important as well...I use skim milk...it is fat free...the amount of protein and calcium is unchanged in skim you just don't get the fat with it and the fat in milk is an animal fat and it's not great for you (adults)

Watch the fats in crackers and bagels and the lot...they are ususally not good fats...in fact there are more trans/saturated fats in crackers than most other bread/cereal choices...so just try to make as educated a choice as you can...every little bit helps...of course this is day to day and when you have time and are in control of what you eat

You need fats in the body...they carry fat soluble vitamins through the body...if they are not available these vitamins can not be utilized by the body

I do carry/use protein supplements...it makes it less tempting to grab something when I am out hiking/doing outdoor activities then stopping at a corner store on my way home because I am starving...just be smart about using them...do your research and don't waste your money...egg whites cost me as much as a protein shake and I often don't have time to whip up those eggs...so it is convenient

Always eat your fruits and veggies...they have so much to offer including anti-cancer properties...proported anti-aging properties and much more...the darkest greens and the orangest oranges are the colors of the most nutrient rich veggies...all previously mentioned  ;)

Be well
sent an e-mail to the Brigade Health Promotion Director on "fat bagels", and fats and got this in return:
Hey there!
Well…bagels if made with hydrogenated vegetable fats will contain trans fats - in varying degrees, depending on how high in fat they are. If you look on the label and saturated fats are listed, trans may be listed as well. Bagels are also a very good source of complex carbs, so avoiding them because of trans fats isn’t necessarily sound advice. Your best bet is to read labels and look for bagels that are made with either non-hydrogenated vegetable products or good old oil - then they will be trans fat free. You will be better served avoiding things like cookies, crackers and frozen waffles/pancakes and other processed foods to decrease your trans fat intake.
and, I'm not trying to rip HL's post apart, because she's making a lot of sense, but I do want to make some points to avoid confusion amongst those who will try to use her post to support their uncompromising belief in the propaganda the supplement industry is promoting:
Hot Lips said:
That being said it is very important to keep your protein levels adequate if you are demanding much from your muscles...there is a research study which proves that even people who are bed ridden benefit from a protein supplement...as those who were not supplemented lost most muscle mass through decreased use, then the individuals who had a protein supplement.

They do have there place...they are used in health care...healing is promoted with an adequate protein intake.
I think the most important word here is "adequate". And I've shown what the adequate amount of protein is. The average North American diet contains more than the adequate amount of protein for the average sedentary individual, and even most weekend athletes. It makes sense that protein is used in the medical world, because, as I indicated earlier, protein is what your body uses to repair stuff. G'head, read back a bit.

Watch the type of fat you take in...it may not make you fat on the outside but it may be lining your blood vessels and coating your internal organs with some nice fat/plaque build up...I have seen lean people have heart attacks
the Health Promotion Director has this to say on fats:
Poly unsaturated fats are the type of fats that are liquid at room temperature - so all vegetable oils. They are considered “healthy” in terms of their effect on heart health, but they still provide 9 kcal/gram - just like any other type of fat. The fat in almonds is very heart healthy, and should actually be increased - almonds (and walnuts) are a great snack. They do provide quite a lot of calories, but again, you are better off having a handful of almonds as part of a snack and skipping the chocolate dipped donut.

I do carry/use protein supplements...it makes it less tempting to grab something when I am out hiking/doing outdoor activities then stopping at a corner store on my way home because I am starving...just be smart about using them...do your research and don't waste your money...egg whites cost me as much as a protein shake and I often don't have time to whip up those eggs...so it is convenient
with just a little planning, this can be alleviated. You can carry an apple or banana, and a sandwich just as easily as you can a protein shake. I'm munching on cauliflower and carrots right now, as I type. And I'm many kilometers from my house, having just finished workout #2 today. I'm going to scaf down some almonds after to give a little protein. I'm not saying never buy these products, (it's your money, and your health) but I am saying that real food is a far better alternative in every respect.

So, I think HL is saying the same thing I am. If she's not, we'll arm-wrestle to see who's right.
Supplements, continued:

Fatty Acid Capsules:
(I didn’t know anything about this subject before reading up on them for this Course. I tended to avoid anything with the word “fat” in it.) Fatty Acid Capsules are usually marketed as a supply of essential fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can NOT be made, and are referred to as “essential fatty acids”. (Which confuses me, since I have a hard time reconciling ‘fat’ with ‘acid’, but then, I never did pay much attention in Science, aside from learning how make explosives.) You can only get omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from real food. Omega-6 fatty acid is common in vegetable oils and other products with vegetable oil in them. Omega-3 is more rare. It’s found in fish (remember Parker Posey questioning Ryan Reynolds in Blade Trinity? “You're tasting a little bland, lover. Are you getting enough fatty acids in your diet? Have you tried lake trout? Mackerel?”), flax seed, walnuts, wheat germ, soy, and canola oil. Good thing I like fish, ’cause I don’t eat any of the other stuff. Not deliberately, anyway.

