By Drew Robertson
Looking to improve your overall riding by changing your eating habits? Join Drew Robertson and Iain Hayden to take part in our MPA Motopark Motocross Academy and read this article to get some basic knowledge about healthy eating.
Some Good Rules to Live by:
First and foremost, eat to be healthy not to look a certain way; eating to be skinny can lead to a whole host of health complications as well as adding unwanted body fat and sacrificing lean muscle tissue.
A typical western diet is high in cereals, energy-dense, nutrient poor foods, thus yielding a net-acid load, resulting in low grade pathogenic metabolic acidosis, which in turns stimulates amino acid and protein catabolism leading to a loss of lean tissue, which then slows down your metabolism. So the first thing we need to do is increase out consumption of fruits and vegetables which has been shown to produce a net-basic load, thus relieving the problem of metabolic acidosis (unless your diabetic, or have kidney problems).
Some basic rules
Try and do some form of aerobic or anaerobic type activity everyday.
- See a good trainer for a program designed for specifically for you.
- Make sure to work with or get a program designed by a trainer (see Cathy Lachance)
- By omitting breakfast you impair fasting lipid values as well as decrease insulin sensitivity that can lead to weight gain.
Smaller portions/Low energy density
- By eating large portions of high energy dense foods clinical trials have shown this lead to the over consumption of energy and thus weight gain.
Maintain a consistent eating pattern on both weekdays/weekends
- By eating more frequently, it has been shown to increase thermogenesis, and balance insulin profiles.
- Regular eating has been shown in clinical trails to yield a smaller intake of energy.
Limit Empty Calories
- These are calories that don’t contain vitamins, minerals, or protein they do however provide calories examples are pop, iced tea, slurpees, candy,chips, and alcohol.
Add Omega 3 essential fatty acids to your diet.
- Regulate the rate of cell division
- Keep saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
- Regulate nerve transmission and communication
- Regulate pressure in the eye, joints and blood vessels
- Mediate and boost the immune system response
- Omega-3 are essential, in other words a nutrient that our bodies cannot make or cannot make in sufficient quantities to meet physiological needs.
- Up regulate lipid oxidization and down regulate lipid synthesis, in other words help the body burn fat and slow the depositing of new fat.
Drink lots of water!!!
- 2-3 ltrs. Of water a day is what I recommend, this is a general recommendation, if you are active and train lots then extra water intake would be needed.
- Water is the medium in which most of our body’s processes take place.
- Some studies have indicated that water is beneficial for the skin, good for the immune system and can reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Increase Fiber in your diet
- Fibers are structural parts of plants
- The difference between fibers and starches are the fact that the bonds between the monosaccharides that make them up cannot be broken down, thus fibers contribute little or no energy to the body.
- Some fibers are water soluble and are called soluble fibers, these are digested by bacteria in the colon, and are associated with protecting against heart disease and diabetes.
- Some fibers no not dissolve in water and are called insoluble fibers, these are found mostly in grains and vegetables and promote bowel movement and can alleviate constipation.
- Fibers that occur naturally in intact plants are called Dietary Fibers.
- Fibers that have been extracted or manufactured and have beneficial health effects are called functional fibers.
- By increasing the amount of soluble fiber, and thus slowing gastric emptying, this has been shown to reduce appetite and help control caloric intake.
Increase your antioxidants
- By increasing your antioxidants which are found in fruits and vegetables, you can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- There are studies showing improvements in circulating cholesterol.
- Antioxidants help your body clean up free radicals, which are linked to a lot of major diseases.
There are a lot of things to take into account when developing a smart and healthy eating plan that will work for you, especially if you are already experiencing health problems. For more help see a nutritionist or registered dietician that can help you develop a plan that will take into account your life style, medical background, current health issues and make it work for you.
Creating a successful nutritional environment
First thing, how many of us plan out our daily meals? How many of us sit down and plan out meals for our young athletes? How many athletes plan out there daily intake? I have been a nutritionist dealing with athletes now for almost 8 years and very few people and family’s do!
