Content – Nutrition and Diet

Training Tip to Maximize Recovery

Nutrition is a key part of training and recovery and it cannot be overlooked if you are looking to maximize your results.

I am sharing a nutrition insight that I use on a daily basis.

Ingredients you will need:

  • Whey protein – I use vanilla flavor (you can also use another form of animal protein if you like; egg or soy)
  • Juice
  • Water

Just before bed place about 2oz. of water in a glass and mix in about 2 to 3 grams of whey protein.  I use the scoop provided (20 grams if full) and fill it up about 1/8 of the way which is roughly the height of a pencil sideways.  Drink the protein mixed in water immediately before you go to bed.

Then immediately after you wake up in the morning place about 2 oz. of juice in a glass and then mix in the same amount of whey protein, 2 to 3 grams, and drink it right down.  Then eat your normal breakfast when you are ready.

Having a constant level of the nine essential amino acids in your blood stream when you go to sleep and wake up is critical in maximizing your anabolic hormones (testosterone and growth hormone).

Testosterone blood levels are typically the highest at night in both men and women.  To maximize anabolic growth we must make sure the nine essential amino acids are present in your blood stream while you sleep.

Here is to maximizing your training results!

Hydration and Training – Keys to Better Performance

By Coach Kaehler


Are you properly hydrated before, during, and after your training sessions?  Do you have a hard time drinking enough plain water on a daily basis?  Athletes must be diligent about hydration because they lose fluids through respiration, sweating, and excretion.  Even mild dehydration can adversely affect performance.  These basic guidelines will help you effectively monitor your hydration, and maximize your training and athletic performance.

For athletes, maintaining proper hydration is critical.  Ideal hydration levels optimize heat dissipation, and help maintain blood plasma volume and cardiac output.  By doing so, hydration reduces cardiovascular strain, and helps athletes maintain their training intensity for longer periods.  Generally, you don’t feel ‘thirsty’ until your water loss reaches 1-2% of body mass.  However, by this time, you’re already in an unrecognized state of dehydration or ‘hypodration,’ which can reduce training and competitive performance.  Your heart rate and core body temperature becomes elevated, and you experience increased physiological strain.  Althletes who train with heart rates will be able to observe this effect more clearly — their base heart rates will be higher and consequently, their workloads will be reduced due to their hypodration.  As you plan your hydration routine, also consider your environmental factors.  During the cold winter months, relative humidity can be significantly lower than during other times of the year.  In these circumstances, you may need to increase your fluid intake.

Proper pre-exercise hydration is essential for safe and effective training and competition.  A few simple signs and strategies will keep you on track for your individual hydration needs.  Ensure you’re voiding every 90 to 120 minutes, and that your urine’s no darker than the color of straw.  If you’re supplementing with B vitamins, you may notice a bright yellow color to your urine immediately after ingesting your vitamins.  This is the only time that darker colored urine may not indicate hypohydration.

Consistently tracking your pre-training body weight is another effective way to monitor your hydration status, assuming you’re at an ideal state.  Drinking 500 -600ml (17 to 20 oz) of fluids 2-3 hours before training, provides enough time to void before a training session.  Then, ensure you consume another 200-300ml (6 to 8 oz) of fluids before you begin your workout.  Sufficient electrolyte intake will also help you retain and regain fluid-electrolyte balance after exercise-induced dehydration, which results from excessive sweating during your training.  In addition, eat regular meals 24 hours before training or competition, as a large portion of water comes directly from your food — especially from fruits and vegetables.

During training and competition, proper fluid consumption is critical for optimal athletic performance.  Always ensure you have a sufficient supply of fluids available — you’ll drink more and decrease the chance of becoming dehydrated, especially in workouts lasting 30 minutes or longer.  To optimize gastric emptying, consuming 12 to 16 ounces at one time is ideal.  However, for some sports, such as running, too much stomach fluid can be uncomfortable.  Learn and monitor your individual sweating rates during training.  Although it will take time and practice, it will help you hydrate at the correct rate, and prevent serious health problems related to both under and over-hydrating.

Post-training rehydration is also essential for proper recovery, especially for longer training sessions typical of rowing.  For optimal rehydration, water alone may not be the ideal beverage as it can reduce osmolality (dilutes salt concentration in blood), while decreasing the drive to drink, and increasing urine output.  Also, bear in mind that absorption rates are about the same for water and fluids with a 4-8% carbohydrate concentration — making those drinks effective alternatives for rehydration.  Fluids with electrolytes will also help your body retain fluids post-training.  Consumption (or fluid intake) during a training session should exceed the amount of fluid lost by 1.5 times.  Again, tracking your body weight just prior to and after training sessions will help you determine how much fluid to consume after your workout.