Omega-9 fatty acid is often found being sold on shelves in Health Food stores. It’s a scam. Oleic acid (omega-9) is found in vegetable oils and food. Abundantly so. You don’t need to supplement it.

Actually, the whole thing is a scam since unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very difficult to store. The fatty acid molecules break apart, so the capsules really don’t contain any of the nutrients they claim.

Alcohol (stop cheering, Tess):
We’re gonna include Booze in the fats since it’s not a nutrient, but does add energy and is broken down to a form of fat. (You get 7 kcal/g from booze. No nutrients, really, although stout is the healthiest choice. Also the tastiest. Get some Guinness into your neck, dammit!)

Alcohol modifies nutrients and adds to dehydration. It has a catabolic affect. It interferes with protein and carb use by the body, by lowering blood sugar, limiting glycogen storage, and slowing muscle repair. So, booze is possibly the worst thing to ingest when trying to become/stay fit. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour? He does, and it’s a particularly sadistic one. Benny Franklin was wrong. Grog interferes with B vitamins. The additional calories contribute to the fat being stored around your gut (Want a six-pack? Avoid six-packs!). Aside from aesthetic reasons, aside from athletic reasons, you don’t want blubber around your belly for simple health reasons. Hooch also slows reaction time and screws up simple coordination, not only when you have it in your system, but over the long run. Ever see an alcoholic’s hands? Imagine what they’re like with a rifle!

So, adds a whole different slant to “drink responsibly“, don’t it? That being said, I’m not about to give up my occasional pint o’ Guinness. In fact, it’s almost noon, now. Be right back…

aahhh…so - Minerals & Vitamins:
You only get ‘em from food. The body doesn’t create them. You really don’t need to supplement, if (IF) you are eating a reasonably healthy diet - from all four food groups, variety, nutrient-rich, little processing done to it, etc. You also need to ensure you’re eating adequate servings of the foods in question. One carrot a day just ain’t a-gonna get ‘er done. If you tend to eat the same food over and over, you don’t eat enough, you skip a specific food group, or for any of a dozen different reasons, you may want to take a generic ‘one-a-day’ supplement as an insurance policy.

You may be short in iron and calcium if you avoid food from certain groups such as milk or meat. So, those who are lactose-intolerant, and those who suffer from that bizarre affliction called “vegetarianism” may want to look into supplementing with iron and calcium. Why? Iron carries oxygen to the muscles. Well, to all the cells really. No iron = tired and low endurance. Calcium makes for strong bones. Low calcium = stress fractures.

When you start a training program for muscle growth, iron levels can drop at first, but will usually normalize within a few weeks. Women eat less food than men, in general, and can be more at risk of iron deficiency. They also have a greater loss of iron, and often limit their meat ingestion. So, female athletes who don’t eat much meat should have fairly regular blood tests (give blood - they check your blood every time. It’s how we found the wife’s anaemia was finally under control.)
Iron is more easily and quickly absorbed from meat, fish, poultry than from plant matter. If you’re going to try to rely on plant sources for your iron, have a food/beverage that’s high in vitamin C. Tea & coffee can interfere with iron absorption, so you may want to avoid them 2 hours prior to eating.

Women  who don’t drink enough milk, but exercise heavily may often find they’re running not only a greater risk of stress fractures, but can be placing themselves at risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. (The less milk you drink, the sooner that “late” in question can be.) All athletes want to get their calcium from milk whenever possible, as lactose and vitamin D increase calcium absorption for storage n the bones. They work together. If you can’t drink milk, you can try: fortified soy or rice beverages, or fortified orange juice; canned fish with bones like salmon or sardines; almonds, and dark green veggies like bok choy, broccoli, and kale.

Vitamin D:
As stated above, it’s necessary for calcium absorption. The above milk and fortified drinks are sources. In summer, vitamin D is made when the sun reaches the skin. Sunscreen and dark skin limit vitamin D production, and in the winter, the sun don’t do the trick anymore, so supplementation can be necessary.

