Pre and post exercise nutrition

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2557″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Preparation and recovery are vital for optimal performance. In order for us to ensure we are ready to perform at our best we must ensure we are fuelling our body correctly. Ensuring we are consuming adequate carbohydrates during our training periods is the first step. For those of us who only exercise 3-5 hours per week, we only need to consume approximately 4-5g of carbohydrate per kg of our body mass every day. As we start to increase our activity levels, we also need to increase our energy sources. If completing 1-2 hours of exercise per day we need to look at consuming 5-7g/kg each day, and for those of us who are just that little bit crazy and undertake 2+hrs of exercise per day we need to really make sure we’re getting 7-12g/kg of carbohydrates in every day. Protein is also an important food source not only for energy production but also for muscle repair/regeneration. Like above, the amount of protein we need to consume is dependant on our activity levels: low level activity = 0.7g/kg/day, >1hr/day = 1-1.2g/kg, middle distance/endurance athletes = 1.2-1.4g/kg/day, strength/power/speed athletes = 1.2-1.7g/kg/day.

Another important part of preparing ourselves for our activities are ensuring we are hydrated. There are a few ways to measure hydration, but the easiest way is with a urine colour chart (see below). These are easily accessed online and can be stuck to the back of a toilet door as a reminder to assess your hydration status. This is particularly important in these warmer months as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions that may need medical attention.

Post-exercise nutrition is just as important as pre-exercise. The optimal timeframe for refuelling after activity is within the first hour of activity. In this period we are looking to consume 1g/kg carbohydrate every hour until normal meals have resumed. Examples of foods that contain 50g carbohydrates can be found below. For our protein, we are looking to consume 20g of high quality protein within that first hour, and examples of these types of foods are found below. It is also imperative that we rehydrate following activity. The easiest way to know how much fluid we need is to weigh ourselves before activity and then immediately post. The amount of weight lost x 1.5 is the amount of fluid we need to consume over the next 2-4 hours. Without access to scales, I would encourage at least 2L of fluids to be consumed in the first 2-4 hours. Sports drinks are useful as they contain carbohydrates and electrolytes (that are lost in sweat) however they are not suitable for everyone. Those of us who have particularly salty sweat benefit more from electrolyte drinks than those who don’t have salty sweat (there are tests that can be conducted to determine specifically how much electrolyte replacement you need). Look for electrolyte drinks that contain 4-8% carbohydrates. As a side note, kids do not sweat as much as adults (they find it harder to regulate their body temperature) as such, particular care should be taken when exercising in warmer weather. In addition, as they do not sweat as much they DO NOT need sports drinks, these just contain extra sugars that are not necessary in their diet.

 Examples of 50g of carbohydrates

•        Sports drink: 700ml

•        Carbohydrate loader: 250ml

•        Liquid meal supplement: 250-300ml

•        Sports Bar: 1-1½ bars

•        Fruit juice: 500ml

•        Cordial: 800ml

•        Fruit smoothie: 250 -300ml

•        Flavoured milk: 560ml

•        2 bananas

•        Sultanas: 4 tbsp

•        Fruit flavoured yoghurt: 2 x 200g

Examples of 15-20g of protein

•        ½ chicken/turkey breast

•        250 g low fat yoghurt

•        300 mL of skimmed/semi skimmed milk

•        500 ml carton of flavoured milk

•        Small fillet of salmon

•        ½ tin of tuna

•        1 serve protein supplement drink/bar (depending on the brand & preparation)



There are plenty more ways that we can ensure we prepare and recover our bodies for events and/or everyday exercise. At Enhance we are looking to cover all aspects of this, so come in and see our physio’s for biomechanical assessments, injury rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies; our exercise physiologist for strength and conditioning training as well as rehabilitation and prevention training; our massage therapists for psychological recovery (through muscle relaxation); and our nutritionist to ensure you are getting the most out of your diet to ensure optimal performance.

Cheers, Madi!

To book an appointment with Madi call 6161 8901 or simply book online.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2556″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Optimising physical performance

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2552″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]For many of us, the thought of running a marathon is less appealing than (insert horrible activity). However, we all understand that if we were to take on this monstrous task that we would need to train to ensure our body is capable of completing the activity. The same goes for repetitive/heavy lifting. We regularly see patients who present to us with a back strain following lifting or who avoid lifting due to a previous strain that they find flares up when they lift. The vast majority of these have the same thing in common, they haven’t been regularly lifting either that amount of weight, or for the certain number of repetitions. However, the good news is, is that lifting isn’t something to avoid or be careful about so long as we put in a bit of work.

Training yourself to maximise your lifting capacity by strengthening your legs, optimising you biomechanics (yes, you can bend your back, back’s love to bend, but you must use your legs to lift, not your back) and practising repeated lifting can not only help you with work tasks but can also prepare you for those odd jobs around the home like moving furniture. The other benefit to lifting heavy is that we not only strengthen our muscles, but we also strengthen our bones and joints and we make our vertebral discs more resilient to loads and forces. At Enhance, our physio’s along with our exercise physiologist can help get you started on retraining your body to love lifting and build a healthy, stronger more resilient you! And before I sign off, I thought I’d get on board with the 10 year challenge and post this one that is doing the rounds amongst the physio profession #cantgowrongwithgettingstrong #weallgetstrongerwithknowldge

Cheers, Madi!

