Sports Nutrition, Muscle, Endurance, Recovery, Sexual Health, Weight Management

Performance Nutrition Basics

With so many products to choose from in the Sports Nutrition category it can be overwhelming for consumers to determine what to purchase. Always remember the single most important supplement you can take is a high quality multi vitamin. I like to think of multi vitamins as the body’s nutritional insurance policy.

Consider this: the human body is literally a big chemistry set. Although most athletes understand the important role carbohydrates, fats and protein play in our diets, many fail to realize our food choices may lack the quality vitamins and minerals needed to support our metabolism at its highest level.*

For example: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is primarily responsible for carbohydrate metabolism along with the function of the nervous system.* Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is an important agent in the repair of all cells following rigorous training or competition!* Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is crucial in the metabolism of sugar, fat and protein.* Vitamin B15 (Pangamate or Pangamic Acid) is known for its ability to increase blood and oxygen supplies to tissue.* Magnesium is a mineral essential to muscle contraction.* The lack of this key mineral can result in fatigue, spasms, muscle twitching and muscle weakness (A condition any athlete wants to avoid!).1 These are just a few examples of the role vital nutrients play in the performance of strength and endurance athletes.

Athletes (including active individuals) burn through these micro nutrients at a much faster pace than average people, and that will ultimately play a critical roll in your overall performance.*

If you want to be a successful athlete or simply perform at your peak level, you need to provide your body with everything it needs. Multi vitamins deliver micro nutrients at the cellular level to help maintain a healthy metabolism!* They are involved in thousands of metabolic functions throughout our day from building muscle tissue, to breaking down sugars and fats for energy consumption.*

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References
1. Davis, Paul O. Ph.D & Hatfield, Frederick C. Ph.D. Fitness The Complete Guide. International Sports Sciences Association, Santa Barbara, CA, 2000.

Magnesium: The Muscle Mineral

What separates the average Joe six-pack (muscle, not beer) from professional body builders? Other than genetics, and lifting heavier weights, it is probably not your workout. The differences lie in the fine details; really warming up before a workout, weighing food, counting calories, planning meals and understanding muscle nutrition.

While there are many minerals that are important for muscle growth and metabolism, perhaps the most important is magnesium.* Magnesium is an electrolyte that is critical to cellular energy, vitality and membrane integrity.* Magnesium is also a cofactor in more than 300 biochemical reactions. There is a strong link between magnesium levels and the stress hormones cortisol.1

So what does magnesium do for muscles?

Magnesium plays a critical role in anaerobic and aerobic energy production. Specifically, the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) relies on magnesium dependant enzymes (ATPases). ATP is the ‘energy currency’ of the body and fuels all muscle contractions. Extra magnesium can improve athletic performance if you are below optimal levels. 2,3,4

There are studies carried out on resistant trained and physically active people that would argue against the need to supplement magnesium5,6. However, these studies assume no deficiency in serum magnesium levels. Even when the quality of food is high and the diet is balanced, athletes often struggle to meet magnesium needs so supplementing to RDI levels (400 mg) is advisable.

Sources of magnesium include halibut, whole grains, cereals, green leafy vegetables, nuts and supplements.

1. Br J Nutr 100(5):1038-45 (2008)
2. J Nutr 132:930-935 (2002)
3. Endocrinol Metab Clin N Am 22:377-395 (1993)
4. Med Exerc Nutr Health 4:230-233 (1995)
5. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33: 493-498 (2001)
6. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 1:12-20 (2004)

Sleep and Exercise

By Thane Slagowski, Vice President, Product Development & Quality for Twinlab.

I am a great believer in the power of exercise to help you sleep better; the better you sleep the more energy you will have for exercise.

You can learn a lot about energy and sleep by observing nature. I have a hyperactive puppy (a French bulldog named Yoda) who loves to chew on socks and is often caught stealing flip flops. To protect my family’s shoes and socks from doggy slobber, we take him on a walk each day. After the walk, Yoda is mellow and goes out like a light. In parallel, I doubt construction workers have a hard time falling asleep. Why not apply this same principle to your sleep and exercise routines?

