When it comes to nutrition and hydration there are more opinions than you could ever read.
A new diet that promises pounds to drop right off without any effort that includes eating whatever and whenever you want comes out monthly.
Counting points, measuring calories, avoiding carbs and drinking shakes are all part of the normal dieting regimen in today’s society.
Nutrition and hydration are simply not within the scope of practice for physical therapists.
We cannot give you a specific diet to follow or give you specific advice on how many calories you should take in daily.
But we would be doing an injustice to our patients and clients if we did not talk about it to help get you into the right direction.
Eating clean and healthy is critical for those who are in a healing phase after injury, recovering from surgery, or asking your body to perform at peak performance during training and events.
A simple rule to follow when thinking about your diet is ”If God didn’t make it, don’t eat it.”
If you can find it in nature, your body was created to use it effectively and efficiently without negative effects.
When we add processing to our foods, it usually includes chemical additions that preserve the food for packaging and transport as well as lengthen its shelf life.
What your body then sees is a foreign object within the body (think of a sliver) that it needs to fight or get rid of to avoid bad things happening inside our body.
This triggers the immune response of the body to “fight our food.”
The body's response to processed foods weakens your immunity to all the other “normal” things our bodies have to fight off constantly, creating higher chances for other infections and disease processes to occur.
For this reason, to eat “clean” during any recovery process allows our body to use as much of our natural healing for our body instead of “fighting our food.”
buying a race car and using Years–old fuel from the shed is a lot like eating processed foods or drinks and expecting your body to perform at high levels.
If you are any level of athlete, especially endurance or power/explosion types of athletes, your nutrition is the cornerstone for training and performing to your highest potential possible.
An endurance athlete running 3-5 miles per day needs to increase their caloric intake daily to allow the body to maintain and improve muscle function and not break down.
two big things to be sure you get into your system are proteins for muscle building and calcium for bone and muscle function.
What many people don’t realize is that your muscles require calcium to function and if sufficient sources aren’t available in your diet, it will pull calcium from your bones to continue to function.
This leads to stress fractures for many athletes.
(Stress fractures are a very complex subject that happens most often in female endurance athletes. We'll share more on this specific issue in upcoming blogs.)
Hydration is a big deal that everyone is trying to use to sell their products.
Sports drinks make millions of dollars on selling you the idea that their sports drinks will replenish your system and get the nutrients that you need into your system quickly.
Studies show that the best possible product for rehydration is simply ice cold water.
Sports drinks do have some vitamins and minerals added into their products, but sometimes also have salt and sugar as well.
Our body is a complex system of chemistry that simply doesn’t change that quickly during a 2 hour soccer game.
The major exception to that is ironman level triathalons or 6+ hour events such as an all day soccer or basketball tournament that you need to keep your nutrition and hydration consistent throughout the day to avoid the energy dips after and between competitions.
Hydration parameters and theories Vary, but the general rule of thumb is your total body weight divided by 2 is the number of ounces of water intake per day.
That will increase depending on the level of competition and weather as well. If you are out in the sun all day, your water intake should increase accordingly.
Our body has a natural balance mechanism for the pH in our body to maintain an normal level.
So if we are sweating a lot our body will make accomodations to our system for preservation of water, which can lead to overheating and performance breakdown.
In conclusion, in order to eat clean we have been provided with all the necessary products all around us.
Fresh, unprocessed foods that can be found in nature along with fresh, cold water is all we need to keep our bodies working and performing the right way.
Nutrition and hydration are necessary components to help you, “Be Your Best”.
Jason Robinet is a physical specialist focused on peak performance training for elite and emerging athletes. His and his wife, Barbara, are co–founders of Robinet Physical Therapy.