Ask the Expert: Alexis Waldbaum, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, Answers Your Questions on Nutrition for Male Athletes
Q1. What should weight lifters eat after they workout?
For strength athletes, additional protein is beneficial because essential amino acids are needed to support muscle growth. Recommended protein intake for strength training athletes is approximately 0.6- 0.8 gm per pound per day. For example, a 200 lb. male weight lifter can require up to 175gm of protein per day. Post-workout, high protein foods such as lean meats, nut butters, eggs or protein supplements (powder or bar) can help to meet these increased needs.
Q.2 I’m 37 years old and I run 10 miles on the weekends. What should I eat the day prior to running to boost my energy?
Eating before extensive exercise has been shown to improve athletic performance. The best foods to eat are foods that are low in fat and fiber to minimize gastric discomfort, moderate in protein and high in carbohydrate to maintain blood glucose and maximize glycogen store. Some examples include grilled chicken or turkey sandwich, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, oatmeal with milk and raisins, spaghetti with tomato sauce, lasagna or a baked potato.
Q3. Does calorie intake change for athletic men as they get older?
Yes. Caloric intake requirements are dependent on multiple factors which does include age. However, activity level is a much more important factor in determining appropriate energy needs. Men do lose some muscle mass as they age, so may require slightly less calories. Older athletes, however, do require increased calories than non-active individuals in their same age-range.
Q4. My son is 13 and he swims competitively during the week. What kinds of foods should he eat?
Swimming is an endurance sport so your son will have slightly higher protein needs than a non-active adolescent. Protein recommendations for endurance athletes are about 0.5-0.8 gm of protein per pound of body weight. A very active, 13-year-old boy requires approximately 3300 calories and 75-120 gm of protein per day. These recommendations can be easily met with a high protein diet by focusing on lean protein sources at each meal. Good sources of lean protein include fish, white meat poultry, egg whites, nuts and beans.
Q5. I don’t like drinks with artificial flavor. Does coconut water really work to replenish electrolytes and how much should I drink after I run 5 miles?
Rehydration after exercise can be accomplished by drinking at least 16 to 24 oz (450-675 mL) of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise. Consuming rehydration beverages can be helpful to replace fluid and replete electrolytes. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and can be
used as a rehydration supplement. An 8 oz bottle of coconut water contains about 50 calories, 250 mg of sodium, 50 mg of phosphorous, 600 mg potassium and 60 mg magnesium. Compared to standard sports drink (e.g., Gatorade) an 8 oz container is equivalent in calories, carbohydrates and phosphorous but contains nearly six times less potassium and three times less sodium than the standard coconut water.