What do older professional athletes eat?

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I eat pretty much only what I personally cook.   I consume, as do all athletes in explosive sports, what might seem like a significant amount of protein – I never seem to get enough.   In addition, my supplement regimen is absolutely non-trivial.    

 

Note:  As light as I try to make this blog;  be sure of one thing – YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.  How I choose to forage is strict, but for me, it is worth it. 

 

First, nutritional knowledge has come a long way!   Proper nutrition and making big sacrifices to eat extremely clean does play a role in increased performance.   I have a severe MSG allergy, so cooking everything I eat from scratch and from fresh is my default behavior.   We really are what we eat – eggs, plant protein, animal protein, what quality of animal protein and what time of day protein is consumed, all matters.   I also believe that our own food supply is increasingly contaminated.   All the more reason to eat not farmed fish but line caught. Then you add an explosive, fast twitch, winter sport and…..

 

I am 50 years old and consume 6000+ calories a day minimum during winter months.

 

The winter training is usually “2 a day workouts” and obviously the second one is on the ice in the cold.  The human body burns more fuel to stay warm.  How much salmon can I eat in one sitting…. A lot!  Smothered in honey and ginger and as raw as possible.   Some people will say, “Oh the mercury”, so do what works for you!

 

None of us are perfect and we all have cravings but when you consume 6000+ calories a day, it can happen that it is not all ideal calories every time,  every day.  I am strict as possible but not perfect!    That said,  I do calculate when I am not going to be perfect or know that the impact of my choice is not going to cost me in a way that I will regret it.  Additionally, I also measure the “guaranteed negative” impact the next day in a workout, eg. documenting what caused me to lift 20% less.

 

By now you all know we (Skeleton and Bobsled sliders) train at night,  in the cold at temperatures as cold as -10 degrees and less, in an ice tunnel, traveling at 90+ MPR, in a paper thin speedo.   We sweat, we get cold, we get on a truck and go back up the pass  and do it again.   There are times  on that truck you hear an athlete say, “I cannot slide again; I am too hungry.”   I have watched male bobsledders warming up in the start house with a “to go tub” of numerous steaks,  gnawing on them between runs.

 

I keep liquid Wellesse Protein in the car – fast absorbing and down the hatch!   I don’t go anywhere without a baggie of about 50 + supplements for the day, they go everywhere.

 

One of my friends who is an MD and a recreational slider said to me, “Prata, really, all you have is expensive urine!”   I beg to differ;  I do significant research on whatever I ingest.   I  even  go so far as to  mix my own protein powders from scratch.   One friend said, regarding my baggie of supplements, “The vitamin dust is all touching each other how do you even know what does what?”    Well, as an athlete you do know exactly why you are taking, what you taking and when you are taking it.

 

Due to the high levels of protein consumed,  sometimes I have too little carbohydrates in me and I can feel my energy level drop.  I am relatively gluten free except when this happens… and I will get something as insane as a croissant and soak it in butter!  I realize it is already made with copious amounts of butter but I need 6000 calories remember!   And frankly there are times when a gluten free 113 calorie slice of bread just is not going to cut it.  Yup –strict as heck –But not perfect!  Always,  if I indulge like this,  it will be a day where I know the next day is not a lifting day and thus either the sugar or the wheat intake and negative impact of my choice is mitigated- sort of. ..But not really – damage is still done.

 

ANOTHER CRAVING:   Burning fuel in the cold and doing explosive training, I sometimes crave fat.  Cravings can come in different varieties, like for things you are actually allergic to and should stay away from, what your body is potentially saying is you need something else.   Or sometimes your body is depleted in something and it makes sense to feed the craving.  When the latter is the case – the next question is how do you choose to feed the craving?  So if I am craving fat I will find good quality fat in Bison, avocados, and the right nuts and berries.   That said, I have eaten more than 50% of a box of cheese nips in less than 30 minutes and then I can usually polish off another quarter of the same box in the next 15 minutes.  Strict  but not perfect! Not to mention the migraine I just caused with the MSG!!!

 

What I eat in the morning is a process of a protein shake, or oatmeal, a pre-workout drink, lots of water, some supplements.  Then training, eat more protein, chicken, shrimp, and tuna, and liquid Wellesse protein is always handy for me.  I can always take a swig out of the bottle and grab 10 grams.  Quick and easy!

