Designing A Race Day Diet Health Essay

Published: 2021-07-12 13:40:05
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1.0. Introduction
Tim is an elite level triathlete who is expected to take part to the Florida ½ Ironman© triathlon (1.2mile swimming, 56mile cycling and 13.1mile running). He is 28 years old his weight is 65 kg. According to his results of the last year's event; the elite level triathlete is expected to finish the race in approximately 4 hours. The main objective of this assignment is to design a diet menu plan for the day of his triathlon. The importance of nutrition to the athlete’s performance is influenced by his gender, age, body weight status, environment of competition and the type of event he is participate in (Williams et al., 2013). Consequently, the essential calculations are made in order to define the triathlete's needs for the day of the event.
Tim has to consume adequate amounts of nutrients and fluids in order to achieve an optimum performance. The meal and fluid plan recommendations were divided in three main categories: pre-event, during and after the event. The CHO status of an athlete can be assessed according to the total daily intake and the timing of consumption in relation to exercise (Burke et. al, 2011). Therefore in order to be able to define the CHO needs (pre, during and post the event) of the athlete, some essential calculations are made depending on the guidelines of Burke et al. (2011).
Triathlon starts at 10am, thus the triathlete is better to compete after an overnight fast (McArdle, Katch and Katch, 2007). The athlete is expected to consume firstly a pre-event meal. The pre-competition meal takes on significant importance because during the overnight fasting period, a significant depletion occurs in CHO stores (McArdle, Katch and Katch, 2007). The main objective of fluid intake before exercise is to start of physical activity euhydrated as well as with normal body electrolyte level (Sawka et al., 2007).
Moreover the athlete is expected to consume a during-event meal which contains increasing amounts of carbohydrate (CHO) in fluid and solid form. The consumption of increasing amounts of carbohydrates is essential because they may enhance performance during Ironman triathlon or during similar intensity event (Williams et al., 2013). According to Coyle (2004), athletes can benefit by ingesting different combinations of water, CHO and electrolytes during the competition.
Finally the athlete is expected to consume a recovery meal which will restore the liver and glycogen stores and also replace the fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat (Burke and Deakin, 2010). There are four factors which contribute to the right replacement of glycogen stores: the timing of CHO intake, the rate of CHO ingestion, the type of CHO ingested and the ingestion of protein and CHO after exercise (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010).
2.0. Main Body
2.1. Part A: Calculations
Estimate total energy expenditure for the day: ( according to Bean (2009) and Williams (2010))
(Depends on age, weight and physical activity)
Age: 28 years old
Weight: 65 kg
Physical Activity: Triathlon ( 1.2 miles swimming, 56 miles cycling, 13.1 miles running)
Estimation of the total Energy Expenditure (EE) for the competition day:
Step 1: Estimation of the RMR
Male 18-30 years old: (Body Weight in kg x 15.3) +679
RMR= (65 x 15.03) + 679= 1673 kcal
Step 2: Calculation of the daily EE (Assuming that Tim is generally sedentary person)
Daily EE= RMR x 1.4
= 1673 x 1.4= 2342.2 kcal
Step 3: Estimation of the number of calories expended during exercise
Swimming= 25min x 10.3= 257.5 kcal
Cycling= 121min x 15.5= 1875.5 kcal
Running= 76min x 17.6= 1337.6 kcal
Step 4: Add figures from steps 2 and 3 to calculate the total EE
Maintenance calorie intake= 2342.2+257.5+1875.5+1337.6=5813 kcal
Personalised fluid plan
Pre-event fluid recommendation (Sawka et. al, 2007)
5-7 ml per kg of body weight (3-4h before exercise)
5 x 65 = 325 Tim has to consume 325-455 ml of fluids 3-4 h before
7 x 65 = 455 exercise.
If the urine is dark the triathlete has to consume 3-5 ml per kg of body weight 2h before exercise.
