An Auckland based Dietitian (dietician) (West Auckland). Specialising in Diet for Sport, Diabetes, recovery, training nutrition and weightloss.
When I was younger it wasnt something I ever gave thought to. Now though …..well, I am a dietitian so I suppose I should think about this kind of thing. Should I eat for my surfing ? Will it help ? How? Annnnd will it make me a better surfer ?
These tips are just general advice and so are the food suggestions, for more specific or tailored nutrition get in touch with me or any other qualified dietitian. First things first, you have to have fuel if you want to go the distance ! Now when I surf I generally hang in till the bitter end, till I cant feel my face/feet anymore or until the waves have become so bad …..Im forced to belly ride in on mush, because Im trying to maximise my surf time , to maximise my wave time, to get better.
1) Fuel up before you hit the water , dont fill up.
Try get some good longer acting Carbohydrates in their. You want to last the distance and do not want your arms turning to jelly while your caught on the inside or battling a rip to stay in place.Im usually in the water 2-3 hours on average. I usually surf on the New Zealand west coast which means lots and lots of paddling! Which in turn means burning up fuel. SO before you hit the water make sure A) your hydrated and B) you have fuel on board. I like something easy because a lot of the time Im hitting the water first thing in the morning, I dont want to be too full but I have to have that energy.
Heres some ideas :
2) Keep hydrated , it will stop your performance fading
It will keep you sharp, why…..because all the research says so! The effect of the sun, the salt water and the exercise will sap the fluid right out of you! So make sure you have fluid to sap, hydrate. This includes when you get back out of the ocean, take water in your wagon.
3) Eat well, when your not surfing
To maintain your weight . Not just for health and heart and fitness. But because surfboards cost a bit of coin and we both know a few Kg difference makes all the difference to how your board responds in the water ! Dont sink !Eating right for surfing will make it easier to maintain the weight you want to , I mean you dont want to get to big and no longer fit your new multi hundred dollar wettie, Figure out what weight gives you your best performance with your equipment and try and stay around that by eating well. Watching your portion sizes and keeping the junk food to a minimum. Remember alcohol carries a fair whack of calories too.
4) Post surf snack!
Be prepared , it makes all the difference to your next surf . Restock your fuel stores (muscles ). So you can be out smashing waves for your 2nd or 3rd session of the day ……..well at least the next morning anyway .Ever get back from the water and devour everything in the house ? Or alternativly not get a chance to eat but feel fatigued for your next session?
If your a devour everything kind of person , at least your body is telling you , refuel! But you want to get the right food in at the right time (the sooner out of the water the better). You want to help your muscles repair so including protein is good and you would have depleted your glycogen (fuel) stores in your EPIC ALL TIME session so you need to replace them and research has shown the sooner you do it, the more efficient it is. If your like me and most other surfers, you are probaly heading back to your car so your limited on what kind of epic cuisine you can really create. Preperation is the key here.
Heres some ideas:
Will it make you a better surfer? Well No , not directly. But it will help you surf longer, help you get out for more sessions and reduce your fatigue…….so eating the right foods at the right time can help you maximise your surfing to help get you hit your goals! Got any other tips, let me know in the comments .
After working at the DHB for over 5 years , specializing in the area of diabetes both type 1 and 2 , I've learned keeping it simple is the best approach. If you do not get it right or perfect it's not a reason to give up or stop. It's all about progression not perfection !!! Diabetes keeps changing as do we, so to expect it always going to be the same is setting your self up for disappointment. progress with your weight, with exercise, blood glucose, HbA1c , knowledge, ratios ! not perfection. just try and nail the big things and often before you know it the smaller things fall into place . If you end up having a bad day , don't stress when the next day comes keep progressing :)
So I started with a bang, but then life happened as it does! Well not exactly life because that's always happening right? But I did get busy! I swear!
Not only that but on my last long run, at about the 5km mark, my knee was in a lot of pain! I had to stop, its now been a little over a week and I have not run. This of course has meant I have not been burning as much calories and although I have not weighed myself.....I know this also means MORE weight. Ill know the damage in the morning when I check out the scales.
But if there is one thing that I have learnt from distance running its not to ignore your body, if it hurts its trying to tell you something and you SHOULD listen. Last year I ignored pain in my feet and could not train for a good month. For some one with ADHD (joking......kind of) that is anguish!
So I still have about 6-7 weeks to go, I have run a few 20km runs before the knee problem. So I should be ok. This friday Ill start again and see how I go.
