How Can You Perform Like The Collegiate and Pro Athletes While Competing In The Heat?

Becci Twombley grew up in the beach volleyball town of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and played volleyball at Pepperdine University, where she graduated in 1998 with a degree in athletic training and sports medicine. She married Dennis Twombley, a Pepperdine baseball player who was drafted by the New York Yankees, and they spent five years moving among minor league cities where she took coaching jobs.Becci Twombley

Becci became interested in the importance of nutrition for athletes and earned her Registered Dietitian certification in 2003. In the years before athletic organizations recognized the need for such a specialty, she was a pediatric and neonatal nutrition specialist in a hospital – using nutrition to help children’s bodies recover just as she now uses nutrition to help athletes’ bodies recover. “You’re doing the same thing – whether it’s an exhaustive training session or therapy, you’re trying to replace nutrients and help the body recover,” Becci says.

In 2007, UCLA hired her part-time to run its sports nutrition program, a position that grew into full-time. In 2009, Becci was a founding board member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA), whose membership has grown from 20 to 65 full-time professional members (and over 800 in total) as awareness of the field accelerates. She is also a member of the Sports and Cardiovascular Nutritionists (SCAN) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Two years ago, she became Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Southern California.

The athletes are really reliant on Sports Dietitians to make sure everything gets done the way it’s supposed to be done,” she says, adding that she emphasizes food first – milk, meat, vegetables, fruits, carbs, juices – and supplements as appropriate to provide balanced nutrition. For sweaty athletes, that’s The Right Stuff, says Becci, who rushes it to the practice field when coaches text that they are ready to practice.

The Right Stuff is Essential

shutterstock_39389809 FB hi“The Right Stuff is essential for football practice,” she says. “They all call it ‘the packet.’ I open it, mix it with water, and they drink it on the field,” she says. “The coaches notice it. The line coach has three guys that need it.” No-huddle offense means 95 to 115 plays per practice, compared to 70 in an ordinary offense, and the roster is down to 73 players, fewer than most schools. “Our guys are taking more snaps,” Becci says. “We really rely on The Right Stuff for that sort of thing.”

Sweating players in full pads can lose at least 1,000 milligrams of sodium an hour. The Right Stuff provides over 1700 milligrams in one packet, and instead of abrasive sodium chloride it’s sodium citrate, which is easier to digest and can help ease the buildup of free radicals that causes muscle fatigue, she says.

“It’s not just because they’re going to cramp,” Becci says. “We want to make sure their muscles are working efficiently. We’re minimizing any breakdown. Linemen need it most. They’re losing a ton of water, but they’re also losing a ton of salt. It’s imperative they have every asset they can.”

The Right Stuff is important for other athletes too, says Becci, who introduced the product when she became team nutritionist for the Major League Baseball Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this season.

One of the first things I did when I got to the Angels was get The Right Stuff there too!

“One of the first things I did when I got to the Angels was get The Right Stuff there too” she says, adding that some players have not suffered their usual cramps since they started using it. “They have to make sure they’re just as fueled in the ninth inning as they were in the first. The catcher uses it. The pitchers are using it so they’re well hydrated all the way through.

One of the things I notice most with it is, in talking to the athletes, they feel as though they don’t become as lightheaded as the course of the game goes on. It’s because it has a significant amount of sodium in it and you’re reloading that sodium. You’re losing less water, and you’re retaining sodium.

The guys that use it have to use it every time. There’s no playing without it after you’ve felt the benefit.

The Secret to Ironman Success!

The Secret to Ironman Success!

The day after another disappointing, cramp-hampered Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, George Robb was walking down Mauna Lani Drive when he noticed an empty packet labeled The Right Stuff that someone had tossed on the ground. Intrigued, he conducted some online research and discovered that the NASA-developed formula contained sodium citrate which might solve his decade-long frustration where high-quantity consumption of salt pills had failed.pouch on road 5in

“My Achilles Heel has always been cramping in the marathon of the Iron Man,” says Robb, 54, who has qualified for the Ironman championship since 2006. “I always got a cramp in my quad and I thought it was fatigue from cycling. I would get myself into incredible cycle shape and it would still happen 10 miles in to the marathon – I can remember the spot in Hawaii where it always happened. I’m pretty competitive. I would have been top three in my age group if I had not been ground to a halt by debilitating pain.”

