Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

IT'S HOT OUTSIDE!!! Don't wait until URINE trouble to hydrate.

It's hot outside!  Here is a easy way to monitor your hydration throughout the year.  Print the document out and place it above your urinal or toilet to constantly remind yourself to stay hydrated.  Hydration is good for athletics but essential to health.

We handed these posters out at NATA in New Oreleans at the National Athletic Trainers Association and recieved a number of request for more copies.  If you are a ATC at a NCAA school you can log into the REC and go to Drug Program information to print off a copy from the original file.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summertime!!! Alcohol in moderation

Its summertime and finally a break from school! This of course excludes the thousands of you on campus attending summer school and summer workouts to get a leg up on the competition.  You work hard all year, going to classes, studying, and being involved at the school you attend. You are a student-athlete, which is a tough job, and you have put lots of time into training, practice, and competitions. For some, summer time is vacation time, but for many of you it is simply a chance to focus on getting better. Of course, I’m sure you will make a “little” more time for partying and fun, but fall session is right around the corner and that first game even closer.  Yes, it is the off-season, but getting back in shape is a lot tougher than staying in shape.  So if you ask yourself the question, “what will it hurt to drink a little more than usual,” remember these tips:

#1 Weight gain: Alcoholic drinks, including beer and wine, are empty calories. If you go out and binge drink, you can easily consume 600-1,000 calories+ and that doesn’t include late night snacking! Many summer drinks contain 500 calories in ONE drink.

#2 Skipped workouts: Ever have a work out planned, or a work out your coach wants you to do, that you decided to skip because you couldn’t get out of bed from the night before? Excessive drinking causes headaches, nausea and tiredness, all of which can convince you to skip a work out.

#3 Alcohol affects performance, and that includes training: Even out of competition, alcohol can affect your ability to get better through training and practice. Want to learn more? Watch a recorded webinar on the topic here.

#4 Dangerous behavior: Chances are you know someone or have heard a story from an athlete who participated in dangerous activities or made bad decisions while under the influence and it changed their lives. Student-athletes have experienced career-ending injuries, and even fatal injuries, because of activities and decisions while under the influence. In college, I had a friend who fell out of a window while intoxicated at a party; he was paralyzed from the waist down and couldn’t continue his college basketball career.  Think it can’t happen to you? So did he.

#5 Social, legal and personal problems: Poor decisions and risky behavior can affect many aspects of your life. In the long run, the stress or consequences can have an impact on your performance and your athletic career.

What does all this mean to you? Even in the off-season, alcohol can affect performance and health. Be responsible and mindful when it comes to your own alcohol consumption and social activities.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Choose My Plate - 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

In January, the USDA released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and have recently launched the new website and symbol. Moving away from the Pyramid look, which has been a symbol since 1992, the USDA introduced “My Plate” to illustrate the five food groups using a familiar visual. The new focus is to encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods and to limit intake of things such as added sugar, trans fat, and sodium. Instead of the previous approach, suggesting how many servings of each food group is adequate per day, the USDA is suggesting which food groups to eat more of, or make a bigger portion of your “plate”, and which to limit your intake of. These guidelines provide action steps for Americans to incorporate.

The new guidelines suggest:

Avoid oversized portions
Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat (at least half your plate)
Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains
Drink low-fat or fat-free milk
Cut back on added sugars and solid fats
Consume less sodium by comparing the amount in foods such as frozen meals and soups
Drink water instead of sugary drinks (such as soda, juices, energy drinks, etc.)

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines offer a fresh approach for Americans on what a healthy diet should look like. The focus has shifted to what you should eat more of and what you should consume less of. The new conceptual view of what your plate should look like can also help you visualize better than using “servings”.

The USDA offers ways to track food intake, learn about food groups, and create food plans online at www.choosemyplate.gov. You will find a wealth of information here, including tips for a healthy diet.

Following these guidelines can help you learn to not only control your caloric intake (and in turn your weight), but eat for lifelong health and performance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Does summertime have you thinking about shedding a few pounds? Read this first!

Summertime brings weight loss to the front of many people’s mind. Swimsuits, pools, shorts, dresses, etc., motivate people to drop the pounds. There are tons of fad diets and dietary supplements that promise to be quick fixes for anyone wanting to lose weight. Below are some of the most popular methods and products we see at the REC and reasons you should be wary of them:

1. hCG (injections, pills, drops) and the 500 calorie diet. There has been no conclusive evidence suggesting that hCG aids in weight loss. Obviously, if you go on a 500 calorie diet you will lose weight, but severe calorie restriction is dangerous and should never be done without the supervision of a physician. For an athlete, 500 calories will not be enough to fuel practice or training, which will negatively affect performance, and make you tired and lethargic.

2. Hydroxycut, Lipofuze, Redline, Xenadrine, Lipo 6 Black, OxyElite Pro: These popular weight loss supplements list caffeine, synephrine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, octopamine, and other stimulants. Stimulants can speed metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure; the increased activity in the body produces extra heat (especially in hot and humid conditions). Under these conditions, the blood vessels in the skin constrict, preventing the body from cooling itself efficiently. By making the user feel more energetic and less fatigued, stimulants keep users exercising longer. In rare cases this can easily set the stage for heat illness, heat stroke and sudden death in certain situations. Large amounts of stimulants can have side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and nervousness. They may make you feel jittery and shaky. Stimulants can also disrupt your sleep patterns. High doses of caffeine or prolonged use can cause dependence.