Sleep can be the perfect supplement to your exercise routine. Research shows that the release of growth hormones peaks during deep sleep, while at the same time blood flow to muscles increases and your metabolic rate slows. All this is the perfect formula for the repair and growth of muscle tissue. 1

From personal experience, you’ve probably seen many of the other benefits of a good sleep routine, including mood stabilization and increased learning and memory functions. Leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone, is also directly influenced by your sleep routine. You may have a bigger appetite if you don’t get enough sleep, because leptin levels drop and increase appetite.2

Suffer from insomnia? Studies indicate that exercise—especially morning exercise—will help you sleep better.3 An hour of stretching and walking daily can help relieve many sleep problems that often stem from the stresses of regular life.

Exercise at least four hours a week and remember that any exercise is better than none, regardless of the time of day. You should note, though, that exercising right before heading to bed can lead to difficulty sleeping. It is recommended that you exercise at least three hours before going to bed, to give your body enough time to cool off. A lowered body temperature is needed for sleep onset. In order to support vigorous exercise, a positive energy balance from sleep is critical.4

So remember, to help your mind and body regenerate, reduce stress, be more alert and reach your fitness goals, get at least six to seven hours of sleep each night.

1. McManus, Mark. “How to Sleep Your Way to Big Muscles.” Retrieved December 10, 2008, from http://www.musclehack.com/how-to-sleep-your-way-to-big-muscles/
2. Plotnick, Rachel. “Diet, Exercise, Sleep! The Path to a Healthier Lifestyle.” National Sleep Association. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from http://sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/diet-exercise-and-sleep
3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2008, June 12). Moderate Exercise Can Improve Sleep Quality Of Insomnia Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 4, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080611071129.htm
4. Ibid.

Banana-Nut Bread

Grinding the flaxseeds enables your body to get all the benefit of their fiber, lignans, and alpha-linolenic acid (a precursor to omega-3s). There's added fiber here from whole-wheat flour, and olive oil replaces butter for a healthier loaf.

Manhattan Shellfish Chowder

James Beard once called Manhattan clam chowder “a vegetable soup that accidentally had some clams dumped into it.” Indeed many Manhattan chowders seem to be just that. Here we start with fresh littleneck clams in the shell and sea scallops and let them dominate in an herbed tomato and white wine broth.

Toasted Oat Pancake Mix

This pancake mix recipe makes 4 cups. Each cup of the mix will make 6 pancakes. Store the mix in the freezer. To make 6 pancakes, measure out 1 cup of the mix and stir in 1/3 cup of dried fruit, such as raisins or dried cherries. In a small bowl, stir together 3/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of extra-light olive oil, and 1 large egg white. Stir the water mixture into the pancake mix until combined. Drop by 1/3 cup fulls onto a nonstick greased griddle or skillet and cook 1 minute per side or until done.

Penne with Ratatouille Sauce

The famous vegetable stew of Provence, ratatouille, redolent of fresh herbs and plenty of garlic, serves as an ideal topping for pasta. Pretty here over penne pasta, this ratatouille sauce can also be layered with cooked lasagna noodles, sprinkled with cheese, and baked.

Sesame Stir-Fried Asparagus

Using cornstarch to thicken sauces is an idea borrowed from Chinese cuisine. It's a good trick to remember when you want to give a low-fat sauce the "mouth feel" of a high-fat sauce.

Italian-Style Vegetables

Instead of serving the same old one-note vegetable dishes with dinner, try this medley of potatoes, peppers, carrots, green beans, and garlic. Each vegetable contributes its own nutritional assets, and the flavors add up nicely, too.

Sicilian-Style Broccoli Rabe

The slight bitterness of broccoli rabe is tempered here by the sweetness of raisins. If you prefer, substitute milder broccolini for the broccoli rabe. All of the broccoli rabe is edible, though it’s best to trim off the very ends, which may be tough.