3 x 65 = 195 ml Tim has to consume 195-325ml of fluids 2 h before
5 x 65 = 325 ml exercise.
During event recommendation (American College of Sports Medicine, 2007)
Typical sweat rates in approximately temperature of 20 °C
Swimming: 380 ml/h
Cycling: 1 L/h
Running: 1.4 L/h
Approximately sweat rate:
Swimming: approximate time for completion 30 min
Cycling: approximate time for completion 2 h
Running: approximate time for completion 1 1⁄4 h
During-event fluid recommendations:
Swimming: Typical sweat rate x Duration of the exercise= 380 x 0.5=190 ml Overall during event
Cycling: Typical sweat rate x Duration of the exercise= 1 x 2= 2 L fluid intake=3.94 L.
Running: Typical sweat rate x Duration of the exercise=1.25 x 1.4= 1.75 L
Post-event recommendations (Sawka et. al, 2007)
1.5 L of fluid per kg of body weight lost
Carbohydrate (CHO) Requirements (according to Burke et al., 2011)
Pre-event CHO requirements: 1-4 g per kg of body weight
1 x 65= 65 g 65-260 g of CHO in 3-4 h before competition
4 x 65= 260 g
During-event CHO requirements: Assuming that competition will last for more than 60min at >70% VO2 max the CHO requirements are:
30-60 g CHO/hour→ 4h duration exercise → 30 x 4 = 120 g 120-240 g CHO
60 x 4 = 240 g
90 g CHO/hour→4h duration exercise→ 293 g CHO
Post-event Requirements- Recovery
Assuming that the triathlete will take part in an extreme commitment training (>4 hours).
8-12 g per kg of body weight → 8 x 65 = 520 g 520-780 g CHO
12 x 65 = 780 g
2.2. Part B: Race day diet plan and instructions
2.2.1 Menu of the day of the event plus times
Food and Fluid intake before the event:
To be consumed 3-4 hours before the event (approximately at 6:30am)
2 slices of white bread (toasted)- 66 g
Fruit jam- 40 g
Pasta penne white- 325 g
Low fat Tomato sauce- 90 g
Smoothie based on low fat milk and strawberry and banana- 450 ml
2 hours before the event:
If the urine is dark then consume:
Fluids: 3-5 ml water/kg of body weight: For the 65 kg athlete 195-325 ml of water is needed in order to prevent dehydration
Food and Fluid intake during exercise: To be consumed during Cycling or Running
The food and fluid recommendations could be consumed during running or cycling. The athlete should ensure a CHO intake of approximately 70 g per hour (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). Moreover the triathlete should consume
3 x Banana-120 g
2 x Ginger bar (Nature Valley)- 84 g
2 Lucozade Sport Elite Dual Carb Orange Drink-500 ml (2:1 Glucose Fructose mixture)-1000ml
2 Sports gels (ENER: GEL Isotonic Energy Gel)-orange flavour-120 ml
Water 2 L
Food and Fluid intake every 2 hours for 0-4 hours after exercise:
Straight after exercise:
Chocolate Milk- with low fat milk, 500 ml
1-2 hours after exercise:
Weetabix-120 g
Honey -20 g
Natural Yoghurt-200 g
Raisins -20 g
Pumpkin seeds-10 g
3-4 hours after exercise:
Jacket potato-348 g
Tuna-140 g
Kidney beans-60 g
Sweet corn-80 g
5-6 hours after exercise:
Mashed Potato with butter-350 g
Peas-70 g
Chicken breast-100 g
Smoothie based on low fat milk and strawberry and banana- 800 ml
Orange juice- 500 ml
1 Lucozade Sport Elite Dual Carb Orange Drink- 500 ml (2:1 Glucose Fructose mixture)
Water-(the actual amount is based on based on athlete's preference)
2.2.2. Nutrient Composition of each suggested meal and food (Meal macronutrient/ calorie content based on Cheyette and Balolia, 2010 and NetWisp V0.3)
Table 1: Pre-event meal/fluid recommendations
Pre-event meal
CHO (g)
Protein (g)
Fat (g)
2 slices of white bread
Jam fruit
Pasta penne (white)