Warnings on supplements -
Manufacturers do NOT have to prove their claims on labels. Dietary supplements are NOT well regulated in Canada. Dietary supplements are considered food, not drugs. Drugs require quality control and must have a Drug Identification number. Foods have labelling requirements. Health claims on foods have only very recently been controlled. However, there are still no controls in place for the literature placed beside the product on the shelf, or on a separate display beside the shelf, because it‘s not part of the label itself.

It is very difficult to prove that any product truly improves, or hampers, performance anyway. There are very few independent studies, and almost zero long-term studies on most of these products.

Independent lab tests have shown, conclusively, that many products contain substances not listed on the label such as:
- hair and dirt,
- Stimulants and steroids to ensure an effect, for the first couple of runs. Anecdotal evidence then takes over, and the steroid spiking stops.

Quality control in many products is non-existent, so the concentration of the active agent varies from batch to batch. But it doesn’t matter, because the spiking with steroids in the first few batches ensures that  word of mouth sells the product. Not to mention having some chemically-enhanced genetic anomaly pose with said product in glossy magazine advertisements. In some cases, the active agent in the product itself, is not known.

No country has any legal jurisdiction over products sold or advertised on the ‘Net. Info on the web is NOT regulated by anyone. So, check with sites that have a vested interest in keeping you healthy, not in keeping you buying products from them. Talk to a qualified health or nutrition professional. Service members have the added benefit of free advice from qualified experts via Strengthening The Forces.

Ask a few questions of yourself before you buy:
- Are the claims based on carefully-controlled, independent studies?
- Are the claims based on testimonials and anecdotal evidence?
- Do the claims sound too good to be true?
- Would you accomplish the same aim with real food and a proper diet?
- Who stands to gain more?

Relevant websites as recommended by the Base Health Promotion Director:

Protein...the discussion continues...here is what a doc at the MayoClinic has to say about high protein consumption and protein requirements of the healthy adult body.

Be well
Almost done, thankfully. We’re into the last workshop - Fine Tuning Your Eating and Activity Habits. ‘Course it has to be the longest one…

Risk Factors for Common Illnesses

I’m not typing all that out. Go here for more info on the Big C: www.cancer.ca

There are three types of diabetes - type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 happens when the pancreas stops producing insulin. Daily insulin injections and a carefully balanced diet are needed to control type 1 diabetes.

90% of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body doesn’t use the insulin it does produce effectively. Type 2 is usually treated with nothing more than a balanced diet and exercise. If blood sugar levels remain high, some pills may be prescribed (I won’t go into detail as there are reports of morons tying to play with insulin and other diabetes medications to improve their muscle growth. Same kind of insecure morons who use steroids, ephedrine, and growth hormone.) If the pills prove ineffective, you get moved up to injections.

Type 2 is most closely linked to lifestyle choices. Poor food choices, lack of exercise, and other idleness issues, basically. Eat right, stay fit, and chances are good you’ll prevent it completely, or at the very least delay it considerably.

Gestational diabetes sometimes occurs during pregnancy.  Which is definitely outside the purview of this thread, so I’m not typing any more out on it.

If you need to manage diabetes, for the luvva Pete, talk to a doctor and a registered dietician. Don't, please don't, be using this thread to serve as your guideline to control diabetes. Also, poke around on here: www.diabetes.ca

Heart Disease:
Risk mitigating factors -
Losing excess weight
Reducing salt intake
Consuming milk products
Increase potassium rich foods - fruits and veggies
Limit alcohol intake
Manage stress effectively
Avoid nicotine products

Keep your cholesterol at healthy levels. You can lower blood cholesterol levels by:
- Reducing saturated and trans fat
- Increasing dietary fibre from whole grains, legumes, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds
- Consuming some unsaturated oils, especially omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax seed, walnuts, and canola oil
- Increasing regular exercise

Regular Exercise increases ‘good’ cholesterol. Good cholesterol is HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol. It also reduces the LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol. It improves your ability to manage stress, and improves the efficiency of the body overall, especially the heart, lungs, and muscles.

Stress Management - for Service Members with ‘stress issues’, talk to Strengthening The Forces Promotion Staff on Base. They run seminars and courses to give you tools to do this effectively. Of course, much of their advice will be to eat properly and exercise regularly. Funny how so much of the problems facing modern life are all dealt with so effectively by simply eating right and exercising, huh?

