Expert Talk: Q&A with Nutritionist Swati Bathwal

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Everyone wants to know about the supplements to take and precautions to meet while pursuing bodybuilding dreams. But do all manage to get expert opinion? Not really, here is your free of cost Expert Talk with Nutritionist Swati Bathwal

Everyone who is into bodybuilding or has just started hitting the gym with the intention to bulk up is full of queries and concerns. While there are trainers at the gym that can help in solving most the of bodybuilding related queries. Information about supplements and proper diet always remains a little hazy for them.

Nutritionist Swati Bathwal is an accredited sports dietitian providing health services at cricketer Virender Sehwags’ Cricket Coaching Academy. Prior to this, she was working as sports dietitian with International cricket teams. Also, she is a certified diabetes educator and trained ISAK Level 1 Anthropometrist.

Here is a quick round of Q&A with the dietitian itself. 

1. What are the evidence based supplements, which are required in any sports?
The use of supplements is quite prevalent among athletes. Mostly, they use supplements under peer pressure or for the desire to perform better. I abide by the rules set by WADA (world anti-doping agency) when it comes to supplements. I ensure that the athletes are safe and they understand the source and need for supplements they are consuming. Sports drinks, sports gels, caffeine, creatine monohydrate, bicarbonate, vitamin C and E, calcium supplements, vitamin D, probiotics for gastrointestinal health, liquid meal supplements are safe to use as long as you follow the recommended dosage for your specific sport and your daily requirements.

2. What are the banned supplements?
The list can be long. These supplements are banned by WADA and are considered high risk. Supplements like Glycerol, Androstenedione, DHEA, Ephedra, Strychnine, etc are some common ones which are banned.

3. Are there any supplements which are less beneficial?
There are supplements which are more popular and have a widespread use but they do not provide any worthwhile enhancement in performance like amino acids (really they can be met through food we don't need an additional supplement), carnitine, chromium picolate, cordyceps, co-enzyme Q10, ginseng, ferulic acid, nitric oxide, inosine, MCT are others that are not necessary to include in diet. 

Swati Bathwal

 

4. What is the maximum amount of protein required to gain weight and how much protein should a bodybuilder take?
Resistance athletes including bodybuilders require 1.5-1.7gm/kg/day of their body weight in the initial training days. When they are in the steady state they require 1-1.2 gm/kg/day of their body weight. Remember, it is not just the amount of protein intake that is important for better results, here the even protein distribution is the key to making muscle/weight. Proteins should be distributed evenly throughout each meal and snacks for better results. And of course! Genetics and training schedule plays a very important role in bulking up. 

5. What happens if anyone takes excess amount of Protein?
Current researchers suggest that extreme diets aren't beneficial in muscle building. A routine consumption of high Protein diet will not impact renal function in any healthy individual and it will also have no effect on hydration status and bone health. Most likely, a high protein diet replaces other nutrients which are necessary for meeting the training demands, a source of high saturated (bad) fats.

6. How many eggs in a week are safe to eat?
If you are healthy with no cardiovascular issues, it is safe to eat 6-8 eggs per week with the yolk. Egg whites can be eaten up to 3-4 egg whites a day as per your requirement to enhance your protein intakes.

7. Can you suggest a homemade high protein drink in Indian diet?
Certainly, Indian cuisine is varied and adds a lot of nutrients, from using homemade lassi in northern India to buttermilk in southern India, we have been using high protein and high energy shakes in our diet naturally. There can be much more in this list.

8. How are protein requirements different for a female body-builder to a male body-builder?
Female body- builders require 10-20% lower protein intakes as compared to males. Additionally, females need to concentrate on iron and calcium intakes. A diet should also be rich in vitamin C  (absorbs Iron) and vitamin  D  ( absorbs calcium).

9. How can we measure fat or muscle?
Body weight is a poor indicator of fatness in active individuals. When training, muscle, glycogen, hydration and food from the previous meal can fluctuate weight. The best way to measure muscle is by skin-fold measurement, they are the most accurate method available to assess body fat levels. These are carried by ISAK – Accredited Anthropometrist. Dxa ( dual x-ray absorptiometry) is another method to give accurate information on lean body mass.  

10. Does metabolism change during body building?
Yes, certainly more muscle you have, higher is your metabolic rate. Your metabolism can increase up to 10-12% when weight training. However, metabolism is never consistent, it changes with physical activity, age, stress levels etc.

11. How is a vegetarian body builder different from a non-vegetarian body builder?
Meat eating bodybuilders do not outweigh vegetarians as long as they follow a balanced nutritional plan. Vegetarians are at risk of iron deficiency, low B12 levels if they don't balance their meals. This can decrease their endurance. Rich sources of iron are pulses and legumes and green leafy vegetables. Along with that vitamin, C is important for its absorption. Vitamin B12 is present in animal and animal products, therefore, this can be consumed via dairy and eggs sources. Omega 3 is an important nutrient, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties and helps in muscle recovery. Flax seeds, chia seeds, seaweeds, microalgae are a great source of omega 3. Fishes get their omega 3 from algae so you can imagine how lucky vegetarians can be here. Creatine monohydrate levels are lower in vegetarians as compared to meat eaters. Our body produce creatine monohydrate but it isn't sufficient for any resistance workout. Hence, initial loading of 600-1000gm a day for 4 weeks. One can choose to go vigorously in 5 day or slow load over 28 days. Vegetarians have access to good quality proteins so proper distribution of protein is optimal for post recovery.

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