Sports Nutrition Blog | More Than Just Nutrition
Rowing is a very traditional sport. Which other sport has funky colored blazers for clubs? This being said, for Olympic racing, there is only one distance, 2000m. The High Stakes Boston race looked to change things up a bit by making a unique, spectator friendly race.I was approached with the concept of the High Stakes Boston race by a former teammate, author and U.S. National Team Coxswain, Jack Carlson. The format was a multi-boat, mixed gender 500m relay race. The catch is that you go 250m and make a turn around a gigantic buoy and race as fast as you can back to the starting line so the next boat on your team can go. There has never been anything like it!I looked through my Rolodex of rowers and put together a team with two Olympians(one gold medalist), five national team member, and other Olympic hopefuls. It was one of the few opportunities to race with my girlfriend, so we decided to row the double scull together (one friend referred to this combination as "The Divorcer"). I am happy to report that she did not break up with me afterwards.My team won our heat in the fastest time of the day. The racing itself was so exciting because it is such a short distance, making the margins smaller than usual. The key is to keep calm,despite wanting to go full out, especially on the stake turns. I think my Tri-Phase Endurance helped me get psyched up, but still in control.Our semi was against a bunch of U-23 National Team all stars. Half of the team had world championship medals from this summer, so we didn't know what to expect. From moment one, we were able to eek out larger and larger margins as the boats went on. With the semi tucked away we had to recover before the final, which would take place in thirty minutes time. I took my Complete Recovery and watched the other semi go down.The final was against a very similar "Rent-a-Mob" crew from SoCal Scullers. It was the closest race of the day, but untimely we were on the wrong side of a half a boat-length margin.It was an amazing weekend full of fast racing and old friends. Next on my plate is logging a whole bunch of Kilometers to get ready for Fall distance racing!(photo credit- Jenifer Forbes Photography)
What do electrolytes do? You may have seen electrolytes advertised on sports drinks and wondered what exactly they are, and how they benefit your health. Let’s get right to it. Electrolytes are tiny chemicals that are essential to many of the body’s processes. Without electrolytes, the cells in your body would not be able to create energy, maintain stability, or function in general. Electrolytes are often incorporated into sports beverages because they move fluids throughout the body, rejuvenating and hydrating you when you need it most.
Your Body Requires Balanced Electrolytes
The muscular, cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems all rely on a critical balance of electrolyte levels in order to function as they should. Electrolytes are basically salts that are able to carry electric charges, which make it possible for your muscles to contract. That is why you may experience muscle cramping if you do not have the right amount of electrolytes in your body. Replenishing electrolytes is crucial for athletes, but everyone requires ample electrolytes to be healthy, regardless of physical activity level.
Maintaining Your Electrolyte Levels
Athletes often rely on sports beverages such as Vitalyte to replenish electrolytes. Because electrolytes exit the body when you sweat, it is especially important to replenish these key minerals during periods of rigorous activity. While drinking water does hydrate you, it does not contain the electrolytes that are lost through sweat. Besides allowing you to reach your peak athletic potential, drinking beverages that contain electrolytes helps to prevent muscle strains and pulls that can result from electrolyte depletion.
Common Types of Electrolytes
The most common types of electrolytes are sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride, and calcium. All electrolytes are essential, which is why Vitalyte has carefully created the perfect sports drink to rehydrate your body and replenish these vital chemicals. While you can get these common electrolytes from various food sources, it isn’t always easy -- or wise -- to devour a banana and a salmon fillet right after a six-mile run. it is much easier and often more enjoyable to simply obtain the right electrolyte balance all at once, from one convenient and delicious beverage.
Although sodium is an essential nutrient, too much can cause health problems. Sodium holds excess fluid in the body, which can be beneficial in appropriate quantities, but too much can place excessive strain on the heart which can increase blood pressure levels. Doctors recommend reducing sodium intake with age in order to keep blood pressure levels at bay. Many people who eat processed foods and restaurant foods end up consuming far more sodium than is necessary. Salt is also a prominent source of sodium that is often overused. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg. of sodium per day.
Too much sodium is called hypernatremia, and too little sodium is called hyponatremia. Hypernatremia is commonly associated with dehydration, and it usually occurs when there is not enough water in the body, rather than excessive amounts of sodium. Hyponatremia occurs when there is too much water in the body, which dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood. Too much or too little sodium can cause a number of symptoms, including seizures, swelling, confusion, and weakness. A sodium imbalance can also cause cells to malfunction. Treatments for a sodium imbalance vary depending on the underlying condition.