Each athlete has individual hydration needs for effective performance.  Understanding and monitoring your personal hydration levels is an essential component of athletic training.  Hydration is also a dynamic and on-going process.  For optimal health and athletic performance,  you need to plan and monitor your hydration levels not only immediately before, during and after your training, but also during the rest of your day — including your meals.  Following these basic but proven-effective hydration guidelines will help you train and recover properly, and meet your athletic goals.


Are you training on an empty stomach?

By Coach Kaehler


Athletes constantly ask me whether they should eat before training, or go out on an empty stomach.  Even with the extensive amount of research available today, this and many other diet and exercise-related questions remain controversial.  Each individual is different.  Personal differences in metabolism can skew how each of us respond to not only the food we eat, but also the timing of its consumption and how much of it we can consume.


Most of us have busy schedules.  Pressed for time, many of us will either train early in the morning, or squeeze in a session during lunch.  Eating around a tight schedule takes some careful planning to ensure you’re getting a quality meal in before you hit the road.  If you’re an early morning riser and you don’t eat before training, you’ve most likely fasted without food for six to ten hours.  If your training session is less than 90 minutes, and you’ve fueled-up your muscles and hydrated properly, chances are you won’t have a problem.  If however, you’re going longer than 90 minutes, topping-off your tank 30-60 minutes before heading out is probably a good idea.  If you’re preparing to do your long session in the late afternoon and your lunch time is more than four hours away from training, a snack would also make sense.


Whether you’re training in the early morning or the late afternoon, extensive research favors easy-to-digest carbohydrates that also include a small amount of protein and fat.  Examples include carbohydrate gels, energy bars and sport drinks.  The small amount of protein and fat in these supplements help blunt the glycemic effect (the rate at which glucose enters the blood stream) and helps maintain a steady blood glucose level.  A word of caution: some recent studies have shown that ingesting high-glycemic foods 30-60 minutes before training or racing can cause a hypoglycemic effect in the blood stream.  Though this low blood sugar condition does correct itself quickly, it may not be ideal before a race.  On the other hand, ingesting low-glycemic foods (whole grain) just before training or racing may cause too much strain on the digestive system.  Bottom-line: experiment a little.  Find what works for you in terms of what food you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat it relative to your practice sessions.  Experimenting and observing how your eating habits effect your performance during your practices will help you better prepare for race time.


Eating further out from training sessions alters your food options.  When eating two hours before a training session, it’s still a good idea to keep your meals small and easily digestible (surf and turf may be a little too much).  I would recommend liquid carbs, breakfast or training shakes with a little protein and some fat, or lighter fruits like bananas and melons.  Keeping your carbohydrate intake to about 1 gram per pound of body weight is a good guideline when you’re two hours from a training session.


When you’re eating three to four hours before a training session, you can eat a full meal that includes meat.  The advantages of eating three to four hours before training is that it allows your body to restore your liver glycogen to normal levels.  Also, assuming you’ve consumed enough carbohydrates with your meal, this timing also allows your body to store carbohydrates into your muscles as glycogen, and minimizes the feeling of hunger during training.


Consuming the correct amount of food depends on how hard and long your training session will be, as well as the temperature of your body and its rate of heat dissipation during your session.  During hard training weeks, it’s vital that you stay on top of your caloric intake as proper fueling helps your body run at maximum efficiency.  Cutting calories below usage levels can alter performance and recovery during a training cycle.  So if weight loss is a goal, you may observe a decrease in performance until your weight stabilizes and you get your caloric intake back to an appropriate level.


Timing your food delivery takes careful planning and preparation, but is a fundamental component of training.  Building it into your daily routine will help you get optimal results from your body, and set you up for better performance on race day.



Guidelines for safe and effective weight management

By Coach Kaehler


Are you headed up or down with your weight?  Or are you right where you want to be?  Two of the most common questions I get from high school rowers concern weight loss and gain.  No matter what your level of rowing is, monitoring your body composition is a great idea.  Key considerations for weight management are your percentage of lean body mass (%LM) and your percentage of body fat (%BF).  Recent studies on endurance athletes confirm that improving your %LM lead to improved performance on cycling and running ergometers (when measuring maximum effort (ml/kg/min) achieved) and improved anaerobic threshold (the delay to the onset of blood lactate level spike at 4.0 mmol).


Whatever your weight goals are — loss or gain — the key question is how to properly improve your %LM while you alter your body weight.  To effectively monitor your %LM, you’ll need an initial body composition test to establish your baseline %BF and %LM values, followed by regular testing throughout your training and diet program.  Testing every several weeks will allow you to adjust your program if necessary, to stay on track with your weight goals.


Cutting weight is a common activity for many endurance athletes.  Done properly, it can lead to great results.  Done improperly, however, it can lead to disastrous results.  Generally, the quicker the weight loss, the greater the likelihood of decreasing your performance, especially if you’re losing lean body mass.  Loss of lean mass especially in high school athletes not only reduces their performance, but can also impede their natural growth.  Many schools now require athletes to be measured preseason for %BF and overall body weight to ensure changes are safely controlled.  If your program is not doing this, it might be worth looking into.