Low fat tomato sauce
Banana and Strawberry Smoothie with low fat milk
195-325ml (if the urine is dark 2h before exercise)
Table 2: During the event meal/fluid recommendations
During-event meal
CHO (g)
Protein (g)
Fat (g)
3-120 g
Nature Valley Granola
(Ginger nut)
2-84 g
Lucosate Sport Elite Dual Carb Orange Drink
2-1000 ml
Sports Gels (SIS)
2-120 ml
2 L
Table 3: Post-event meal/fluid recommendations
After event meal
CHO (g)
Protein (g)
Fat (g)
Meal 1: Straight after exercise
Chocolate milk
Meal 2: 1-2 hours after exercise
Pumpkin seeds
Meal 3: 3-4 hours after exercise
Jacket Potato
Kidney Beans
Sweet Corn
Meal 4: 5-6 hours after exercise
Mashed Potato with butter
Chicken Breast
Total post-event fluid Intake
Banana and Strawberry smoothie
Orange juice
Lucosate Sport Elite Dual Carb Orange Drink
2.2.3. Photos of the recommended meals and fluids and instructions of consumption
(Pre-event meal time, timing, frequency and volume/amount during exercise and post-event meal and fluid recovery)
Figure 1: Pre-event meal and fluids
Figure 2: During the event meal and fluids
Figure 3: Post-event meal and fluids
2.3. Part C: Justification of meal, food and fluid plan
2.3.1. Pre-event meal and fluid strategy
Meal Strategy:
According to McArdle, Katch and Katch (2007), the pre-competition meal should provide sufficient CHO energy and also it has to provide adequate fluids in order to ensure optimal hydration.
Athletes need an understanding of the role of pre-event meal in topping up liver glycogen levels (Burke and Deakin, 2010). The pre-event meal should contain 65-260 g of CHO (1-4 g per kg of body weight), and it should be consumed within 3-4 hours before the event (Burke et al., 2011). The consumption of a high CHO meal at 3-4 hours before the event could improve performance (Williams et al., 2013). For example the study of Hawley et al. (1997), based on events with duration over 90 minutes, which showed that CHO loading will postpone fatigue and extend the duration of steady state exercise by 20% and also improve performance by 2-3%. Moreover the studies of Neufer at al. (1987) and Sherman et al. (1989) showed that CHO consumption 1-4 hours prior the event could enhance performance in cycling.
Besides the chronological space between the meal and the competition (3-4 hours) allows enough time for digestion to be completed and also it ensures that the stomach is relatively empty and the sensation of hunger is decreased (Williams et al., 2013). Furthermore the meal should include low amount of fat and fibre in order to assist gastric emptying and minimise gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort (McArdle, Katch and Katch, 2007) (Burke and Deakin, 2010). Large amount of protein increases the water output of the kidneys, consequently it was better to avoid foods which have high protein content (Williams et al., 2013). According to McArdle, Katch and Katch (2007), many athletes become psychologically reliable on a high protein or fat pre-competition meal, but a high protein or fat meal will not promote any advantage to the exercise performance. Moreover in the case that no CHO is provided from the pre-competition meal, optimal performance could inhibited because a high protein or fat meal digests slowly and stays into the GI tract for longer period compare with a high CHO meal with the same energy content (McArdle, Katch and Katch, 2007). The design of the menu was based on this theory as well, thus the meal suggestion had relatively low protein and fat content.
