Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are You Getting Enough?

Sergeant Sam and I had a very interesting and knowledgeable trip to Singapore for the Marc Becker Seminar at TBB Singapore. Focusing on nutrition this is a subject we all battle with on a day to day basis as to what we should and shouldn’t eat. One aspect that really stood out was the protein requirements for endurance athletes. I have always thought my protein intake was pretty spot on. I eat about 16 eggs a week (mostly whites), loads of fresh leafy vegetables such as spinach, tofu, tuna and chicken breasts etc. On learning that I should be actually consuming 108gms of the stuff a day I reckoned I was probably lucky to meet half of that requirement! Normal RDA (Recommended Daily Average) for non-active people is around 55gms, weight depending. If you are exercising to the extent we do, calculate your body weight in Kilos by 2 and THAT is what you should be eating – now considering the eggs I eat have about 6gms each – that works out at 18 a DAY!
After the run this evening we were again discussing the subject. Taking a protein shake in the morning with breakfast is a great way to get most of it in one shot. Many don’t like this, but to be honest how many eggs, tuna and chicken breasts can you eat in a day? I have scoured the net for what I think is a helpful guide of foods we regularly eat and some that we can incorporate that perhaps you didn't think of. I did notice however chocolate eggs are not on there – perhaps it was a typo? BUT, on the positive, I did see that 100gms of milk chocolate would give me 7.65gms of protein - so it’s not such a bad thing after all!
Whether you’re a blood thirsty carnivore or cud chewing vege this link will identify EVERY food you can imagine and more. It gives the breakdown of how much protein is in the food, calories and % of calories from protein.
Check it out:
I used to always eat 4 eggs in one go, usually scrambled. Now I am going to have 5. Ditch 4 yolks and keep one whole. This evening I tried an experiment with dinner. Since "they" advocate no carbs 3hours before bed I made a Frittata (aka Spanish Omelette) without the potato. 5eggs, (30gms protein), dash of sour cream whisked in, (substitute for cream), 100gms spicy tuna (23gms protein) and a slice of cheese atop for a taste. The result, it was bloody lovely. Low in calories but a whopping 53gms of protein!! I even took a picture for you to see the finished result before I stuffed my face ;)


Stupid_O said...

quick question. you said that no carbs 3 hours before bed. but most of us train in the evening after work and get done around 7 or thereabouts. by the time we get showered, changed and prepared for dinner it's about 8. shouldn't there be some carbs anyway for the meal after a training session to refuel the body? but here's the conundrum. most of us (well, speaking for myself actually) go to bed before 11 so that leaves less than 3 hours between dinner and bed. so is it still advisable to have carbs then? thank you, o mighty one :-)

Emma said...

Thank you 'o mighty one'...hummmn I LIKE THAT!
Okay, from what I recall.
A lot of this stuff really is common sense we just don't apply it. When you get up before you do ANYTHING (well go to the loo first if you want) but before you go out for that bike, run or swim EAT! Make sure its some carbs. This is not a loading session but an opportunity to put some food in the tum which will enable you to have a better workout. Of course if you exercise to loose weight you don't want to eat - but most of us train to improve and by eating before you go out the door we make sure insulin levels are spiked (I think this is what they call it) and energy levels are is upped.
You guys know I swim most mornings now and I make sure I have a piece of toast with honey or jam 20min before I get in the pool. I don't suffer from tummy problems I have just trained my body to get used to this practice - now after 3weeks there is no more hopping out the pool for a toilet stop.
Before a ride I will have a banana and honey sandwich, before a run a piece of flapjack maybe...I always put something in the tank before I leave the garage and make sure I refuel ASAP when I get back. When it is a long session that refuel is with protien to repair and regenerate the muscles and carbs to replace energy.
After training if it is still the morning now is the time for a proper breakfast - make sure you take in plenty of carbs. If it is afternoon (you were out on the bike for instance) you should have ate during the ride and once finished eat again ASAP and make sure you got carbs into the mix.
So in answer to your question.
In the evening after you sessions you HAVE to eat. But if it is late and you are going to bed within an hour or so just eat protien and veges. You don't need the carbs at this stage - they won't help. What they will do is:
Sit in your stomach as you lie in bed and affect your sleep and perhaps give you a bloaty sluggish feeling when you get up in the morning. (I have a terrible nights sleep if I binge on carbs and naughty sugars late in the evening)AND since your body is not burning up those carbs lieing in your tum - it WILL be converted to FAT!
Hope this helps, BTW: I am by no means an expert on the subject and different things work for different people. But it also does take some trial and error to change habits until you start reaping the benefits.
Happy Eating!

yipwt said...

hi Emma,

Thanks for writing this. I did realize many I was taking less protein after a nutritionist told me my daily protein should be 88 grams...hence she advised to buy some protein supplement.

I am now figuring out how to cook my own high protein food...

Cheong said...

Could you assist in clarifying the calculation you mentioned in your post with regards to RDA protein intake for endurance athletes. i.e. quote: "calculate your body weight in Kilos by 2 and that is what you should be eating". Do you mean if an athelete weighs 55kgs, then he/she needs to multiply 55 by 2 = 110 and that he/she should be eating 110gms of protein per day? Appears to be quite a lot.

Emma said...

It is alot and that is correct.