Another question I’m often asked by high school athletes and parents is how to gain body weight.  To increase your %LM, you must consider three key factors including diet, rest and strength training.  Regarding nutrition, athletes must examine their overall diet, as well as carefully monitor their intake before, during and after each training session.  A good rule of thumb is to ensure you get at least 20 grams of protein (whey is always a good choice) with about 80 grams of carbohydrates immediately after each training session.  Also, eating healthy snacks between meals will prevent your body from starving for essential building blocks, and ensure you’re getting the fuel you need to train effectively.


Adequate rest is also essential to helping the body recover from training and to building lean body mass.  A minimum of eight hours of sleep is critical for a developing body.  The importance of rest is further supported by studies showing that hormone levels are also adversely affected by a lack of sleep.  While high school is very challenging with homework, practice and other commitments, maintaining a disciplined schedule will help ensure that sleep is not compromised.


Strength training is the last component necessary to maximize your chances of increasing your %LM while training in an endurance sport.  Adding two sessions of strength training per week will also help build lean body mass, especially if you get the appropriate rest and consume a protein / carbohydrate meal immediately after training.


Whether you’re trying to increase, decrease, or maintain your body mass, careful attention to diet, rest and strength training can lead to better performance on race day.  Recent studies show that increasing %LM improves both maximum effort as well as anaerobic threshold performances in endurance athletes.  Monitoring your values will help ensure that you’re only losing body fat, and not lean mass, and keep you on track with your athletic goals.


Drink Up!

– Hydration and Training

By Coach Kaehler

How closely do you follow your daily hydration intake?

The body is composed of 50-70% water (norm = 60%), and maintaining this balance is critical in regulating body temperature and cellular stasis.  For endurance sports athletes, proper hydration is a key factor in effective training and race performance.

A common problem with endurance athletes is hypo- or dehydration, which occurs when fluid loss is greater than intake before, during, or after bouts of exercise.  When, how much, and what you combine with your water, can have a big impact on your training and race results, as well as recovery.

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Protein Supplements and Post Training Recovery

By Coach Kaehler

Do you take dietary protein supplements to enhance your training recovery?  While much research has been done to examine how different whole food supplements affect muscle protein balance — muscle protein synthesis (MPS) vs. muscle protein breakdown (MPB) — after sessions of resistance training, one conclusion is clear.  The overall success of any resistance training program is impacted by not only what you eat, but when you eat it.   Muscle building and the loss of fat occur after your training is done, and by applying proper, well-informed nutritional choices, you can maximize your training efforts.

Choosing the best post- training protein supplement can be confusing.  Current research shows that whey protein is superior to other whole proteins for post-workout recovery (MPS vs. MBS).  Whey is a by-product of the cheese making process.  If you have allergies to dairy protein, consult your physician before using it.  Whey protein comes in two forms: whey isolate and whey concentrate.  Whey isolate is the purest form and contains 90% or more of protein and very little (if any) fat and lactose.  Whey concentrate, on the other hand, has anywhere from 29% to 89% protein depending upon the product.  As the protein level in a whey product decreases, the amount of lactose and/or fat usually increases.  If you purchase whey concentrate, look for at least a 70% protein level.

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Continued – Protein Supplements and Post Training Recovery


Grass-Fed Beef

A study done in Australia in 2006 tested different cuts of beef from both grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. Researchers concluded that the grass-fed beef had higher levels of two types of healthy fat — omega-3’s( which reduce inflammation in the body) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).   Grass-fed beef was also found to have lower amounts of saturated fats (bad oils) when compared to grain-fed cattle.  Grass-fed beef tends to be tougher than grain-fed cuts(marbleized beef), however it can be much more flavorful.  Look for an upcoming piece which will include recipe and cooking instructions on how to prepare grass-fed beef.

** STUDY Effect of feeding systems on omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acids in Australian beef cuts:potential impact on human health

Water Guidelines for Training Recovery

-Fluid replacement in and around meals

By Coach Kaehler

Proper hydration is an important element of recovery from training.  Male endurance athletes can lose up to 10 liters of fluid per day, while women lose slightly less.  Daily individual losses vary depending on the training climate, as well as the length and intensity of training.  Water levels can be balanced through the water you drink, as well as the food you eat.  To optimize your recovery, you must consider when to replace your fluids, as well as how the fluids are delivered to your digestive system.  Here are some basic guidelines for fluid replacement in and around your meals.


Recovery from training is optimized when the body can devote most of its energy into rebuilding itself.  Avoid drinking liquids with meals as it requires the body to secrete additional digestive enzymes which slows digestion and reduces its efficiency.

When recovering from training, avoid drinking water 30 minutes prior to eating, and for about 2 hours after a carbohydrate meal, and up to 3 hours after a heavy protein meal.



Water Guidelines for Training Recovery


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