Eat Like An Athlete

You can have all the athletic ability in the world but if you don’t put the same amount of effort and discipline into your nutrition plan then all the gains can be for nothing.

Ask any athlete on the planet and they will say that getting their diet right is half the battle. Take soccer for instance, it is a physically demanding sport that requires the body to be effectively replenished through nutrition. In this article we look at what it takes to eat like a soccer star, and this knowledge can then be effectively implemented across any sport.

The importance of a soccer player’s diet was summed up perfectly by Arsene Wenger, the manager of English soccer club Arsenal. According to ThoughtCo he said: “Food is like kerosene. If you put the wrong one in your car, it’s not as quick as it should be.” Indeed Wenger famously changed his team’s diet habits during his first season in 1996. The next season his team won two trophies.

The question now is what it the ideal diet for a soccer star? Strikers United in their document ‘Eat Right to Play Right, Nutrition for the Soccer Player’ put carbohydrates as the number one food group. They state that complex carbs such as spaghetti, potatoes, rice, and lentils “should be given priority because they provided 40-50% of our body’s energy requirements.” A soccer player needs carbohydrates in order to have enough energy to not only play a 90-minute game but also recover from it.

The best soccer players in the US play for the national team and the official US Soccer website has a list of 10 nutrition rules to live by. Their top two tips are to eat natural foods such as fruit and vegetables and eat a wide selection. The US team also emphasizes the importance of eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up to jump-start the metabolism.

For those who are looking at this page and worrying about the strict diet, there is some hope. Speaking to soccer magazine FourFourTwo US soccer star Clint Dempsey spoke of eating less healthy foods in moderation. When asked about junk food and beer Dempsey replied: “You don’t have to be so strict that you ban yourself from eating or drinking something. You have to live your life, it is too short to keep yourself away from all the things you enjoy.”

As long as you don’t over indulge eating moderate amounts of ‘fun food’ will help with motivation. The balance has clearly worked for Dempsey, who according to journalist Kevin Hatchard who writes for Betfair Premier League, as well as covering international fixtures for the site, Dempsey is a US soccer hero and continues to perform even though he is coming to the end of his career. This is certainly testament to his diet and how well he looks after himself on and off the pitch all year round.

Hopefully this article has given soccer players and those who want to improve their diet some useful tips. Dedication and discipline in the kitchen can hugely help to improve performance levels and give you the edge over opponents. The important points are to eat whole foods, eat at the right time, and remember that it is okay to have occasional cheat meals to keep motivation up.

*Article courtesy of an outside source and verified by Raquel Redmond, RD, LDN

Three Things

1. This one is for my Philly people! Cyclebar is opening in Plymouth Meeting on May 8th! This isn’t your average cycling studio. It’s a fun, heart pounding workout that will keep you coming back! I love the variety of class times offered and the Cyclestats that measure your daily and historical performance. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re in the area! You can sign up for free rides on their website.

2. ‘Declining soda sales‘ is exactly what I love to hear. Which beverage will take over now? It seems like kombucha, cold brew coffee and pressed juices are becoming industry leaders. I’m most excited about people loving kombucha! If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I love kombucha and I drink it everyday for those yummy probiotics. Which drink is your fave?

3. The nutrition facts label is getting a face lift and the front of packaging nutrition facts will likely be updated too. How does it compare to the nutrition logo in France? The World Health Organization is pretty excited about the A-E scale nutrition logo. While it does help with making a healthier choice, it may not discourage someone from buying something they like. The label is meant to help limit intake of calories, saturated fats, sugar and salt. I’m curious to see the outcome of using this labeling.

Raquel

Three Things

1. I’ve talked a lot about probiotics here on the blog. It’s hard to pick a probiotic brand so I found this great review site to help you decide what to buy! The best brand according to Reviews.com is Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Colon Care. This brand contains the core five probiotic strains L. Plantarum, L. Acidophilus, L. Brevis, B. Lactis, and B. Longum. Probiotics can also be found in fermented foods. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, and aged cheese are all sources of probiotics. If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough probiotics through foods then a supplement may be right for you!

2. Dietitians have some great tips that we love sharing with others. This is a nice list of tips and tricks that work for most people. My favorite on the list is don’t cut out temptation completely and snack smart. When you deprive yourself you want that thing even more! Don’t say no to desserts and “carbs” instead make smart choices and remember your portion sizes. If you want in on even more tips – work with me!

