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Attention All Athletes: Vitamin C Is Key!

As an endurance athlete, you need optimal nutrition to train and compete at your best. A balanced diet should give you all the vitamins and nutrients you need. However, difficult training schedules, travel and a lack of homemade meals can mean you don’t always consume the best foods for your personal needs. If you are deficient in certain vitamins, you might feel it in your energy levels and recovery time. Perhaps the most famous antioxidant, Vitamin C, offers a variety of health benefits, including protection from infection and damage to body cells, helping to produce collagen (the connective tissue that holds bones and muscles together), protecting your body from bruising by keeping capillary walls and blood vessels firm, and assisting in the absorption of Iron and Folate. Vitamin C also helps to deliver oxygen to working muscles. Current... More
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Everything You Need to Know About Cramps and Nutrition

A meniscus is a cartilage structure that provides shock absorption and cushioning in the knee joint. There are two menisci. They are located in between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). Meniscus tears are very common among tennis players. They are often the result of a twisting injury. When a patient has a torn meniscus, he or she usually complains about sharp pain in the knee. A torn meniscus is similar to a hangnail. The same way that a hangnail can catch and cause discomfort, a torn meniscus can catch and get pinched between the bones in the knee during regular activities causing pain. Torn menisci can occur as a result of a singular traumatic event, such as an abrupt twist of the knee, or as the result of many years of wear and tear.... More
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Fitness and Nutrition: Choose My Plate

“Choose My Plate” is a new generation food icon that is used to replace the Food Guide Pyramid. The new “My Plate” is a very simple icon that reminds consumers to eat healthfully and guide them to resources and tools to put the dietary guidelines into action. The “My Plate” objectives are to emphasize: Balancing calories Enjoy your food, but eat less Avoid oversized portions Foods to increase Make half your plate fruits and vegetables Make at least half your grains whole grains Switch to fat-free or low-fat (one percent) milk Foods to reduce Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals and choose foods with lower numbers Drink water instead of sugary drinks
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Nutrition as a Building Block to on the Court Success

  Many people claim to be nutritionists … you can find one almost anywhere—from your local vitamin shop, to a health food store or even your local gym. My goal is not to discredit them, but to educate the public that it takes a real college degree, one year of residency and a very complicated RD exam to become a registered dietitian in the State of New York. Whenever consulting someone who claims to be a “nutritionist,” one should always ask for a valid New York State License. My specialty is in broad nutrition, from weight management and diabetes, to renal and cardio disease, but my primary focus is on sports nutrition. As a registered dietitian and mother of a competitive junior tennis player, I can relate how proper nutrition is important to an athlete. On many occasions,... More

Fitness and Nutrition: Super Foods and Snacks for Sports

  Following proper nutrition preparation will guarantee an improved tennis match. Packing your lunch box with proper snacks and fluids will help you to avoid fatigue, cramps and will make you feel ready for any early, late or multiple matches. Here are some easy tips on what super snacks and drinks to have in your lunch box when playing in a tournament. ►Freeze some water and Gatorade the night before and pack it with your snacks and drinks. It will help to keep your refreshments cool and fresh. ►The myth about Vitamin Water and Smart Water … they have empowering flavor names like “Endurance,” “Energy,” “Essential” and “Focus.” Vitamin Water gives the illusion of a healthy, hydrating and rejuvenating miracle elixir. The bottles are beautiful, colorful, and the text on them is snappy and clever. However, they do... More
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Fluids and the Balance of Electrolytes

Staying balanced with fluids and electrolytes is a key concern to every competitive athlete. Very common complaints such as fatigue and cramps could be easily avoided if properly-hydrated, especially during the hot and humid summer months. Water is the number one ingredient every cell and tissue of the body needs in order to survive. The fluids that circulate throughout your body dissolve minerals known as electrolytes. Electrolytes help properly regulate the fluid levels inside and between cells, and are vital for the proper functioning of your cells, tissues and muscles. It is very important for a tennis player to know how much to drink before, during and after the match. Dehydration can force your heart to work harder, your core body temperature rises, and as a result, your performance will fall dramatically. Overhydration is the other extreme and... More
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Meeting Energy Needs

The foods that we eat provide the energy or fuel that our body needs. Athlete’s bodies have different needs and requirements in order to optimize their athletic performance. Many people have misconceptions about different food groups, as some try to avoid carbohydrates, while others avoid fats. This type of dieting is called “fad diets” and are never a good idea, especially for an athlete. An athlete, needs all six food groups, specifically: Grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, meat and beans. Carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch, are readily broken down into glucose, the principal energy source of the body. Glucose can be used immediately or it can be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. Blood glucose serves as the most significant source of energy for the brain at rest and during exercise. The capacity of your... More
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The Perfect Meal

Tennis is a unique sport that involves intense physical activity for a prolonged period of time. Nobody knows how long one’s match will last until the final point is won. Thus, it is vital for every tennis player to have the aerobic capacity to have endurance and tolerance. As discussed in my previous articles, nutrition plays a very important role and should be part of every athlete’s preparation. It is not a secret that most of the professional tennis players on the tour have their nutritionists working with them as a part of their team—evaluating, calculating and personalizing a meal plan is part of their jobs. In this article, I have prepared a sample meal plan for the day before and for the hours leading up to your match. Please note that this is a general, basic meal... More

Fitness and Nutrition: Tennis, Diet and Proper Hydration

Tennis is a unique sport that involves intense physical activity for a prolonged period of time. Nobody knows how long one’s match will last until the final point is won. Thus, it is vital for every tennis player to have the aerobic capacity to have the proper endurance and tolerance. Nutrition plays a very important role and should be part of every athlete’s preparation. It’s no secret that most of the professional tennis players on the ATP and WTA Tours have their nutritionists working with them as a part of their team—evaluating, calculating and personalizing a meal plan is a major part of their job. Three things can occur during your match if you are not prepared: ►Cramping ►Dizziness and fatigue ►Loss of concentration Cramping A diet, complete in specific vitamins and minerals, can prevent muscle cramping. Here... More
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Fitness and Nutrition: Snacking Your Way to On-Court Success

Following proper nutrition preparation will guarantee an improved tennis match. Packing your lunch box with proper snacks and fluids will help you to avoid fatigue and cramps and will prepare you for any early, late or multiple matches. Here are some easy tips on what super snacks and drinks to have in your lunch box when playing in a tournament. ►Freeze some water and Gatorade the night before and pack it with your snacks and drinks. It will help to keep your refreshments cool and fresh. Coconut water is loaded with potassium and is an excellent source of electrolytes. ►The myth about Vitamin Water and Smart Water … they have empowering flavor names like “Endurance,” “Energy,” “Essential” and “Focus.” Vitamin Water gives the illusion of a healthy, hydrating and rejuvenating miracle elixir. The bottles are beautiful, colorful, and... More
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What Do Athletes Eat For Breakfast

Everyone knows that a proper diet can improve your performance and help you recover quickly for your next workout. However, not everyone has the time to always do the right thing. A number of athletes do at least one thing right when it comes to nutrition: Breakfast! Eating breakfast consistently will make you feel more energized and less tired. So who eats what and what should you eat? According to Shape Magazine, “Venus Williams starts her day with oatmeal, whole wheat toast and freshly-squeezed orange juice.” Maria Sharapova tells Shape that nutrition and hydration are the keys to staying energized as her favorite breakfast consists of an egg white omelet, some oatmeal, berries and sometimes, a smoothie. A great breakfast should consist of all of the food groups: A serving of a complex carbohydrate, protein, low-fat dairy, a... More