Potassium is integral to many of the body’s critical functions, including transmission of signals between nerves, maintaining a proper fluid balance, contracting muscles, and various chemical reactions. Some common sources of potassium include beans, fruits, vegetables, milk, and cereals. Potassium supplements may be taken for a myriad of different reasons, including treating high calcium levels, headaches, acne, allergies, and symptoms associated with menopause.
Too much potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia, and too little potassium in the blood is called hypokalemia. Because hyperkalemia can cause irregular electric charges that interrupt the heart’s rhythm, it can cause serious health problems and even death. Kidney failure is the most common cause of dangerously high potassium levels, as excess potassium is secreted with urine when the kidneys are functioning properly. Hypokalemia is usually caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating, which causes the body to lose potassium. If you do excrete electrolytes involuntarily, drinking Vitalyte is an excellent way to replenish your electrolyte levels quickly and efficiently.
Calcium is best known for keeping bones and teeth strong, but it is also essential for many other bodily functions, including controlling nerve and muscle function and managing the proper acid and base levels in the bloodstream. Additionally, calcium is necessary for blood-clotting systems to work and for keeping the cardiovascular system functioning as it should. Because the bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding, a calcium-rich diet is necessary to keep the bones from weakening.
Too much calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia, and too little calcium in the blood is called hypocalcemia. Hypercalcemia can cause many different health problems, including kidney stones, depression, and abdominal pain. Excessive amounts of calcium in the body can also cause an irregular heartbeat. Hypercalcemia may be caused by certain types of tumors, too much vitamin A or D, kidney failure, or Paget’s disease. Hypocalcemia is associated with eating disorders, but it may also be caused by a lack of parathyroid hormone. Symptoms associated with low calcium levels include weakness, irregular heartbeat, and muscle spasms.
Magnesium is necessary for over 300 different processes in the body, yet it is often overlooked. Magnesium is fairly prevalent in the body, and it is used to maintain bone strength, promote proper nerve and muscle function, and to stimulate the neurons in the brain. Magnesium also aids in the digestive process, moving stools through the intestines and neutralizing stomach acids. Magnesium supplements are taken for many different health conditions, including diseases related to the heart and blood vessels.
Hypermagnesemia occurs when there is too much magnesium in the bloodstream, and hypomagnesemia occurs when there is not enough. Too much magnesium most commonly occurs when a person has a malfunctioning kidney, which prevents magnesium from being excreted properly. Symptoms associated with hypermagnesemia include difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, weak muscles, nausea, and vomiting. There are many causes of hypomagnesemia, including chronic diarrhea, certain medications, and malnutrition related to alcoholism.
Phosphorus can be found in every cell in the human body, and it is most prevalent in the teeth and bones. In addition to strengthening the teeth and bones, phosphorus helps the body to process fats and carbohydrates, create protein, and maintain and repair tissues and cells. Phosphorus also helps the body to create a molecule called ATP, which is used for energy storage. Other uses for phosphorus include passing signals between nerves, maintaining a normal heartbeat, contracting muscles, and keeping the kidney functioning properly.
Hyperphosphatemia occurs when there is too much phosphorus in the bloodstream, and hypophosphatemia occurs when there is not enough phosphorus in the bloodstream. Too much phosphorous has numerous causes, with the most common being a buildup caused by malfunctioning kidneys that prevent phosphorus excretion. Hyperphosphatemia does not usually cause symptoms, but it is often coupled with hypocalcemia, which can cause symptoms. Hypophosphatemia also has numerous causes, including kidney problems that prevent phosphorus from being absorbed. Symptoms usually only occur when there is a significant lack of phosphorus, and symptoms include tremors, bone weakness, and a tingling sensation.
Chloride is one of the most critical of the electrolytes, but it is often overlooked when considering a healthy diet. Chloride and sodium together make table salt, which is where most people get the majority of their essential chloride. Among many other benefits, chloride regulates blood pressure levels and maintains the balance of fluids inside and outside the cells, proper blood volume, and pH balance of bodily fluids. Chloride is absorbed by the intestines when digested food passes through, and excess chloride leaves the body through urine.
A lack of chloride in the body is called hypochloremia, and too much chloride in the body is called hyperchloremia. Because the kidneys directly control how much chloride is in the blood, low or high chloride levels are usually the result of a kidney problem. Too much or too little chloride is also often caused by a loss of bodily fluids due to vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or excessive sweating.
Foods That Contain Electrolytes
Now that we have answered the question of What do electrolytes do?, you may want to make some changes in the way you eat to ensure that you are getting enough of them in your diet. Drinking Vitalyte is an excellent way to maintain proper electrolyte levels in your body, but it is also important to eat foods that contain electrolytes too. Fruits and vegetables tend to be the best bet, with notable fruit options including bananas, avocados, raisins, coconuts, and dates, and excellent vegetable options including lentils, potatoes, beans, and spinach.
