Category Archives: Nutrition

Nuun Product Comparison Chart

Nuun is a hydration and electrolyte product that helps to maintain hydration and increase endurance for casual and professional athletes. Over the past few years Nuun has expanded their product line to include different types of tablets specifically for sports, immunity, rest, vitamin, and energy. The nutrients and ingredients obviously vary by product so you can find the comparison table below.

If you did you want purchase some product you can Get $10 Off Your First Order of $30 or More.

Nuun Sport
Nuun Immunity
Nuun Rest
Nuun Vitamins
Nuun Energy
Flavors132264
Calories1515101015
Sugar1G (1%)2G (4%)1G (1%)2G (4%)2G (4%)
Zinc5MG (45%)
Vitamin A450MG (50%)112MG (13%)
Vitamin B60.25MG (15%)2.55MG (150%)
Vitamin B1210MG (417%)
Vitamin C200MG (222%)10MG (11%)
Vitamin D10MG (50%)5MG (25%)
Vitamin E3MG (20%)2MG (13%)
Folic Acid136 MG (34%)
Sodium300MG (14%)100MG (4%)100MG (4%)100MG (4%)100MG (4%)
Potassium150MG (3%)150MG (3%)100MG (2%)150MG (3%)200MG (4%)
Magnesium25MG (6%)15MG (4%)300MG (72%)15MG (4%)15MG (4%)
Calcium13MG (1%)15MG (1%)15MG (1%)15MG (1%)
Selenium 20MG (36%)
Caffine40MG*40MG*80MG

What to Eat in the Week Before Your Triathlon

Let’s start with my basic recommendation I always make first: each athlete is different and you must find what works best for you. This is not one single nutrition plan that works for everyone. I will present you with the facts that are based on credible, scientific research and you can then apply them to your situation as you see fit.

There are many things to consider for pre-race nutrition such as the length of your event, environmental conditions, and your specific likes and dislikes but a couple of facts remain the same.

Nutrition The Week Before Your Race

The goal of the week before your event is to load your muscles and liver with the glycogen (stored carbohydrates) you will need for the event. The greater these stores, the greater your potential to perform well during endurance events.

About Carbohydrate Loading

There is one tried and true method for doing this: carbohydrate loading.

The “old-school” method of carbohydrate loading included performing an exhaustive exercise about 7 days before the event in order to reduce glycogen stores. Athletes would then follow a high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet for the next few days (the depletion phase). Athletes would then follow a high-carbohydrate diet 3 days before their event (loading phase). This approach did work for some athletes but for most it was detrimental because they were not used to high-fat diets, which caused digestive issues along with gastric discomfort. This would obviously be detrimental not only physically but also mentally as it would redirect your focus to your stomach and GI tract instead of your working muscles and race strategy.

The “new-school” method of carbohydrate loading proves to be very effective both in laboratory settings and in the field. Numerous scientific studies have proved that higher glycogen stores increase performance by increasing time to exhaustion, which equates into faster times. Traditionally, this method is followed about 7 days before the event (longer if it is a longer distance race) and includes decreasing the duration of training while increasing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet. One recommendation is to follow a normal intake of carbohydrates (5-7 grams per kilogram of body weight) during the first three days of the taper week. The next three days before the event, it is recommended to increase this amount to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. This is termed the loading phase. This modified and better tolerated regimen results in glycogen stores equal to those provided by the “old-school” carbohydrate loading regiment but does not produce any ill effects from a high-fat or high-protein diet. Here is what I am talking about in a table format:

Days Before RaceGrams of Carbs per KG of Body Weight
15-7 grams/CHO/kg body weight
25-7 grams/CHO/kg body weight
35-7 grams/CHO/kg body weight
410 grams/CHO/kg body weight
510 grams/CHO/kg body weight
610 grams/CHO/kg body weight
7Race Day

Let’s look at a real life example. Heather weighs 120 pounds (54.5 kilograms) and is training for her first half Ironman. On days 1-3 before her race she would need to eat 272.5-381.5 grams or 1090-1526 calories just from carbohydrates alone. On days 4-7, Heather would need to eat 545 grams or 2180 calories from carbohydrates.

I have not mentioned protein and fat too much for a reason. These macronutrients typically are not recommended in large amounts the week before the big race because they are not the body’s primary energy source, they are longer to digest, and they may do not allow the carbohydrates to do their storage job as well. These nutrients are still important but I would recommend consuming about 1.1-1.3 grams of protein/kg of body weight and about 0.8-0.9 grams of fat/kg body weight.

Back to our example with Heather. This would mean that she would eat about 60-71 grams (240-284 calories) of protein and about 44-49 grams (396-441 calories) of fat per day.

Her totals would be:

Days 1-3 of taper and carbohydrate loading:

Carbohydrate: 272.5-381.5 grams or 1090-1526 calories
Protein: 60-71 grams or 240-284 calories
Fat: 44-49 grams or 396-441 calories
Total calories: 1726-2251

In this example, Heather would be eating 63-67% of her calories from carbohydrates, 13-14% of her calories from protein, and 19-23% of her calories from fat.

Days 4-6 of taper and carbohydrate loading:

Carbohydrate: 545 grams or 2180 calories
Protein: 60-71 grams or 240-284 calories
Fat: 44-49 grams or 396-441 calories
Total calories: 2816-2905

In this example, Heather would be eating 77% of her calories from carbohydrates, 8-10% of her calories from protein, and 14-15% of her calories from fat.

Conversions:

1 gram of carbohydrate=4 calories

1 gram of protein=4 calories

1 gram of fat=9 calories

1 kilogram=2.2 pounds (body weight in pounds divided by 2.2 gives body weight in kilograms)

·         Keep in mind that weight gain is common with carbohydrate loading or by following a high carbohydrate diet. Each gram of carbohydrate is stored with almost three grams of water attached to it, thus the cause of weight gain is water weight. This is highly beneficial for an endurance athlete because your cells will be saturated with water, which will help prevent dehydration and decreased performance.

·         Carbohydrate loading will not help you run faster, but it can help you maintain your pace longer before tiring. Typically, if your race will last less than 90 continuous minutes, you won’t gain too much of an advantage from carbohydrate loading.

