Five Common Mistakes When Trying to Lose Weight

14 07 2010

Don’t sabotage yourself by making these weight loss blunders.  Read on to find out more about mistakes I often see clients make, and how to avoid them.

Skipping breakfast to save calories.

Research has shown that people who skip breakfast tend to eat more later in the day, cancelling out whatever calories they saved at breakfast.  Also, going long periods of time without eating can affect how your body handles the food you eat.  Those who eat more later in the day tend to store more body fat and have less muscle.

Not eating enough protein.

Eating protein throughout the day will help you maintain muscle as you lose weight.  Your goal should be fat loss, not just weight loss.  Protein also makes you feel full longer.  Simple protein foods to include are meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, nuts, or beans.

Eliminating entire categories of food (like carbohydrates).

Too many people believe they can’t eat carbohydrates.  The problem with this mindset is if you eliminate carbs then you don’t have enough energy to train optimally.  Exercising at a higher level will allow you to burn the necessary calories for fat loss.  The harder you train, the more carbohydrates you actually need.  High quality carbohydrate foods are fruits, whole grain breads, high-fiber cereals, & sweet potatoes.

Not paying attention to liquid calories.

As you are trying to lose fat, your hydration should mostly come from water.  Sports drinks are only intended to be consumed around workouts.  They should not be consumed all day long.  Juice is also very high in calories.  By avoiding these outside of exercise, you save yourself unnecessary calories.  In addition to these, alcoholic beverages add up quickly and can prevent your progress toward your fat loss goal.  Besides the extra calories, alcohol hurts weight loss in other manners.  It stimulates appetite and you mostly likely won’t choose healthy food when you are drinking.  Lastly, alcohol has a negative impact on your sleep and hydration, which in turn will make it more difficult for you to lose weight.

Trying to lose weight In-Season.

If you wait until the season starts to try to lose weight, you may be jeopardizing your performance.  By eating fewer calories than you burn, you may have less energy than necessary for workouts.  Therefore, it is best to plan ahead and make the necessary changes in the offseason.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.





Is Shrimp Bad For Me?

30 06 2010

For years people have been concerned that eating shrimp would raise their cholesterol levels.  Shrimp is naturally high in cholesterol.  But what we have learned from research is that dietary cholesterol does not raise your blood levels of cholesterol like saturated fat and trans fat do.  Shrimp is actually a very low fat, high protein food.  It could be a great addition to your normal diet.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you should go buy popcorn or coconut shrimp.  Breading and frying add the saturated fat that we are trying to keep in check.  Feel free to use steamed or cocktail shrimp.

In addition to being a good lean source of protein, shrimp have other health benefits.  They are very high in a carotenoid called astaxanthin.  This is responsible for seafood’s red color (shrimp, lobster, salmon, trout).   Studies have demonstrated that astaxanthin is much more active as an antioxidant than beta-carotene or vitamin E.  Other studies have also shown that dietary astaxanthin enhances our immune response, decreases inflammation, enhances fat metabolism, and improves eye health.

Bottom Line:  Shrimp can be part of a healthy diet, and I would argue that it should be included to balance your diet.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.





Common Mistake #1: Recovery after training and competition is not taken seriously

24 05 2010

I would like to take the 5 mistakes mentioned in my previous post from May17th, 2010 and expand on each one.  The first mistake concerns not focusing on recovery.  One definition of recovery is returning to a normal and better condition.  For athletes, this is getting their body back to how it was prior to the training session or competition.  The quicker someone recovers, the sooner they can train or compete at an optimal level again.  What changes occur during training and competition that bodies need to recover from?

First, carbohydrates are stored in the muscle in the form of glycogen.  Your body uses this glycogen for energy during activity.  Think of this as refueling your muscles.  One analogy I hear used all the time is comparing our bodies to cars.  Think of carbohydrates as the gasoline you put in your cars.  One role of eating carbohydrates after a workout is refueling – like putting gas in a car after a long trip.  Another role of carbohydrate is limiting the damage caused by exercise.  Exercise can cause an increase in the hormone cortisol, which can lead to the breakdown of muscle.  Eating carbohydrates will decrease the amount of cortisol in our blood, thus decreasing the amount of muscle that is broken down.  Depending on the intensity and length of exercise, you should multiply your body weight by 0.4 to 1 gram to calculate the amount of carbohydrates needed.

Second, but no less important, is protein.  Our bodies also need protein after workouts and competitions to repair the damage that occurred.  Exercise puts our body in a catabolic state.  This means that our bodies are breaking down muscle.  If we don’t get the right food in after a workout, we won’t gain all the benefits from the hard work just completed.  People make the false assumption that exercise builds muscle.  Instead, it is the combination of exercise and proper fueling that stimulates our body to repair and build muscle.  The type of exercise and your body weight dictate how much protein you need.  A good target to aim for is at least 20 grams of protein.  Generally, I recommend multiplying your weight by 0.2 grams for optimal recovery.

Third, we need re-hydration.  This is simply replacing the water used during the exercise.  To know how much you should replace, you should weigh yourself in minimal clothing before and after the exercise bout.  This weight loss represents the water loss that needs to be replaced for your body to function optimally.  General guidelines are to drink 20 oz for every pound you lose.  This can be water, a sports drink to provide the necessary carbohydrates, or a drink that contains protein.

The last thing I would recommend is having some food that has anti-inflammatory properties.  This can also allow for quicker recovery.  Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties include cherries, berries, pineapple, and foods that contain Omega-3 fats (ex. salmon and walnuts).

By focusing on these four areas after workouts, you will optimally recover from your workout and see the improvements you desire.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.





What you eat can affect your joints…

16 04 2010

Maintaining and regenerating cartilage and synovial (joint) fluid helps to avoid frictional damage to your joints.

Adequate daily intake of protein and water can be essential to maintain good levels of synovial fluid.
1. For protein, get at least 0.5 gram per pound of body weight.
2. For water, get at least 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids can help joints by reducing inflammation.
Good sources are:
Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Fish Oil, Walnuts, Canola Oil, & Flaxseed.

Both vitamin D and vitamin C are important as well.
1. Eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack.
2. Take your multivitamin daily.
3. During the Fall & Winter, take your vitamin D supplement daily.

Weight  | Protein (g/day) | Water (oz/day)
130 lbs  | 65—104 grams   | ≥ 65 ounces
160 lbs  | 80—128 grams   | ≥ 80 ounces
180 lbs  | 90—144 grams   | ≥ 90 ounces
200 lbs  | 100—160 grams | ≥ 100 ounces
220 lbs  | 110—176 grams | ≥ 110 ounces
250 lbs  | 125—200 grans  | ≥ 125 ounces
300 lbs  | 150—240 grams | ≥ 150 ounces

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.