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Consistent and Inconsistent Meals: Effects on Performance. Jackie Berning, PhD, RD, CSSD Associate Professor/Chair University of Colorado Sport Dietitian: Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Cleveland Indians Challenges to a Swimmers Diet. Hectic schedules

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consistent and inconsistent meals effects on performance

Consistent and Inconsistent Meals:Effects on Performance

Jackie Berning, PhD, RD, CSSD

Associate Professor/Chair

University of Colorado

Sport Dietitian: Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Cleveland Indians

challenges to a swimmers diet
Challenges to aSwimmers Diet
  • Hectic schedules
  • Little knowledge about:
    • Basic nutrition
    • Grocery shopping
    • Food preparation
    • What to choose when eating out
  • Good nutrition isn’t always a priority
nutrition knowledge
Nutrition Knowledge
  • Survey of Adolescent Swimmers
  • Most nutritious carbohydrate
      • 63% chose an apple while 37% chose French fries
  • Good source of protein
      • 63% chose chicken, while 37% chose oatmeal
  • Food Groups
      • 95% identified the food groups, but only 45% could identify foods from the group

Berning, IJSN, 1991

nutrition practices
Nutrition Practices
  • 30% of adolescent athletes skip breakfast
  • 25% skip lunch
  • 86% eat at fast food restaurants each week
  • 82% of male track, basketball, and football teams could not identify the fuel sources in the muscles
food is fuel
Food is Fuel
  • Strategies to help players maintain their “fuel tanks”
    • Must eat breakfast even if it is small
    • Liquid meal supplements may be useful when in a hurry
    • Focus on “grab & go” foods
    • Focus on foods with protein and carbohydrate
    • Hydrate before during and after workouts or games
  • Never go more than 3-4 hours without food

Effects of skipping meals

Higher body fat

Fatigue, lethargic



Lowerbody fat

More energy

Throughout the



24 hours

Athletes who skip meals and only eat one meal per day have higher body fat

Deutz et al, 2000 Med Sci Sports Exerc 32(3) 659-68

recovery nutrition
Recovery Nutrition
  • Normally takes 24 to 36 hours to replace muscle energy (glycogen)
  • By consuming carbohydrates immediately post exercise (w/n 30 minutes) can reload the muscles in 12 to 16 hours
  • Snack should be mostly carbohydrates and some protein (4 parts CHO’s and 1 part Pro)
  • Chocolate milk, nutrition shake, smoothie, peanut butter sandwich, energy bar, yogurt, turkey sandwich, string cheese and crackers
example of post game recovery nutrition
Example of Post Game/Recovery Nutrition
  • Local High School Soccer coach wanted to cut the time it takes to come home after an away game
  • He asked the parents to provide snacks on the bus for the trip home
  • Found:
    • the team recovered faster the next day
    • Were not as hungry coming home
    • Were not as grouchy coming home
    • Felt he could push them harder the next day
  • Took the team to the State High School playoffs—lost in second round double overtime…sudden death
sample recovery foods
Sample Recovery Foods
  • Granola, energy or breakfast bars
  • Bagels with peanut butter
  • Sports drinks
  • Recovery shakes
  • Sub sandwiches
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Burritos
  • Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, oranges, grapes
  • Vegetables such as carrots and celery
  • Fruit smoothies (prepackaged)
  • Trail mix/animal crackers
high school football team
High School Football Team
  • Local HS football coach felt that students needed to know about nutrition/hydration
  • Set up several educational opportunities
    • Met with booster club
      • Parents, students and coaches all hearing the same information
local high school football team
Local High School Football Team
  • Meet with players in the summer at speed camp
    • Breakfast
    • Hydration for camp and two a days
    • Healthy snacks throughout the day
    • Weight gain and weight loss
weight gain weight loss
Weight gain (muscle) involves eating more calories not just more protein