Why Vitalyte Is the Ideal Sports Drink
It is clear that maintaining your electrolytes levels is essential to your body’s health, but what makes Vitalyte the superior choice? For starters, Vitalyte does not contain the additives that are so common in other sports drinks, such as caffeine or added sugar. Vitalyte only contains the ingredients that today’s athletes require, without the potentially harmful additives that decrease athletic performance and lead to lasting health issues over time. Vitalyte also has the ideal isotonic exchange rate so you can give your body the nutrients it needs as quickly and effectively as possible.
Maintaining Electrolyte Levels Is Not Just to Prevent Cramps
While muscle cramps are the most obvious sign of an electrolyte imbalance, there are other reasons why athletes drink Vitalyte. In order for you to perform any sort of physical activity at your peak performance, your body needs to be as healthy as it can possibly be. You should never wait until you are already dehydrated to replenish your body’s essential nutrients. Just as you would never purposely wait until your car is running on fumes to refuel, you need to give your body consistent electrolytes so that you can function at your highest possible level.
Take the Right Fueling Approach
The best way to maintain optimal electrolyte levels is to drink Vitalyte slowly and steadily throughout a workout session. This allows you to keep your energy levels high without overloading your body with too much at once. Many athletes today don’t realize that they are actually doing more harm than good by consuming the unhealthy, artificially colored sports drinks that are so popular today. Vitalyte takes the sports drink concept and removes the additives that slow you down, allowing you to perform at your absolute best.
Vitalyte Makes Sense
When it comes down to it, drinking Vitalyte just makes sense. Most athletes would not drink soda while exercising or competing, so why are sports drinks any different? Most of today’s sports beverages are just as unhealthy, but people use them because they realize the importance of electrolytes. Vitalyte offers the best of all worlds – electrolyte replacement products that taste fantastic, revitalize your body, and don’t contain the junk that is all too common in other foods and beverages.
Try Vitalyte Today
We encourage you to give Vitalyte products a try and see the difference they can make. Bill Gookin started Vitalyte more than 40 years ago with a dream to help people, and today that core principle remains unchanged. Vitalyte is much more than just the ideal sports drink – it’s a community. If you’re interested in joining the Vitalyte team as a brand ambassador, feel free to apply online today. If you are interested in learning more about Vitalyte, please give us a call at 1-800-283-6505 today. Give your body the fuel it needs with Vitalyte!
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch. These miniscule black seeds provide a substantial amount of nutrients but very few calories. The ancient civilizations of Mexico cultivated the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, for the potent little chia seeds it produced, and modern nutrition experts still recognize the dietary muscle these small seeds flex. But what chia seeds side effects do you need to be aware of before you start incorporating them into your diet or sports nutrition plan?
What Could Cause Chia Seeds Side Effects?
These small black seeds are loaded with nutrients. According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, a 1-ounce serving (about 2 tablespoons) of dried chia seeds contains 10 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 8 grams of “healthy fats” (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), with only 138 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat. They are a good source of niacin and thiamine, the B vitamins that turn food into energy and support the brain and nervous system. They also provide significant levels of important minerals such as selenium, manganese, phosphorous, and copper.
The National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health notes that chia seeds contain high levels of calcium, the mineral that builds strong bones and plays a role in blood clotting and muscle and nerve function; iron, which helps form red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout the body; and magnesium, which helps regulate the body’s metabolism and supports the muscular and nervous systems.
The Mayo Clinic hails chia seeds as an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, containing 4,500 milligrams per serving.
Chia Seeds Side Effects That Are Good For You
With such a healthy nutrition profile, chia seeds can arguably be called a “superfood.” For most people, chia seeds side effects translate into healthy benefits. The American Heart Association recommends eating foods with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids 3-4 times per week since Omega-3s are essential fats that the body needs to function properly but can’t make on its own. The AHA cites research showing that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, and slow the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque (clogging of the arteries which can lead to a heart attack or stroke).
The Cleveland Clinic affirms that chia seeds have been shown to lower triglyceride cholesterol, and that it may also lower total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising “good” HDL levels. The world-renowned medical institution also notes that chia seeds decrease c-reactive protein (a sign of inflammation) in type 2 diabetics. After studying the benefits, the Cleveland Clinic concluded that chia seeds are a safe and effective food source for the treatment of cardiovascular risk factors.