3. Is yoga an aerobic workout? Yoga is great for stress reduction and flexibility, but is it enough to count towards the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week? Well this article sort of clears it up. Yoga can be aerobic if it’s done rapidly like a power yoga class. So if you’re a big yogi try switching it up a bit between power yoga and a regular yoga class. I for one love yoga for a relaxing addition to my workouts.

Raquel

How To: Stay Motivated at the Gym

Some days it’s tough to make it to the gym. But if you’ve done the hard work and gotten yourself there that’s only the beginning. Staying motivated and making it through your workout is your next challenge. Your body will thank you when you’re done! Check out my tips for staying motivated at the gym on those days when you just don’t wanna.

Staying Motivated at the Gym

  1. Think about your goals. Why are you at the gym? Every time I start to slow down or feel like quitting I try to remember what my fitness goals are. I am at the gym for a reason! I am working out to help me feel good about my body and help my body feel good.
  2. Turn up your music. Blast that fist pumping playlist and push even harder. Spotify is my best friend at the gym. When lifting or doing cardio or teaching fitness classes music is what keeps me and the people in my class going!
  3. Try something new. Find a new fitness class to take or try out a new piece of equipment or new exercise. Don’t be afraid to ask someone at the gym to help you. Most personal trainers are more than happy to help you out and give you some pointers for free!
  4. Talk to a gym friend. My gym is like a little community. I see the same people each day and also talk to new people every day. Each person is there looking for something a little different. Chat with someone to help bring back some motivation.
  5. Take a break. Walk to the water fountain or take a breather. Pushing yourself through a fitness class or your routine is the goal, but if you’re struggling take a break, adjust your form and get back into it with even more effort!

Raquel

P.S. I love drinking my balance shot from Life Equals on the days I workout! They are great little juice shot with fruits, vegetables and turmeric. Use code ‘RED50‘ for 50% off your first month subscription!

Three Things


1. Workouts that I can do at home are a lifesaver during the holidays! With so much traveling and no access to a gym at times I love having ideas of what to do with limited resources. Check out these bodyweight exercise that you can do just about anywhere! How do you keep up your workouts over the holidays?

2. Fermented foods are still going strong on the market. As long as kombucha remains on the list I’ll be supporting the trend! Creating new flavors that mask the fermented flavor make this trend more appealing to the general public. My favorite kombucha is the Health-Ade Pink Lady Apple flavor. I love the probiotic benefits of fermented foods.

3. This is one of the best gift guides I have come across! A fitness stocking stuffer gift guide because everyone can use more fitness goodies. From new water bottles and earphones to new Nikes and gear. What fitness gifts are you hoping to get this year?

Raquel

Endeavour Athletic Review

I recently began working with City Fitness and writing some fun posts for them on their blog. They have partnered with Endeavour Athletic and I received some free gear from them. I hadn’t heard of Endeavour before and I wasn’t expecting to love their products more than any of the other exercise gear I own. However, I was pretty impressed with the fit of the apparel and they even have some pretty cool technology that goes into it.

Images via Endeavor Athletic

I really appreciate the fit of the shorts. They are high waisted and the length is perfect. They are so comfortable for a long run or a bootcamp gym class. The top is made with EVOTEK fabric featuring TRIZAR technology that helps control moisture and it has polygiene technology that helps the tank stay odor free. Love it! Even though the weather is (finally) getting cool I’ll be wearing this gear to sweat my butt off at the gym.

Check out some of my posts for City Fitness:

Happy reading!

Raquel

I received free gear from Endeavor Athletic mentioned in this post. I was not compensated for my time.

Three Things


1. Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite grocery stores (don’t worry Whole Foods, you’re still at the top of my list)! Buzzfeed did us all a favor and put together a list of some of the best and most delicious products at TJ’s. From the list the Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole with Greek Yogurt is one of the usual items on my grocery list. Plus, the Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix is a super easy, make at home Sunday morning kind of breakfast savior. I would also like to add to the list the Unsalted Crunchy Almond Butter because I use it pretty much every single day. Also, the Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese is my secret (not so secret anymore) go-to dinner on the weekend when I’m in a rush. What are your favorite products?