Weight gain is a combination of strength training, proper nutrition and rest

Increase calorie intake 500-1,000 calories per day

Maintain hydration

It takes a plan to gain

Eat smaller meals more frequently

Need a 200-300 calorie deficit per day

Don’t skip meals or only eat one meal a day

Eat slowly

Fast eaters tend to overeat

Increase aerobic exercise slowly each day

Maintain hydration

Weight Gain/Weight loss



breakfast skipping bad for bones and weight
Breakfast Skipping Bad for Bones and Weight
  • Journal of the American Dietetic Association. (June 2005)
  • Study found that skipping what some call the most important meal of the day "may predispose" girls to diets low in calcium and fiber.
  • Those who eat breakfast on a regular basis have a reduced body mass index compared to "infrequent breakfast eaters.“
  • Girls who consistently ate breakfast had a lower body mass index and higher fiber and calcium intakes, which may suggest that eating breakfast during the critical pre-teen and teen years could help prevent osteoporosis.
local high school football team14
Local High School Football Team
  • Game Day Nutrition
    • Developed a meal plan for game day
    • Developed hydration plan for game day
    • Developed snack plan for half time
    • Developed recovery plan
meet day nutrition
Meet Day Nutrition
  • Need to stick with the three meals/day and depending on swim time snacks in between events or heats
  • Even if its an early morning swim still need to eat something
    • Oatmeal, bowl of cereal with low fat milk, or energy bar
  • Need to eat after swim
    • Carton of yogurt, peanut butter sandwich, smoothie
  • Lunch
    • Small sub sandwich, fruit and or vegetables, sports drinks
  • Mid-afternoon Snack
    • Fruit/vegetables, low fat string cheese, whole grain crackers
  • Dinner
    • Standard basic meal that includes entrée, starch, vegetables and low fat milk
  • Snack before bed
    • Smoothie, yogurt parfait, bowl of cereal
pre event eating
Pre-Event Eating
  • 1-4 hours before the event
    • closer to event less food
  • Consume mainly CHO as they are digested faster
    • next comes protein, last comes fat
    • 1 hour or less-- stick to liquid, sports drinks
    • 2 hours or less-- sports drinks, toast, muffins, cereal with lowfat milk
    • 3-4 hours--spaghetti, French toast, turkey sand, yogurt, string cheese and crackers
pre event meal ideas
Pre-Event Meal Ideas
  • One hour or less before competition
    • Stick to liquids like water, sports drinks and avoid high glycemic beverages like soda, juice, drinks or “energy” drinks
  • Two hours before competition
    • Cereal and low fat milk
    • Toast, or low fat muffin
    • 1/ 2 Bagel, yogurt and fruit
  • Three-four hours before competition
    • Turkey Sandwich w low fat cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola bar
    • Pasta with meat sauce, bread sticks, low fat milk
    • French toast, low fat milk, fruit
dangers of dehydration
Dangers of Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased risk of heat illness, heat stroke and even death
monitor fluid loss
Monitor Fluid Loss
  • Two ways:
  • Weigh in before practice and after practice
    • 3 cups of fluid per pound lost
  • Check the color of urine

1 - 3 = Optimally Hydrated

4 - 6 = Slightly dehydrated should drink more

6 - 8 = Dehydrated, must drink more

  • Thirst is not an adequate indicator of fluid needs
    • Wait to drink until you thirsty its too late
    • As little as a 2% weight loss as sweat will affect performance
    • If you drink to satisfy your thirst it’s not enough
sport drink formulation important for optimal fluid absorption
Sport Drink Formulation Important for Optimal Fluid Absorption



















Ryan, AJ. et al J. Appl. Physiol. 84: 1581-1588, 1998



*p<0.05 slower than water and Gatorade.

Water and Gatorade were not different from each other.

energy drinks what are they
“Energy” Drinks: What are they
  • Basically fluid and energy in one bottle
  • Contain high concentration of carbohydrate (almost same concentration as syrup)
  • Usually caffeine (sometimes in an herbal form such as Mate or guarana, which is 4-5x more powerful)
  • May contain other ingredients to potentiate caffeine (ginseng)
  • May contain Synephrine
fluid guidelines say
Fluid Guidelines say:

How much should I drink for Practice and Games?

  • Before
    • Drink 12 to 20 oz -- 2-3 hours before
  • During
    • Drink 6 to 12 oz every 15-20 minutes
  • After
    • Drink 150% of sweat losses
    • Drink 3 cups (24 oz) for every 1 lb weight lost through sweat
    • Two gulps are about 3 ounces
    • Replace 70% of what you have lost before next practice
use a modified peace sign


Grains, Bread, Pasta


Fruits & Veg

¹/3 Protein

Use a Modified Peace Sign

Breads, cereal, rice

pasta, fruit, vegetables,

tortillas, energy bars

crackers, potatoes (not

fried), pinto beans, black

beans, salad

Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, peanut

butter, nuts, soy

resulted in a 5a state high school championship
Resulted in a 5A State High School Championship!

Take home message for me is coaches/athletes believed in:

  • Importance of nutrition in athletic performance
  • Importance of hydration
  • Second half team
  • Believer in fueling and cooling the body will allow a student athlete to maximize their athletic potential