20 11, 2014

November Nutrition Blog

By |November 20th, 2014|Nutrition|Comments Off on November Nutrition Blog|

It’s Elemental, My Dear Ladies…

Female athletes are at risk of low iron stores, and even iron deficiency anemia. High-intensity and endurance cycling increases the turnover and use of iron stores, which can quickly deplete iron reserves if not replenished properly. In addition to exercise requirements, menstrual-related bleeding increases iron losses. Thus, the requirement for female athletes may be higher than your average “Joe”.

So what does this mean exactly? And how does Iron work?

Iron is an important mineral that acts as a transporter of oxygen in the blood (as hemoglobin) and in the muscles (called myoglobin), and is required for red blood cell production. Additionally, iron creates essential enzyme systems needed to produce energy and DNA, as well as supporting a healthy immune system.
Iron is kept in “pools” in the body, which acts as a reserve and storage to be accessed when the body needs it.

There are 3 main pools-
Pool #1 > Storage iron: typically known as ferritin, and mainly found in the liver, bone marrow, and spleen. You can get your iron stores checked with blood work.
Pool #2 > Transport iron: carried by transferrin (a protein) through plasma and fluids throughout the body to the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. This can also be checked with a clinical blood test.
Pool #3 > Oxygen transport iron: combines with oxygen and is carried in the blood as hemoglobin, and also combines with oxygen in the muscle to create myoglobin.
If these iron reserves get low, aerobic ability (and metabolism) can be impaired by the reduced ability to deliver oxygen to the tissues. This hinders the muscles’ ability to use oxygen for energy production, and cycling endurance power and declines……

Iron declines in [...]

17 09, 2014


By |September 17th, 2014|Health, News, Nutrition|Comments Off on SEPTEMBER WCA NUTRITION BLOG|

Mind Your “Peas and Corn”…

Peas and corn are classified as starchy vegetables. These and others listed below contain more calories per ½-2/3 cup serving (about 60-80 Calories) when compared to 1 cup of non-starchy vegetables (about 25 Calories). But don’t let this stop you from including them on your plate! These fantastic veggies lead the pack with high nutrient density and antioxidants essential for performance and health. Most all starchy vegetables need to be cooked before you eat them, and some contain more vitamins and minerals when baked and eaten with the skin on like potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Foods and Nutrients
Potatoes ~ B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese
Sweet potato ~ Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B-vitamins, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese
Pumpkin ~ Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Manganese
Taro ~ B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese, Iron
Cassava ~ B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron
Plantains ~ Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B-vitamins, Magnesium, Potassium
Green bananas ~ B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Potassium
Corn ~ B-vitamins, Niacin, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Manganese, Selenium
Green peas ~ Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Potassium, Niacin, Magnesium, Iron
Green Lima beans ~ Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B-vitamins, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese
Water chestnuts ~ B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium

Depending on your nutrition and body weight goals, starchy vegetables can play a different role on your performance plate. Here are a few considerations when eating these nutrient leaders:

For weight loss- starchy vegetables can be considered a “grain” food group and eaten together with your “protein” and “non-starchy vegetable” food groups for a complete meal.

For weight maintenance- starchy vegetables can be considered either a “grain” or “vegetable” when composing your performance plate.

For weight gain- starchy vegetables can be [...]

15 08, 2014

August WCA Nutrition Blog – Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

By |August 15th, 2014|News, Nutrition|Comments Off on August WCA Nutrition Blog – Are You Getting Enough Calcium?|

Hello WCA members!
As the season quickly progresses and training/racing demands increase, so do your nutritional needs. Calcium is an important essential mineral that is typically low in women athletes, as foods containing Calcium are often sacrificed to meet training weight and performance demands. Your present and future health could be at risk. Don’t jeopardize the longevity of your racing profession by cutting essential nutritional corners. Make sure you are getting enough Calcium at the right times to optimize absorption. Here’s how…..

Calcium’s daily job:
99% of our bodies Calcium is dedicated to forming and maintaining bone- the important skeletal structure that continues to develop until about 30 years old. At about 30 years, our skeleton has reached its peak development and begins to decline in strength throughout the rest of our lives, making it extremely important to get enough Calcium during the bone’s developing years!
Calcium isn’t only working daily to maintain bone, but also acts in a variety of other essential ways- enzyme activation (allowing for basic and complex cell activity to give us life); vascular contraction and vasodilation (which allows different amounts of blood to flow throughout our body and to our muscles for use and repair); nerve impulse and transmission (which allows us to feel and sense how tight our cycling shoes are for example); and muscle contraction/function- super important for us cyclists (need I say more?)!!!

How much makes all this possible?
Aim for at least ~1200mg/day and limit your Calcium intake to ~25-50% Daily Value (DV) each time you eat it. Why? …Like many things, more is not always better! Research indicates that the body can only absorb ~250-500mg of Calcium at [...]

