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Nutrition, Training and Socks - A Random Q&A with Dr. Jim Brown

March 24, 2003 03:48 PM

Q) When you trying to take in carbohydrates before and during a three-day tournament, is it better to get them in liquid form or in solid foods?

A) There are advantages and disadvantages for both. Carbohydrates in liquid form help replace fluid losses and they empty from the stomach rapidly. But large amounts are difficult to carry and do not provide the variety or taste of solid foods. Solid-form carbs are compact, easy to carry, and come in a variety of tasty food. However, solids require additional fluids to be digested quickly and they don't replace sweat losses.

Q) Is distance running good for tennis players?

A) Not particularly. Your time would be better spent running short sprints that simulate the running patterns of a tennis match.

Q) Is there any connection between the time of day during which you train or play tennis and the way your body responds?

A) There have been studies on this subject, but the evidence is not conclusive. An investigation reported in the Journal of Sports Science found that most physiological responses are not affected by the time of day. But they also concluded that a longer warm-up period might be a good idea in the morning because of a slower increase in body temperature. This could affect the ease of breathing and perceived exertion.

Q) In a year-round tennis training program, how long should the active (relative) rest period last.

A) The USTA says one to four weeks, depending on the person's physical and emotional health and the time of the year. The downtime period should be longer during the winter months when the number of events decreases; shorter during warm weather months.

Q) Is there a type of material that is best for athletic socks?

A) The American Podiatric Medical Association says to stay away from 100 percent cotton or 100 percent wool socks. A better choice is socks that combine cotton with synthetic materials such as acrylic, olefin, and Thermax(TM).

Q) Does ibuprofen speed up the healing process?

A) No. It can reduce inflammation and relieve pain, but it does not otherwise speed up the healing process.

Q) Do amino acid supplements have any value for increasing muscle growth?

A) "No," says Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D., author of Power Eating. "No data support claims for increased muscle growth, increased strength, or decreased body fat. Taken in excess, amino acids may cause gastrointestinal distress and may block the absorption of other amino acids."

Q) Are there differences in the ingredients among Gatorade, Powerade, and All Sport?

A) There are more differences in percentages and amounts of ingredients than in the contents themselves. In an eight-ounce container, Gatorade has 50 calories (6 percent of the total carbohydrates); Powerade and All Sport have 70 calories (8 percent). Only Powerade contains maltodextrin (4 g). There are 19 grams of total carbohydrate in Powerade and All Sport; 14 g in Gatorade. All three beverages fall within the 4-8 percent carbohydrate guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine. Gatorade contains 110 mg of sodium, twice as much as Powerade and All Sport (55 mg). Powerade and Gatorade each have 30 mg of potassium; All Sport has 55 mg. Of the three drinks, All Sport is the only one that is carbonated.

Jim Brown will be contributing new content to this site on a monthly basis. If you have a question for Dr. Brown please feel free to email him at sportsmed@mindspring.com.




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