·         If you will be racing for a couple of hours at a lower to moderate intensity, your fat stores can provide the majority of the energy you need, but (here is the important part), only if you have enough carbohydrates in your body because “fat burns in a carbohydrate flame”. Carbohydrates are needed for the body to burn fat. Fat-loading the week before the race is of no use to the endurance athlete. This will not enable you to burn more fat! Again, this is the reason why consuming an adequate carbohydrate diet is so important.

·         Remember that you should make a concerted effort to hydrate yourself at least 7 days before your event. I have seen many athletes overhydrate so be careful here. Depending on race day environmental conditions and your hydration routine, 10-12 cups (80-96 fluid ounces) of water and sports drink combined should suffice and get you to the start line in a hydrated state.

·         Last but not least, here is a detailed list of tips to keep in mind for your pre-race nutrition strategy:

  • Drink plenty of fluids but not too much. There is such a thing as overhydration which could lead to hyponatremia.
  • Avoid high-fiber foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, beans nuts and seeds to ensure your GI system agrees with you on race day and you will not have to stop at every porta potty on the course!
  • Stick with familiar foods and drinks. One week before your race is not time to try something new.
  • Avoid sugar substitutes like sorbitol and mannitol as they could cause diarrhea.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Try to eat your last big, high-carbohydrate meal two nights before your race.

I cannot stress enough that each athlete is different when it comes to training as well as with nutritional concerns and strategies. Use my recommendations as a template to build your own individual nutritional plan to suit your body.

“Train hard. Eat smart.”

What to Eat Before your Triathlon – 4 Easy Tips

Those final 24 hours before the big race are always filled with nervous anticipation, especially if it’s your 1st time toeing the line in a triathlon. Over time, that feeling slowly diminishes, but unfortunately never goes completely away even after years of racing. All the ‘what ifs’ fill your head. What if I get kicked during the swim, flat on the bike or  cramp on the run? What if I forget my helmet? These things are all par for the course and are part of the excitement of choosing to participate in a multi-sport event vs. hiding under the covers on a Saturday morning.

With all these thoughts flooding your head, there’s another critical component to your final countdown to the gun – what do I eat? This is a very easy question to answer, but you won’t find it this article as I don’t know. I do know who has the answer – you!

The truth is, there is not one menu which is a perfect fit for all athletes, but there are some general rules which everyone can use as a guide during the final 24 hours leading into your race.

1. Hydration

Possibly the single biggest issue which could negatively impact your race is dehydration. Losing as little as 1% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 10%. A priority should be to start the race with your fluid reserves at full capacity and lucky for you this is very easy to accomplish.

As a general rule, most experienced coaches will recommend using a fluid replacement drink such as Cytomax or Accelerade vs. water alone as you want to be sure you maintain proper electrolyte balance. Over consumption of water alone will often cause an athlete to lose important electrolytes through their urine.  The best way to stay on top of your fluid intake is by using a fluid replacement such as those listed above.

Lastly, many athletes will begin to heavily salt their foods in the days leading up to an event especially if conditions are expected to be overly warm. This technique will help with water retention and reduces the likelihood of getting to the start line dehydrated. One more rule about hydration, only consume enough fluid so that your urine is very light to clear in color. Continuing to drink past this point could affect your electrolyte balance (as mentioned above) and also negatively impact your sleep pattern. There’s nothing worse than having to visit the bathroom every few hours the night before your big day!

2. Eat ‘Clean’

The last thing you want to do is have your toes at the water’s edge ready to kick off your race, and have nature’s call leave you scrambling for the closest Port-o-John! There is not a ‘1 size fits all’ diet which works for every athlete, but one thing which does hold true is you want to stick with a diet that is easily digested.

You don’t need an article to tell you what foods these are, as I’m sure you’re familiar with those meals which you still feel sitting in your stomach hours after you’ve taken the last bite. From the moment you wake up on the day before your race, try to keep your eating as ‘clean’ as possible so everything has passed well before take your 1st stroke.

3. Your Last ‘Solid’ Meal

Your last large meal should be finished at least 12 hours before your scheduled start. This means that if you have a scheduled start of 7AM on Saturday; you should finish your last meal by 7PM on Friday. This will ensure everything is fully digested before the race kicks off.

4. Race Morning:

More and more athletes are leaning towards a liquid diet on race morning as the calories are more easily digested and you are also aiding in hydration. The timing is less critical with a liquid meal as it will empty from your stomach much quicker than a solid meal with a similar nutrient breakdown.

If you do choose a light solid meal on race morning, be sure this meal is finished at least 2 hours before your start time. Using our 7AM start time, this would mean your last bite should finish by 5AM. In those final 2 hours before your event, it’s important that you keep your hydration capped so continue to drink watered down sports drink right up until the gun goes off.

There are many more elements to perfecting your individual pre and race day plan, but hopefully this will help get you going in the right direction. After all is said and done and your race day is over, make sure you keep a record of what you ate so you can refer to this in the future. If you had any digestive issues you will want to make note of this and conversely, if everything went as planned, you want to make sure you can repeat that same recipe for your next event. 

10 Best Tactics To Avoid Overtraining

Recovery. everyone needs it to be able to get the most out of his or her training program. To be able to consistently perform at their best, today’s athlete must learn how to recover from hard training and racing without compromising their current level of fitness. The problem is it’s not exactly easy. One needs to balance the right amounts of knowledge, experience, common sense and sometimes luck in order to find what works best for their body.

For years, many athletes were chronically overtrained trying to “Keep up with the Jones’s”. People would look at a successful person’s training schedule and try and copy it. They would also incorporate the “more is better” motto to try and give them any kind of edge. The old joke was you could look at anyone’s training schedule and probably knock off about 25 percent of it to get the “real” amount of training they did.

The problem with adopting these attitudes is that they are usually not the best ways to improve performance. I take myself as example number one. I was always training, and often out on the road my buddies and I would frequently get into big ego sessions. Yeah, it felt great to waste one another in training, but once race time came around the results were less than expected. The primary problem was we left our best times in training! We didn’t know the meaning of the words “recovery” or “easy day” and it affected our race results.

With the above in mind, I have a list of the top 10 best ways to avoid over-training.

1. Don’t Push It Too Hard

As I explained above, don’t try and copy anyone else’s training schedule. Their specific needs may be different than yours.

