© 2017 PAUL K EHREN - HEALTH, EXERCISE & NUTRITION

When working with athletes within any sporting discipline I will initially do 2 things:

  • Get to know the person

  • Get to know their sport

 

Knowing the person involves not only involves general personal details, information on their nutrition, goals and lifestyle but very importantly details of their past medical history and current state of health. We are all individuals and people, particularly athletes, cannot be treated in a generic manner. I make use of tests such as Blood Bio Chemistry, Hormonal Panels, Food Intolerance Screens and DNA tests to establish the exact make up and status of each client.

Knowing a person’s sport requires an analysis of areas such as Movement Patterns, Muscle Functions, Energy Systems and Endurance/Speed/Strength requirements.

Armed with this information a full and complete health, training and nutrition plan can be provided.

WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS AND PARTICULARLY SPORTSMEN NEED TO BE TREATED AS SUCH.

“ONE SIZE FITS ALL” DOES NOT CUT IT!!!

1/6

The 3 Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. They are referred to as “Branch Chain” due to their particular chemical structure and are 3 of the Essential Amino Acids meaning that they must be supplied by either our diet or supplement as our bodies are incapable of making them from other sources. They are also the 3 Amino Acids which are metabolised purely in our muscle cells and together make up some 15% of muscle protein.

Studies have shown that BCAA’s have been linked to important roles in protein synthesis, anti catabolism (muscle breakdown) and the prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Our stores of BCAA’s are depleted during times of heavy exercise, therefore without adequate stores of these Aminos our muscle fibres will not repair and grow at an optimum rate.

Due to their role in muscle repair the ideal time to take BCAA’s is either before or after a workout. Some athletes have reported fluctuations in blood sugar levels and a drop in energy levels during work outs after taking BCAA’s, if you are effected restrict their use to post workout.

For any athlete on a strict diet use of BCAA’s between meals has been shown to maintain muscle size and strength.

As with any diet high in protein/amino acids it is also important to consider the adequate supply of the other co factors which are involved in their synthesis and assimilation. Among the most important of these are Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Chromium and Zinc.

Other benefits that have been mentioned in studies on BCAA’s are their effect on “Glycogen sparring/Lipid Oxidation ” during exercise, which basically means you can potentially burn more fat instead of carbohydrate thereby increasing the time until you fatigue. This together with their use in reducing muscle soreness and helping prevent muscle breakdown when dieting makes BCAA’s a useful tool for the combat sports as well as bodybuilders/strength athletes.

If you have ever trained with weights, boxed or trained seriously at any athletic event you would have experienced that “burn” you feel in your muscles towards the end of a set or towards the end of a hard 2 minute round or when you are really pushing the pace in a track or road race.

To cut a long story short the pain and fatigue you experience is caused by a build up of acidity in our bodies caused by the intensity of the exercise. Blood has an average pH value of 7.4 making it slightly Alkaline, any drop in this pH value means a build up of acidity and this will interfere with any continued high intensity athletic performance.

If we attempt to continue with the same level of effort the pain and fatigue get worse but if we stop the pain gradually subsides and we are ready to go again after a minute or two. Our bodies use a substance called Carnosine to help control and “buffer” against this build up of acid. Carnosine is itself comprised of the amino acids L Histidine and Beta Alanine with Beta Alanine being what Sports Scientists refer to as the “rate limiting step” in Carnosine production. In other words if your beta Alanine stores are insufficient you will not make the necessary amount of Carnosine to help deal with the acid build up.

Dietary sources of beta Alanine are the protein rich foods such as fish, chicken, beef and pork. Many scientific studies have shown that addition supplementation with beta Alanine will prove beneficial to muscular strength and power output as well as short and long term endurance.

An additional benefit of Beta Alanine supplementation is that it is also used by the body as a precursor or building block in the formation of Nitric Oxide which contributes to an acute widening of the blood arteries leading to a better “pump” when training with weights.

Another very efficient buffer of acid build up is Sodium Bicarbonate, varieties of which are used in baking or as an indigestion cure. Unlike beta Alanine you will need to be careful when experimenting with Sodium Bicarbonate as it can cause acute gastric upset - diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pains etc!

Every time we breathe, take a step, lift a weight, throw a punch or execute a strangle hold the muscular movement is powered by a high energy compound within our bodies called ATP. Without this substance we would be incapable of movement and we would die.

Unfortunately our reserves of ATP last only a matter of seconds before it needs to be replaced.

