Thursday, October 18, 2012

Your a Dietitian - What Do YOU Take?

I get this question all the time!  I'm a professional triathlete attempting to do a bit better and putting in a few more training hours so of course I want to fuel my body with well-rounded nutrition and fill in any gaps with a few supplements right?  Of course!  Do I always eat perfectly.. not a chance. However, I do strive to make sure I'm meeting my fruit and vegetable intake each day, including plenty of whole-grain carbohydrates for heavy training periods and high quality protein to support  muscle growth and repair.

In my previous life where I was running from place to place like a crazy women sometimes forgetting to pack very important things like underware in my gym bag, taking my vitamins and supplements regularly didn't really go that way.

I have become MUCH more diligent in this routine and every day at breakfast or lunch I lay out what I am going to take and I'm not allowed to do other things until I get these babies in the system.  I take them all at once.  It's the only way it's going to get done.

If you've ever wondered what I'm taking on a daily basis - here it is!  I am now preaching many of these things to my athletes to get them in the system.

Powerbar's Protein Plus - 20 grams of protein with both whey, soy and casein protein.  I just attended a conference that said that the combination of these three protein is the ideal in terms of uptake and restoration.  I use this in my smoothies after workouts!  Yes, I am sponsored by Powerbar so I also use what makes sense AND is available to me readily. 
Fish Oil! I've been really getting on my athletes to make sure they take at least 800-1000mg per day  of EPA & DHA (active compounds).  However, on big days (long runs) or after Ironman I encourage them to take more like 2000-2500mg of EPA/DHA to cut down on inflammation and help with their recovery.  Need to learn more about the "why" check out this article on Five Benefits of Fish Oil for Athletes
This supplement, Beta Alanine is a recent addition to my repertoire.  I started taking it about two months ago on a more regular basis and I have no concrete evidence that it is making a specific difference but I can tell you that I am hitting numbers in training that I haven't seen the entire year within this last month.  This supplement is based around lactic acid buffering and especially at high intensity work such as sprinting / 5k's / weight lifting or any short burst type of exercise that produces a highly acidic state in the muscles.  While I don't do much of this work as a long course athlete, when I do I want it to be good!  There is more research about this particular supplement at Powerbar's website.  
My Mother actually got me these for my Birthday.  Yeah, I know.. random.  Since Magnesium isn't produced by the body it must come from our diet or in a supplementation form.  There is emerging evidence that magnesium requirements are significantly elevated in athletes, and that performance might benefit from higher intakes.  There was a great article in Triathlete a couple of years ago on Endurance Athletes and the supplementation of this mineral as well which you may find interesting. 
I do take a multivitamin every day to every other day just to fill in the gaps and more for "insurance' than anything else. 

Finally, also random, my Mom sent me Tart Cherry Juice so I often add this to a drink in the form of a tablespoon or my smoothie in the morning.  Most likely she saw this on the Dr. Oz show where it was highly publicized recently.  My thought is that I wouldn't go out and buy it, but if I have it - hey, why not! 

So, if you've ever wondered what other athletes are taking in terms of supplements etc. here it is!  I hope this helps you. Obviously the best idea is to have a well-rounded balanced diet and then only to take what you need.  With that said, many of us as endurance athletes do need to be a bit more careful about having the right combination of nutrients, vitamins and minerals so if you are unsure I would first suggest talking to your doctor and then working with a dietitian to get the right things tested to make sure your current levels are up to snuff before you randomly choose supplements that may or may not be right for you.

Happy Friday everyone!! 


jennifer said...

This is great, thanks for posting! I'd also want to mention vitamin D... given that we all wear sunscreen we don't get enough. Low D is associated with decreased athletic performance and also a host of diseases (I partially attribute ulcerative colitis to low vitamin D when I moved from TX to San Fran) so it's a good idea for everyone to add this into their mix.

Jen Small said...

very interesting! I just read an article about magnesium and started supplementing with that as well.

Can I ask what dose you suggest?