Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Nutritionista on being an Injury-Free SHE

First off, let me be clear that I am not receiving any money from anyone to promote specific products.  I know, I know....this is shocking since I have so many "followers" (I believe I'm up to 6 now...woo-hoo!)   But given my educational background/career history and the fact that I've been on the planet for many decades now, I feel qualified to offer an opinion.  So as it pertains to reducing sports-related injuries, here goes:

One of the fundamental principles of The Decade of SHE (or HE for that matter), is to maximize your potential, which is not possible if you are hurt, injured, too sore to do fun things, etc.  One common way to get messed up is through exercising...usually hard core exercising, like training for a half or full marathon, playing tennis, women's soccer tournaments, spinning, etc.  

As a Dr. Dork who peruses the scientific literature on nutrition, it is a disappointment and reality that there are not a lot of studies being conducted on 30 to 50-something year old women who like to exercise.  Researchers like men who aren't hormonal or post-menopausal women.  Furthermore, most sport-related research is conducted in younger athletes. 

But the studies that are available (on men, young women, older women) are pretty convincing that drinking a protein and carbohydrate beverage after you work out is a good thing.  It reduces muscle soreness, fatigue, and muscle damage so that you recover faster.  This is a good thing.  You are less likely to hurt yourself if you are not sore and limping around.     

This is not new news.  It has been known for quite a while and I have always tried to make myself a little protein shake after my long runs and gym workouts to take advantage of this little fact.  

Although research is lacking in the area, there is some evidence that protein is a really good thing for women of all ages.  I really do think it makes a HUGE difference.  I finally got my other workout partner (Mo) to try it and guess what....she thinks it's working too!  It's best if it's within about 30 minutes of when you finish working out.  You may not be hungry or thirsty, but override those signals and get the stuff in.  Your welcome!

If you consider yourself at all athletic, I suggest you read Dara Torres' book.  If you are not familiar with the name, Dara is the most awesome SHE that competed in the last Olympics at 41 years old (she was not caught on film with a bong in her hand, just fyi).  Dara is really challenging everything we ever thought about athletics and age.  She is proving that age is not a barrier (at least not to age 41 yr).  

In Dara's book, she talks about consuming a protein supplement.  And she actually endorses a specific type of protein supplement.  Since I think Dara is amazing and I did a little background research on the stuff myself, I purchased Dara's recommended protein supplement.  It is expensive, but in this SHE's opinion, worth it.  It is lower in calories than other protein supplements and because of the processing, should be more readily available and absorbable.  I dump  few scoops in a dilute sports drink.  It clumps up a bit, but shake the heck out of it and it will be fine.  It also works in orange juice or lemonade or a FUZE.  

To my dear friend Mo...what took you so long???


  1. Thanks for showing me the way Tia. My used-to-be-always-sore muscles very much appreciate your guidance!

  2. and btw - my age is over 41.....but it's still just a number!

  3. I hope I look like Dara T when I'm 41 - wait, I'm a HE! Oh well... Does this same trick work for HE's? Assume yes. Finally, while I admire Dara's swimming success, I must admit I don't find her to be a very balanced SHE. All swimming, all the time, through 41 years, family be damned... Not sure that aspect of her life is role-model worthy. Doesn't mean I ignore SHE when SHE shows up on the cover of a mag :-)

  4. Yes, the "trick" works for HE too. Also should have mentioned that caffeine helps reduce muscle soreness as well, so a little protein in an iced latte would be perfecto!