Our bodies have 3 distinct energy systems which re generate ATP and are largely dependent on the intensity and duration of the exercise being performed. For relatively short intense bursts of energy such as a 100 metre sprint, a set of bench press, a combination of punches or a judo attack our supplies of ATP uses the Creatine in our cells to re generate itself and sustain the muscular movements.

We obtain Creatine from our diets, the main sources being meat and fish with the best of all being Herring providing 3g of Creatine per pound.

Supplementation with additional Creatine is just about the most widely researched training aid there is and just about every research study shows Creatine supplementation helps improve the intensity of muscular movement and prolongs its intensity.

Any sportsman whose sport involves short intense bursts of energy may benefit from Creatine supplementation.

One word of caution involves boxers and Martial Artists working within weight categories. Creatine may attract water into the muscle cell thereby increasing bodyweight. Therefore, always experiment with Creatine supplementation in the off season first before using it around competition time.

The standard method of using Creatine is to load up for the first week taking 5g (teaspoonful) 4 x throughout the day, thereafter 5g once per day. Taking it with water is fine or you could use one of the delivery systems on the market but these will be much more expensive.

Glutamine is a nonessential Amino Acid, in other words our bodies can manufacture it from protein sources consumed, but as it is also one of the most abundant and important within a number of our internal systems Sports Scientists refer to it as “conditionally essential” meaning that it becomes essential in certain conditions.

Glutamine is used for many vital processes including repair to our gut lining, to boost our immune systems, as a source of fuel, as an anti oxidant and to help release Growth Hormone. All of this in addition to making up around 60% of the Amino Acid pool in our muscle cells.

As our bodies tend to work on a priority basis many of the processes referred to above will have “first call” on our Glutamine stores potentially leaving insufficient for our muscle cells to repair and grow, particularly in times of hard training, outside stress, illness etc which will lead to greater demands being placed on our immune, digestive and nervous systems.

As an example, many athletes suffer from an impaired gut function due to the nature of their training. Without optimal digestion the best diet and supplementation program in the world will not be of benefit as the nutriments are not being properly absorbed. In a similar fashion, consistent hard training will batter your immune system to the point that many athletes are wide open to infections such as the common cold, flu, chest and sinus problems.

Studies have shown that supplementing Glutamine may help prevent this potential muscle breakdown. To obtain the maximum benefit it is suggested that 5g of Glutamine is taken prior to a workout and 5g immediately after. In common with other Amino Acids Glutamine should be taken with cold or room temperature fluids as heat can damage or destroy their benefits.

One large note of caution is that type 1 or 2 Diabetics should only take Glutamine under medical supervision. As mentioned above Glutamine can be used as a source of fuel (Glucose) in our bodies by a process called Gluconeogenesis. This potential increase in blood sugar could be harmful if you are Diabetic.

Glutamine is a nonessential Amino Acid, in other words our bodies can manufacture it from protein sources consumed, but as it is also one of the most abundant and important within a number of our internal systems Sports Scientists refer to it as “conditionally essential” meaning that it becomes essential in certain conditions.

Glutamine is used for many vital processes including repair to our gut lining, to boost our immune systems, as a source of fuel, as an anti oxidant and to help release Growth Hormone. All of this in addition to making up around 60% of the Amino Acid pool in our muscle cells.

As our bodies tend to work on a priority basis many of the processes referred to above will have “first call” on our Glutamine stores potentially leaving insufficient for our muscle cells to repair and grow, particularly in times of hard training, outside stress, illness etc which will lead to greater demands being placed on our immune, digestive and nervous systems.

As an example, many athletes suffer from an impaired gut function due to the nature of their training. Without optimal digestion the best diet and supplementation program in the world will not be of benefit as the nutriments are not being properly absorbed. In a similar fashion, consistent hard training will batter your immune system to the point that many athletes are wide open to infections such as the common cold, flu, chest and sinus problems.

Studies have shown that supplementing Glutamine may help prevent this potential muscle breakdown. To obtain the maximum benefit it is suggested that 5g of Glutamine is taken prior to a workout and 5g immediately after. In common with other Amino Acids Glutamine should be taken with cold or room temperature fluids as heat can damage or destroy their benefits.

One large note of caution is that type 1 or 2 Diabetics should only take Glutamine under medical supervision. As mentioned above Glutamine can be used as a source of fuel (Glucose) in our bodies by a process called Gluconeogenesis. This potential increase in blood sugar could be harmful if you are Diabetic.