The significant amount of insoluble fiber in chia seeds helps prevent constipation, according to the National Institutes of Health. The added bulk that chia seeds deliver may also create a feeling of fullness and decrease the amount of food intake, potentially contributing to weight loss.
Be Aware of Potential Drug Interactions
It is important to discuss possible chia seeds side effects with your healthcare provider if you are taking other nutritional supplements or prescribed medications.
In its publication Possible Interactions with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, University of Maryland Medical Center cites specific medications that interact negatively with increased levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in potentially adverse chia seeds side effects, including:
- Blood-thinning medications -- may increase the effects of blood thinning medications, including aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and clopedigrel (Plavix).
- Blood sugar lowering medications -- may increase fasting blood sugar levels, resulting in the need for higher doses of blood sugar lowering medications, such as glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL), glyburide (Micronase or Diabeta), glucophage (Metformin), or insulin.
UMMC also notes some medications that the use of some medications may be enhanced by Omega-3s, including:
- Cyclosporine -- Taking omega-3 fatty acids during cyclosporine (Sandimmune) therapy may reduce toxic side effects, such as high blood pressure and kidney damage, associated with this medication in transplant patients.
- Etretinate and topical steroids -- The addition of omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA) to the drug therapy etretinate (Tegison) and topical corticosteroids may improve symptoms of psoriasis.
- Cholesterol-lowering medications -- Following certain nutritional guidelines, including increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and reducing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, may allow a group of cholesterol lowering medications known as "statins", including atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), and simvastatin (Zocor) to work more effectively.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- In an animal study, treatment with omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of ulcers from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and naproxen (Aleve or Naproxen). The medical center noted that more research is needed to evaluate whether omega-3 fatty acids would have the same effects in people.
The Cleveland Clinic notes that, while it would be unusual, it is possible that some people may be allergic to chia seeds. The National Institutes of Health states that anyone undergoing surgery may need to avoid consuming the seeds for a prescribed amount of time beforehand due to the blood-thinning nature of chia seeds side effects.
WebMD offers additional special precautions and warnings. The website advises avoiding the use of chia seeds when pregnant or nursing, since not enough research has been done about chia seeds side effects in those situations. Additionally, anyone at high risk for prostate cancer should avoid consuming large amounts of chia seeds. Chia contains a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid. Some research suggests that large amounts of alpha-linolenic acid in the diet might increase the chance of getting prostate cancer. Finally, WebMD recommends using a specific variety of chia called Salba. The site warns that eating some types of chia can make triglyceride levels higher, but Salba does not significantly increase them.
Vitalyte Chia Surge, Energy with Nutritional Value
Vitalyte’s Chia Surge Energy Gel fuels your body with extreme energy that has real nutritional value. Vitalyte has formulated the first energy product to combine the exceptional energy benefits of Palatinose with the lasting “superfood” health benefits of chia seeds. The result is an energy gel that is as great for your body as it is for your performance, delivered in a convenient portable packet of a single-serve dose of flavorful gel. Try some today.
Weight loss is big business. From fad diets to “miracle pills” and exercise trends, the search for quick and easy ways to shed pounds is seemingly endless. But those who want a reliable, healthy approach should consider the relationship between chia seeds and weight loss.
A Nutritional Powerhouse
Chia seeds are garnering attention as a so-called “superfood.” They are easily digestible, versatile to use, and full of nutrients and energy-boosting power. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats that the body can’t make on its own. Omega-3s are critical to cell functioning, hormone production, and protection against cancer and other conditions.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, and contain protein and minerals including iron (to form red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body), calcium (to form strong bones, aid in blood clotting and support muscle and nerve function), magnesium (to help regulate the body’s metabolism) and zinc (for a healthy immune system).
Food and Nutrition, a publication of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, states that as of 2013 there were only four published clinical trials of the benefits of chia, in which three found positive relationships between chia seeds and weight loss, reduced blood glucose, and reduced triglyceride (a type of cholesterol) levels.
Although there are few published studies on the health benefits of consuming chia or the relationship between chia seeds and weight loss, the nutritional profile of these small but mighty seeds offers anecdotal evidence of the role they can play in a healthy lifestyle.
The Relationship Between High Fiber and a Healthy Weight
While research may be lacking about the correlation between chia seeds and weight loss, the relationship between high fiber intake in preventing obesity is well-documented. As noted by WebMD, “When it comes to losing weight, one simple piece of advice may be more helpful than all the diet books, calorie counting, and portion measuring put together: Eat more fiber.”