 

Eating before I go to the track is tricky for me.  I do not like to feel full and have my tummy in the way when sliding.  My sled, Gabriel hates it too and yet it is usually dinner time right about the same time I am warming up or starting that first run.   I am always trying to find the perfect amount of nutrition and yet not too heavy.  As I mentioned, I mix my own protein powders and am currently trying one that is not working.  That said, I am in Whistler and have a lot of it, so will use it up and switch back to my own concoction.   Protein bars – find the one that works for you. Protein bars are tricky. There is everything from gluten free to low glycemic index bars.  My choice is what works for me, does not make me sick, provides the right amount of protein and without stupid amounts of sugar; yet I really am done eating stuff I will only try once and spit out- so it might not taste AWESOME but it cannot be heinous.

 

Eating when Home at 11:00 PM from training:  This food can be an approximately  ½ lb. or more of salmon, broccoli or sweet potatoes or up to ¾ of a lb. of shrimp.  Yup, I can eat a lot of shrimp in one sitting too. While I am fixing food I am usually eating something else already cooked.  Hard boiled eggs are a no brainer.  I can pop a couple of those on my way to the shower and while I am still getting out of wet clothes.

 

Sometimes I mix canned line caught salmon or tuna.  Often I am still hungry and love popcorn.  I can put away 2 large bowls with approx. ¾ of a stick of butter on it or I have a special nut and berry mix. It is d-doublicious!   I make it not low calorie but organic and high value calories. This can be a constant feeding frenzy while I work on my sled, trying to get warm or mentally wind down.

 

Yes the lack of perfection is evidenced by the fact that I have woken up with M&Ms melted in my hair,  Cheetos dust so thick on my phone I cannot swipe it.  I am sleeping on a piece of plywood to help heal and I woke up and thought, “What are these divots in my thighs? How did little pebbles get under me?”   I get out of bed and I found 8 skittles stuck to the plywood— Strict as heck but not perfect…

 

One liner this week is:   Don’t eat skittles in bed!  

 

More importantly be mindful, intentional and educate yourself on what you are eating!   IT MATTERS!   

 

Guest post by Anna Prata, an Olympic hopeful Competitive Skeleton Athlete. Otherwise known mainly by her last name of Prata, she is 100% committed and passionate about living every moment of her life and leaving it on the field every day.   In her non-athlete time, Prata is a highly successful executive in the niche of corporate turnaround.  Both her corporate life and her sports life have similarities of stealth, intensity, and speed in creating value and less time down the ice; while wearing Kevlar to protect from the dangers of companies in distress and from potentially hitting a wall of ice at 90 MPR.  Ms. Prata is not a nutritionist, a physical therapist or in any way should her opinions be considered medical, physical  or psychological advice.

 

 




Vitamins for Singers: Maintaining Vocal Health

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As a professional vocalist, I do whatever I can to maintain my instrument – which is obviously my voice. I get asked quite frequently about vocal care and health, and I’m often times really surprised at how little people know about the basics for caring for your voice.  Even if you’re not singing, your voice is still the main source of communication for most of us, and it’s important to care for it.  For this article, however, I’ll focus specifically on maintaining a healthy singing voice.

 

The very first rule should be obvious to most, but isn’t always:  no smoking.  Smoking causes hoarseness, and can lead to polyps and nodes on the vocal cords.  Past that, there’s also the very real threat of cancer.  I had both a grandfather and grandmother die of lung cancer and emphysema from smoking cigarettes.

 

While I may sound a little preachy, no good thing comes of smoking, folks.  Particularly with singing.  It will destroy your voice.

 

People also want to drink warm liquids like tea or coffee before singing.  The problem with this is that many of these drinks contain caffeine, which can dry out your voice.  Milk and other dairy products are also not great.  They can produce mucus in the throat which you will have to battle in the middle of singing.

 

The best bet is always water.  Room temperature water is perfect, as the temperature also won’t affect your voice that way.

 

There are many vitamins and supplements that are important for performing vocalists.  Here they are, and here’s why they are important:

 

  • Vitamin A:  helps to regenerate old cells into new cells.  This is particularly helpful for singers because it helps to build healthy bones and teeth (and obviously teeth are vital in singing), and it also helps to replace old tissue in the throat and larynx.
  • Vitamin B12:  in addition to providing our bodies much-needed energy, B12 also helps in aiding singers with anxiety – helping to calm our nervous system keep it functioning on a much more relaxed level.  It is often times suggested the singers and performers take up to 50% more B12 on a day where they will be performing to help calm nerves.
  • Vitamin C:  helps to improve the overall immune system and fight the common cold and sore throat
  • Vitamin E:  is a powerful antioxidant.  It helps to destroy free radicals that contribute to aging and muscle degeneration.
  • Honey:  while it’s not recommended to take this just before singing, honey is a wonderful natural supplement to help with a sore throat and vocal discomfort.  Honey has natural anti-microbial and antibiotic properties that help fight bacteria.  It’s also an antiseptic and inflammatory, and will help to keep infection from spreading.  It can also help with season allergies.