The recommended meal contains 227 g of CHO which is between the recommendations and also it has relatively low fat and fibre content (see table 1). The CHOs could be consumed in any form such as fluid like juices or smoothies and also as solid CHOs like pasta or fruits (Williams et al., 2013). Moreover some examples of pre-event meals that can provide the essential CHOs for the competition are plain breakfast cereal with low fat milk and fruit, porridge with low fat milk and fruit juice or pasta with low fat tomato based sauce (Burke and Deakin, 2010). The choice of the right breakfast depends on the athlete’s preferences. The full suggestion of the pre competition meal was two slices of white bread with jam and pasta penne served with tomato sauce. The two slices of white bread is suggested by Jeukendrup and Gleeson (2010) as a good example of pre-event meal whereas the pasta penne served with tomato based sauce was suggested by Burke and Deakin (2010) as an example of a high CHO meal. The consumption of beverages with sodium, salted snacks or small meals with beverages can facilitate to the stimulation of thirst and retain of needed fluids (Sawka et al., 2007). Thus the pasta contains one teaspoon of salt in order to help stimulate the athlete's thirst and help retain fluids.
Additionally the choice of using pasta as the pre-event meal is based on that athletes involved in endurance events may wish to trial low glycaemic index food like porridge, pasta, baked beans etc in their pre-event meal (Burke and Deakin, 2010). Even if the evidences for performance benefits are unclear, the low glycaemic index foods are most likely to be useful before prolonged exercise, where a sustain release of fuel cannot be provided by intake during the competition itself (Burke and Deakin, 2010). However in this situation a during-event meal is feasible, thus glycaemic index is less important than any other issue may occur.
Fluid Strategy:
The consumption of adequate amounts of fluid before exercise is important in order to prevent dehydration which is a result of the inadequate fluid intake in comparison with the real needs of the athlete (ACSM, 2007). Dehydration can increase the physiologic strain as measured by core temperature, heart rate and perceived exertion reactions during exercise-heat stress (ACSM, 2007). Pre-hydration with beverages should be initiated at least 3-4 hours before the event in order to facilitate fluid absorption and let urine output to return to standard levels.
The pre-event fluid intake should contain at least 500ml of fluid in about 2 hours before exercise to enhance adequate hydration and allow time for excretion of excess ingested water (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). However, Tim has to consume 325-455ml of fluids 3-4h before exercise according to the available calculations (ACSM, 2007). The menu provided suggests that he has to consume 500ml of banana and strawberry smoothie as well as water if it is needed. A smoothie based on low fat milk is suggested according to one of the recommendations by Burke and Deakin (2010). Moreover a smoothie has a pleasant flavour which assists to the volunteer intake as well.
2.3.2. During event meal and fluid strategy
Meal Strategy:
The major source of CHO during exercise is the muscle glycogen stores (Ivy, 1991). Hypoglycaemia (muscle glycogen reduction) could be the reason of fatigue during endurance (aerobic) exercise, such the triathlon in this case (Williams et al., 2013). The enhancement with CHO before and during the competition possibly will delay the beginning of fatigue and improve performance (Williams et al., 2013). Additionally in order to prevent fatigue and body needs to maintain energy, the fuel should be simple, easily digestible CHOs (ACSM, 2012).
The CHO intake during the competition is highly important because CHOs can maintain blood glucose and high levels of CHO oxidation, they "promote" glycogen sparing, they enhance the glycogen synthesis during exercise, they affect motor skills, they affect the central nervous system (taste can influence the mood and perception of effort) (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). Thus there are several reasons why the CHO is important component in the during exercise menu.
The consumption of 30–60 g/h of CHO is an appropriate target for sports of longer duration (Burke et al., 2011). However for ultra endurance events which last over 2.5 h could be beneficial to consume higher intake of CHO 60-90 g/h (Burke et al., 2011) (Williams et al., 2013). Thus, the recommended meal CHO content is between 60-90g/h and solid-fluids sources should provide a total of 287g of CHO to the triathlete.
