Friday, January 21, 2011

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark – Exercising on empty?

Some soccer players abstain from food before a practice or game. They think exercising on empty will help them burn more fat and attain a leaner, lighter physique. True, when you exercise on empty, you will burn more fat. BUT, burning fat differs from losing body fat. Losing body fat depends on your calorie intake for the entire day. That is, you can do a fat-burning Saturday morning soccer practice but then, if you stop for a few donuts and a latte, followed by generous meals the rest of the day, you’ll erase that deficit quite easily!

The benefits of eating before a soccer game or practice include:
-You’ll have a better workout.
-You’ll feel more alert and have energy to enjoy the entire workout.
-You’ll provide your muscles with the fuel they need to optimize performance.
-You’ll be able to exercise harder and get more from your efforts.
-You will have more energy at the end of the session and need less time to recover.
-You’ll help curb the hungry horrors after the workout.

If you want to lose body fat, I suggest you plan to do that when you are sleeping, not exercising! (Sleep, after all, is a fat burning activity--if you still thank that burning fat equates to losing body fat). Your better bet is to fuel by day, have energy to enjoy an active lifestyle, and then diet (eat a little bit less) at night.  Give it a try!

Eat smart, play well,

PS: For more information on how to lose weight and maintain energy for exercise, read the weight loss section in Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros. The information will give a kick-start to your New Year’s Nutrition Resolutions.

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark – Snack Attack

When life is busy, eating can get crazy, and fueling gets off-balance. You may find yourself on the road and needing a quick bite. Here's a tip from Food Guide for Soccer-good for all active sports enthusiasts and their families.

Vending machine or tournament snacks: Vending-machine cuisine, which resembles choices at tournaments, offers tough choices. But tucked among the lackluster choices, you may be able to find pretzels, peanuts, juice, yogurt, or even an apple. The good part about vending-machine snacks is that they are limited in size (e.g., only three cookies instead of the whole bag) and generally provide only 200 to 400 calories, not 2,000.

If you're trying to decide between fatty or sugary choices (i.e., chips vs. jelly beans), remember that the sugar in jelly beans will appropriately fuel your muscles, whereas the fat in the chips will clog the arteries. (After eating a sugary snack, be sure to brush or rinse your teeth.) Tournaments often sell candy bars and M & M's. Try to be equipped with better options so these don't become your only choice.

Sweet treats: If it's cookies, brownies, an ice cream sundae, or any other such
treat that you crave once a week or so, Nancy Clark MS, RD recommends you satisfy your hankering by enjoying the treat. You won't destroy your health with an occasional
treat, as long as your overall diet tends to be wholesome, and as long as you eat it at a time that will not hurt your performance.

Sweets, treats, and fast foods are best saved for after the games. Remember, you eat for yourself to enhance performance, and you do it for your team as well.

Healthful snacks and munchies: To reduce the temptation of the vending machine or tournament choices, keep handy in your soccer bag, locker or car a supply of wholesome options: whole-grain bagels, crackers, pretzels, fig bars, energy bars, granola bars, oatmeal-raisin cookies, graham crackers, raisins and other dried fruit, trail mix, V-8 juice, and juice boxes.

Here are some fun soccer snack ideas:
Avocado chip mini sandwiches. Chips are salty and spicy enough on their own to accommodate plain avocado (as opposed to guacamole or other dip), and this is easy. Put avocado pieces between large chips, and serve as appetizers.

A Healthier S'more: Yael Averbuch of Women's Professional Soccer loves dark chocolate. She invented spreading squares of dark chocolate with peanut butter; try a little cinnamon on it too. It's great on its own, but you can also try it between graham crackers.

Frozen Fruit. Blueberries, strawberries, grapes, oranges-all make fun and flavorful snacks when eaten right from the freezer.
Frozen yogurt cups. Buy blended flavors, put containers in freezer.

Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer-Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women's Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or