 

A good multivitamin can cover your bases for almost all of these, and drinking plenty of water on a daily basis will keep you in tip-top shape.  There’s plenty of products out there aimed towards singers, but I’ve found that just understanding the basics of keeping your voice healthy, taking your vitamins, eating a healthy diet, and keeping your voice as hydrated as possible is really all that’s needed to keep your voice healthy and strong.  Happy and healthy singing to you!

 

Taunia is a professional musician and music educator.  She performs regulary with several area big bands and teaches middle school music in the Los Angeles area.  She had RNY Gastric Bypass surgery on 3/25/2008 and has maintained a 150 lbs loss.  She uses Wellesse liquid vitamins and supplements as part of her daily post-bariatric nutritional routine to maintain her new healthy life.  For more information about Taunia, her weight loss, and her music, please visit: www.divataunia.com.

 




Always Be Rehabbing (ABR) – Nutritionally and It Takes a Village

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Hello Wellesse fans!    My last blog disclosed my recent injury and the ALWAYS BE REHABBING physically mindset.  This blog post addresses rehabbing with nutrition!

 

WE are athletes!  We get hurt  in our sport, training for our sport or doing other things that humans do… it is life… the difference is how we choose to heal or perhaps; what we are willing to go through to heal,  might be the real question.

 

Proper nutrition is an increasingly valuable tool in rehabilitation and healing. There are times when I am not eating much that is not rebuilding muscle or repairing damage. This is NOT an age issue, this is an athlete issue.

 

THE VILLAGE:  I had a doctor do incredible damage to my hamstrings. I was willing to undergo surgery with no anesthesia and insane pain to be healed. I made a choice to fight back extremely and I did.  When you get this hurt, people are either for you OR against you very quickly.  It is human nature. More precisely this is a dividing line especially for an older athlete. To make a professional athlete it takes a village!

 

My Village is Wellesse, my exceptional medial doctors, Wroten, Brisco, Dewar, Carrington and Albano!! My PT geniuses Hughes, my NMT mastermind Reid, my legal counsel Michael Dement, friends, a key brother Tony, & my coach.

 

That said, if I am not 100% committed to my village then all their brilliance and support is a total waste.   Without a village at this level you might as well go to bed and forget about it!  Or said differently, NEVER EVER let the village down – NEVER!

 

Always Be Rehabbing nutritionally:  When an athlete gets hurt, nutrition plays a bigger role in how fast we recover.

 

So, I got hurt!  My brilliant PT is exactly what I needed.  Short version – she gets the rather extreme level of determination I have.  The diagnosis:  The Femoral nerve is chemically and mechanically injured, meaning a lot of pain and no strength.  The nerve is so messed up it is not sending any messages; consequently, my glute, hamstring and quad are worthless.

 

I am horrified and I tell her, “If you tell me to stand on my head for 10 days in a row, I will do whatever you tell me and then do it 100% more!”   Best to let her know the nut job she has to fix upfront. 

 

So how do you fix it fast? Or faster than the average person?  There is the crisis to manage too, the pain and the inflammation.  REALITY is get rid of all inflammation by what you eat; no sugar, no cheese, no shell fish, no peanuts, and no dairy, no chicken, no beef.

 

She says… “Now you go VEGAN.”  I really thought this woman was sort of testing me …..  But she was serious… I knew I told her I would do anything, and I meant it, but she better not think this is a joke.

 

I stated, “I am freaking out:  I have lost 8 lbs., my strength is declining and I need a great deal of protein. What am I supposed to eat?”

 

She says, “A head of romaine has 1 complete strand of protein.”   I seriously laughed stating, “I am not going to blend up 128 heads of lettuce a day”  She did not blink!  She stared me down and firmly said, “You eat beans and lentils.”   My reply, “NO I won’t do it!  I hate all beans, they all make me sick and I hate lentils too.”  But I am no fool and thought, at least I should ask, “why vegan?”

 

She says, “its simple, Prata, if you eat plant proteins or fast processed proteins the blood supply is being used to heal the nerve.”   Well, how do you argue with that?  Vegan here I come, no beans, but vegan.