According to ACSM (2012), some ideas of during exercise foods are: gels, energy beans, honey, oranges, energy beverages and bananas. Moreover bananas are in Jeukendrup’s and Gleeson’s (2010) recommendation list. The "Natural Valley" bars which are portable and easy for consumption and also they have high CHO content. Therefore the suggested meal contains two "Natural Valey" bars and three bananas in terms of solid food because they are easy for consumption during cycling or running as well.
Fluid Strategy:
The general aim of drinking during exercise is to inhibit excessive dehydration (>2% body weight loss from water loss) and also extreme alteration in electrolyte balance from compromise performance and health (ACSM, 2007). As shown in the calculation section, the approximate sweat rates could give an estimated value of the sweat rate at the day of the event, thus recommendations could made based on this estimate value. The consumption of beverages which contains electrolytes and CHOs can help maintain fluid electrolyte balance and exercise performance (Sawka et al., 2007).
Sports drinks are generally demonstrated as CHO and electrolyte replacement fluids and they could be consumed by athletes during the competition (Burke and Deakin, 2010). Moreover the majority of sports drinks have pleasant taste so they promote voluntary intake and it is possibly the best choice for meeting the fluid and CHO requirements (Burke and Deakin, 2010). Additionally they attempt to replace sweat water and electrolyte losses. The recommended sports drink "Lucozade Sport Elite Dual Carb Orange Drink" -500ml has glucose and fructose mixture. According to Burke et al. (2011), the products which provide multiple transportable CHOs (glucose: fructose mixtures) will achieve high rates of oxidation of CHO consumed for the duration of exercise (based on CHO intake over 90 g per hour). Specifically the multiple transportable CHOs in a drink can increase oxidation rates for the period of exercise (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). The types of CHO ingested play a critical role, with the mixture of glucose:fructose beverage probably the best way of staying hydrated (Jeukendrup and Moseley 2010). Also a glucose and fructose mixture drink can possibly sparing endogenous CHO during exercise (Currell and Jeukendrup 2008). In addition, the recommended menu contains two sports gels because they are suitable for large fuel boost and they are experimented to avoid GI discomfort (Burke and Deakin, 2010). Furthermore, because the electrolyte composition of sweat is hypotonic plasma, the replacement of water instead of electrolytes is the main concern during exercise (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). Thus it is recommended that in addition to sports drinks and gels that triathlete could consume 2 L water as well. Additionally sports drinks could be pleasantly favoured, cool and sweetened and sodium is also preferable to present in them in order to promote their consumption and stimulate thirst (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010).
However the fluid intake depends on the opportunities for consumption and his willing to win (fluid consumption-time bound), so if the triathlete cannot meet the exact fluid requirements he can drink a part of them after the exercise. Moreover excess amounts of fluids can lead to hyponatremia which is a condition characterised by low plasma sodium concentration. Additionally sodium losses in sweat can cause hyponatraemia despite of whether the athlete is over and under drinking (ACSM, 2007). Thus, the recommended drink contains relatively high amount of sodium 0.4 g per 500 ml bottle. The volume of fluids which should be consumed is between 0.4-0.8 L per hour (ACSM, 2007).
2.3.3. Post-event meal and fluid strategy
Meal Strategy:
The timing and rate of CHO consumption after exercise can influence the amount of glycogen stored (Manore et al., 2009). Glycogen synthesis rates are highest immediately after exercise when the muscle is depleted and glycogen synthase activation is high, consequently CHO has to get rapidly into the body, particularly during the first 2 h after the completion of the event (Manore et al., 2009) (Burke and Deakin, 2010).
Additionally according to Manore et al. (2009) and based on a number of studies the combination of some protein or amino acids with CHO can lead to higher muscle glycogen synthesis against the same amount of CHO without the additional protein (Ivy et al., 2002). The most essential macronutrients during the recovery period of exercise are protein and CHO (Poole et al, 2010). Glycogen synthesis in the recovery phase is essential for replenish the energy stores and the supporting of the body in the post exercise period (Poole et al, 2010). Moreover the post-event meals are mixtures of CHO and protein in order to increase glycogen synthesis in a higher level instead of providing a high CHO meal without protein. The total CHO and protein content of post event meal was 64% and 18.9% respectively.