You may be a strong cyclist but a weak swimmer; it wouldn’t make sense to copy Joe triathlete’s schedule that is a strong swimmer but weak cyclist. Additionally, your body may require more or less rest before your next hard session than your training buddy. So, don’t try and fit in a hard workout with him or her if your body is not recovered. One of the best ways to monitor this is with the use of a top heart rate monitor.

If your heart rate is significantly above your normal range than schedule an easy or off day and tackle that workout another time. Also, if you have an easy workout scheduled then set your upper limit to beep at a lower heart rate. Then you can tell your buddies, “Sorry, but I have an easy day planned.”

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

While it may be true that each person requires a certain number of carbohydrates, protein and fat in their diet; what you may require may be different than someone else. While a 50% carb, 30% protein, 20% fat diet may work for Jane; you may require a 60/30/10 or 40/30/30 combination.

Also, don’t expect to be in peak condition if most of your carbos are from piazza and beer or processed foods. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean beef and chicken, and whole grains will, in most cases, yield the best results.

3. Get More Sleep

Earlier this year I was dealing with some difficulties in my personal life and developed a case of insomnia. Every time I went to attempt a difficult workout my body just didn’t respond. I think in this day of hustle and bustle, many people forget how important sleep is to the recovery process. Each night the body goes through numerous phases of sleep called a “sleep cycle”. These cycles are repeated many times during the night to give us a restful sleep experience.

So, even if you are able to get to sleep, if your body is restless and doesn’t go through the normal cycles it is used to you won’t get quality sleep. Medications are often of some help, but the most important things you can do to improve your sleep are: decreasing or eliminating caffeine from your diet, learning how to relax, and developing proper “sleep habits”.

4. Reduce Your Stress

Everyone has a certain amount of stress in his or her lives and the body usually has enough coping strategies to deal with everyday life. Occasionally, we are all overcome by extra stresses in our lives. This can dramatically affect your attitude, training schedule and sleep cycle. It’s a fact of life; some people deal with stress better than others do. What might severely affect your friend or spouse might just roll off you.

Now, I am not trying to give psychological advice here, but I am suggesting that many of us need help during distressing times in our lives. There are many ways of coping with stress including, but not limited too: psychological counseling, spiritual counseling, merely confiding in another human being, meditation, yoga, seclusion to a favorite private spot, etc…

Many of these suggestions can help us manage stress in our lives. But, if your stress causes you an extraordinary amount of pain and anxiety professional medical assistance can often help.

5. Hydrate

OK, OK…I know every one knows that your supposed to drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. But did you know that this is in addition to the water you consume before and after workouts? That in hot or humid conditions your water needs may more than double?

I remember reading an article by Scott Tinley a few years back that said “you need to drink water till you pee clear at least once a day”. I tend to agree with this because it is an easy way to monitor your hydration level.

What is of equal importance is that our body’s ability to perceive thirst is not a good indicator when one needs more water. Usually by that time one is already on the way to dehydration. Another important note, for every ounce of caffeinated beverage you drink during the day you need to balance it with an equal amount of water.

6. Get a Physical

Here comes the health care professional in me rushing out. Everyone hates them but a yearly physical is a must, especially for athletes. We tend to think that we are above serious illness because we are in great shape. DEAD WRONG-I know many instances of athletes who were in great shape and an ordinary physical detected an abnormality.

Many times an ordinary physical has saved a life!!! Additionally, a routine physical may detect a need in your body for more iron, calcium, electrolytes, etc…With the proper supplements your energy levels may soar leading to an improvement in training and racing.

7. Get A Massage

If you have never experienced a full body massage you are really missing out.

Massage is great for decreasing tissue tightness in problem areas, improving circulation, flushing out muscle waste products, and general relaxation. Be careful when choosing a therapist. Make sure they are licensed by the state they practice in, certified in sports massage, and it doesn’t hurt to find their reputation among the local athletes.

Choosing the right massage therapist can make all the difference in the world in your recovery times, especially for those of you training for IM races. Granted, not all of us can afford a $60-75 massage every week, but if you can get on the table every other week, or at least once a month, you will notice an improvement in the way your body feels and functions.

8. Have A Plan

I am sure most people reading this have set goals in their lives that they would like to achieve.

In triathlon training and racing the same must be true. Developing a plan of attack in your training will keep you from logging junk mileage or doing things in training that are not required of your current goal.

If my goal was to do a sprint triathlon in 3 months than I would include some race pace intervals in my training and would probably not need any endurance training. But, if my goal was to do an Ironman race in 9 months than my training would have very little faster paced training but plenty of longer aerobic training.

Setting goals also requires you to be realistic. If you’re new to triathlon don’t let your goal be to win half of the races you enter. Set your goals conservatively at first and you will be pleased with your results. Setting goals too high at first might leave one disappointed and frustrated, after all aren’t we supposed to be doing this for fun? Believe me I am not against anyone reaching for the stars but one must have wings before they can fly.

I recommend setting short term (achievable within 3 months) and long term (achievable within the next year) goals for your triathlon endeavors. Plot your progress in your training journal and then you can beam with joy when you achieve those goals!

9. Rest is Important

Rest, that used to be an unspoken word in triathlon circles. No one wanted their training buddies or competitors to be tougher than he and the tougher one’s training schedule was the better. Well, as I mentioned earlier the “more is better” theory doesn’t always apply for athletes.

A day off, this means no physical training, is a must for all triathletes. In fact, some athletes schedule their training into blocks.

A training block may consist of 10 training days and then 3 off days or 7 days of training followed by 2 days off. A block, in turn, could be turned into a cycle. Using the 7 days on/ 2 days off block, a cycle would be 27 days, 3 blocks, which is roughly 4 weeks and this would be followed by 3 to 4 days off. If one used the 10 on/3 off block, then a cycle would be 39 days with a week worth of rest at the end.

Each person needs to develop a schedule that works for them, but my point is you need rest days, and occasionally a week, to avoid burnout, over-training, and to see improvement in your race times.

10. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

If you know what song this comes from your really showing your age. I suggest you go do at least a sit-up and then hit the hay ;). Seriously, though, triathlons are meant to be fun! This requires you too get a little zany at times and cut loose. If you are too worried about how you placed in such and such a race or that you missed a day of training then you definitely need to chill out.

Be satisfied with the best race that YOU could muster and not what your competitors did. Trust me, you will experience more joy and meet more special people if you keep your heart light.