2. Quick update on that soda tax I was talking about before! There is now more evidence that soda taxes cut soda consumption. A new study took place in one neighborhood in California which showed that since the soda tax self reported consumption of soda decreased by 21% and water consumption increased. All great things! I’m still so proud of Philadelphia for passing this tax.

3. If you don’t eat after working out then you’re doing it wrong. You need to fuel your body after a workout to reset and recover. These snacks are all great options for your post workout. Smoothies and protein shakes seem to be what I go for the most, but handfuls of nuts, yogurt and granola and hummus are all great options as well!

Raquel

Three Things

TT - lifestyle med

1. Doctors are not taught to discuss nutrition with patients. This is a great article from the Chicago Tribune describing the traditional medical approach of focusing on treatment instead of working on prevention. Lifestyle medicine is a new trend focusing on diet, nutrition, exercise, stress management and risk factor reduction. Generally, medical school only focuses a very small amount of time on teaching future docs about nutrition (which is why dietitians come in handy!). Focusing on promoting wellness and disease prevention can help the overall health of the nation and may be the direction in which medicine is heading.

2. Are you getting enough protein per day? The answer is probably yes! This is common knowledge among dietitians, but many Americans don’t realize that they are most likely meeting their protein needs without choosing products that boast “high protein.” In general men need about 56 grams of protein per day and women need about 46 grams of protein per day. To put that in perspective, a 3-1/2 ounce portion of chicken breast contains about 21 grams of protein. For a women, two chicken breasts almost meets your daily needs! Choose a lean protein or plant based protein at each meal and you should be good to go. You can always check with a dietitian if you are unsure!

3. Product Spotlight: Casa de Sante LemonAID. Inspired by the Indian beverage jaljeera, this drink packs a healthy punch! It is made with mint, cilantro, ginger, tamarind, fennel seeds, nutmeg, caraway, cinnamon, turmeric, lemon juice, cayanne pepper and pure cane sugar. I’m loving this for when I’m feeling bloated or after overindulging over the weekend! Check it out.

Raquel

How Much Exercise is Enough?

Friday’s Three Things discussed how being unfit can be just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. This just shows how important exercise is, but how much is enough? You should aim for 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity per day. Even short bursts of energy throughout the day can make up for not having a full 30 minutes to an hour to spare for exercise.

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How Much Exercise is Enough?

Aerobic activity – Per week you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Moderate activity includes walking, swimming, light jogging, cycling or rowing. Vigorous activity includes running, Zumba, barre, cycling or boot camp/HIIT classes.

Strength training – Per week you should have two strength training sessions. Strength training could be traditional weight lifting or classes like boot camp/HIIT, barre or Pilates.

Stretching & relaxation – Ten minutes of daily meditation and stretching can help improve your mood and reduce stress. A yoga class is another great way to relax and exercise at the same time.

I aim to get to the gym 4-5 times per week for a fitness class. I also teach fitness classes so that helps! The other few days I try to get in a long walk or some sort of outdoor activity and everyday I take a few minutes to center my breath and be present in that moment.

Raquel

Three Things

TT - unfit

1. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but being unfit may be almost as bad for you as smoking. According to a new study poor physical fitness is a major risk factor for premature death. Smoking had the greatest impact on lifespan and low aerobic capacity came in as a close second. Poor physical fitness had more impact than high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Only men were studied, however this should still encourage everyone to strive for their own physical fitness goals! Get up and go.

2. Red meat continues to get negative attention. Red meat includes beef, lamb and pork and should be consumed in moderation (duh). Consumption of red meat has been linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer. A new study suggests that red meat consumption is also linked to kidney failure. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a burger on occasion, but replacing one serving of red meat a week with another protein can reduce your risk of kidney disease by 62%.

3. Sandwiches can be healthy or they can be a sodium and fat bomb. A study found that on days people ate sandwiches they consumed 100 more calories and more sodium, fat and sugar. Packing your own lunch by making your own sandwich can create a healthier sandwich. You get to control what type of bread and fillings you use. Choose whole wheat bread, low sodium deli meats or grilled protein, avoid sauces and condiments and load up on the veggies! A made-at-home sandwich can be just as delicious as getting lunch to go.

Raquel