So here's my first update. One week into my training and weightloss. I have managed to do a 5km run on Monday, followed by a 6.5 then a 6 km run. I went away for the weekend but kept active. Although no running. I came back to Auckland midday Tuesday and manger to go for a ten km run that night. I glad because my endurance is now slowly building. I haven't really had to change my eating much around the running because I'm not running for very long yet and not very often. But I am making sure I keep well hydrated. I have made a conscious effort to reduce my portion size at dinner and any unneeded snacking. Just as a tweak I cut sugar out of my coffee. I weighed in this morning On my scales at 87kg exactly. So that's a little over 3kgs weightloss and I'm well on my way to my goal running weight of 80kg!
This weekend I hope to build my long run to around the 15km mark.
Ok, I have not put anything in my blog for a while. I've been rediculously busy lately doing work for the DHB, doing work for Diabetes NZ and seeing my private clients....... Let alone all the time for family and recreational pursuits.
I decided to enter the Auckland marathon this year, I did do it last year..... Which was my first ever distance event. I completed it but had not trained enough. I promised myself that I would try again next year but train better...... Well I'm 13 weeks out and have effectively just started training! Ah well :)
So first things first, running that distance and putting in the km ill need each week will undoubtedly take its toll on my body and legs. I need to be lighter to reduce that toll. Last year I ran it weighing about 90kg. This year I've decided that it would be better to be 80kg. So my goal will be to lose 10kg in the next 13 weeks.
I started my training and weightloss on the 5/8/13. Ill keep this blog updated with my progress both in km and kg haha.
It is such a different beast to deal with this.......long steady aerobic exercise in regards to fuel as oppose to anaerobic.
But I have my plan and my goals. So onward we march.
Monday I ran 5km , Tuesday I rested, Wednesday I ran 6.5km and jogged 1.5.
The aim of the game is to make it to the start line injury free, rack up km each week and get to the best running shape I can in 13 weeks. This is going to be tough, but nothing good is easy and ill have fun trying.
What are New Zealand combat sport athletes doing to make weight for competition?
By Hamish Johnstone
I fought as a middleweight in Muay Thai and had to make weight time and time again for my fights, ranging from the 69 to 79kg I decided in the last years of my Nutrition degree to do some research into the NZ scene. I started looking at over seas studies on the effects of rapid weight loss on fighters mood, performance and immediate health. It became apparent that all were affected negatively. I wanted to know what New Zealands situation was like and If our fighters were using rapid weight loss techniques and what changes they made to their diet and dietary patterns.
So I made a questionnaire that covered background, training related questions, methods and techniques used to make weight and what the fighters diet habits were and what they changed, to make weight.
I then headed to the gyms to get fighters to complete my questionnaires I managed to get 30 fighters both male and female covering the combat sports of MMA, BJJ, Boxing and Muay Thai.
What I found was that we are pretty similar to fighters overseas
About 40% of athletes would only start to make/cut weight within 3-7 days before weigh in. In the final 24 hours before weigh in restricting fluid intake was favoured by 76% of the fighters while 73% also favoured fasting, of those 20% of fighters had gone for longer than 24 hours without food when making weight for competition.
The methods used to make weight
Thankfully gradual dieting to make weight was the most common method used. But if the gradual dieting does not involve maintaining a well balanced diet and instead consists of RWL techniques then a negative mood state may occur and research shows that this has been associated with an inability to cope with training demands. The majority of the other techniques used involve methods to dehydrate, research shows us that being dehydrated by more than 2% impairs thinking and performance in sports.
Changes to Diet
The results here showed that many of the athletes are consuming a diet that is not well balance while trying to train and lose weight for competition. Its going to make training harder and recovery harder. Many fighters were cutting out carbohydrate, this is the preferred source of energy for the fighters body. Cutting down on these foods from the diet can result in reduced blood glucose levels and reduced liver and muscle glycogen stores, which will result in worse performance, decreased energy and a decreased ability to train at your best.
In NZ the use of RWL techniques are common place. Leading up to a competition poor dietary practices are followed including reduced fluid intake and this may lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, mood changes and reduced glycogen stores.
All of which can have a detrimental effect on the fighters health and their performance. Ive seen it time and time again a fighter just hitting some invisible wall, theyre hands drop , they become sluggish and I know they’ve had to make weight and I cant help but wonder……did they do it the right way and did they recover correctly.
