The Game Changers: A Dietitian’s Review

The Game Changers: A Dietitian’s Review

Sports
When The Game Changers documentary came out on Netflix, I felt I had to watch it. It was almost a job requirement for me, since not only am I a dietitian, I’m also a sports dietitian specialising in strength athletes and I have a bit of a presence on Instagram. This meant that I had a crazy number of questions coming in about the documentary. Nutrition documentaries typically have quite a lot of bias, and do not represent the totality of the evidence well. This is a common theme, because honestly, the fundamentals of nutrition typically are not that interesting for the average person. To really bring in an audience they need to make bold claims. Nobody is interested in hearing what they have heard before. People want new and…
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Collagen Supplementation for Injury Recovery

Collagen Supplementation for Injury Recovery

Sports
At first glance, the research on collagen supplementation from an injury recovery perspective is mixed. I will be the first to admit that when I first looked into it, I brushed it off as another one of those supplements getting unnecessary hype without enough promising research behind it. I hold myself to a high standard as an evidence-based practitioner and I am typically not the quickest person to hop on board newer trends, even if they come out of the gates strong with 1-2 promising studies. Because of this, I was quite dismissive of collagen. This was until another colleague of mine in the dietetics world pointed me in the direction of a podcast that featured Professor Keith Baar, which started the process of opening my eyes and seeing that…
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Citrulline Malate Supplementation for Lifters

Citrulline Malate Supplementation for Lifters

Sports
Citrulline malate is a supplement that is typically used to increase strength and endurance. The main benefit of it is to increase nitric oxide levels, which can improve blood flow to muscles. What is Citrulline Malate? Citrulline malate contains L-citrulline bonded with malic acid. L-Citrulline is an amino acid which gets converted by the body into L-arginine. Arginine is converted into nitric oxide, therefore increasing blood flow. Citrulline malate enhances creatine phosphate regeneration - meaning quicker recovery between sets. Research doesn't appear to support that this happens for L-citrulline alone, so this aspect is attributed to the malic acid. The reason why citrulline malate is used instead of arginine supplementation is that it actually raises blood arginine levels more effectively than arginine supplementation since arginine is more poorly absorbed. Taking…
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Beta-Alanine: A Dietitian’s Guide

Beta-Alanine: A Dietitian’s Guide

Sports
Beta-alanine has slowly become one of the few supplements that have developed a good reputation for consistently producing positive outcomes for performance, up there with the likes of creatine and caffeine. It is used as a performance aid mostly because of its ability to improve muscular endurance. What is Beta-Alanine? Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is not used in the production of protein. It is naturally produced by the liver. The benefits from beta-alanine supplementation mostly don’t come from the Beta-alanine directly; they come from the increase in muscle carnosine that occurs. When beta-alanine is consumed it is converted into carnosine by joining histidine. How Does Carnosine Work? The main function of interest for carnosine is that it helps to maintain the acid-base equilibrium. It helps prevent pH from…
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Weight Cuts for Powerlifting – A Dietitian’s Guide

Weight Cuts for Powerlifting – A Dietitian’s Guide

Sports
Weight cutting is an area of powerlifting that I see not being done well on a frequent basis. Honestly, I see it as a bit of a gap in the sport where people are missing out on a massive potential advantage. In a lot of combat sports where making weight is a requirement as well, it is at the point where almost everybody undertakes a significant weight cut. If an athlete chooses not to do one, it puts them at a noticeable disadvantage due to the difference in size and muscle mass. Interestingly enough, even though weight cuts can provide an advantage, they haven’t become a part of the culture of powerlifting, which is why I see it as a bit of a gap.   At one end of the…
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The Vertical Diet: A Dietitians Review

The Vertical Diet: A Dietitians Review

Body Composition, Sports
Outside of the niche community of serious strength athletes, The Vertical Diet is pretty unknown. But due to quite a few elite-level athletes following the diet (including Hafthor "The Mountain" Bjornsson), there is a large reputation behind it. Another massive influence on this is that the founder Stan Efferding is very charismatic (and jacked) and creates compelling arguments as to why a lot of the aspects of this diet are beneficial for health and performance. As a dietitian who specialises in working with strength athletes (with a focus on powerlifting specifically), I get quite a few questions about The Vertical Diet, so I thought I would go through some of the pros and cons. What is The Vertical Diet? The Vertical Diet is a diet that is based on whole…
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Weight-Cuts for Powerlifting

Weight-Cuts for Powerlifting

Sports
Anything that involves lifting weights and broscience is a match made in heaven. Unfortunately for powerlifters, following potential negative practices during a weight-cut can be the difference between hitting a PR and disappointment. The weight-cut refers to the short-term loss of weight before a competition, usually within 7 days. This blog contains a guide on how to safely approach a weight-cut while decreasing the negative impacts on performance. Why a Weight Cut? In theory, the idea of a weight-cut is to temporarily reduce body mass to achieve a certain weight-class. This can therefore replace losing potentially important muscle and fat mass that come with chronic dieting, and help an individual make a certain lift. Short-term weight-cut practices can be very detrimental to performance if done incorrectly. Therefore, it makes sense…
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Carbohydrate Loading

Carbohydrate Loading

Sports
What is Carbohydrate Loading? Carbohydrate loading or carbo-loading is a term used to describe a nutrition technique used by endurance athletes in an attempt to prolong optimal athletic performance and delay the onset of fatigue, or, ‘hitting a wall’. The Transformation of Food into Energy When we eat carbohydrate-containing foods, they arrive at our stomach and begin to break down. From the stomach, the partially broken down food travels to the small intestine where it completely breaks down into many compounds, one being glucose. From the small intestine, the glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. A hormone called insulin which is secreted by our pancreas accompanies the glucose from the blood to our liver and muscle cells, where it is stored in the form of glycogen. From this stored form,…
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How to Fuel and Athlete

How to Fuel and Athlete

Sports
When working with elite athletes, it is not only about eating a healthy balanced diet. Don’t get me wrong of course that is important, but it is equally if not more important the advice you provide considers one main thing – performance! What does that mean? It means optimising intake to ensure your athlete has fuelled and recovered appropriately for their training requirements. An athlete’s requirements could be considered abnormal when you compare them to the general population. After all, an athlete can train for 4 to 8 hours per day, compared to the average person who may struggle to exercise that much in a week! For this reason, it is important recommendations are being made which consider the individual athlete and what their training and performance requirements are. Having…
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Lisa Middleton Q & A

Lisa Middleton Q & A

Other, Sports
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your career? I work predominantly in sports nutrition and I basically became interested in it just from my own personal interest in sport. I did a lot of sport when I was younger and was just interested in the link between what you ate and how that affected performance. I used to experiment with my own diet and was enthusiastic about learning more. When I was in early high school, probably Year 8 or Year 9, I decided I wanted to work as a sports dietitian. I headed down that path, did a human movement degree at Deakin, and then did dietetics after that and got into nutrition from there. I was unemployed for a little while after I…
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