Here nutritionist Laurann O’Reilly and owner of Nutrition by Laurann guides us through what SAD is and some lifestyle and nutrition strategies to get you through the winter months.
For many professional athletes, Covid has definitely shaken things up as a result of many of you now working from home, changes in eating habits, energy expenditure, training regimes and events.
Rest with the right nutritional strategy you'll come back stronger than ever.
1) The Importance of Maintaining a Nutrition Strategy During Covid
2) The Key to Your Sports Nutrition Strategy
(i) Size: Your Requirement & Portion sizes
(ii) Type: The Food You Choose
(iii) Timing: When You Eat
Size - Your Nutritional Requirements
Your requirement depends on your age, weight and level of activity. Keep in mind that your energy expenditure may have likely decreases significantly during lockdown.
Your energy or calories are composed of a combination of your macronutrients - carbohydrates, protein and fat
Requirements (adjust lower or higher depending on level of activity)
Type & Timing
We can often underestimate the functions and abilities of foods. By utilising and understanding the how our macronutrients work we can manipulate and utilise them to allow us to function and perform at our best
- Are our main source of fuel and are broken into quick release and slow release, this is called the Glycaemic Index (GI) or sugar index
- The GI refers to the rate at which sugar or glucose gets absorbed into the bloodstream
- High GI carbs - Are quickly absorbed the bloodstream, causing a spike in our blood sugar levels (foods high in refined sugar, white bread & pasta)
- Low GI carbs - Are slowly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a steady inflow (brown bread, brown pasta, brown rice, wholegrain foods)
The Glycaemic Index (Timing)
When it comes to performance, we want an continual supply of fuel
When to Take Your Recovery Protein Supplement (Timing)
- It is generally recommended to take your protein supplement within 20-30 minutes post training for optimum
Types of Recovery Protein
- As your training intensifies it's important to preserve your muscle stores and increase strength. It may be necessary to take a recovery protein supplement post training
Provides a wide spectrum of amino acids (essential & non essential)
Plant Based Protein Supplements
(Rice & Hemp)
- This combination provides the full spectrum of amino acids when taken in the right quantity (15g of each is one serving)
- Other plant based protein supplements also include soy and pea protein for instance which are also good sources
We need a small amount of fat in the diet for the absorption of our fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K)
- Saturated & Trans Fats found in fatty
Sources: Meat, lards, margarines & processed meats
- Little nutritional value
- Mono Unsaturated Fats
Sources: Nuts, avocados, olives, olive oil
- Polyunsaturated Fats
Sources: Oily fish (Including salmon, mackerel, herring, trout & tuna), walnuts, flaxseed, sunflower based spreads - These include your omega, 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids which are important for your joints and circulation
When to Eat Fats (Timing)
3) Meal Planning
Based on your requirements above you can now begin to plan your meals and snacks for the week ahead, keeping in mind your quantities and timings and factoring these into your training.
3) Set Up Schedule
As lockdown may find many of you working, training and eating at home, you may find that these aspects of your life have become unbalanced.
Work/Study - It's hard when working or studying from home to set the work/study, life, eating and training boundaries. For this reason it's important to set a schedule of your working hours so they don't flow into other areas of your life and affect your training and nutrition strategy.
Eating - The body also loves routine, and by having your meals at the same time every day, it allows your body and digestive system to synchronise.In terms of your eating schedule, This also your designated time for taking a break from tasks and focusing on your meal or snack, allowing you to properly digest and savour your foods
Training - By understanding the type and timing of foods discussed above, you can now implement this into your daily routine through scheduling your training and eating into set times. This will help you get the most out of your nutritional strategy, maintain your fitness and strength.