For more info on Heart Disease go here: www.heartandstroke.ca

Fat Facts:
Alright, as we all know there are several different kinds of fat. The food industry use that to continue to sell you products, most of which have (well used to have, it’s being addressed now) dubious claims about being “low-fat”, “fat-free”, “no-fat” and so on. The terms most commonly read in the various scary news articles are saturated fat, mono-saturated fat, poly-unsaturated fat, and trans fat. This refers to the chemical structure of fat. The chemical structure, obviously, changes the characteristics of fat.

Saturated fats are:
- Solid at room temperature like butter
- Linked with health problems, due to increasing the bad cholesterol
- Found in foods from animals (meat, eggs, milk) and palm & coconut oils

Unsaturated fats include mono-saturated fat, poly-unsaturated fat, and trans fat. Most mono-saturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats come from plants. You can get them from nuts, seeds, avocado (yuck!) and plant oils.

Mono-saturated fats are:
- Liquid at room temp and thicken when chilled
- Linked with good heart health by decreasing bad cholesterol
- Most plentiful in olive and canola oils (which may be why the Mediterranean people have such a low rate of heart disease).

Poly-unsaturated fats are:
- Liquid at room temp but remain clear when chilled
- Linked with good heart health by decreasing bad cholesterol
- Most plentiful in safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean, and corn oil

Omega-3 (fancy scientific-type name - alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid) fats are poly-unsaturated fats. These are essential fats, since the human body can’t make them and has to get them form food. Omega-3 fatty acid foods are not that common, but you get it from fish (especially salmon and trout), flax seed, walnuts, wheat germ, soy, and canola oil. omega-6 fatty acid is found most commonly in foods containing oils.

Trans fats are:
- Formed when oil are hydrogenated
- Solid at room temperature
- Linked with health problems, due to increasing the bad cholesterol and decreasing good cholesterol
- Most plentiful in hard margarine, shortening, and processed foods (crackers, cookies, French fries, pastries, and other products with  hydrogenated oils.

The big thing to remember is that (loosely) the fats IN the food are good for you, while the fats ADDED to foods are not. Fat added to food at the table (butter, salad dressing), during cooking or preparation (deep-frying), or during processing (potato chips, crackers, cookies) is bad. Fat that is a natural part of your food (meat, cheese, nuts) is good. That’s not very scientific, but it’s a quick and easy guide to follow.

A very low intake of fat lowers your ‘Good’ HDL Cholesterol . When you have a very high carb diet, at the expense of fat, HDL levels tend to be low. HDL levels go up when saturated fat, mono-saturated fat, and poly-unsaturated fat replaces some of the energy from carbs. Aerobic exercise, especially, increases HDL levels.
You should be getting 21 grams of fibre daily. It sounds like a lot, but you’re prob’ly already pretty close if you’re eating healthy already. When you eat plant foods, part of it can’t be digested. That’s fibre. It adds bulk to your digestive tract, providing resistance for these muscles, keeping the digestive tract healthy, and preventing constipation.

There are 2 types: Insoluble and Soluble. Insoluble fibre comes from the bran on grain like wheat bran or brown rice. Soluble fibre is softer, and gel-like, like pectin in fruit. It combines with cholesterol and fat, helping to keep your blood cholesterol levels within normal limit, and it slows absorption to keep your blood glucose level normal.

Most whole plant foods supply a combo of Insoluble and Soluble fibre. If you’re not getting enough, increase the amount slowly, while drinking plenty of fluids.

Food Sources:
- Whole grains - rolled oats, barley, rye, brown rice, wheat
- Legumes - beans, peas, lentils
- Vegetables, fruits
- Seeds

Plant foods contain chemicals that give the food colour. Many of these chemicals are beneficial. So eat colourful veggies and fruits, and choose whole foods rather than processed ones.

Food Sources:
Apples, berries, berries, leeks, broccoli, sweet potato, tomato, black tea, onion, carrot, spinach, apricots, purple grapes, brussels sprouts, soybeans, cabbage, orange, cantaloupe, pumpkin, cauliflower, potato, prunes, cherries, grapefruit, flax seed, lentils, oats, olives, pears.

Antioxidants are compounds that combine with chemicals that can damage the body (oxidants). The big 3 you hear about are vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, but there‘s plenty more.

