Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Visit from Our Resident Science Geek

(We're not suggesting you put yourself through this kind of testing. Read on for a few tips on how to get the best advice possible.)

My advice for this first weekly ARFE nutrition/hydration tip is an old adage from my mother. Whenever I saw cool things on TV and was inspired to repeat them in the backyard (it usually involving fire, guns, or jumping my bicycle over neighbor kids), she'd say, "Don't believe everything you see on TV."

There are so many products geared towards improving athletic performance, hydration and recovery in the market. It is difficult to know what is efficacious and what's "snake oil." There are a lot of researchers at universities and other reputable laboratories practicing good science around exercise performance, nutrition and hydration.

There are also a lot people in the sport nutrition industry out to make a buck. Athletes need to put as much effort into choosing nutrition and hydration strategies and products as they do into researching gear before they buy it: Did you just run out and buy the coolest mountain bike on the shelf because the salesperson said it was the best? Probably not. Most likely you researched the options out there, full suspension vs. hard tail, clipless pedals vs. rat traps, V brakes vs. disc brakes...
Think of the food and drink you train with, use on the course and use for recovery as equipment. Treat them that way and you will be rewarded.

Here are a couple of professional-grade websites I know have extensive research behind their recommendations and a book that is the bible of sports drinks and hydration.

Check out the PDF brochures at the bottom of the page.

Yes, it is a real place that does real science.

Sports Drinks: Basic Science and Practical Aspects, Edited by Murray and Maughn. This book details more than you could ever want to know about hydration and sports drinks.

I am looking forward to posting weekly tips on nutrition and hydration, and encourage questions and comments - there are always new things to learn.

Happy training,


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