Well, that’s it! I hope these insights help you in your triathlon achievements. See you at the races.

5 Best Ways to Stretch to Avoid Injury

How many times has it happened? An elite runner pulls up lame in a 150-meter dash for cash. A NFL superstar limps to the sideline with a painful groin pull. Or the average Joe has to walk the last half-mile of his daily 4-mile jaunt with an annoying twinge in his hamstring.

Granted, comparing an elite athlete, who has access to the most sophisticated sports medicine services in the world, to a recreational jogger is like comparing filet mignon to cube steak. But, they both have one thing in common. Maintaining proper flexibility in their bodies can help prevent injury!

Stretching you say? Isn’t that reserved for gymnast and people like Plastic Man.

As a matter of fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Furthermore, you don’t need fancy equipment or a trainer to reap the benefits of stretching. Stretching can benefit everyone from the professional athlete to the elderly adult.

I recently read an article about an 85-year-old woman who lives alone and is independent with all her daily activities. The author asked how she has kept so active and the woman stated, ” I stretch my body for 20 minutes twice a day.”

Stretching Benefits Beyond Flexibility

Everyone may not get exactly the same results, but by incorporating stretching into your program you may acquire more than just flexibility.

Each muscle has an optimum length at which it can perform at it’s best. If a muscle is too tight or stretched, not at it’s optimal length, than it’s at a disadvantage. Therefore someone may be able to get the most out of a training program by performing proper stretching techniques daily.

So, you ask, how do I go about stretching properly. First off, it would be a good idea to get to know the different basic types of stretching which are as follows: Static, Active, Ballistic and Massage.

1. Static Stretching

Static stretching is what one typical thinks of as traditional stretching. The body part being stretched is moved into a certain position and held. This is one way to achieve more flexibility.

Technique is critical, the stretch should be held at least 20-30 seconds, the body part should not be “bounced”, and the stretch should be preformed slow and deliberately.

No pain should be elicited during the stretch, although some discomfort is normal. It is also ideal to perform these stretches when the body is warm, such as after a hot shower or a few calisthenics.

2. Active Stretching

Active stretching takes static stretching to the next level, so to speak.

There are basically three types of active stretching-contract/relax, contract/relax/contract, and antagonist contraction.

Contract/relax technique involves actively contracting the muscle for 15-20 seconds and then, as you relax, pulling the body part further into the stretch. You should perform this stretch 3-4 repetitions and each time go slightly further. Again, there should be no pain but only minimal discomfort with the stretch.

Contact/relax/contract uses the same methods above, but instead of pulling the body part further into the stretch the antagonist muscle, the muscle that performs the opposite function of the one you are trying to stretch, is used to move the body part.

Lastly, the antagonist contraction involves using the muscle on the opposite side of the joint to pull the body into the stretch without an agonist contraction or relax phase. The idea behind these stretches is to fool the tension receptors in the muscle fibers so a more efficient stretch can be preformed. These are fairly simple concepts, but I recommend a few training sessions with a professional before adding them to your routine.

3. Ballistic Stretching

Ballistic stretching is when the muscle is quickly and forcefully stretched.

This prepares the muscle for an explosive contraction. It is the only one of the stretches mentioned here that is more of an exercise than a stretch. It’s mainly used in the performance of plyometric exercises incorporated in an athlete’s routine to optimize strength and power.

Ballistic Training SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS PART OF ONE’S DAILY FLEXIBILITY PROGRAM. If you’re interested in this technique to enhance athletic performance the advice of a professional is highly recommended.

4. Massage

Massage is also a type of stretching. Basic muscular massage stretches the muscle fibers as it is being preformed. In fact many massage therapists will put a muscle on a slight static stretch while performing massage techniques. My massage therapist even incorporates active stretching into her services!

5. Pilates and Yoga

Of course many other programs such as Pilate’s and yoga use stretching in the performance of their respective techniques. I am not as familiar with them and will not comment on them here. This article was written primarily to get the reader familiarized with the different types of stretching, the benefits of stretching, and hopefully motivated to get started into a daily routine.

There are many great books and resources available on stretching. I recommend surfing the web. Try the different techniques I’ve mentioned above or anything else you have seen that you think may improve your performance. Just make sure it’s safe and it’s helping.

Losing Weight Using The Energy Balance Equation

The overweight/obesity trend in the United States has been increasing at an alarming rate over the past few decades. Approximately 61% of Americans are overweight and almost 26% are obese! These obesity rates do not apply as much to endurance athletes but many endurance athletes do face weight issues. This article will provide you with some background knowledge of how to change your weight using an old, well-known method with new information on how to effectively use it to lose, gain or maintain your weight.

For years health professionals have developed weight management programs that included the necessary components for successful weight management-behavior change, nutrition education, and exercise prescription-yet the overweight/obesity trend continues to rise. Why haven’t these popular weight management programs worked?

The reason is because they are missing one key component-a person’s individual metabolism. The foundation of any successful weight management program must be centered on a person’s individual metabolic rate and the energy balance equation for long-term success. The energy balance equation may be a new term for you but you certainly know the concept–calories in versus calories out. (See the graphic at the end of this article for a visual explanation of the energy balance equation.)

What is The Energy Balance Equation

More specifically, if you want to lose weight, you must be in negative energy balance (calories in < calories out). If you want to gain weight, you must be in positive energy balance (calories in > calories out). And if you want to maintain your weight, you must be in stable energy balance (calories in = calories out).

The concept is so simple to understand but it is so hard to do because we don’t understand all of the pieces of the equation and don’t know how to put them together to change our weight. Until now! Let’s take an in-depth look at this concept in order to understand how to better use it.

Breaking Down the Energy Balance Equation

The energy balance equation has two sides: the calories in (consumption) and calories out (expenditure). The calories in side is made up of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This side of the equation is very simple to understand because it is only affected by the amount of food you eat. We all know, or can figure out pretty easily, how many calories we eat.

The calories out side is much more complicated because biology has more of an impact on each component, which makes it more difficult to balance and manage. It is made up of the thermic effect of feeding, the thermic effect of physical activity, and resting metabolic rate.

The Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF)

The thermic effect of feeding (TEF) is approximately 10% of total metabolism and includes obligatory thermogenesis (the result of the energy-requiring processes of digesting and absorbing food) and facultative thermogenesis (the activation of the sympathetic nervous system and its stimulating effect on metabolism). The TEF can vary greatly depending on both the quantity and type of food eaten. TEF is usually not a primary factor in changing body weight because of its low relative amount of contribution to total metabolism.