 

I blended romaine, added my own insane concoctions of protein and started sucking down protein shakes at a stupid level.  But the thing that saved me was downing the Wellesse liquid protein. At least half a bottle a day! (Disclaimer- Do not do what I did- ask your doctor)  This is a brilliant product, designed for post gastric bypass type of surgeries.   Liquid Wellesse Protein is fast absorbed as a liquid and I carry a bottle everywhere and take a swig out of it like water… it tastes great, keeps me ingesting protein in a good dose.

 

I ate nothing I was not supposed to.  I made cookie sheets of a hybrid high protein calufutti created by my NMT and then “super-protein sized” by me that I think packs about 10 grams of protein per square.  My brain at every meal is thinking, Never quit, Never let the village down.

 

I cannot sit with this nerve issue so holiday meals are nonexistent – NONE! Party mode is standing, seltzer water and giant swigs of liquid protein.  It is lonely to eat like this when in pain.  I have fought back before but this injury and recovery has changed me, likely forever.

 

Nutritional rehabbing might include a lot of supplements.   I researched and take anything that will help heal this type of an issue.  Please always research well and talk to your doctors and specialists before taking anything new.

 

Now the really good part – Always Be Rehabbing & THE VILLAGE.  It is the holidays – I am a corporate executive that gets hired to grow, fix or get companies back on track and out of trouble.  I get invited to some awesome parties.

 

SCENE:  Invitation is in NY to a Black tie event.  I graciously contact the host, hostess in advance and explain I am an athlete, an Olympic hopeful injured but healing and I mean no disrespect; but may I please bring my own food  (protein bars) and Wellesse liquid protein?   I promised to be full black tie and that my Wellesse liquid protein would go in an antique sterling silver flask. They were delighted I was coming, quite curious about my dedication to The Village and fascinated with my flask idea!  I volunteered to let the bar tender test the product to ensure I had not brought my own booze.

 

The PARTY:   I show up – I did warn my date, and my VILLAGE discussion with him was clear or …. So I thought.  The evening was lovely; I stood during seated presentations.  People had heard whispers of my flask and my dedication to “THE VILLAGE.”  I ate my salad, discreetly ate protein bars and of course, the flask was its own topic.  Like anything in life, it is how you say it and how you manage it. 

 

I have absolute confidence and am never embarrassed by my choices.  Well, throughout the evening people asked for help with supplements, docs, PTs, NMT etc.  I always help where I can. As the evening wore on my village grew. Eventually, the host and hostess were at the door saying good night.  I had said my good nights and turn around to look for my date.  He was fantastically angry at me and I am not going to guess what the root cause of his problem was.  But people are moving toward the door and he loudly says in anger at me,

 

“How dare you embarrass me like this (I had actually invited him as it was my party invite), not eat the scallops, the fillet, and I know you like martinis and you did not even have one. Your stupid idea of toasting with liquid protein is embarrassing, what is wrong with you?  Your commitment to that stupid sport, YOUR VILLAGE AND YOUR COACH IS going to be a waste of time and look what you could have had .. What do you say to that?” 

 

There are times in life when it only takes a moment; and I happen to have a mouth that when given a moment I often take it! At this point people had gathered with eyes as big as saucers just staring, as he was loud and this was a small forum.

 

I was sort of alone near the door as I had said my good nights.  Without even blinking, I looked my date square in the eye and firmly with calm and undying confidence said, ”Frankly Scarlett, I  don’t  give  a   damn!”   I  turned and walked out! I heard an immediate outburst of applause.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Hostess came after me and were beaming and thanking me for what I brought to the night in terms of commitment & dedication.

 

I end this blog with a similar vein as to the past one:

  • You must have absolute confidence in what you are willing to do to achieve the goal.
  • ABR is NOT an option PHYSICALLY OR NUTRIONALLY
  • NEVER LET THE VILLAGE DOWN!

 

FINALLY, I think we can safely conclude that my determination to ABR nutritionally will result similarly to my physical ABR where wearing a weight vest to work guarantees I always be single! Although, I have to admit, “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”

 

Yours in Ice, Prata

 

Guest post by Anna Prata, an Olympic hopeful Competitive Skeleton Athlete. Otherwise known mainly by her last name of Prata, she is 100% committed and passionate about living every moment of her life and leaving it on the field every day.   In her non-athlete time, Prata is a highly successful executive in the niche of corporate turnaround.  Both her corporate life and her sports life have similarities of stealth, intensity, and speed in creating value and less time down the ice; while wearing Kevlar to protect from the dangers of companies in distress and from potentially hitting a wall of ice at 90 MPR.  Ms. Prata is not a nutritionist, a physical therapist or in any way should her opinions be considered medical, physical  or psychological advice.