Food Sources vitamin C: oranges, grapefruit, tomato, green & red pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, strawberries, kiwi

Food Sources vitamin E: sunflower seeds, wheat germ, safflower oil, canola oil

Food Sources beta-carotene:  carrots, sweet potatoes,  mango, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach, broccoli

And on food sources -
Food Sources calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, bones in canned fish, fortified plant beverages like soy, rice, or orange juice. There are also small amounts in cooked beans, turnip greens, broccoli, bok choy, kale, & almonds.

Food Sources potassium: veggies, fruit, milk, fish, legumes, meat

Food Sources iron: clams, mussels, red meat, chicken, fish, legumes, enriched cereals, enriched bread, dark green leafy veggies, nuts, dried fruit.

Food Sources folate: lentils, beans, dark green veggies like spinach and asparagus, avocado, fortified cereals.
Making Behaviour Changes in Eating:

Breaking old eating habits is hard. Trust me, I know. I prefer to live on a steady diet of red meat and some fruit. And when things get rushed, I still try to fall back on old patterns. Creating new habits takes time and effort. According to James Prochaska and co-workers, a person has to go through  5 stages before finally reaching a new habit - Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, & Maintenance. 

Very few people follow a straight path to new behaviour. They start it, they slip, they start again, something comes up, they slip again, and soon, they’re back to their old ways. Few people are successful the first time they try to make a change in lifestyle. So, it follows that those of us trying to over-haul our entire eating and exercise patterns are going to fall off. No worries, just get back on the horse.

Try writing the advantages and disadvantages of changing down. Seeing it in black and white may help. And not just the advantages and disadvantages for you, personally, but for your family, your friends, and anyone else you deal with daily. For instance, eating healthier will mean you’ll be around longer to spend more time with your kids, and you’ll enjoy that time more. And so will they.

Step 1: Set long-term goals.

Step 2: Divide the long-term goals into action you need to do each day or week to achieve those goals. Make it - a) Specific; b) Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; and Traceable - plan to track your progress. It may help. It may seem like you’re actually accomplishing something if you see it as progress.

Step 3: Recognize that you’re going to slip once in a while. That’s cool. Everything in moderation. Build in a strategy to review your goals regularly, with a plan to get back on track. No biggie. Figure out how often you want to review your progress - daily, weekly, monthly?

It takes at least 6 months for new behaviour to become habit.

Set up a support network : spouses, friends, workout buddies, that hot chick in the BOR, co-workers, and at least one professional  - dietician, nutritionist, physical trainer, PSP staff, your doctor, etc.
Hunting For Nutrient Information (Reading Labels)
Okay, this is important. With the nutrient info on the food labels, you’ll be able to compare products, determine the nutritional value of foods, manage your diet, and increase/decrease intake of specific nutrients. Go find something with a food label on it, and try to follow along. Just reading this post isn’t going to help. You need to SEE what I’m talking about, or it won‘t make any sense.

There are 3 parts to the Canadian Food Label - the List of Ingredients, the Nutrition Facts Chart, and the Nutrition Claims.

List of Ingredients: Ingredients are listed from most to least by weight. The first few ingredients give you a feel for what is in the product - whole wheat flour, water, sugar, etc

Nutrition Facts Chart: information in the Nutrition Facts table is based on a specific amount of food.
Serving Size is:
- The specific amount of food listed under the “Nutrition Facts” title
- The amount of food on which all nutrient information is based.
- Listed in common measures you can use at home.
Compare the serving size to the amount you actually eat.
Use the “% Daily Value” to see if a food has a little or a lot of a particular nutrient.
The actual number of grams or milligrams for the specified amount of food is listed for many of the core nutrients. The vitamins and minerals are only given as a % Daily Value.
The core nutrients MUST be listed. Additional nutrients may be listed if they are related to a claim being made about the product. Nutrients may be in a product even if they are not listed on the Nutrition Facts table.

Compare your favourite two brands of something (make sure it‘s the same something. Say, bread). Which one has less than 3 g fat/30 g serving? Is the fat saturated, trans, or unsaturated fat? Which one has at least 2 g of fibre?

Nutrition Content Claims:
A nutrition claim can be a “nutrient content claim” indicating more or less of a nutrient such as ‘source of fibre’ or ‘lower fat’. The wording ios strictly controlled and there are rules about whether a product can make a claim. For example, the claim “low fat” can only be on a product with 3 g or less fat per stated amount of food.

Claims can also be authorized ‘diet-related health claims’. These indicate a relationship between diet and disease, and must be supported by scientific evidence. For example: “A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help to reduce the risk of some types of cancer”.

For more info labelling rules, go here: www.healthcanada.ca/nutritionlabelling
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