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 FAQS - Frequently Asked Questions
Should I be drinking Gatorade when I exercise?
It is very important that you drink plenty of fluids while exercising to prevent dehydration and to perform your best. It is recommended that athletes drink regularly during a workout. These amounts may need to be higher on hot and humid days, for very intense workouts, or for very tall or muscular athletes. Usually, water is the best fluid for your body. But when you are exercising for longer than an hour, your body has lost some carbohydrate and electrolytes. Sports drinks, like Gatorade or Powerade, are a good way to give your body electrolytes and some carbohydrates while exercising. If you are working out for less than an hour, water and a well-balanced meal after your workout will replace the fluid and energy that your body used while exercising.

Do athletes need to follow a strict diet to perform well?
No. An athlete's diet should be very similar to a regular well-balanced diet. However, athletes need to drink more because of fluid loss during training and competition. They also require more calories to meet the extra needs of physical activity.

Should I eat energy bars?
It depends. There are many different energy bars you can buy. Some are high in carbohydrates and others are high in protein. They do not contain any magic ingredient that will help your athletic performance. Regular foods that have some carbohydrate and protein in them like yogurt, cheese and crackers. Cereal bars are just as good and are usually cost less. However, energy bars are convenient and may taste good. If you are eating them for those reasons, then they are fine. Energy bars are usually pretty dense and low in moisture so make sure you drink plenty of fluids when you eat them.

Should I eat extra protein?
Although some extra protein is needed to build muscle, most people eat plenty of protein. Eating extra will not have any benefit. For most people, 2 servings of protein foods (like meat, poultry, fish, beans, tofu, or eggs) every day and 2 servings of dairy protein (like milk, yogurt, or cheese) will provide enough protein. Eating enough calories is actually more important for building muscle. Without enough calories, your body can't build new muscle.

Should I carb-load before my games or competitions?
When you are training or competing, your muscles need energy to perform. Glycogen is the energy used by muscles. It is made from carbohydrates and stored in your muscles. Every time you work out, you use some of your glycogen. If you don't eat enough carbohydrates, your glycogen stores are lower and your muscles may not be able to perform their best. Carbohydrate loading is a technique used to increase the amount of glycogen in muscles. It involves eating extra carbohydrates during the week before a competition while at the same time decreasing training. Carb-loading is intended for marathon runners and is not useful for most athletes. Just simply eating a diet that is high in carbohydrates is enough to build good glycogen stores.

What should I eat before a game/practice?
Performance depends mostly on the foods you ate in the days and weeks leading up to an event. If you usually eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates, you will probably have enough energy (glycogen) stored in your muscles to perform well. The purpose of the "precompetition" meal is to prevent hunger and to provide the water and energy you will need during the game/practice. There is no magic pre-exercise diet, contact us so we can help you figure out which foods will work best for you.

What should I eat after a game/practice?
You need food after a game/practice to replace the carbohydrate burned and the electrolytes lost. Electrolytes are found in nearly all foods, so you don't need a special drink to get those. Your body will replenish its energy stores (glycogen) the best if you eat a food with carbohydrates and some protein after working out like a half of a sandwich or a yogurt.

Do I need to lift heavy weights to build muscle?
No. You do not need to lift heavy weights to strengthen and tone muscles on your body. You can build muscles by doing toning exercises, lifting light weights, or playing sports. You can even strengthen certain muscle groups by doing activities such as cleaning your room and carrying your book bag.

How can I lose weight just in my stomach?
There are no exercises or nutrition plans that can target weight loss to a specific area of your body, like your stomach. You can strengthen certain muscles in your stomach and this will help your abs be stronger.

How can I strengthen my abs?
Firming your abdominal area takes a regular exercise routine and time. Simple abdominal crunches or sit-ups are easy and effective. You do not need to buy fancy ab equipment. Combining cardio with ab training will build muscle and burn stored adipose (fat) tissue. Strong abs also help prevent back injuries.

Do I need to stretch when I exercise?
Yes. Proper stretching before and after exercise is important for preventing injuries in all your muscle groups (upper, mid, and lower body). It also decreases your risk of back injury. You will see improvements in flexibility over time. Everyone has the potential to become more flexible.

What are the best exercises for weight loss?
There is no magic workout for weight loss, but cross training is a healthy plan. Cross training means balancing a variety of cardiovascular, muscle conditioning, and flexibility activities. This prevents boredom, so you will stick with your fitness routine. Cardiovascular activities are exercises that use your heart muscle, burn energy, and build muscle. These include: sports, cheerleading, power walking, running, dancing, or other exercises that make you sweat. Muscle conditioning exercises include weight lifting and toning exercises like push ups, sit-ups, or leg lifts. Playing sports can build muscles too. Building muscle raises your metabolism (how your body burns food for energy), and may help prevent osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles. Injury prevention is an important benefit of stretching.

How do I fit exercise into my busy schedule?
Make it THE priority at least 3 times a week. Here are some ideas to start with:
  • lan a fitness routine.
  • Schedule exercise on your calendar.
  • Find a buddy to exercise with.
  • Start slowly. Begin with 15 minutes and work up to 20 or 30 minutes.
  • Walk or ride your bike instead of driving or taking the bus.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
What should I do if I feel too tired to exercise?
Try to exercise even if you feel tired. Listening to music can help motivate you! When you exercise, you usually sleep better at night and will have more energy later. It's true-exercise actually gives you more energy in the long run!

How often do I need to exercise?
There is no specific formula to figure out how often you need to exercise. Aim for regular physical activity. Try to fit in exercise on most days but not every day. It's ok to take days off. For most teens, exercising 4-5 times per week is a great goal.