Periodization refers to breaking something up into blocks or stages. With athletes, training is almost always periodized; meaning they have specific stages in training; each of which has a different goal. For example, these stages may look like:
During the competition season, there is usually not as much intense activity and conditioning going on. However, because the reason for competition season is, well um, competition; the athlete may have back to back weekends or even back to back days of competition. Therefore, during the competition season recovery becomes extremely important, so that athletes are ready to perform at their best for their next competition.
I realize that most athletes no longer have a dedicated “offseason”; however, what does fit into the offseason is injury. Obviously, activity level and goals change during injury. The number one goal should be to get the athlete better, so they can come back to their sport as strong or stronger than before.
The demands of these specific training periods put different strain and stress on the body; which means the nutrition needs change as well. Let’s use the example of a young gymnast, to see how nutrition needs change, based on the phase of training.
Hurricanes and wild fires have been causing catastrophic damage in the U.S. for the last several weeks. Hurricane Irma is currently pummeling Tampa, Florida. I have been watching this storm obsessively for the past 72 hours. I have friends and family to worry about; and I also find weather amazing! If I wasn’t a dietitian, I may have become a storm chaser!
I am a couple days late with this post; however, I have a strange feeling that this crazy weather isn’t over. Due to these powerful storms, millions of people have been forced to leave their homes and seek safety in community shelters, like hockey arenas, schools, and conference centers. The recommendation that city officials have been giving these individuals and families is to bring 3 days’ worth of food with them when they hunker down in these shelters. During this difficult and anxious time, it is important to take the best foods to ensure you are getting the nutrition you need for the 3-4 days you may be in the shelter, especially to fight fatigue and give you strength for potential cleanup efforts.
Bottled Water – take enough water for three or four days. I recommend at least one gallon of water per person per day. Bottled water is the best choice because your water may not be drinkable after a storm, so you will need bottled water to drink and potentially cook with.
Canned foods – canned goods, such as fruits, vegetables, and meat like tuna or chicken is a great choice. These non-perishable foods are shelf-stable and do not need to be refrigerated or cooked. Most canned foods can last up to a year on the shelf; which is why these are great choices if you will not have the ability to cook for several days. The best choices are tuna, chicken, salmon, green beans, peas, beets, carrots, tomatoes, baby corn, pineapple, mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, and fruit mixes.
Canned soup and instant foods – you may have access to a microwave; especially if your shelter is a school or conference center. Soups are a great choice, because warm foods oftentimes provide feelings of comfort. Other instant foods like mashed potatoes, microwavable rice and oatmeal are good choices as well.
Nuts and nut butter – these are great to keep in protein and healthy fat; plus, they are higher calorie, so if you have less opportunities to eat these are great options. Any of your favorite nuts are great, but for nut butter you will want to stay away from the natural kind, because these require refrigeration after opening.
Cereal and Crackers – whole wheat cereal and crackers are a great choice to keep fiber in your diet and for some snacks. For your cereal, you can also buy shelf-stable soy or almond milk or use powdered milk, which can last for up to six months. Crackers are a perfect complement to your nut butter.
Fruit – apples and bananas are also perfect pairings for nut butter. Dehydrated and dried fruits are also great choices, because they can last a long time at room temperature and they are a good source of quick energy.
Cooler items – if you do have the ability to take a cooler, you have a little bit more flexibility in what you can pack. The best choices are lunch meat, raw vegetables, hummus, cheese sticks, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of those effected by these storms. Please do your best to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
Today is my 31st birthday. I still cannot believe how quickly the first 31 years of my life have passed. It is completely true that the older you get, the faster the years tick by. My thirties have been amazing so far! I have gotten married, traveled a ton, started my private practice, opened myself up to consulting work, and started working with eating disorder patients and athletes – my two passions as a registered dietitian.
I am so grateful for all that has happened in my life and for where I am now. I have never felt more mentally and emotionally strong and confident. Some of the things I struggled with throughout my 20’s made me into the person that I am today. Probably the most significant event of my early teens and 20’s, was my struggles with food and my body. There were obviously other struggles and events as well, such as breakups, living in 3 different states, family complications, and losing touch with friends; all of which have molded me into the person that I am now.
Today, as I reflect on what I have learned in 31 years, these lessons have a lot to do with what I have endured and recovered from. Here are the top 10:
Allison Tropf, MS, RD, CSSD
Allison is a Sports Dietitian in Michigan. She enjoys helping others reach their nutrition and fitness goals through reliable and trustworthy recommendations.
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