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Weekly Nutrition Tip: The Day After Racing- Part 1

April 24 2012

By Debra Meszaros CSN

The Day After Racing- Part 1

So you're back from a weekend of racing and ready to get back to training. You know next weekend will be here before you know it and you need to be ready to go racing again. Unfortunately most athletes are confused or misled to believe recovery is a day off or a light training day, but in reality recovery happens everyday!

Each day you train is another physical challenge to your body and it is only through recovery that your body becomes stronger and capable of handling additional challenges. What determines the speed of recovery and ability to increase the challenges you put your body through, is what you eat before and after each day of training or racing. To master recovery, nutritional timing is everything.

To reach optimal body performance, there is a strategy of combining proper dietary balances and the timing and availability of certain nutrients to the body.

Optimum performance begins at the cellular level and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is at the center of each cells attention, as it is the fuel for each of the mitochondria, your cells energy plants. The objective is to fuel and produce as many mitochondria as possible to build endurance while efficiently clearing metabolic waste by-products like lactic acid, free radicals and inflammatory markers, so you can recover quickly before the next training session. The body's recipe for ATP is an adenosine molecule, ribose, and three phosphate molecules. Ribose, a naturally occurring 5 carbon sugar, is a very important component in the production of ATP, without it ATP cannot be produced. It is a preferred sugar in support of cellular energy because unlike dietary sugars, it has no caloric value. Many choose to explore the supplementation of D-ribose 15-30 min before (pre-workout) and 15-30 min after (post workout). It is available in powder form and can be added to pre and post training protein shakes.

Within our bodies, the energy in a cell is produced two ways; in the presence of oxygen (aerobic respiration) or in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic respiration). The body prefers aerobic respiration as ATP production is more efficient, about twenty times more than via anaerobic. Intense exercise creates the cellular demand for new ATP and the regeneration of spent ATP, also known as adenosine diphosphate (ADP). This happens through a process called oxidative phosphorylation. Creatine plays a role in the regeneration process of ATP and is also said to improve memory and reduce mental fatigue. There are electrolyte powders that include creatine in them which can be added to your water.

During the intense weekly training of a motocross athlete, ATP stores are depleted quickly. Often the body must switch from aerobic metabolism to anaerobic metabolism. The muscle "burn" sometimes felt is the result of this switch, as anaerobic respiration produces more lactic acid and hydrogen ions. ATP production fueled by carbohydrate stores will last for approximately 90 minutes of constant activity, while fat stores can last for several days! L-carnitine releases stored fat into the blood stream and transports the fat to the mitochondria of your cells for energy production. L-carnitine supports long aerobic activity. An effective range for supplementation of L-carnitine is 1-2 grams daily, away from meals, otherwise in presence of other amino acids from your food, will compete for absorption.

Optimal performance and recovery is achieved when the proper carbohydrate to protein ratio is combined with adequate amounts of quality fats.

Your daily training activity constitutes the need for a continuous flow of amino acids (protein) throughout the course of your day to support long term energy, aid in tissue/muscle growth and repair, for enzyme and hormone production, to provide immune system support, and to balance your fluids and your electrolytes. Additionally, your diet must contain adequate quality fats, mostly in the form of Omega 3 found in albacore tuna, wild salmon, mackerel, and plant algae. If you do not like these foods, supplementation of Omega 3 fish oils may be your option to achieve balance. Omega 3 supports the body in maintaining testosterone concentrations and reduces prostaglandin release (inflammation). Effective range is 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily. Also, to have optimal absorption of vitamins A, D and E, your body needs fats. Adding nuts, eggs, seeds, avocado, olive oil and lower fat cheeses to your salad is a major plus. Omega 6, saturated fats, and trans fats are fats that hinder muscle recovery, promote inflammation and should be avoided. This is also the reason to read the food labels of the products you purchase and stay away from canola, soybean, partially hydrogenated oils, and vegetable oils.

Stay tuned for next week's article when I will discuss the second half of recovery and provide formulas for you to calculate your body's nutritional requirements.

2012 Debra Meszaros All rights reserved; no duplication without permission
DISCLAIMER: When you read through the diet and lifestyle information, you must know that everything within it is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. I am making no attempt to prescribe any medical treatment. You should not use the information here for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. The products and the claims made about specific products have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Confirm the safety of any supplements with your M.D., N.D. or pharmacist (healthcare professional). Some information given is solely an opinion, thought and or conclusion based on experiences, trials, tests, assessments or other available sources of information. I do not make any guarantees or promises with regard to results. I may discuss substances that have not been subject to double blind clinical studies or FDA approval or regulation. You assume the responsibility for the decision to take any natural remedy.
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