Thermic Effect of Physical Activity (TEPA)

The thermic effect of physical activity (TEPA) is approximately 15-30% of total metabolism and includes occupational and lifestyle activity (what you do at work, running errands, etc.), and purposeful exercise (training). This is the most variable component and can contribute significantly to weight loss and weight gain. More exercise=more calories burned=more weight lost (if you control the amount of calories you eat). This is what many of you experience when you first begin training–you lose weight because you are burning more calories than you are eating.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is approximately 60-75% of total metabolism and includes sleeping metabolism, basal metabolism, and arousal metabolism. RMR is the amount of calories your body burns at rest to perform basic functions such as your heart beating and your brain functioning. RMR is the most important component on the calories out side of the energy balance equation because it represents up to ¾ of the total calories burned by the body.

Why Fad Diets Don’t Work

Now that you have a good understanding of what the energy balance equation is and its different components, let’s talk about why fad diets don’t work and why 95% of people who go on diets regain the weight they lost and more back in 1-2 years.

The reason is because they all address the same factors-exercise, nutrition, and behavior change. Not one of these fad diets accounts for a person’s individual metabolism or if they do, they estimate it. How would you like to go into your doctor’s office and have your blood pressure estimated?

This is like flipping a coin to decide if you have high or low blood pressure-you’ll be right half of the time! But since we can measure blood pressure easily, there is no need to estimate it.

The same thing applies to RMR. Estimating RMR based on equations could be very inaccurate and detrimental to your health.

In fact, one research study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, predicted and measured the RMR of 80 females of the same height and weight. The researchers found a variance of approximately 500 calories between the predicted and measured RMR’s. Because RMR can represent up to 75%, a 500-calorie inaccuracy automatically sets a person up for failure before they even begin a program. Eating 500 calories more per day adds up to a 52-pound weight gain in 1 year! No wonder our society is gaining weight.

You Must Measure RMR

Since the number one factor that influences RMR is body mass, a loss of body weight will decrease a person’s RMR, and vice versa.

When you lose weight, your RMR also decreases. This is the explanation for the infamous “yo-yo” dieting phenomenon that happens with people trying to lose weight-they decrease the amount of calories they eat, they may exercise a little, and voila!, they lose weight. But their RMR decreases because they are now at a lower body weight, which isn’t a big deal except when that person looks in the mirror, likes what they see from the weight they have lost, and decides to celebrate by eating a couple of cookies, or going out for drinks with friends.

This person is now increasing the amount of calories they eat each day and guess what? Their new, lower RMR has a hard time catching back up to support this new increased calorie balance and since it cannot catch up, the person begins to gain weight again.

You Must Measure RMR Consistently

Therefore, the key factor that will determine success with any type of body weight goal is measuring resting metabolic rate frequently in order to accurately provide you with the correct amount of calories you need to eat and the amount of exercise you need to perform in order to reach your weight goals. .

Having your RMR measured on a consistent basis with weight loss or gain is the most important thing you can do to succeed in changing how much you weigh.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your new RMR measured whenever you lose or gain a significant amount of weight (5-10 pounds). Even with a loss of 5-10 pounds, your body will require fewer or more calories to maintain itself, which makes it so crucial to readjust the energy balance equation and how many calories you are eating and burning.

For example, in a recent 12-week weight loss study, subjects lost 17 pounds and their RMR’s decreased by 125 calories. The researchers constantly re-adjusted the amount of calories the subjects ate based on their new RMR’s at each 4-week interval. If they hadn’t done this, the subjects would not have lost weight and in fact, would have gained weight over this small time period.

How Do You Measure Your RMR?

The easiest way to measure resting metabolic rate is by having the amount of oxygen you breathe in and breathe out (oxygen consumption or VO2) measured with an indirect calorimeter. This is a very noninvasive test. In fact, you simply breathe into an instrument from 5-30 minutes. After your VOis measured, your RMR in calories per day can be determined. All indirect calorimeters can measure VO2 and provide resting metabolic rate in calories per day. Look for this type of testing in human performance labs, hospitals, and some fitness centers.

What’s the Bottom Line?

The key to weight management is not following a certain fad diet or banning certain foods. The key is to measure the amount of oxygen you consume to determine RMR so you can accurately determine how many calories you should eat to either lose, gain, or maintain your weight. When your body weight is changing, be sure to have your RMR determined again in order to readjust your personal energy balance equation. It may sound a little complex but

References:

·       McArdle, Katch & Katch. (1996). Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance. Fourth Edition.

·        Foster, G. et al. (1988). Resting Energy Expenditure, Body Composition, and Excess Weight in the Obese. Metabolism, 37(5), 467-472.

·         Alexander, H.A. et al. Efficacy of a Resting Metabolic Rate Based Energy Balance Prescription in a Weight Management Program Obesity Research, Presented at Nutrition Week Conference, 2002.

Why Do We Bonk and How to Avoid It

You’re at mile 23 of your marathon with only 3 miles remaining and you feel pretty good. You feel like you’re going to have a good day. All of a sudden, within the space of 100 meters you go from feeling pretty good to awful. Your legs feel heavy and it becomes impossible to maintain a running pace. You are forced to walk but really feel like you need to lie down. What happened? How can you go from feeling good to feeling terrible in such a short period of time? It is what many refer to as “bonking” or “hitting the wall.” In this article we will explore the physiology of bonking and discuss what you can do to avoid it.

What Energy Sources Does Your Body Use?

Your body stores carbohydrates in muscle and liver in a form that is referred to as glycogen. During exercise, your working muscles can tap these glycogen stores for energy. The working muscles can also use circulation blood sugar, which essentially comes from liver, glycogen, and circulation fat, which comes from our body fat stores.

This gives your working muscles three fuel depots to draw from during exercise. Next we will discuss each depot briefly and then wrap up this article with some recommendations.

1. Burning Circulation Blood Sugar

Although blood sugar can be used by working muscles during exercise, it is a secondary energy source only. This is because glycogen is located inside the muscle cells and therefore is more readily available than blood sugar.