4) Hydration – Establish Your Fluid Rehydration Strategy
With training and matches on hold, now is the optimum time to master another aspect of your nutrition strategy, hydration. The importance of hydration is often underestimated
Hydration is Important For
Your Basic Fluid Requirement
35ml x kg body weight
Fluid Rehydration Strategy
Millilitres (ml) = Kilograms (kg)
- Weight Lost = Fluid
- Example: Weight Loss = ½ kg = 500ml
5) Maintaining Your Fitness
To maintain your strength, fitness and endurance throughout lockdown, it's important to continue training by including a combination of different types of training and to build your nutrition strategy and schedule around these.
Do not underestimate the importance of sleep as it provides us with the energy needed to train efficiently, allows us to repair, for our body do rebalance including our hormones.
Laurann O'Reilly - Nutritionist
For more information contact me here at firstname.lastname@example.org or 085-7337432
Here Laurann O’Reilly, a qualified nutritionist and Managing Director of Nutrition by Laurann provides us with some of her top immune boosting tips and strategies which include foods that you may have in your cupboard at home, common foods that you can easily purchase as well as some extra nutrition tricks and lifestyle strategies to give your immune health that extra boost.
Your Christmas Countdown
The last few months have been quite turbulent for many, with huge changes in our work, family, fitness and social lives. These changes may have had a huge impact on our overall health, from adapting to new routines, increased stress and a reduction in our physical activity levels. Nutrition can play a huge role in successfully adapting to these changes.
Laurann O’Reilly, a qualified nutritionist and Managing Director of Nutrition by Laurann explains the process behind how we may have gained weight and most importantly, practical strategies on how we can lose weight and regain our health for in time for Christmas. Laurann says, “Our first instinct is to go into survival mode when faced with something like the pandemic, a natural human instinct when faced with something unfamiliar.
The ability to plan, stay positive and remain motivated can be can also challenging during these times and a result people can gain weight quickly. She continues, “Like every game changing plan, with the right strategy we can gain back control of our health and wellbeing. Using these 14 strategic nutrition tips, you can create your own six week strategy and get yourself prepared for a healthy Christmas. In addition you can also download your free meal planning guide here
In my nutrition workshops I talk a lot about the topic of mindful eating. In fact many of us are guilty of the opposite, ‘passive eating’ which is little or no attention on the food we’re eating as we are distracted at our work desks, watching tv or a movie. This can have a huge impact on our bodies.
Eating is a Sensory Experience
What's important to understand is that eating is a sensory experience involving smell, taste, touch and sound. The smell of food helps us to perceive food aromas and flavours. The taste of food helps us to identify the individual flavours. The texture of food can influence perceptions of everything from the taste to the freshness of food. Whilst the sound of food is often considered to be our forgotten flavour sense, which stimulates the anticipation of food.
When we're distracted such as eating whilst working, watching television or our on our phone, our senses become distracted and can result in
- Still feeling hungry - disruption of your satiety centre
- Digestion issues - you may not chew your food properly or you may eat too quickly
This is the practice of deliberately paying attention to the process of eating and allows us to engage with our senses.
It helps us gain a greater understanding of
- Internal & external cues that play a role in our eating habits
- Our satiety (fullness) and hunger systems
- Our body's digestive process
- The flavours and sensations of food
-- What foods provide satisfaction and the proper nutrition
How Eat Mindfully
1) Sit at a table whilst eating and remove any distractions such as phones/television/laptops
2) Appreciate the aromas, flavours, textures and colours of the meal
3) Try to identify individual ingredients (this is a sensory exercise)
4) Learn to enjoy cooking and experiment with different ingredients and recipe
5) Remember to slow down and to chew your food!!
6) It should take approx 20 minutes for your satiety (fullness centre) to register that you're full
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions,
Laurann O'Reilly - Nutritionist
Nutrition can play an important role in optimising your recovery post training or event. A proper nutrition strategy is essential in helping to speed up the rate at which the body restores and recovers.
1) Immediately Post Training/Event
This should begin immediately post event. For those who use a fluid rehydration strategy, you will know that weighing yourself before and after training or events can provide you with your total fluid loss.
After a high endurance event you can begin rehydrating with 150% of the fluid lost over the following 4-6 hours. For example, if 1kg of fluid is lost, you can try rehydrating with 1.5L of fluid.