What typical happens is something like this… the athlete gets up has a small bowl of cereal, fruit bar, maybe a cereal bar, a small piece of fruit or my favorite is they skip breakfast all together and off they go. There mid morning snack, there what? Who? …exactly most athletes skip this meal all together. On to lunch, this can consist of a wide variety of selections from sandwiches from home, cafeteria food, pre-packaged foods, to cans of soup and everything in-between. Mid-Afternoon snack… well like the mid-morning snack this falls by the way-side, then depending on practices, games and other activities, we see a very large consumption of food in the late afternoon through to bed, making up the greatest bulk of the athletes caloric intake. Ok lets review; after sleeping through the night, the athlete wakes up with low blood amino acid concentrations, as well as low blood sugar then consumes a high sugar low protein meal, doesn’t eat again until noon, where they consume carbohydrates which are typically processed with a small serving of either fruit or vegetables and a small serving of protein again usually processed. During activity, practice, workouts or competition the athlete typically just consumes water or worse they don’t even do that!! Then the athlete consumes the majority of there daily intake during the later part of the day, and because of the fluctuating blood sugar levels they tend to consume high amount of simple carbohydrates and various forms of junk food.
Before we continue here are some interesting points:
Studies at Georgia State University demonstrate that hourly energy balance is at least as important as total daily energy balance and should remain as close to neutral as possible throughout each of the 24 hours. What does this mean, well having well balanced meals that offer up approximately the same number of calories at each meal is just as important as the total number of calories we intake each day.
A fair number of sport athletes have been shown to be deficient in a host of vitamins and minerals, leading to impairments in nervous system function, metabolic processing, and oxygen delivery/consumption. It’s hard to get the requisite amount of vitamins and minerals in only one or two meals. Now, this doesn’t mean that athletes should start popping multi-vitamins. What this means is are re-focusing of our daily intake towards fruits and vegetables, and not just at one or two meals but at EVERY meal.
Now let’s get started on correcting this and getting the athlete, both young and old on the right track to nutritional excellence. First off both athletes young and old need meals that are easy and quick in the morning as most like the rest of us are on the run and busy.
Here are a few examples of quick and easy breakfast meals:
- Dry oatmeal
- Greens supplement
- Protein powder
- Fresh or frozen fruit
- Peanut butter
- Blend together
Breakfast Mush (it tastes great and is one of my personal favorites)
- Dry oatmeal
- Frozen berries
- Protein Powder
- Greens Supplement
- Mix this together using enough yogurt to make a mush like mixture
Speedy Omelet Sandwich
- 4-5 egg whites
- 1 whole egg
- A little cheese
- Various veggies (green, red and yellow peppers, broccoli, etc.)
- Mix above place in microwave for 2-3 min (depending on microwave)
- 2 pieces of whole grain toast or toasted whole grain bagel
- Glass of OJ with a greens supplement in it
- Place cooked omelet on the bread or bagel and there’s your sandwich
Now make sure to mix these meals up and when you have the time, make your self a good sit down breakfast, using eggs, maybe some whole wheat pancakes, fresh fruit, lean turkey bacon, or lean chicken sausage. Sometimes I hear I’m not hungry in the morning, well sure if you have been skipping breakfast or having a breakfast that consists of small amounts of food your body will adapt to this, so yes for the first few weeks you might feel a little full but have no fear just like your body adjusted to not eating it will adjust to eating, and I let you guess which one is better for us!!!
On to the snacks, now we normally have snacks that are full of processed carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients, we need to change this.