Blood sugar alone cannot provide enough carbohydrates to sustain a high power output during exercise. The liver, the primary source of blood sugar, contains only about 100 grams or so of glycogen compared to the 600 grams of more in skeletal muscle.

2. Burning Body Fat

Your body has enough stored fat to supply your muscles with the energy for a dozen or more marathons.

So why do care about stored carbohydrates? The reason that carbohydrate burning is key is that fats burn more slowly than carbohydrates. Since fat burning is slower than carbohydrate burning, we cannon sustain as high a power output when using fats alone.

If you are going to walk a marathon, you can get away with burning primarily fats because your power output is low. However, as soon as you start running, your power output increases and you need a faster burning fuel – carbohydrates – to sustain the higher energy bur rate requirements.

The optimal situation is to use a combination of fats and carbohydrates while running a marathon, or triathlon. In fact, optimally, you would want to burn as little carbohydrate as possible to sustain your work rate. Remember, you have plenty of fat to use for energy, but carbohydrates can be limiting.

3. Burning Muscle Glycogen

Well trained individuals typically have enough stored muscle glycogen to sustain 2 hours or so of moderate intensity exercise.

Therefore, with a little added fat utilization, trained individuals can usually finish typical marathon without running out of carbohydrates. Running an Ironman Distance even requires considerable fat utilization and carbohydrate replenishing during the event.

Untrained individuals typically store ½ to 1/3 as much carbohydrates as trained athletes.

Muscle glycogen stores are typically twice as high in athletes consuming a high carbohydrate diet than those on a low carbohydrate diet.

The table below is adapted from “The Lore of Running” by Tim Noakes and is based on data obtained by Ahlborg and Felig (Journal of Clinical Investigation 69, 45-54, 1982).

SubjectsType and time of dietIn muscle (g/kg)In liver (g/kg)
Untrained45% carb diet1454
 70% carb diet1870
TrainedTraining daily, low carb diet1430
 Training daily, high carb diet2170
 24-hour fast2110
 3 day low carb diet with exercise710
 Immediate pre-marathon, 3 days carb loading3690
 24 hr post race, high carb1590
 48 hr post race, high carb2790
 1 week post race, high carb30 

You can see by the table above that a high carbohydrate diet (> 70% carbohydrate) has a dramatic effect on stored glycogen.

What happens when you bonk?

So, let’s review the physiology part briefly. When you run out of stored muscle glycogen, you bonk! The reason that you bonk is that the only sources of fuel remaining are stored fat and blood sugar. The stored fast is burned too slowly to process the necessary energy to continue running and circulation blood sugar is inadequate in terms of total amount of delivery rate to sustain a high work rate. As a result, you must revert to a lower work rate (walk) in order to continue.

How do we keep from bonking?

You can see by the table above that a high carbohydrate diet is critical.

In fact, consuming extra carbohydrates during your taper (carb loading) can really pack the muscles with glycogen. Also note, if you consume a high carbohydrate diet while training daily, you can maintain higher muscle and live glycogen levels.

When is the Best Time to Eat Carbs?

The best time to consume carbohydrates is right after training. The muscles soak up carbohydrates like a sponge the first two hours after training. Consuming carbohydrates right after training can speed glycogen repletion and muscle recovery.

Also, you can consume carbohydrates during the event. This can help to keep blood sugar levels from dropping and can help prevent liver glycogen depletion. This is especially critical during the latter stages of the event as your body begins to rely more on stored body fat as a source of energy.

Remember, your body cannot continue at race pace by burning fats alone. Consuming carbohydrates during the event can slow the rate of muscle glycogen depletion and help you sustain a higher work rate while burning stored body fat. This is especially critical during an event lasting longer than 3 hours.

You simply cannot complete an Ironman distance event without replenishing carbohydrates during the event.  It is unlikely that you can consume and store carbohydrates as fast you are burning them. The trick is to slow the rate of glycogen depletion so that you can complete the event before you bonk.

In Conclusion

A good fuel consumption plan is critical. You must start the event with your muscles packed with glycogen and refuel along the way to delay glycogen depletion. In an Ironman event, you should start refueling as soon as you get on the bike and continue to refuel throughout the run. Being proactive is the key. Once you bonk, it is too late.

Definitive Triathlete Eating Guide for the Year

How many personal records did you set last season? Not as many as you would have liked? Why not? What’s holding you back from achieving your triathlon racing goals…physical training, motivation, nutrition? 

Nutrition? 

You heard it right! More often than not, athletes are more than physically prepared and moderately prepared mentally but what is lacking is the nutrition knowledge to take you to that next level of performance.

Nutrition Periodization

Enter…Nutrition Periodization. Easy to say, hard to do, until now! This article will assist you in setting up a nutrition periodization plan that you can individualize to your specific needs and training and racing goals.

What good does it do you to periodize your eating just as you would your physical training? Well, if you don’t eat properly during the off-season it can lead to weight gain and an increased body composition and if you do not eat enough foods that are full of vitamins and minerals, you could develop a nutritional deficiency in the future.

Improper eating during hard training can lead to lower glycogen stores, which could lead to lower quality training sessions and a low amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which could lead to a compromised immune system. Have you ever stopped a training session short because you just didn’t have the energy?

Case in point! The bottom line is that it would be to your benefit to pay attention to what and how much you eat throughout the year in order to stay healthy and train and race hard.

The term “nutrition periodization” is born!

Below are nutrition periodization principles that you can employ throughout the year to assist you in your health and performance related goals. As always, nutrition is very individual and the following guidelines should be used as a template to build your personal nutrition plan.

Some of the listed suggestions in each cycle can be applied to other cycles but they are categorized under their most important cycle below.

Base (or Preparatory) Stage:

What do to

  • Eat a minimum of 6-8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day to ensure you have an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.
  • Choose high fiber foods. Some fiber promotes regularity while others help to lower cholesterol levels. While regularity may not seem beneficial during this cycle, think about the consequences. Constipation can cause severe bowel distress and can lead to stomachaches, which may lead to decreased training sessions because of feeling ill.
  • Try new foods and experiment with the foods you usually eat
  • Experiment with different energy bars, gels and sports drinks during this stage in order to choose the products that work well for your body in the upcoming stages.
  • Along with the above suggestion, try to find out what nutritional products will be used at the races you will be competing in in the upcoming season and try those. Chances are you probably will not need to use them if it is a sprint or Olympic distance but you will undoubtedly need them in half and full Ironman distances.