My Practical Recommendations:
1. Dont fight to far out of your training weight, know your limits
2. Don’t use laxitives or diuretics, they could dehydrate you too much, you never know how they are going to impact you.
3. Use gradual dieting to get close to your weigh in weight but maintain a well balanced diet well you do this, to stay healthy.
4. Don’t be carb phobic, carbohydrates are your fuel, you will need plenty when training for a fight but timing is everything.
5. Hydration is crucial while training and after to recover faster, remember train at your best to fight at your best. Be well hydrated for your fight, if you have dehydrated for weigh in make sure to use a fluid with a good amount of electrolytes in it rather than just water. You need to replace what you sweated out.
6. If you had to make weight and your weigh in was the day before the fight, have a carb (pasta, rice, potato) heavy dinner and also include a good amount of carb (porridge, pancakes, bread) in your breakfast before competition. This will make sure you have fuel to burn and your firing on all cylinders come fight time.
For further and fuller details of the research including graphs hit the link below.
Today I noticed on twitter a reference to this study, about the use of magnesium to treat muscle cramps.
It is an interesting topic. I know alot of people at different gyms where I have trained swearing by certain treatments for muscle cramps. One of these being the use of magnesium supplements.
What does this study mean?
So what does the science say about this. It is interesting to note "Magnesium supplements are marketed for the prophylaxis of cramps but the efficacy of magnesium for this indication has never been evaluated by systematic review". Never been evaluated? Well Im glad that they decided to do this!!! So they went about doing a meta analysis. This basically means that the reviewers found the most robust studies and put them together to give an over all idea and indication of a result. In this case being Does magnesium actually work to treat cramps. Well the results are a mixed bag. They ended up looking at it from 3 differing perspectives. One being cramps in exercise, another cramps in the elderly and finally cramps in pregnant woman. The results were that they found it to have no real effect on cramps in the elderly. They did not have enough studies or data of the right nature to determine its effectiveness in Exercise related cramps. And it seemed that it was a similar case in pregnant woman. With some conflicting studies, meaning more research is needed to determine its effectiveness on pregnant woman.
So what foods have magnesium ?
By Eating a wide variety of legumes, nuts,seeds, whole grains, and vegetables will help you meet your daily dietary need for magnesium. Bran is also really high in magnesium. The recommended daily intake is 420mg a day for males and about 310mg per day for females. Just 100gm of squash or pumpkin seeds will give you a little over 500mg of magnesium A bran muffin is another way to get a good hit of fibre and magnesium!
So I go into the tea room at work in the hospital and what is it I see on the table! This delicious looking cake. Typical nurses! Now here is the thing, I have been ridiculously busy lately. I haven't been able to exercise much at all so the weight is creeping up. Well I had to decide do I partake in this food or do I stick to my guns and grab my coffee and leave it alone. I can happily say that I left it. But its a common situation. when your trying to put in the good work at the gym and eating healthily through the week . It can only take the odd cake to undo some of your good work.
I think its important to keep things in perspective though. Yeah ok, if you ate that bit of cake it might set yo back on your days goal but not the weeks, or months or the over all goal. You can always even it out by increasing your exercise later. So no need to beat your self up about it. As I always say its better to bend than to break.
Far to often I have heard of people with the strictest diet regime who have a blow out and then say stuff it and don't continue on with the good work. Well I say just keep your overall goal in perspective and although you may hit the odd bump in the road you can still get to where your going.
One of the best ways to stop hitting to many bumps like this cake is to plan. Plan ahead, make sure you have healthy snack options with you or that you know where to get some. Too easy !!!
Another thing is to just have a smaller piece, its not something Im too good at but many people I know can use this method effectively.....take a quarter of a piece. Also too easy :)
So ill keep you updated as I try to keep my weight at a decent level as I lead in to my second Auckland Marathon....I know its 5 months away but I want to beat last years time which was fairly average.
Another diet that I have heard alot about is the HCG diet, where you actually pay money to to starve yourself and consume a Homeopathic version of a hormone (water) to acheive miraculous results. Once again I found a great fact sheet about this diet and a few other quick fix scam diets. I ve also attached a link so you can find a bit more information from a doctor who has put together a nice summary of the scientific facts
Here is a link to a fact sheet
Here is a link to more information
Recently I've been asked by friends about some "quick fix" diets and I often get asked about the newest fad diet going around, which is nearly always sold for profit, comes with a gimmick and has many testimonials to back it up but very little real science. Well I found this little fact sheet on " how to spot a quack" and I'd say the more people who read it the better informed you will be on making the right choices .