Food for Thought: Don't Run on Empty

Friday, December 09, 2011 /by

As a sports nutritionist who works with professional and competitive athletes, including tennis players, I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks that give my clients an edge. An in my 10-plus years of practice, not a week goes by that we don’t learn more about how particular foods and nutrients help the body operate like a well-oiled machine. Each one of your body’s 100 trillion cells relies solely on what you eat and drink to fuel your performance and help you recover. And while sports nutrition isn’t an exact science, there are plenty of tried and true techniques every tennis player should know.


The 20 Things You Need to Know About Nutrition


4. Don't Run on Empty
You may have heard that you’ll burn more body fat by exercising on an empty stomach. We don’t know for sure, but we do know that it’s impossible to burn pure body fat. During aerobic exercise you burn a combination of carbs and fat. When carbs aren’t readily available, your body is forced to break down its own muscle mass and convert it into carbohydrate. By skipping, you end up eating away at your own muscle rather than building it. A recent study found that for cyclists who trained with nothing in their stomachs, 10 percent of what they burned was protein. If you don’t feel like eating, grab a sports drink—it will protect you from tapping into your lean tissue.

More:

1. Your Diet Impacts Your Brain Function
2. The Right Breakfast Fights Hunger All Day
3. Food Can Fight Pain
4. Don't Run on Empty
5. Sleep Matters ... A Lot
6. Omega-3s Are Beyond Essential
7. Milk Does More Than Double Duty
8. Don't Get Fooled by the Afterburn Myth
9. Organic Food is Worth the Extra Money
10. Alcohol May Weaken Muscle
11. Relying on the Sun for Vitamin D May Be a Mistake
12. Spices are a Secret Weapon
13. Chocolate is a Key Superfood
14. Buyer Beware When it Comes to Supplements
15. A Little Vitamin C Makes a Big Difference
16. Variety Trumps Quantity for Fruits & Veggies
17. Drinking Water May Help You Lose Weight
18. Bacteria Are Critical to Your Health
19. Calcium Isn't Just for Strong Bones
20. Let an Expert Personalize Your Plan


Originally published in the January/February 2012 issue of TENNIS.

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