What not to do

  • Forget about the environment. If it is cold where you live while in this cycle, it is still necessary to drink at least 12 cups of fluid per day (more depending on the volume of training).
  • Get in the rut of eating the same thing everyday. How many different breakfasts do you eat each week? Try to rotate through different foods and menus in order to get more variety in your eating plan.

Intensity (or Build)

What do to

  • Stick with the energy bars, gels and sports drinks that worked well for you in your base cycle
  • Eat often, snacking is beneficial in this cycle.
  • Get a good handle on what nutritional products (bars, gels, drinks) work for you and stick with them for the rest of your season.
  • Think about salt tablets. Depending on the race environmental conditions and the distance, these could be of benefit. Try them during your long bricks to see how your body handles them.

What not to do

  • Skimp on the calories. You are more than likely increasing volume and intensity of your physical training and your nutritional intake must be adequate enough to support this training.

Peak/Taper

What do to

  • Think about a lower fiber diet if you race longer distances to decrease bowel movements during a race. Fruit juice is a great choice since there is no fiber but you still get some vitamins and minerals.
  • Drink a minimum of 12-14 glasses of non-caffeinated fluid per day.
  • Add extra salt to your diet if you are training for a full Ironman distance. Begin about two weeks out and be generous with the shaker. For a healthy athlete, it would be easy and prudent to add about one teaspoon of extra salt per day to your diet. This is considering you do not have pre-existing health conditions that could be affected by an increased sodium intake.

What not to do

  • Try anything new.
  • Form a new eating routine. Stick with what has worked for you in the past two cycles.

Race Day

What do to

  • Stick with the energy bars, gels and sports drinks that have worked for you during training
  • Develop a pre-race eating routine with specific foods and beverages and specific timing of foods then stick with it the entire season.
  • Carbo-load two nights before a race.
  • Continually snack on high carbohydrate foods the day before a race. Try to eat every couple of hours but do not force yourself to eat if you are simply not hungry.
  • Eat breakfast. Even if it is small, you need the calories. Chances are you have been in an overnight fast for 8-12 hours and your energy stores will be low.

What not to do

  • Try anything new, especially on race day.
  • Carbo-load the night before a race. It takes 24-72 hours to fully digest a meal (from entry to exit) depending on the amount of food eaten.
  • Drink too much water. A condition termed hyponatremia (low sodium) can develop as a result of consuming too much water and it displaces extracellular sodium. This is why drinking a sports drink is of benefit. Split your fluid intake by drinking half water and half sports drink.

Active Recovery or (Transition)

What do to

  • Put the energy bars, gels and sports drinks in the back of the cupboard for a while to give your body a break from the race season.
  • Re-introduce whole foods from all of the food groups. Chances are you have had your fill of bars, gels, and powders so choose the vitamin and mineral rich foods instead.
  • Go out with friend and family members and try new restaurants. As humans, we often get into the same rut of going to the same restaurants and eating the same foods. Be adventurous!

What not to do

  • Overeat
  • Forget about the environment. If this cycle falls in the winter where there is not much sunshine, it is common to eat more comfort foods, which can be very high in calories and tend to increase body weight and body fat.

There are some nutrition principles that apply year-round:

What do to

  • Choose foods rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to improve immune function. Current research studies are lending support that these vitamins and minerals may be of benefit to improve immune function although the final verdict is not out yet.
  • Choose more polyunsaturated (fish) and monounsaturated (nuts, some oils, avocados) fats rather than saturated fats (high-fat meats, butter, lard, some oils, processed foods such as cookies and chips).
  • Consume a high-glycemic index carbohydrate source combined with a lean protein within the first 15 minutes after training or a race. Examples are a sports drink with a cup of yogurt, watermelon and chocolate milk, a lean meat sandwich minus the mayo. There are also commercially available products that give the same effect. Some promising research has shown that a ratio of 3:1 carbohydrates to protein is beneficial for enhancing glycogen storage and quicker recovery.
  • Think about taking a multivitamin that has no more than 300% Daily Value (DV) for nutrients (children’s chewables are perfect). See my other articles about vitamins and how to choose a vitamin/mineral supplement for more information about this topic.
  • Keep a written 3-5 day food diary when you feel that your eating habits are lacking or that you are losing control. Often times it simply takes seeing what, when and how much you eat to realize that something may be a little off and could be easily remedied.
  • Seek a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition for endurance athletes when you feel that you need a more comprehensive eating plan or you seek more knowledge about nutrition.
  • Listen to your body. If it craves something, chances are that it needs the nutrients in that food (there are exceptions of course, such as copious amounts of chocolate!).

What not to do

  • Restrict your eating to a few food groups. This may lead you to nutritional deficiencies in the future (years).
  • Consume too much fat after a training session or a race. Fat can slow the absorption of carbohydrates and can slow the nutritional recovery process.
  • Take any nutritional supplement that you have not fully researched in credible scientific journals or with registered dietitians who specialize in sports nutrition. Taking a nutritional supplement without knowing its full effects could actually lead to a decrease in performance. There are not many proven nutritional supplements that produce positive effects for endurance athletes.
  • Believe a product or specific way of eating will be right for you just because your training partner, friend or family member uses or follows it. Each person and athlete is different and you must use reputable scientific knowledge combined with trial and error to find what works best for you in your specific training and racing situations.
  • Think that you can eat that extra snack or sweet just because you had a long training session. There is a fine line between eating enough to support your training and overeating.
  • Worry about whether or not you consume enough protein. If you are an athlete who is eating an adequate amount of food to support your training, you should be getting at least 15% of your total daily calories from protein. Unless you are a true vegan, do not eat meats, dairy products, or beans or consume too few calories, you shouldn’t have to worry about protein.

I cannot guarantee a PR with each race you do simply by following my nutrition periodization principles but I can guarantee better performance after you get a good handle on what works for you when it comes to nourishing your body. Take the time to develop your personal nutrition plan and enjoy the health and performance rewards that will follow!

Ultimate Guide to Nutrition and Diet for Triathletes

To be a successful athlete (you can determine your personal definition of successful), there must exist a balance of physiological, psychological and nutritional variables. This article will address the latter and how nutrition plays into a well-balanced training plan and consequently, your overall triathlon performance.

