Monday, June 23, 2014

R Is For Refueling

It's June dairy Month! The barn doors are open, 
so join me on my daily A to Z journey 
to learn more about dairy. 

  Today R Is For Refueling
Meet Alex, today's guest blogger. 

Alexandra Larson, MS, RD, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian. She has worked the past four years as a supermarket dietitian for Hy-Vee, Inc., and will soon begin her new position with Midwest Dairy Association as a Health and Wellness Program Manager. Alex is currently training for Ironman Wisconsin, a 2.4 mi swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mi run event in Madison, Wisconsin on September 7, 2014. She blogs about her training, as well as providing sports nutrition and triathlon information on her blog Dietitian That “Tri”s

Whether you are training for a 5K walk/run race or an Ironman triathlon, athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes need a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat to keep their bodies fueled and performing at their peak. There are hundreds of different sports-specific products on the market with claims of providing you with the edge over your competition.

As a registered dietitian and a triathlete I always aim to receive my nutrition first and foremost through food. Fortunately, dairy is a nutritional powerhouse providing superior quality protein, and makes an easy and affordable way to fuel your body. In fact, research shows that chocolate milk is almost twice as effective in refueling exhausted muscles and helps athletes build more muscle and perform better.

What makes chocolate milk so superior? Here is a list of its assets:

  •   An ideal ratio of carbohydrates-to-protein that is scientifically shown to refuel and rebuild exhausted muscles.
  •  High quality whey protein, that is easy for our body to digest and absorb quickly.
  •   Fluids to rehydrate.
  •   Electrolytes including calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium to help replenish what’s lost through sweat. These nutrients combined with the vitamin D provided in milk will also help build and maintain strong bones and reduce risk for stress fractures.
  •   B vitamins for energy.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and The American College of Sports Medicine, athletes should consume a mix of carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes after the completion of a workout. It is within this window of time that our body will replenish depleted carbohydrate stores the fastest allowing for a quick recovery.

As a training athlete, I always keep dairy options handy in the refrigerator to keep myself fueled and ready to go. When I need a snack between meals, I can’t go wrong with whole-grain crackers and string cheese or fresh fruit with Greek yogurt.
I can say without a doubt that dairy products have been my saving grace during training. Many times I lack an appetite after a hard workout, and fortunately flavored milk always seems appetizing post-training. I also enjoy carrying dairy products such as Nesquik that have been ultra-pasteurized making them shelf stable until opened. These work great when I’m constantly on-the-go and traveling.

Check out Alex’s Dietitian That “Tri”s blog for more detailed information on post-workout refueling

To read more of Alex's guest blog posts on My Barnyard View see

When It's Chilly, Think Chili

I Heart Beef!

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