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Athlete's survival food and diet

Discussion in 'Food, Nutrition and Recipes' started by 98tillpresent, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. 98tillpresent

    98tillpresent · Member

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    You are an Athlete, serious about the sport. You find yourself getting up as early as 5:00 am for training at 6:30 am, you train upto 6 days per week, 2 times per day for upto 2 hours per session with possibility of losing contact with your coach. The training is always high intensity work ranging from strength work to cardio-vaclular. On top of that you go to school from 9 to 3 and cycle 4.5 miles there everyday bar never...

    You have type 1 diabetes for as long as you remember.

    OK, so that's the scenario.
    - How do I control my levels when my timetable is so unpredictable and uneven?
    - What food do you suggest I eat before, during and after?
    - I may be going onto a pump soon, would you recomend that? if yes, which one? (I have my eyes on an Animas pump)

    Thanks xXx
  2. NickW

    NickW · Well-Known Member

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    Can you give a bit more information on the exercise? What sport are you training for? It sounds like you're doing a lot of training, far more than many elite-level athletes in many sports. The first thing I'd do is question whether this training is actaully getting you closer to your goals (i.e. it's improving your performance), or whether you're simply training for the sake of training - an all too common phenomenon (and one I've been guilty of in the past!) It could well be that a lower volume of smarter training would get you fitter for the sport AND make control easier, and give you more free time to do other things into the bargain. Remember that you're training for your sport, not to log more training hours than your mates (another thing I've been guilty of before!)

    I'd also question your interpretation of high intensity - if you think you're exercising intensely for 2-hour sessions twice per day, you need to discover what intensity really is! I don't say that to sound funny or to knock you, but intensity has a specific meaning and it's simply impossible for anyone to exercise very intensely for long periods.

    As far as fuelling the exercise and maintaining control, the key is in learning how you respond to each type of exercise. Intense exercise, e.g. heavy resistance training, sprints, anything that really hammers the glycolitic energy pathway etc., can result in the liver dumping a lot of glucose into the blood and can actually raise blood glucose; I know that I need to inject 3 units of insulin to cover a heavy weights session for example. Moderate-intensity exercise, e.g. steady-state running or cycling, won't tend to have this effect, and in my experience needs the most careful management; you have the choice of altering basal rates, eating carbohydrate, or a mixture of the two to maintain steady bloods. Low-intensity stuff, e.g. easy cycling, flexibility work, skill practice etc., can sometimes need a small amount of carbs or a small basal reduction, but can often be undertaken without any adjustments at all.

    I'd say the keys to good control in this situation would be:
    - Get your recovery under control, including 8+ hours of sleep, and get your basal rates nailed down

    - Get your diet cleaned up as much as possible. Eat real food - meat, fish, eggs, veg, fruit, nuts and seeds, and ditch the processed, refined stuff (I don't know anything about your diet so you might do this already!)

    - Test test test and keep records! Learn exactly what each type of session does to your blood levels and when. Does a 60-minute run keep your blood level for 35 minutes then start to drop it quickly; does it start dropping after 10 minutes then accelerate; does it rise slightly first then drop? How much does it drop by? How much carbohydrate do you need to eat to counteract this, and when do you eat it - before you run, after 30 minutes, or do you eat tiny amounts every 5 minutes? What if you lower your basal rate by 20% before endurance workouts - does that help? Can you stay controlled later in the day? Do other sessions make you react in a different way? You need to test a lot at first to learn this stuff, but it's honestly worth the effort; and once you know what's happening you can ease off the testing and just test before and after to make sure you're still on track.

    - As far as food goes, a lot depends on the type of exercise you do and what you're training for. I'd ALWAYS say that a real food diet is better than any kind of processed food (though depending on type of exercise you may need simple sugars during workouts, e.g. energy drinks; and there is SOMETIMES a place for protein shakes etc.) You may be best served with a lowish-carb diet, or you may need more carbs to fuel the exercise - just be aware of the trade-off you may be making (in the sense that on a high-carb diet it's typically harder to control bloods). Pre-, peri- and post-workout nutrition also depends heavily on the type of exercise and duration.

    Sorry that this isn't actaully directly answering your questions, but if you can post some more info it would help to see the whole picture.

    And I'm afraid I have no experience with a pump so can't comment there.
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