Percentage of Diet by Macro-nutrient

Macro-nutrient% of Diet
Carbohydrates50% – 60%
Protein15% – 20%
Fat20 %- 30%

Carbohydrates Should be the Focus

In brief, carbohydrates should be the focal point of your diet for they provide you with the bulk of  the energy needed to sustain exercise. Thee are low amounts stored in your muscles and liver so it is important to constantly replenish them. (I will discuss this in more detail later).

A good rule of thumb is to try to consume 50-65% of your total daily calories from carbohydrates.  There is such a wide range because every person is different and prescribing a good eating plan is as individual as training programs. Find what works for you.

Protein for Rebuilding

Protein is the next important macro-nutrient for it will aid in replenishing lost stores that happen during exercise and will provide the amino acids that the muscles need to “rebuild.”

It is important to understand that consuming protein does NOT build muscles. For example, if you to consume high protein products such as meats, cheeses, protein powders, etc. while remaining sedentary (ie. Couch potato), your body would not increase its fat-free mass. It would, however, increase fat mass and body weight. During intense, long duration exercise, the body will depend on a little protein as fuel, but it is not a significant source of energy.

A good rule of thumb is to consume between 15-20% of your total daily calories from protein sources (lean is a better choice).

Fat is also Important

Fat is more important than people believe. Neglecting fat in your diet can lead to very serious consequences. Fat is needed in the body to absorb fat soluble vitamins, cushion the organs, insulate the body and make sure nerve impulses are efficiently sent and received, just to name a few functions.

Try to keep fat at about 20-30% of your total daily calories for optimal health and performance.

Maintaining Proper Mix is Important

So the key to optimal performance is to maintain a good balance of the three macronutrients described previously. Making sure you have adequate stores of carbohydrate (glycogen) and making sure your muscles are replenished with the right amounts of amino acids from proteins on a daily basis will ensure good health and training/racing. I did not mention fat because it is often disguised. By this I mean you will probably consume adequate amounts of fat without making a conscious effort.

Besides maintaining a “healthy” (remember, it depends on your individual preferences and what works for you) eating plan there are specific times you can ingest certain macro nutrients to ensure good performance.

When to Eat

Nutrition Before Training

Before training or competition, it is advisable to consume about 200-400 calories about 2-4 hours before. It is important to consume familiar foods and to focus mostly on carbohydrates since it takes them shorter digest. Protein and fat take longer to digest, thus they will stay in your system longer and you may fell a heavy, full sensation when you begin exercise.

If solid foods simply do not agree with your system pre-exercise, try a liquid meal or sports drink. Remember, the most important thing is to experiment with different foods and combinations during training, never right before a race.

Nutrition During Training

During exercise, it is important to maintain blood glucose levels by ingesting 30-60 grams of carbohydrate (120-240 calories) per hour. As I mentioned previously, our bodies do not store many carbohydrates so it is important to constantly replenish them. Energy gels or sports drinks are very easy for the body to digest during exercise (or soft foods such as bananas).

Nutrition After Training

Post exercise is also crucial for nutrition. There is a 2-hour “window of replenishment” at which time it is critical to ingest carbohydrates and protein. Even more important is the first 30 minutes following exercise. Focus on eating foods (carbohydrates) that have a high glycemic index, meaning they are more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Sports drinks are great for this since it is sometimes hard to eat solid foods after exercise. Fruits are also a great choice and also supply much needed fluid. So the bottom line is to ingest more carbohydrates than protein (about a 3:1 ration per gram) and adequate amounts of fluids. This will ensure a faster recovery, which will allow you to exercise sooner after your event.

In Conclusion

Nutrition for enhancing athletic performance can be tricky but with the basic knowledge provided in this article, you should be able to eat for good health and performance. 

How Much Water do Triathletes Need?

Over, the recommendation is to drink enough to quench your thirst, plus a little more.

Water is one of the most important nutrients in any well-balanced eating plan. Drinking too little water or losing too much through sweating can inhibit your ability to exercise to your potential.

Not only does water keep our bodies hydrated, it also acts in the blood as a transport mechanism, eliminates metabolic waste products in urine, dissipates heat through sweat, helps to digest food and lubricates joints and cushions organs. So you see, water is a much needed and essential nutrient which is crucial to our survival and athletic performance.

How much water do you need during training?

Many have heard the saying, “ drink 6-8 glasses of water per day.” Well this is true, but for sedentary persons. As athletes, we need from 12-16 glasses of water per day.

Most of the time it is very easy to consume this much (during training) but often times you may feel as if that is an impossible number. No need to worry. Remember, foods also have water in the m (fruits and vegetables especially) and so do different drink products.

Be careful though, caffeinated beverages have dehydrating effect so for you heavy coffee and soda drinkers, beware. A good rule of thumb is to consume twice as much water as you did in the caffeinated beverage to make up fo the fluid loss. Pure, refreshing water (12-16 glasses per day) is always the best choice since we, as athletes, are in training most times of the year.

What is thirst?

Thirst, as defined by a conscious awareness of the desire for water and other fluids, usually controls water intake. The sensation of thirst is triggered by abnormally highly concentrated body fluids. When you sweat, you lose significant amounts of water from your blood. The remaining blood becomes more concentrated and had, for example, an abnormally high sodium level. This triggers the thirst mechanism and increases your desire to drink. To quench your thirst, you must replace the water losses and brink the blood back to its normal concentration.

Should you only drink if you feel thirsty?

Having said this, you should not trust your thirst mechanism. By this I mean, when you feel thirsty, you are probably already partially dehydrated and it takes much longer to re-hydrate yourself than it does to maintain your hydrated state.

Thirst can be blunted by exercise or overridden by the mind. You will voluntarily only replace 2/3 of your sweat losses. Carry a water bottle with you during the day to ensure you are drinking adequate amounts. Be careful to carrying to big of a water bottle though. Some people can do it but most people who carry larger than a bike size water bottle do not drink it all because it sits and gets warm. This will just deter from your hydrated state.

Take frequent breaks to fill up your water bottle and use the restroom. If you are following the above guidelines, you should be visiting the restroom quite frequently throughout the day!

One last way to determine if you are staying hydrated is by the amount and color of your urine. As I said previously, you should be visiting the restroom frequently throughout the day. But what is more important, is that you are excreting a fair amount of clear or pale yellow urine.