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Type of Food Used as Fuel Can Affect Sports Performance

Milk It For All It’s Worth  - IRFU & NDC Nutrition Seminar for Coaches

 

L-R: 'Dr Catherine Logan, Nutrition Manager, NDC; Ruth Wood-Martin, IRFU Performance Nutritionist; Emma McCrudden, Performance Nutritionist with Leinster Rugby; and Tara Regan School Programme & Special Projects Manager, NDC pictured at the Milk It For All It's Worth IRFU & NDC Nutrition Seminar on Weds 8th June 2011 in the Aviva Stadium.

An interactive workshop to provide coaches of young rugby players with up to date sports nutritional information took place in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Wednesday (8th June 2011). Organised jointly by the IRFU & The National Dairy Council as part of the Milk it For All It’s Worth campaign, it set out to up-skill coaches working with players ranging from about 12 – 16 years of age, providing practical nutritional advice which can help to improve sports performance to the best of each young person’s ability.

Performance Nutritionists who work with professional rugby players and understand the nutrition demands specifically for rugby, delivered the technical content of the workshop.

Emma McCrudden, Performance Nutritionist with Leinster Rugby told Coaches at the workshop that the core concepts of performance nutrition are relatively easy for anyone from any sport or age group to grasp.
“But the true professional athlete understands why nutrition can optimise performance which allows them to control this aspect of performance,” said Ms McCrudden.

Ruth Wood-Martin, IRFU Performance Nutritionist explained: “Food is the fuel used to support the extra energy demand of exercise. The main fuels used during exercise are fat and carbohydrate, and both of these fuels are stored in the muscles that allow them to work during exercise. Without sufficient amounts of the right type of fuel, every athlete’s ability to perform in sport will suffer.”

Ms Wood-Martin said that the timing of food intake to best prepare for exercise and recovery after exercise is important. “The aim before exercise is to top-up muscle and liver carbohydrate stores (called glycogen) and maintain steady blood sugar levels,” explains Ms. Wood-Martin. “After exercise, the key is to re-fuel the energy stores that have been used up during the exercise session, and provide the right mix of nutrients to support physical adaptations that happen as a result of the exercise.”


References
Shirreffs SM et al. (2007) Milk as an effective rehydration drink. British Journal of Nutrition 98: 173-180.
Cockburn et al. (2008) Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism 33; 775-783.


The role of fluids in achieving good hydration was also explored. Emma Mc Crudden said that fluid is vital for life and makes up over half of the body weight. “Exercise increases heat production in the body. Good hydration helps to maintain an efficient cooling system, allowing players to sweat effectively to keep body temperature under control,” said Ms. Mc Crudden.. “Dehydration due to a lack of fluid availability will result in over-heating and ultimately the can affect the ability to continue with high intensity exercise.”

Dr Catherine Logan, Nutrition Manager for The National Dairy Council, said that this Milk It For All Its Worth project provided practical information resources to rugby coaches of teenagers on how a varied diet and adequate dairy intake are important parts of a healthy active lifestyle; and about the role of appropriate sports nutrition in helping to enhance performance..

“This joint regional seminar is timely as more and more research demonstrates potential for milk and dairy foods in sports nutrition – for example research reported from Loughborough University highlights the effectiveness of skimmed milk as a rehydration drink after sports, in addition to research from Northumbria University highlighting the beneficial role of milk in muscle recovery,” said Dr. Logan. “Such results are welcomed by the dairy industry and we are closely monitoring further developments in these areas of research.”

Milk It For All It’s Worth is the theme of a three year EU funded ‘Milk in Action’ campaign, a collaborative venture between The National Dairy Council (Ireland) and The Dairy Council (England and Wales), who partner with The Dairy Council (Northern Ireland).

The “Milk In Action” programme in Ireland is co-funded by the European Union, The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, and by the industry with funds raised through NDC members in Ireland. The campaign is implemented under Council Regulation (EC) No 3/2008 on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries.

 

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Media Enquiries to:

Antonina Ni Dhuinn, Progress Communications - 01-276 6117 - nina@progresspr.ie - www.progresspr.ie


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References
Shirreffs SM et al. (2007) Milk as an effective rehydration drink. British Journal of Nutrition 98: 173-180.
Cockburn et al. (2008) Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism 33; 775-783.


Editorial Footnote: Profile – Participating Performance Nutritionists

Ruth Wood-Martin has worked as a Registered Dietitian for over 20 years. She is a registered Sports and Exercise Nutritionist (SEN UK), has gained Technical Membership in Nutrition with the Irish Institute of Sport and currently works full time as the Performance Nutritionist with the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Her main focus is with the National Senior squad where she is responsible for the nutrition education of players as well as advising on meal plans and hydration and recovery strategies during national camp assemblies. She also includes talented younger players as a focus for nutrition education and development. Ruth believes that the goals of nutritional support for performance are:
• To translate the science of sports nutrition into everyday eating and drinking practices
• To deliver effective sports nutrition advice to players by working with them, their coaches and other sports performance professionals
• To use the most up-to-date evidence-based practice to deliver sports nutrition advice that makes a difference.

Emma McCrudden - Performance Nutritionist
Emma is a Performance Nutritionist based with Leinster Rugby in Ireland and the English Institute of Sport in Bath, providing expert nutrition advice for elite athletes in order to support their training.

Emma trained initially as a dietitian in the University of Ulster Coleraine and progressed to achieve a Masters with distinction in Loughborough University in Sports Nutrition. Since then she has worked in England with a variety of sports including Beach Volleyball, Netball and Bob Skeleton before joining the Leinster backroom staff in early 2010.

Emma focuses on the specialist application of the science of nutrition to performance enhancement in sport. The nutritional demands of training and competition vary according to sporting discipline and the individual requirements of athletes. Accredited sports nutritionists are trained in both the science of nutrition and its practical application to the periodised training cycle, to enhance athletic performance. Such an approach aims to maximise training responses, optimise body composition and minimise risk of injury, over-training, illness and burnout.

References
Shirreffs SM et al. (2007) Milk as an effective rehydration drink. British Journal of Nutrition 98: 173-180.
Cockburn et al. (2008) Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism 33; 775-783.