Vitamin Junkeys

Sports Nutrition Preparing for a Big Race Ep 22


Sports Nutrition: Preparing for and Recovering from a Big Race
Vitamin Junkeys Episode #22 (running time 7:23)
Date: October 21, 2008
Podsafe Music: Ice Cream by Christopher Dale Courtesy of the Podshow Music Network
Show hosts: Jennifer Lyall & Dr. Jean Jacques (Dr. JJ) Dugoua, ND HBSc PhD (Cand.)

Natural, Canada's guide to complimentary and alternative healthcare.

This episode examines:
5 steps to help prepare your body nutritionally to perform at its peak for a race or competition.
How to take care of your body after a race or competition.
What type of practitioners should you work with to prepare for/recouperate from a race or competition.

What's Dr. JJ taking today:  

Ashwagandha, Indian Ginseng is an adaptogen. Dr. JJ often gives Ashwagandha to his patients for stress management, anxiety and fatigue. It can also be used from a Sports Nutrition perspective, which we will address today.

Dr. JJ participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer earlier in the summer. It is a 2 - day bike ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Participants in the 215 km ride raised $14 million for cancer research for Princess Margaret Hospital.  This was the first year for this event.

Dr. JJ was intimidated by the event, since it was such a long ride. They went up-hill towards the end of the first day. It is very important to prepare your body for this type of intense physically activity.

There have been over 30 studies on different natural health products. Unfortunately, the results of the studies have not been as favourable as Dr. JJ thought they would have been. This meant that Dr. JJ had to create a protocol to prepare for the event, based on his own experience.

5 steps to help prepare your body nutritionally to perform at its peak for a race or competition.
1. Electrolytes
Electrolytes are the most important thing for your body, in Dr. JJ's opinion. Dr. JJ went training on a very hot day and didn't think about replenishing his electrolytes. Dr. JJ experienced muscle spasms so bad that his legs seized up. From this experience he learned that before the race and during the race, his body needed lots of electrolytes. You can take various drinks, powders or even special ju jubes with electrolytes in them.

2. Ashwagandha 
Ashwagandha regulates your cortisol level and gives you a bit of an energy boost. Dr. JJ took a large amount of Ashwagandha before the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and a large amount of it the day of the race. This gave him great energy levels throughout the ride. It's not necessary to take it afterwards.

3. Carb loading
48 hours before the event, start to eat lots of carbohydrates like rice and pasta, so your body has a lot more carbohydrates in your system. This is what your muscles will burn right away during the race, to give you lots of energy to sustain you.

4. Hydration
Drink lots of water. Every 15 minutes during the ride/race, you should drink something.

5. Carbohydrates Gel
Dr. JJ also ate carbohydrate gel, a little sugary syrup, to give his body more carbohydrates as he rode.

With all of this preparation, Dr. JJ felt really good and could have gone an extra 20 km on the second day!

The most important step is taking care of your body after a race or competition.
1. Magnesium
Taking magnesium helps muscle spasms and cramps.

2. Proteozymes
Proteozymes include bromelaine and papain. These are enzymes that break down protein. They are normally used for digestion, but when you have such a strenuous exercise, you will build up a lot of scar tissue and the exercise will cause a lot of muscle damage. Taking proteozymes will help your muscles heal.

3. Fish oils
Fish oils are anti-inflammatory, so taking a lot of fish oils after strenuous exercise can help reduce inflammation, and help heal the body.

Dr. JJ did all of this preparation, and followed this post-event protocol. It helped him so much, that he went biking in the evening of the last day of the ride!

Olympic athletes would likely take on a similar protocol to prepare for the Olympics. They also have to be careful that any supplements they take do not conflict with any rules of the International Olympic Committee. There are ethics in sports conduct guidelines for each country that can be found on the internet. This would list which substances are allowed and disallowed.

What type of practitioners should you work with to prepare for/recouperate from a race or competition?
You should work with a naturopath to develop a protocol that is right for you. You should also develop a team of manual practitioners, particularly to help you recover from the event. This may include an osteopath, a chiropractor, a massage therapist or a physiotherapist. You will need at least a week of tissue work after the event.

You can find practitioners through the Find a Practitioner link on our website

You can find out more about the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2009 at:
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Camera: Jerome Marrin
Editor: Jerome Marrin,  Jerome Marrin Media Productions 
Sound Recordist: Jeffery Magat, Eqtion 
Make-up Artist: Valery Santillana, Fit Your Style

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Join Jennifer Lyall and Naturopath, Dr. JJ Dugoua as they have fun exploring alternative therapies and healthy living. Weekly episodes are released every Tuesday.

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