If some is good, MORE is not better

If Some is Good Image 404 x 404.jpg

When I work with athletes on basically any aspect of sports nutrition, one thing I find that constantly need to remind them of is: if some is good... MORE is not better. This relates to supplements, water, omega-3 fats, probiotics, protein, etc. 


I had an athlete once that started experiencing nose bleeds and bruising easily for no explained reason. After talking with them, I realized they were taking an omega-3 supplement daily, having fatty fish like salmon most everyday (rich in omega-3 fats), have omega-3 eggs, and routinely adding fish oil to smoothies. So while omega-3 fats have potential benefits in decreasing inflammation, they also can result in disturbances in blood clotting. Once this athlete backed down on the omega-3 intake, the nose bleeds and bruising easily issues cleared up. 


I had another athlete that was cramping up so bad during games that they couldn't finish a game. After reviewing their game day routine, it was determined that they were over hydrating to the point where important electrolytes (e.g. sodium) were being flushed from the body and resulting in cramping. Once their fluid intake was adjusted, the cramping issue subsided. See the Hydration 101 handout and Game Day 3-page handout for more tips and recommendations. 


When it comes to any aspect of sports nutrition - products, supplements, water, etc. stick with the recommendations and work with your doctor and a sports dietitian on a custom plan that is right for you. Never assume that if some of something like omega-3's or water is good, then more will be better.

If you have a specific question, contact Fuel2Win to have your question answered by sports dietitian, Molly Morgan.

Q: Does a high school athlete need a sports drink for practice?

A: Maybe! Sports drinks definitely have a role in hydrating athletes. The general guideline is that when activity is continuous for longer than one hour, then a sports drink can help to maintain energy levels. 

When it comes to selecting sports drinks for prolonged activity, it makes sense to choose a sports drink that contains carbohydrates like: Gatorade, Powerade, etc. The reason for this is that during each hour of exercise about 30 - 60 grams of carbohydrates* are metabolized. Having a sports drink will help to maintain fluid levels, blood sugar levels, and energy during prolonged activity.

*Note - athletes working out longer than 2 - 3 hours (e.g. triathletes, ultra-endurance athletes) will burn up even more carbohdyrates per hour. 

When focusing on your hydration, arriving to games and practices in a hydrated state is so important. Research shows that about 76% - 89% of athletes arrive to practice under-hydrated, which then makes it difficult to bring the body to a hydrated state and play at your peak. See the Hydration Overview handout for more recommendations on fluid intake. 

Arnaoutis, et al. FLUID BALANCE DURING TRAINING IN ELITE YOUNG ATHLETES OF DIFFERENT SPORTS. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Dec; 29(12): 3447–3452.

Exercise and Fluid Replacement. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. February 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - pp 377-390