2 07, 2014

WCA Nutrition Blog

By |July 2nd, 2014|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on WCA Nutrition Blog|

Kale- What’s the BIG deal?

Kale has swept the nation as the new “power” food. From Kale bumper stickers, to kale chips, this vegetable is now the icon of the “clean eating” revolution….but is kale all it’s chopped up to be?

The Big Deal about Kale:

Kale comes in different varieties and is related to cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts (the Brassica family). This leafy green is a nutrient dense vegetable, meaning that it contains large amounts of nutrients, phytonutrients, and antioxidants per square inch. Most varieties contain the following in 1 cup chopped, and can be beneficial for your cycling performance, recovery, and health!

One cup of chopped kale contains:
~ 33 Calories (Kcals)
~9% Daily Value (DV) of Calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bodies and essential for strong bones (to withstand unfortunate crashes), aids in muscle contraction (which allows us to move- pedal, sprint, climb, and eat), nerve impulse transmission, blood clotting (to limit excessive bleeding when injured), and cellular metabolism (cellular life).
~200% DV of Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays many important roles for women including vision, a healthy immune system, fertility, and bone growth.
~130% DV of Vitamin C
Antioxidant vitamin C protects cells from damage, forms collagen (a fibrous protein that helps hold together the bones and tissues in our body) that is found in skin, bone, tendons, cartilage, and teeth. Vitamin C also helps the cells in our immune system to function properly, and enhances iron absorption from plant foods*
~650% DV of Vitamin K
Among many functions of vitamin K, it is essential for normal blood clotting and bone health which is ideal for healing from [...]

5 06, 2014

WCA Nutrition Blog

By |June 5th, 2014|Blog, News, Nutrition|Comments Off on WCA Nutrition Blog|

A Common Nutrition Question…

It’s a very common question: “What should I eat before I race?”
And without a simple answer…But here is my short-version answer…

The pre-race meal is essential for many reasons and food choices should aim to:
1) To “top off” muscle glycogen stores (muscle energy stores) – especially if they are still depleted (used up) from the previous training/racing session.
2) Restore liver glycogen- especially for morning events that require long and hard efforts after an overnight fast.
3) Restore fluid balance- especially in hot weather and high altitudes
4) To prevent hunger and gastro-intestinal discomfort- especially with highly intense efforts and long races
5) To prevent psychological distraction and discomfort- especially when traveling

The specifics of the pre-race meal are often the hardest to determine and take trial and error to fine tune. Don’t give up if you still haven’t found your perfect match! Being well fed with the right nutrition can prevent bonking (assuming you are eating/drinking during the race) and give you that extra edge to lead the peleton, climb faster, cross the finish line stronger, or all three.

“What foods and meal/snack composition is the best?”
The pre-race meal foods that you choose should be:
1) Composed of Carbohydrates, Protein, and low in Fat
2) Stress-free – easy to make and travel with when needed
3) Easy to digest (low in fiber*)
4) Satisfy your hunger/needs without causing you to feel “FULL”
5) Familiar foods
6) Taste good
And above all, you should have practiced eating these foods during training days to perfect what works best for you.

“What Time should I eat?”
Ideally, the [...]

13 05, 2014

WCA Nutrition Blog

By |May 13th, 2014|Blog, News, Nutrition|Comments Off on WCA Nutrition Blog|

Hello Avid Cyclists! Welcome to your WCA Nutrition Blog…..

My name is Sarah Weber, and I am a Registered Dietitian, specializing in sports nutrition and cycling! What’s a Registered Dietitian you ask? A Registered Dietitian is a specialist in Nutrition, much like an Orthopedist is a medical specialist. My niche is sports (mainly cycling), food allergies, performance nutrition, and nutrition education. I have a B.S. in Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics, another in Nutrition, and I am currently working towards an advanced degree in Sports Nutrition in a program sponsored by the International Olympic Committee. I am a life-long athlete, and I know from experience and education the importance of nutrition with respect to performance and health.

I began as a ballet dancer and retired my pointe shoes after 23 years of feet cramping abuse, only to bind them again into cycling shoes….I love cycling! Ideally long and steep climbs that wander through gorgeous terrain, where my physical and mental limits are pushed, and where life becomes about that moment…. So how does nutrition come into this? Food, macronutrients, water, essential electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals allow us to endure, experience, and enjoy the physical demands of the sport!

Sounds so simple and easy, huh? Unfortunately, it’s not. But I love it and welcome the challenge! I recognize and respect that our bodies are unique puzzles, all with our own specific nutritional needs. What works for one person, might not work for another. It’s just like training for a race: we all respond best to slightly different training volume and intensity in order to reach peak performance. So how is food and our diet any different? And how can we reach our nutritional peak?

Persistence, education, and [...]

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