The article cites a study which found that people who added more fiber to their diets -- without changing anything else -- lost almost as much weight as people who followed a heart-healthy, low-fat eating plan. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that simply aiming to eat 30 grams of fiber each day can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and improve your body’s response to insulin just as effectively as a more complicated diet. The participants in each group averaged 19 grams of fiber a day. Both groups lost weight, lowered their blood pressure, and improved their response to insulin. Those following the more complicated diet lost a bit more weight than those on the high-fiber diet, but both groups were able to maintain their weight loss for 12 months.
Chia seeds are high-fiber champions, delivering a whopping 10 grams per ounce (about 2 tablespoons). By adding chia seeds to smoothies, salads, fruit and other foods that already have fiber, it would be easy to meet the 30-gram-per-day recommendation. The study results suggest that if you get enough fiber with the help of chia seeds, weight loss will follow.
How Does It Work?
Fiber isn’t a mystical fat-burning agent. The Journal of Nutrition points out that fiber has unique physical and chemical properties that help you feel full sooner, signaling to your brain that it is time to stop eating.
Without adding a lot of extra calories to your diet, fiber fills the stomach, stimulating receptors that tell your brain that it’s time to stop eating. As it absorbs water and takes up more room in the stomach and digestive system, fiber not only helps you feel full sooner but it also helps you to maintain that feeling for longer periods of time. You need to to drink plenty of water, about eight glasses a day, to move fiber through your digestive system, and that helps fight against hunger pangs too. The water contributes to feelings of fullness and controls thirst, which can often be confused with hunger.
Celebrity nutritionist and alternative health specialist Lindsey Duncan is a proponent of chia seeds. He says that chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands to curb your appetite, so adding just an ounce or so of chia seeds to your diet can reduce caloric intake and help lower the energy density (or calories) of foods, plus double the amount of fiber you receive.
So while there may be limited definitive research results on the relationship between chia seeds and weight loss, there is evidence that, like other high-fiber foods, chia seeds can play a role in helping you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Where Do Chia Seeds Come From?
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. The plant is believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec and Mayan diets, around 3500 B.C. Chia seeds were considered close to magical because of their reputed ability to increase stamina and energy over a sustained period of time. Legend has it that the name chia is derived from the Mayan word for “strength.”
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Vitalyte Chia Essentials Bars
Vitalyte Chia Essentials nutrition bars are convenient snack bars perfect for on-the-go nutrition for athletes or anyone with an active lifestyle. Packed with 2 grams of whole seed chia, these superfood bars are an ideal meal replacement, pre-workout energizer or post workout snack. Enjoy these delicious bars any time of day to boost your energy, manage your hunger, control blood sugar or support your weight loss plan. They come in delicious Blueberry and Peanut Butter Chocolate flavors.
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As summer rolls in, it becomes more apparent that hydration is more important than ever! While the cold can push you past your limits and require plenty of hydration, it's much more forgiving on the human body than the heat! Hydration is just as necessary during winter as it is during summer, however, your bodies ability to cool itself down during summer is void! Your core temperature peaks and as the human body begins to overheat, it reacts in a similar fashion as a radiator does without Antifreeze!
I've come to realize that sodium is an essential part of the electrolyte makeup, however sugars just as valuable! The need for sugar and salt become apparent when pushing past your threshold, during any Ultramarathon! You'll notice that the standard cookie cutter aid station layout, for any Ultramarathon is as follows (Electrolytes, salty snacks, fruit with high sugar content, water, salty broth, etc.)!
During my training season, I've found that the VITALYTE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL, helps to not only keep me hydrated, but recover during my runs! Unlike any other electrolyte/endurance fuel out there, VITALYTE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL, supplies endurance athletes with just the right amount of sugars, electrolytes(Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Sodium), Vitamin A,B,C and BCAA's(Branch Chain Amino Acids) for recovery!
Typically, most endurance drinks avoid the use of BCAA's(Branch Chain Amino Acids) which are essential building blocks and help aid in the recovery of muscle tissue and tendons! These essential components are great in recovery drinks, but why wait til post competition/training to recover? Why not keep fully charged and train/compete at 100%, by repairing your muscle tissue and tendons while you compete/train? Remember, BCAA's not only build lean muscle mass, but help to recover, which is essential during any Ultramarathon!
This is a solid reason to try VITALYTE TRI-PHASE ENDURANCE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL! Remember, hydrating before training/racing is just as important as during! Be sure to hydrate with VITALYTE TRI-PHASE ENDURANCE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL, at least 30 minutes before competing/training and every 30 minutes thereafter! Water is just as essential, so be sure to hydrate with water in between! For instance, drink water every 5-10 minutes leading up to the 30 minutes, then replenish with the VITALYTE TRI-PHASE ENDURANCE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL! Thank you and enjoy those trails!