It’s also important to replenish your electrolytes (salts) after training sessions and events exceeding 1 hour and within which a high sweat was broken. Whilst sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade do a good job of delivering electrolytes (and fluid) during the marathon, don't rely on them solely afterwards.
Coconut water also an excellent and natural form of electrolyte replacement as it contains five key electrolytes sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus
Another good electrolyte replacer is ‘Dioralyte’, aim for a minimum of
1 sachet Dioralyte x 700ml of water
We want to replenish the muscle fibres as quickly as possible to improve muscle recovery. Look for whey protein or vegan protein blend with a good amino acid (protein building block) profile
The body is most effective at replacing carbohydrate and promoting muscle repair and growth within the first 60-90 minutes post exercise, however this will continue to occur for another 12-24 hours.
This is due to the rate of muscle glycogen resynthesis being highest during the initial 1 hour post training or event. It has even been suggested that consuming carbohydrates within 1 hour post exercise can increase the rate of glycogen resynthesis by as much as 45%
Your Recovery Snack could Include:
- Greek yogurt, granola and a banana
- Lean meat/egg/low fat cheese sandwich, banana and sports drink
- Granola Bars, raisons & mixed berries
Your post workout meal should contain complex carbohydrates as well as a source of protein as these accelerate the recovery process
-Carbohydrates – Your level of carbohydrate ingestion post training/event can influence your rate muscle glycogen synthesis and repletion
You should aim for approximately 1.2g of carbohydrate x kg body weight/hour
- Protein – Muscle recovery and repair is dependent on a positive muscle protein balance
You should aim for approximately 0.4g/kg/hour
2) Post Event Nutrition - 1 week
The focus for the week post endurance event is to rebuild, restore and refuel the body and we can do this though consuming
As the body will be in a state of inflammation it’s also recommended to include plenty of anti-inflammatory foods such as
3. Additional Tips for Enhancing Recovery
1g of caffeine x kg bodyweight x 4 hours
*Please note, that individuals with certain medical conditions or taking particular medications must take caution with consuming caffeine
0.2 x kg bodyweight + 1 Litre of Water (flavoured if required)
*It is recommended that if you take sodium bicarbonate prior to an event that you test it well in advance as it may cause stomach issues in small amount of individuals
I hope you found this helpful and please feel free to contact me here if you have any questions
Laurann O'Reilly - Nutritionist
Protein supplements can play an important role as part of your sports nutrition strategy. However, there are a lot of protein supplements out there so it's important for us to understand what they are, what they do and if we need them?
What Are Protein Supplements?
Protein Supplements help us to meet our protein requirements where our diet doesn't meet these needs.
Protein supplements should never be used as a meal replacement but purely supplement our dietary protein.
You should never have to pay a subscription for a protein supplement or any nutrition supplements as you dietary needs are constantly changing.
Protein supplements extremely valuable for athletes and recovery from illness or injury
What to Look For in a Protein Supplement
Amino Acid Profile - Amino acids are the protein 'building blocks', the greater spectrum of amino acids (the amino acid profile), the better the protein supplement as it can carry out a wider range of functions.
The Absorption Rate - Different proteins absorb at different rates (uptake into the muscle, tissues and cells). This is particularly important as people have different training goals, different metabolic rates and train at different times of the day
Types of Protein Supplements
Whilst there are many types of protein supplements, these are the most common
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
When Taken - Pre WorkOut
When Taken - Post Training
When Taken - Post WorkOut
Vegan Protein Blends
When Taken - Post WorkOut
Note: In the right quantities brown rice protein and hemp protein can provide the full amino acid (building block) spectrum
Laurann has an Honours BSc. Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Nottingham, a Masters in Public Health Nutrition from University College Dublin, is an Associate Nutritionist with the Nutrition Society London, a professional member of the Celiac Society Ireland, is registered with the Institute of Public Health Ireland and fully insured.