There are many factors which determining the effectiveness of glycogen synthesis rates such as the timing of ingestion, the glycaemic index value of the food, the amount ingested, and the nutrient composition of the food (Poole et al, 2010). Thus, the post-exercise meal provided includes high glycaemic index foods which appear to be more effective in the post exercise meal (Burke and Deakin, 2010). The amount of CHO provided is between 520-780 g which according to the available calculations is the appropriate post-event CHO content after high intensity level of activity.
The straight after exercise meal has to be portable for practical reasons such as he maybe consumes his first recovery drink/meal at the coach or at the event area so he maybe is not possible to carry or prepare a proper meal. The suggested recovery drink is 500 ml of chocolate milk which is high in CHO (54.6 g) and protein (18 g) which according to Karp et al. (2006) may be considered an effective alternative to commercial fluid replacement drink or CHO replacement drink for recovery from exhausting, glycogen-depleting exercise. Recovery snacks have to contain about 50 g of CHO and 10-25 g of protein according to Burke’s and Deakin’s recommendations (2010).
All the post event meals provided have high CHO content as well as protein and sodium levels. Moreover the timing of the meals has a logical time gap in order to prevent the discomfort of overeating. The suggested meals are based on Burke’s and Deakin’s recommendations (2010). The recommended baked and mashed potato will provide CHO to the body whereas pumpkin seeds, tuna and chicken breast will provide the essential protein. The kidney beans contain both protein and CHO. The recommended high GI foods, such as Weetabix, mashed potatoes, pumpkin seeds and medium GI such as baked potatoes and raisins are suitable for speedy glycogen recovery (Burke and Deakin, 2010).
Fluid Strategy:
Pre- and post-exercise hydration effects on health, provided that fluid intake is in excess of sweat loss and that renal function is not impaired (Shirreffs et al., 2004). The measurement of pre- and post-event body weights is useful to define sweat rates and modified fluid replacement programs.
The post-exercise rehydration is challenging because the athlete may continue to lose fluid during this phase due to the continued sweat losses but principally due to urination (Burke and Deakin, 2010). Rehydration after exercise requires not only replacement of volume losses, but also replacement of the electrolytes, primarily sodium, lost in the sweat (Shirreffs et al., 2004). A reasonable additional salt intake would appear to be beneficial as long as is not detrimental for the athlete's health. Any excess sodium ingested will be excreted in the urine as the kidneys restore equilibrium.
After exercise, the goal is to replace fluid and electrolyte deficits (ACSM, 2007). The consumption of normal meals and beverages will restore euhydration. The triathlete should drink approximately 1.5 L of fluid for each kilogram of body weight lost to achieve normal hydration within 6 hours after exercise (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010) (ACSM, 2007). The recommendations provided cover his needs with drinks such as smoothie, sports drink and orange juice in addition to water and the recovery chocolate milk. There is a variety of beverages which gives the opportunity to have different variety of flavours.
Consuming beverages and snacks with sodium will help expedite rapid and complete recovery by stimulating thirst and fluid retention. Thus, all the post-event meals contain additional salt. Intravenous fluid replacement is generally not advantageous, unless medically merited (Sawka et al., 2007). Additionally optimal rehydration after exercise can only be achieved if the sodium lost in sweat is replaced along with the water (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). Plasma volume is more rapidly and completely restored in the post exercise period if some sodium chloride is added to the water consumed. A volume equivalent to at least one and a half times sweat loss must be consumed to ensure that complete rehydration is achieved at the end of a 6 h recovery period after exercise (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). The volume of beverage consumed should be greater than the volume of sweat lost to allow for the ongoing obligatory urine losses, and palatability of the beverage is a major issue when large volumes of fluid have to be consumed (Shirreffs et al., 2004).

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