Here are a few examples of easy, quick and healthy snacks:
- Fruits (fresh or frozen)
- Protein powder
- Flax seed oil or other essential fatty oil blend like UDO’s
- Cottage cheese Frozen berries Mixed nuts Protein powder Or
- Protein powder
- Peanut butter
- Ground up flax seeds
Easy and quick
- Fresh veggies
- Humus dip
- Hard boiled egg
Every time we eat we should be making sure that we get fruits and vegetables, good carbohydrates, good fats and high quality protein, this rule includes snacks. Now on to lunch, this is one of the easiest meals to fix. Simple plan: double up on dinner!!! We can pack this in small Ziploc containers and if needed heat up before we consume.
- Chicken breast (sliced up)
- Small piece of cheese
- Alfa sprouts
- Slice of tomato
- On the side Mixed nuts
- Brown rice
- Sunflower seeds
- Celery (chopped up)
- Green or red pepper (chopped up)
- Ground flax seed
- Mix this all together in a Ziploc container and heat before eating.
This is a good example of a dish that you can make 2 – 3 servings of just add more tuna so retain the same ratio.
Pasta salad extreme
- Whole wheat pasta
- Chicken Breast (cut up)
- Green, Red and Yellow peppers diced
- Broccoli (sliced)
- Italian Dressing
- Ground flax seed
- Olive oil
- This is a great dish cold or hot
This is a good example of a dish that you can make 2 – 3 servings of; just add more chicken so you retain the same ratio.
Now lets have a look at dinner, this is the one meal that we do usually eat a fairly well balance meal. Having said that here are a few suggestions to help improve your dinner selections:
- Add a variety of beans and lentils as this will add some good fiber to your diet
- Always use whole grain versions of foods instead of the processed version
- ALWAYS include vegetables with this meal
- Have fresh fruit or fruit smoothies for dessert
Now that we know how to improve our daily intake, let’s look at some strategies to help us create a positive nutritional environment for us and our young athletes. In both cases we want to make meal choice as easy as possible, so when we go to eat or pack our lunches we are not needing to make or cook a whole lot of things. How do we do this Drew I’m so busy, I don’t have the time? Now I have heard this line and reasons like it a lot, how many of us watch 2-3 hours of T.V. a night? Why are we tired in the first place…maybe because our nutrition intake isn’t up to par? Pick one or two nights a week and this is the night or nights that you make meal ingredients like brown rice and whole wheat pasta, cook up 4-5 chicken breasts, or lean roast, we cut up various fresh veggies like carrots, celery and peppers. This will allow us to make the right choices when we go to the fridge and pack our lunch or need a healthy snack.
EMPOWERING! I love that word and it’s meaning when dealing with younger athletes! I’m a father of two and I have heard just like all the other parents, Mom, Dad I can do it, or I’ll get it… our children want to do things on their own! They want to feel like they have accomplished something, they want to take on responsibility! So I say let them, let them go into the fridge and pick out there own snack or even make there own lunches the night before. Now before you all say there going to have cookies and chocolate bars for lunch and nothing else, wait what did I tell you about earlier? We have taken the time to make up and place in the fridge healthy choices so yes the athletes get to choose but we have limited their choices to healthy ones! So now they not only feel good about making their own snacks and packing their own lunches or making their dinners, we as parents know that they are eating healthy. Now Drew this sound good, but my kids are still going to eat out of the snack cupboard… they are still going to have the chocolates and chips and junk. Really, why are they even in the house, does it make us feel better as parents or ease our conscious when Timmy or Suzy whine that they want sweets? We send them into the kitchen and tucked away in a corner are these “treats”? Now I’m not saying our house should be completely devoid of every sweet, but instead of chips how about whole grain crackers, or instead of chocolate bars, small servings of really chocolate, or what’s wrong with apples, pears, and banana’s as tasty snacks? Our athletes of all ages and truth be told just about all of us need to eat healthier and indulge our sweet tooth less! Some of you are going to say to me well my young athlete won’t eat then!! If you and the rest of the house hold adopt these suggestions and ways the athlete, young or old will adopt them and follow along as well, especially when they see and feel all the positive effects of what eating well can do or us!!!