3. DHEA supplements: Claims have been made that DHEA can help with weight loss, but there is not conclusive evidence on this subject. Because DHEA is a testosterone precursor, its use carries many of the same warnings associated with steroid use, such as decreased liver function, hair loss, testicular shrinkage, acne, etc. Researchers have stated that use of DHEA should be avoided because the drug is not yet well understood.

4. Meal replacement products, or manufactured food systems: A common complaint with these systems and products is once the user tries to go back to normal food, they gain back the weight they lost, and possibly more. This often happens because using meal replacements does not force the dieter to make lifestyle changes that will help keep the weight off. Cleanse products/programs, which often contain diuretics and/or stimulants, are also often touted as programs to lose weight quickly but cause regain as soon as the user goes off of them.

Experts agree the best way to lose weight is to reduce calorie intake and be more active. Eat less processed foods and eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Spend at least 30 minutes every day participating in a physical activity you enjoy. Athletes NEED fuel for practices, workouts, and training. While losing a few pounds can aid performance in some cases, it is important to lose weight gradually by making changes to your diet that allow you balance between your needs for training and your weight loss goals.

Read about sports nutrition, healthy weight loss, and eating habit tips by visting the sites below.

Healthy Ways to Lose Weight (previous REC post): http://drugfreesportrec.blogspot.com/2010/05/healthy-ways-to-lose-weight.html

Eating for Performance (previous REC post - two parts): http://drugfreesportrec.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

SCAN: http://www.scandpg.org/sports-nutrition/sports-nutrition-fact-sheets/

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Trip to the Beach...don't forget to relax a little.

Contributed by Robin Burton, MS, ATC
Drug Free Sport Staff member

Aaaahhhh…the beach…white sand, the sound of ocean waves, tropical birds calling in the background….all attainable from my urban, climate-controlled, somewhat noisy, 6 x 8 office cubical.  Lucky for me, all I need for a nice mental break, to escape the stresses and demands of the world, is a good imagination.  Imagery is used in a variety of settings, and from personal experience in a couple of dental office chairs.  Student-athletes are no exception and in fact can use imagery in all aspects of their sport: the mental preparation for the game, the drowning out of crowds, the mental imagery throughout a race, or imagining the next moves of the competitor.  This mental game can quickly work against you if you don’t know how to control your thoughts.  Relaxation can begin a number of ways, and taking a mental vacation to the beach or a simple change of routine can be a start.  Focusing on the rewards of your hard work, i.e.: improved test grades, great practices, or a high-scoring game can help ease daily pressures.  Remember, you are only human and want and deserve a break every once in a while, so don’t feel like you can’t take a break.  Let’s focus on the positive side of the visualization tool as well as some other things to help provide relaxation to you, the student-athlete.

You haven’t come this far in school or athletics without being good at it, but there’s always room for improvement right? 

Imagery:  More than just “be the ball,” mental imagery can take you through any circumstance.  It can be a mental walk-through of the “what ifs,” the “1 out, bottom of the 9th, 2 men on base,” or “how will I remember the steps of my chemistry experiment?”  This is a free practice run!  It can provide a way to improve your concentration and control your emotional responses on the field or in the classroom.

Breathing:  Simple, quick, easy!  Take a few moments to breathe in inner peace and exhale your anxieties and worries….aaaahhhhhh.

De-clutter:  Subconscious clutter and chaos can affect your state of mind and productivity.  Tidy up your living space and create a pleasant environment; my dorm room was never cleaner as it was during finals week!

Prioritize:  Unlike procrastination, prioritizing is systematic; tackling one thing at a time can help you feel less stressed and get things done more quickly.  If you have 30 stepping stones creating a path across a river, jumping over 6 or 7 may seem faster, but isn’t taking one step at a time guaranteed to get you across?  Completing projects and moving through tasks methodically can provide you with a sense of accomplishment and reward.

Positivity:  Developing a positive attitude can help ease inner tensions.  Encourage and help others with your thoughtful words.  Reaching out to others with an outgoing, optimistic attitude can attract the same in return for you.  Seeking spiritual help can provide you with words of advice and ways to help deal with stress and mental health.  These are not new concepts people.  Working to empower yourself and to not depend on the opinions of others can release the burdens on your mind.  Subconsciously, when we work only to please others and not to improve ourselves it can be impossible to relax.  Developing a detachment to praise and criticism can lead to relaxation and inner peace by decreasing the importance of others’ views.  As a wise man once said, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Sleep:  Get enough restful sleep to take on your day!   

Wait, forget all of this!  Beer relaxes you right?  Ok…for who, how long and why?  For a non-athlete or a non-student who could care less how many rebounds he grabs in a game or what score he receives on a Physics exam, drinking may relieve some stress.  So he thinks.  What use is alcohol or other drugs to a student-athlete looking to compete and complete a degree in 4 years?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t alcohol use addictive, dangerous, and prohibited on most college campuses?  Doesn’t drug use kill brain cells?  The same brain cells you need to study, finish the game, as well as relax?  Using alcohol or medications to cope with stress or to relax eventually creates further stress, causes the body to forget how to cope and to free yourself of anxiety, and thus contributing to a vicious and harmful cycle.  Bottom line:  Alcohol and other drugs can impair your athletic performance, causing you more stress and more anxiety.  What does that do for you?  A little counterproductive if you ask me…