To book an appointment with Madi call 6161 8901 or simply book online.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2553″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Chronic inflammation and exercise

I’m sure a lot of us reading this article right now have had an injury in the past that has settled or has persisted over time, and a lot of times you find yourselves asking why is this still going on or what else can I do for that injury to settle completely.

I am also aware that there are a lot of mixed messages given to us these days whether or not to exercise so that we could potentially improve or worsen the symptoms.

While this is a huge area of discussion, our focus for this blog will be on how we can identify chronic inflammation and what can we actually do to reduce the symptoms, just because it’s never impossible!

Let’s go back and review our high-school biology basics…

Inflammation is our body’s very natural protective and beneficial response to any injury in order to repair the tissues and return to its previous healthy state as much as possible and as quickly as possible.

All the tissues in our body whether they are muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, bones, cartilage or organs, are made up of different types of cells and hence have their own inflammatory and healing processes.

Acute inflammation occurs suddenly and is short in duration, characterised by redness, heat, swelling and pain after an injury for e.g. an ankle sprain.

Chronic inflammation refers to slow tissue healing that persists for a long period of time. It occurs when our body fails to remove or stop all the processes that caused the acute inflammation in the first place. This is where our immune system has forgotten to switch off the inflammation button in our bodies.

The reason for these low-grade, persistent reactions, regardless of the mechanism of injury, could be due to both intrinsic factors that include posture, physical mal-alignments, muscle weakness, stress, sleep deprivation, nutrition, age, gender, hormones, alcohol consumption, smoking; and extrinsic factors that include nature of occupation, repetitive movements, changes in climate and temperatures, reduced physical activity or lack of exercise.

How do I know I have chronic inflammation?

While an acute ankle sprain with lots of swelling at the start can progress into that focal chronic swelling leading to ongoing pain and instability, chronic inflammation is not only that. It can also occur from within.

Therefore, conditions such as chronic neck, shoulder and low back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic respiratory (e.g. bronchitis, asthma), heart (e.g. atherosclerosis), digestive (e.g. irritable bowel disease) and metabolic (diabetes) conditions, and many more, are amongst the most commonly treated and managed as a result of chronic inflammatory processes, with a lot of inflammatory markers and mediators floating around in the individual’s system who are suffering from them.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation…

  • Feeling and looking really tired all the time
  • Irritating tummy symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea or even constipation
  • Disrupted sleeping pattern or waking due to pain
  • Frustration and unmotivated towards exercise
  • Mood swings
  • Skin changes e.g. eczema, redness, acne, etc.
  • Raised blood sugar levels
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in appetite

Note: All of us are very different and that’s what makes us unique in our own special way, however, the above are listed possible signs and symptoms which are not exhaustive, are noticed quite a lot in the clinic and are to be used as a guide to assist you in seeking appropriate help from your medical practitioner.

How is exercise relevant to chronic inflammation?

We all know that exercise is good for us and countless researches have also shown and proven in writing that it is the most effective way to reduce pain, strengthen muscles and prevent injuries. But how are they relevant to chronic conditions?

Think about the time you went for a walk or run in the park, took your dogs for a walk or strolled along the beach and coming home feeling so refreshed and relaxed that you want to do it again the next day!

Happy hormones such as endorphins serotonin are released when we exercise, that leaves us happy and feeling far away from pain. I know that’s baby stuff, but at the same time, it also reduces the levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which are also meant to be beneficial hormones, however, add to our dilemma when we take our on-the-go lifestyle into consideration!

You may be rolling your eyes going, duh.

But when it comes to chronic inflammation, put your hand up if you at once rest your face in your hands and think, “I don’t even know what to do, that beach walk left me in pain for days, it’s too painful to exercise, I’m sore for days after a struggling session…”

There is a lot of evidence to support the fact that moderate exercises have shown to improve symptoms of chronic inflammation by lowering the amount of inflammatory markers and C-reactive protein, as opposed to strenuous exercises in the long run (Beavers et al, 2010).

So simply, here’s what to do…

  • Speak to your medical practitioner about your interest in exercising, and they will be able to do all your baseline checks for you.
  • Don’t know where to start? The key is to start small to be able to achieve big and maintain it. Pick an activity that you would like to do the most, for example, swimming, walking, bike riding, etc.
  • Use resources around you, whether it is the leisure centre close by, community centre, clinics that offer exercise classes such as clinical Pilates at a physiotherapy clinic, etc.
  • Prefer to do things yourself? Not a problem! Keep a diary, note down the amount of time you can walk, walk in a pool, swim or ride before you start to struggle. Do it again the next day at half the amount of time and increase it a little at a time every other day.
  • Recommended options that would be safe for you:
  • Hydrotherapy: Exercises performed in a warm pool, which can be catered to any conditions for rehabilitation.
  • Clinical Pilates: Focuses on core strengthening and whole body stability.
  • Balance and Strengthening: Exercises based on functional movements that you require doing your activities of daily living, e.g. mini-squats/squats would mimic a sit to stand movement, a lunge would allow you to modify your lifting by widening your stance.
  • Gym-based program: Tailored to suit every individual to overcome chronic pain and inflammation.

Chronic pain can be overwhelming, however, I believe that all of us suffering from this broad-spectrum condition can overcome this to be able to lead a pain-free lifestyle!

At Enhance Physiotherapy, we offer all the options mentioned above at our clinics, and they are tailored specifically to you by our lovely physiotherapists!

If you feel that you’re not sure what is right for you, you’re most welcome to pop in to see us and ask as many questions as you like, as we will be more than happy to answer them for you and so that you are able to get the help you need!