Nutrition Periodization for Athletes: Taking Traditional Sports Nutrition to the Next Level

Book Review by Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

With the 2011 Louisville Ironman over some of the on-lookers may be considering whether they want to begin training for the 2012 Louisville Ironman.  Training for an event like Ironman takes lots of hours each week and almost becomes a second job for many. Over the years, as a sports dietitian, I had talked to and counsel many athletes who were involved in all types of athletic endeavors. The longer the event, the more likely that an effective nutrition program is paramount in successfully completing the event.

Author, Bob Seebohar, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist turned sports dietitian and coach, has recently published the second edition of his book, Nutrition Periodization for Athletes: Taking Traditional Sports Nutrition to the Next Level.  Bob’s approach in based on both sports nutrition research as well as 17 years of valuable hands on experience working with athletes of all ages and abilities. Bob, a competitive athlete himself, practices what he preaches. He has competed 6 Ironman races, the Boston Marathon, the Leadville 100-mile bike race, and the 100-mile trail run. In 2009 he became a Leadman, competing a series of ultra-endurance events that included a marathon, 50-mile mountain bike race, 50-mile trail run, 100-mile mountain bike race, 10-kilometer run, and 100-mile run, all in a span of 7 weeks at altitudes of 10,200 feet and above.

The book details in Chapter 1. Energy Systems and Physical Periodization. Chapter 2. Nutrients for Life. Chapter 3. Nutrition  Periodization. Chapter 4. Successful Weight Management. Chapter 5. Nutrition Supplementation. Chapter 6. Special Consideration for the Endurance Athlete.

The Chapter on Nutrition Periodization is the backbone of the book’s nutritional strategies. Sports nutritionists typically acknowledge four critical nutrition training periods for athletes:   the daily training diet, pre-event nutrition, during event nutrition and recovery nutrition.  Bob changes the terminology somewhat but the training periods are very similar. The specifics are spelled out in this chapter regarding to how many grams of macronutrients plus fluids are needed during the macrocyle, mesocycle and also the microcycle periods.  In this chapter, Bob introduces the FuelTarget™ and the Periodization Plates™.  He discusses in detail the macronutrient training needs for Pre-season, Competition, and Off-Season.  All the discussion points revolve around kilograms rather than pounds. Note: You must divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to determine what your kilogram weight is. (150 pound person/2.2 = 68 kilograms [kg]).

Bob also discusses successful weight management is this edition of the book. It turns out that most athletes deal with weight management issues whether it’s a weight gain or weight loss that is needed.

If you are a serious athlete and interested in competing in an IronMan, a triathlon, a century bike ride or 100-mile run, get Nutrition Periodization for Athletes to ensure that you get the most bang out of your training.

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Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    



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