Posts Tagged "Nutrition"

Sports Nutrition Review 1-5, Estimating Calorie Intake

Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 in Nutrition, Review Topics | 0 comments

Let’s say you have a large football player approach you wanting to gain a large amount of muscle mass.  At 6’3 230lbs, you go over the player’s daily meals and discover he is consuming 20% protein, 50% carbohydrates, and 30% fat in 3500 calories of food.

What would your recommendation be?

If you said to increase protein, like my initial thought would be…you would be WRONG.

The first priority according to the guidelines in the NSCA book, would be to increase calories.

Activity Level Male kcal/lb Female kcal/lb
Light 17 16
Moderate 19 17
Heavy 23 20

Football is considered a “Heavy” activity level, and thus this athlete with an estimated caloric need of 23*230 = 5290 calories is woefully underfed.

  • Light – Walking 2.5-3mph, garage work, housecleaning, golf, table tennis
  • Moderate – Walking 3.5-4mph, cycling, skiing, tennis, dancing
  • Heavy – Heavy digging, basketball, climbing, football soccer

For the CSCS exam, you should be able to identify if an athlete is underfed.  Either memorize this table or just get a good feel for how much athletes should be eating at different activity levels, and if it seems like too few calories, it probably is.  Know that adequate protein can vary greatly with the activity type, but generally 10-15% is the minimum requirement.  In the above example, since the athlete was consuming 20% protein (considered adequate), but only ~60% of required calories it’s obvious the priority should be on increasing caloric intake.

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Sports Nutrition Review 1-4, Eating Disorders

Posted by on Feb 3, 2013 in Nutrition, Review Topics | 0 comments

If an athlete gets an eating disorder, it’s the strength and conditioning professional’s responsibility to immediately report this to the team’s physician.  It is not the job of the CSCS to diagnose or treat an eating disorder.  Know the warning signs and report them if a problem is suspected.

Now let’s go over some common eating disorders and their warning signs:


  • Secretive eating habits, food wrappers in unexpected places, sneaking food from the table
  • Disappearing multiple times after eating
  • Being nervous or agitated if unable to be alone after eating
  • Extreme weight gain or loss
  • Evidence of vomit
  • Large amounts of food disappearing


  • Saying “Do you think I’m fat”, when the person is skinny
  • Dramatic weight loss for no good medical reason
  • Getting below the ideal competitive weight, and losing weight during the off-season
  • Preoccupation with food, calories, and weight

Warning signs for both

  • Constipation or stomach aches
  • Mood swings and social withdrawal
  • Excessive exercise and concern about weight
  • Extremely critical of their own physique
  • Strong denial that a problem exists

What to do or not do

  • Do gather information and report all findings to the team physician
  • Do not attempt to make the diagnosis, that is the physician or therapists job
  • Do not simply require more frequent weigh ins, monitor food intake, or offer encouragement on outward appearance.  None of these are effective in treating the disease of bulimia or anorexia.  Referral to a physician or therapist is the correct line of action.
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Sports Nutrition Review 1-1, Pre-Competition Carbohydrate Loading

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Nutrition, Review Topics | 0 comments

On the practice exam, I missed four of the seven questions regarding nutrition.  It’s funny, because aside from my normal day job, this website, and my other activities I spend a good deal of time reading about nutrition related topics and consider myself well educated on the topic.  Some of this knowledge was useful in answering the questions, but many of the questions were geared towards nutrition as it pertains to athletics.

Also, there are a fair number of nutritional philosophies outlined in the CSCS Exam preparation materials that I simply do not agree with.  That’s largely irrelevant however, as the goal is to pass the exam.  Onward to the material!

Pre-Competition Carbohydrate Loading

Studies have demonstrated that an effective technique for increasing muscle glycogen stores before an endurance event, is to taper activity for the week prior to the event combined with a high carbohydrate diet for the three days immediately prior.  This has been shown to increase glycogen stores by 20-40%.  I haven’t covered what glycogen is yet, but it’s the storage form of carbohydrate that is stored in muscles and liver.  Read more about it here.

The recommended quantity of carbohydrates is 8-10g per kg of body weight.

So a 150lb marathon runner would load each day 544 – 680 grams of carbohydrate each day, or around 2176 – 2720 calories of carbohydrates.  This is around 6-8 lbs of potatoes, 20 bananas, or 12 cups of cooked pasta.

First convert 150lbs to kilograms by dividing by 2.2.  Then multiply this number by 8 & 10 to get your grams, and by 4 to get your calories.

This can seem like an excessive amount of carbohydrates, and some athletes poorly digest an excessive amount of carbohydrates so personalization may be necessary.

If you understand macronutrients, focus on remembering “8-10 grams of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight”.

When the question comes up on the CSCS Exam, you will then likely be able to deduce the answer if you remembered the above quotation.


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