Randy Bird joined UVA's athletics staff in 2010 as director of sports nutrition. Prior to UVA, he worked as a sports nutritionist at the University of Kansas, a clinical dietitian in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and completed internships with Virginia Tech and the University of Delaware. Bird has a Bachelor's and Master's in Food, Nutrition, and Exercise Science from Virginia Tech. He is a registered dietitian, a founder and past president of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association, and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
If you have a full meal, eat it three to four hours before your event. If you don't have that time, focus on carbohydrates and minimize the amount of protein and fat in your meal. Transcript: "The question is, what's the ideal time from when you eat lunch to going back and competing in your finals event? That's kind of a tricky question in that it depends on the composition of the lunch. If you're having a balanced meal that contains carbohydrates, moderate amount of protein and some fat, then ideally you're having that three to four hours before you compete. If you don't have that length of time, then we modify what the lunch looks like. We reduce the protein and fat content and focus on carbohydrates the closer you get to an event. If you're eating within two hours of an event, that's when we're focusing almost entirely on carbohydrates with very little protein and fat. The reason for this is it takes fat and protein longer to leave the stomach. The stomach is really using its acid to denature protein, so that delays the amptenine from the stomach into the intestines where carbohydrates will move quicker. Long story short, if you have a full meal, then you want to eat that three or four hours before the event. If you don't have that time, then focus on carbohydrates and minimize the amount of protein and fat that you have at that meal."
Yes, water retention and weight gain from taking Stay will stay as long as you take the supplement. But it will take a few weeks for it to go away after stopping supplementation. Transcript: "The question is, does water retention and weight gain from creatine stay as long as you take the supplement or will it go away in a few weeks? The answer is yes, it'll stay. Creatine supplementation naturally pulls water into the muscle. So as long as you have high creatine saturation in the muscle, the water will be there as well. And stopping the supplement can take a few weeks to have the creatine levels drop in your muscle and that's when you'll see the water weight disappear as well. So you will see some companies try to claim that they don't have water retention with their product. And my thought is, if you're not gaining water weight, then you're not getting the creatine into the muscle because then you're not pulling water into the muscle as well."
Himalayan tahr Turi buckwheat is a grain originating from Western China and Northern India. It is gluten-free, high in phenolic compounds rutin and quercetin that may reduce inflammation, help control blood sugar, and boost the immune system. It also has resistant starch which can help slow down how quickly blood sugar rises and may lower triglycerides and cholesterol. Transcript: "The question is, what is Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat? Simply, it's a grain that originates from Western China. It's also found in Northern India, Pakistan, Nepal, Central Europe. But the benefits of it is it's gluten-free. So those with celiac disease would have another grain option that is gluten-free and safe for them to eat. Other potential benefits is it's high in phenolic compounds, rutin and quercetin that may decrease inflammation, may help control blood sugar, also can boost immune system. It's also very high in resistant starch. So that also slows how quickly your blood sugar rise, so it can help control blood sugar and as a side effect, can help lower triglycerides and potentially lower cholesterol. Some are marketing this as a superfood, but I really hate that term superfood because there's no one food that does amazing things. It's going to be very helpful to include in a balanced diet, but I really don't like the term superfood."
Vitamin D plays an important role in our body, from helping with calcification of our bones to enhancing the innate immune system. When it comes to post-exercise nutrition, however, there is no evidence that vitamin D has any specific benefits. Transcript: "The question is, what role does vitamin D play in post-exercise nutrition? And the short answer is very little. Vitamin D plays a lot of roles in our body, from enhancing the innate immune system to aiding in absorption of calcium, so helping with calcification of our bones, making our bones stronger. There's even some research to show it improves muscle health. There's studies that have looked at vitamin D levels to start a season, and those with higher vitamin D miss fewer games due to muscle injuries. Those with lower vitamin D miss more games due to muscle injuries. But specifically when we're looking at post-exercise nutrition, current research does not show much benefit specifically for vitamin D in that time. It's vital for the whole day, vital for many roles, just not really specific to post-exercise nutrition."
With college athletes, I focus on helping them plan their nutrition by emphasizing hydration, eating meals regularly and eating more produce to cope with the stress of the sport. Transcript: "The question is what kind of counseling do you find most athletes need around nutrition? And working with college athletes, I would say there's a few common mistakes that I try to address. The first is not focusing on hydration and they're walking around in a dehydrated state that can lead to more muscle related injuries. There's also skipping meals, skipping breakfast in particularly, just trying to sleep and then rush off to class. So a big thing that I focus on is planning. A quote that I love is a failure to plan is a plan to fail. And that definitely holds true with nutrition. So it's planning when are they going to drink throughout the day, planning when are they going to have meals, how are they going to distribute protein throughout the day to maximize protein synthesis, so muscle recovery, muscle growth. How are they fueling and refueling from practice? So planning is a major aspect of what we have to discuss. Another common theme is just the lack of produce. We have way too many athletes, way too many people in the general public that are not eating fruits, not eating vegetables. So what I tell our athletes is the more stress they're under, the more produce they need to eat. So we're trying to incorporate that into their diet as well."
Post exercise nutrition helps with recovery by replenishing fuel, repairing damaged muscle, replacing lost electrolytes, water and sweat, enhancing the immune system, and allowing for nutrients to be delivered quickly to the muscle. Transcript: "The question is, what are the benefits of post-exercise nutrition? And there are quite a few. The primary one I focus on is recovery. So first, what is the definition of recovery? Recovery is to return to a normal or better state. So now post-exercise, what exactly do we have to recover from? You have used fuel, so now we need to refill that gas tank. We need to get carbohydrates in to replenish the stores that are naturally in your muscles. You need to repair the damaged muscle, so we need to provide protein, which has amino acids necessary to build back that muscle fiber, build it stronger than it was. We lose sweat and electrolytes in water, so we need to replace those, again, to return to our normal state. Another benefit with post-exercise nutrition is it enhances your immune system. Exercise can slightly suppress your immune system, and getting the food back in helps you return that immune system to a strong state. The last thing I would say is timing matters. With exercise, you have increased blood flow to the muscle. So the sooner we get food into our body after exercise, then we can get those nutrients delivered to the muscle while you have greater blood flow to the muscle."