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He lost 10 pounds in the triple overtime Game 3

he lost 10 pounds in the triple overtime Game 3. He said he was doing shots of olive oil and avocado oil the next day to replace some of the good fat.

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In short, this is absolutely friggin ridiculous.

For a more lengthy (and scientific) analysis, let's use an exercise physiology perspective to look at the stimulus in question (i.e. playing a triple overtime Stanley Cup play-off game), and discover what nutritional strategies might actually be beneficial, unlike these preposterous ones implemented by this well-meaning but clearly misinformed player.

According to NHL.com, the puck dropped in this game at 7:40PM Eastern Standard Time. The winning goal was scored at 12:14AM. That means these players we're engaged in an activity that lasted 4 hours and 34 minutes of real world time. The player perpetrating this act of nutritional non-sense was credited with a total of 35 minutes and 4 seconds of playing time dispersed over a total of 46 shifts (again as per stats from NHL.com). So to translate to exercise-physiology speak, the player performed 46 intervals of high intensity exercise totaling 35 minutes and 4 seconds over a real-world period of 4 hours and 34 minutes. In terms of a work-rest ratio, for every minute the player exercised, he got 7.8 minutes of rest. Being the hockey fan that I am, I must acknowledge there are a few more variables to consider than these purely physiological ones. Not only is this players time on the ice of a high exercise intensity, all the while he is also periodically being hit by pucks, chopped by sticks and body checked by very large men. Also, though physically inactive for the vast majority of the game, he is certainly being subjected to a high level of stress over that entire time period. So considering all these factors, what are the legitimate nutritional implications with this scenario of physical activity?

Well, there sure as H-E-double-hockey-sticks is no point in doing shots of olive oil and avocado oil the next day to replace some of the good fat. Not a shred of scientific evidence exists to support such a practice. There is not even any plausible physiological mechanism whereby the idea might make any sense. Consider the following three points:

#1: To fuel the effort of playing this game, the primary fuel being burned by this hockey player was carbohydrate not fat. Generally speaking human metabolism cannot burn fat fast enough to fuel the kind high-intensity effort required for hockey.

#2: Even if he was relying on fat to fuel his hockey playing efforts (which he wasnt) it is lunacy to think he'd need to undertake some kind of special effort to replace it the next day. This player is listed at a weight of 215lbs. Lets assume he has 10% body fat which is much less than the average person, pretty good for an athlete. That means he is physically carrying 21.5lbs of fat on his body, 99% of which has the sole purpose of acting as an energy reserve. Roughly speaking, this player has enough stored fat energy available to fuel running approximately 28 marathons in a row.

#3) Even if there is some need to replace some of the good fat (which there isn't) couldn't he just have had salmon for supper? One regular portion of salmon contains over 2 grams omega-3 fatty acids. I'm not sure exactly how many shots of avocado or olive oil you'd have to down to equal that amount, but personally, I imagine I would have to vomit before coming close. But, worst of all, neither avocado oil or olive oil contain appreciable amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are the two types of omega-3 fatty acids science has shown to offer the most health benefits salmon is an abundant source of both.

Now let's talk about his weight loss.

I am willing to grant it is, at least physically possible, this player could have lost 10lbs over the course of the triple overtime game. If so, it was almost entirely water. According to the 2007 American College of Sports Medicine position paper on Exercise and Fluid Replacement, a generous estimate of the sweat rate producible by a hardworking athlete is around 2 Liters per hour. One Liter of sweat weighs 2.2lbs. If the player sustained this sweat rate from the time the puck was dropped until the OT winner was scored he would have lost 9 Liters of sweat. This would total nearly a 20lbs weight loss.

However there are two extremely good reasons why this likely wouldn't happen:

#1: It would be quite a stretch to imagine a player could sustain a maximal sweat rate for that entire time, especially considering he is resting for 7.8 minutes for every 1 minute he is exercising. In 2011, the worlds leading researcher on hockey hydration, Dr. Lawrence Spriet from the University of Guelph, measured sweat loss in players in an Ontario Hockey League game. Over the 60 minutes of regulation time it was found that forwards averaged about 3.2 Liters of sweat loss.

#2: This scenario assumes the player drinks absolutely nothing during the entire time. There is no reason in the world for an NHL player to do this, especially given such ample time available to re-hydrate between shifts and during intermissions. Water is all he'd need for hydration purposes. However in the unique situation of the Stanley Cup play-offs, when every game has the potential of extending into multiple overtime periods, players would be wise to also take in some carbohydrate for fuel there is nothing that meets these criteria with more convenience than a sports drink.

So what else can I say other than stories like this never cease to amaze me? In the NHL, the most elite hockey league in the world, with Stanley Cup glory and multi-million dollar contracts at stake, you'd think they would place more importance on the value of proper nutrition.

As both a dietitian and a hockey fan, it saddens me that they don't.

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Posted in Entertainment Post Date 11/28/2017


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