As a female athlete, have you ever wondered how you smash a track session this week but just a few weeks ago felt flat in the same session, given nutrition, sleep, and recovery remain the same? Or do you have days when you can’t keep your hands out of the cookie jar and others when a sugary snack doesn’t cross your mind? Or why men lose weight so much faster than women following the same diet? The good news is you aren’t going crazy; these scenarios occur, and the menstrual cycle’s fluctuation of hormones triggers it all.[Read more…]
Stress and Athletic Performance
Unless you are a professional athlete whose daily schedule is simplified around a train, sleep, eat, and repeat cycle, then you along with most athletes walk a fine line between balancing life stress with training stress. Amateur athletes should view their training loads as one part of a healthy, productive, and engaged life. It’s critical to take inventory of your life both in and outside sport to recognize your overall stress environment as it relates to fitness and performance.
The word stress oozes negativity. It’s definition: “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Athletes incur two types of stress: non-training and training stress. Both affect our body, energy, hormones, performance, mood, etc. Let’s break down the origin of our stress and learn how to mitigate its negative effect on our lives.[Read more…]
Control Food Cravings – How to Overcome the Pitfalls and Succeed
I’ve been a registered dietitian for 25 years, and I have yet to meet an athlete who doesn’t struggle with cravings. Unmanaged, cravings can throw a carefully designed nutrition regimen out of whack. Cravings tend to come later in the day, without warning, just when you’ve let your guard down, and can derail an athlete’s daily nutritional balance. One athlete I know describes cravings as a “black hole that sucks me in and I lose complete control of all willpower as I tear through my pantry. It’s demoralizing.”
Chocolate – Not Just for Valentine’s Day
Life is too short not to indulge once in a while — especially in chocolate. But, don’t grab a 3 Musketeers candy bar thinking you are doing your body a favor. Not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate packs the biggest health punch compared to milk and white chocolate.
The secret behind dark chocolate’s powerful punch is the cacao bean, rich in a plant-based organic compound called flavonoids. Flavanols, the primary type of flavonoid in cocoa and chocolate, have powerful antioxidant properties responsible for providing numerous health benefits. The downside is cacao (the cocoa bean) by itself is unappetizing with its chalky and bitter flavor. Once milk, butter and sugar are added chocolate gets its yummy, creamy taste we have come to crave. However, the processing of chocolate takes out the flavanols negating the health benefit of cacao. [Read more…]