Coaches plan magazine - winter 2013
EAT TO WIN
How to make the right choices in sport nutritionBy Angela Dufour, MEd.,PDt.,IOC Dip Sports Nutr, CFE
WITH THE VAST SELECTION of sports drinks, bars, gels, and meal supplements ﬂ ooding the market, how can coaches and athletes ensure they pick the right products for optimal nutrition?
The key is to be able to evaluate the differences
between common sports foods and to know what to look for when trying to choose the right one for your athletes.
Sports foods are designed to assist athletes by
providing a practical or convenient alternative to regular food during times of travel or when there is limited time to prepare snacks and/or meals. These products usually contain nutrients found in everyday foods and thus can help athletes achieve their nutri-tion goals during busy days, between exercise sessions, or in multi-day competition situations.
It’s also important to recognize that not all sports
foods are created equal. Table 1 – Sports Foods and What to Look For offers speciﬁ c guidelines to follow when determining which product is best.
TABLE 1: SPORTS FOODS AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR
SPORT SUPPLEMENT TYPE
INDICATION FOR USE
Optimal delivery of ﬂ uid during, and post-exercise.
Training diet, carbohydrate loading, part of post recovery,
(30-40 g pack)
and during events lasting more than one hour.
Optimize rehydration/ﬂ uid balance, replace sodium
lost during large ﬂ uid loss, and for use in extreme hot/humid conditions.
Supplement high carbohydrate/energy diets during
heavy training, or for weight gain situations. Good for travel or when there is minimal time to eat before training/competition, and when appetite is poor.
Supply some carbohydrate during events lasting
more than one hour. Good for travel or when there is minimal time to eat before training/competition and in times when appetite is poor. Adequate for post recovery nutrition and in between multi-events.
TABLE 2: COMPARISON OF SPORTS DRINKS
Pre Exercise or During Exercise Drinks
for every hour (depending on the intensity
and total duration of the training) of sus-
tained activity to maintain adequate energy
levels. It’s best to consume sports foods
and ﬂuid) every 15 to 20 minutes, starting
lasting less than 60-90 minutes or when consumed with alternative source of carbohydrate)
CYTOMAX SPORTS PERFORMANCE DRINK (1 scoop) with 295-355 mL water
REVENGE SPORT ENERGY DRINK (1 scoop) with 473 mL water
Sports drinks are carbohydrate and electro-
lyte solutions designed speciﬁcally to
Recovery drinks (applicable for recovery with added protein)**
lytes (e.g. sodium, potassium), and ﬂuids
*Applicable for those exercising for long periods and/or in hot humid temperatures, or for those who have large sweat losses
**For adequate recovery, additional protein is required
•prolonged endurance or high intensity/
Note: Nutrition information was determined at time of publication and may change. Always check the product label to ensure accuracy. Because serving sizes of different products vary, it is important to determine the actual serving size
that is most practical for an individual in order to accurately compare products.
position, especially in their carbohydrate and electrolyte content.
How to ﬁnd
will assist coaches and athletes in select-
a sports dietitian
depends on an individual’s sweat rate,
which can range anywhere from 0.3 to 2.4
litres/hr or higher in some high tempera-
ture and humidity sports situations. As a
with an average of least 400 to 800 mL/hr.
has compiled a registry of qualiﬁed nutrition resource professionals with experience in sport nutrition on their website which can be accessed here: www.coach.ca/ﬁnd-a-dietitian-p140496
TABLE 3: COMPARISON OF SPORTS BARS
Sports bars can provide a compact, conve-
Well-suited for before, during, or after most types of activity
(higher carbohydrate, moderate protein, lower ﬁber)
sports, as well as endurance/ultra-endur-
calories, types of carbohydrate, protein,
and ﬁbre. Refer to Table 3: Comparison
of Sports Bars to choose the best bar for
a speciﬁc sport/situation. Fluid needs
Well-suited for recovery after heavy strength training or during longer duration activity
(higher carbohydrate, higher protein)
goals before, during, and after exercise.
HONEY STINGER ENERGY BAR (Apple Cinnamon)
However, it’s important to drink ﬂuids with
a sports gel in order to absorb adequate
* Gluten-free ** Vegan *** Additional carbohydrate required for adequate nutrition
Note: Other ﬂavours of the same brand may vary slightly in nutrient values. Sports bars may contain tree nuts, milk, and gluten (from
carbo hydrate and ﬂuid during activity.
wheat ﬂour, oats, and barley) and may need to be avoided by athletes who have certain intolerances/allergies to any of these items.
tration may interfere with ﬂuid absorp-tion, so it’s best to stick to a sports gel with a mixture of glucose, sucrose,
TABLE 4: COMPARISON OF SPORTS GELS
and their nutrition comparisons. Some of
these may lack sufﬁcient electrolytes to
match sweat loss, so it may be necessary
gels during exercise. Certain gels may also contain additional ingredients such as caffeine and vitamins/minerals that may or may not be desirable for all ath-letes in all situations.
owns and operates
Nutrition in Action, a private counselling
and nutrition services practice for athletes,
1. American College of Sports Medicine. Exercise and ﬂuid
coaches, and the general public in Bedford,
replacement – position stand. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Feb: 378-390, 2007.
2. Coach.ca. Sports Bars, Gels & Drinks: Maximize your energy
for endurance sports! Retrieved June 18th, 2013 from
with the Canadian Sports Centre Atlantic.
3. Dufour, A. PowerFuel Food: Planning meals for maximum performance. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Glen Margaret Publishing. 2013.
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