The Right Stuff solved his cramping problem, which also shored up in his swimming, and energized his cycling. “I was talking about having to quit swim practice or slow down because of these cramps,” he says. “All of a sudden that’s gone. We’d go on these long bike rides and I’d take bottles of water with one packed of The Right Stuff in each water bottle on these long rides and I wouldn’t need as much nutrition or carbohydrates. What I thought was the depletion of calories was actually the onset of dehydration. I don’t have to eat like a horse on these long rides.”

What I thought was the depletion of calories was actually the onset of dehydration.

Robb and his wife, Linda Neary, a multiple champion triathlete herself, both recommend The Right Stuff at their Tri Bike Run store on US1 in Juno Beach, Fla., and customers come back for more. George is competing in two Ironmans this year, hoping to qualify for Kona again now that he’s solved his cramping problem with The Right Stuff. “There’s nothing like it,” he says. “I’m a heavy sweater, and I lose a lot of water when I work out. Anyone who is a super sweater should definitely use this. That stuff really works.”

This Sports Dietitian handles all those college athletes and still finds time to compete in Triathlons and Marathons

John TanguayMassachusetts native Jonathan Tanguay was in Colorado, waiting tables, hiking, and trying to figure out what to do with his undergraduate degree in zoology from Connecticut College, when he took a biochemistry course that bonded his various interests. He graduated from the master’s program in nutritional science at the University of New Hampshire, moved to Texas for a dietetic internship at the University of Houston, and found his dream during a month-long rotation at Texas A&M.

“I loved it,” Tanguay says. “That was what I wanted to do. That was the application of all the sports nutrition I had and the love of sport I had and getting involved in something with structure. Every day is unique.”

Tanguay, who was named Texas A&M’s Director of Performance Nutrition in 2010, has a full-time assistant who focuses on Olympic sports while he hands mostly football, baseball and basketball.

“My office is our football weight room,” he says. Four days a week, he works with football players in training, taking their weight, talking to them about fueling and nutrition, and making sure they get recovery smoothies after their workouts. In the afternoons, he works with baseball and basketball players before practice across campus, then returns for football practice and dinner in the new R.C. Slocum Nutrition Center, a dining hall for athletes.

Focus on Sports Nutrition in College

The NCAA’s recent announcement that it is lifting limits on food that schools can provide to athletes, effective Aug. 1, will accelerate a focus on sports nutrition that has swept through leading colleges in recent years, including most members of the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12, Big 10 and others, Tanguay says.

“In the long run, it’s going to be something that’s really great for the student-athlete,” he says. “They’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re burning a lot more calories, they’re working out and practicing – that requires more fuel. We were only allowed to feed the team as a team one meal a day outside of competition.”

The old rules left students using a scholarship stipend to buy campus meal plans, off-campus meals, or food to prepare in their apartments – with less-than-optimal attention to nutrition.

“This will allow us to provide them the food that will meet their unique nutritional needs, to help them develop as healthy athletes, and be good for their overall health,” Tanguay says, adding that the students come from a wide spectrum of food experience in their backgrounds.

“It’s definitely challenging,” he says. “You get kids from all walks of life. We’ve got Sports Dietitians here that can really help to be hands-on with the student-athletes and work to educate them about making better choices.” The education includes cooking demonstrations at the Nutrition Education Center and trips to the grocery to learn how to select, store, prepare, and cook food. “Some don’t get it at first, but for someone who’s trying to gain weight or lose weight or reduce their risk for injury, they start coming to me and taking advantage of these resources,” Tanguay says.

Not every approach works with every athlete, but The Right Stuff is a great tool we have from a hydration standpoint.

The Right Stuff is one of the resources. “We use it as part of our hydration protocol” he says. “It’s another tool we have in our belts. There’s a number of sports nutrition products on the market and a number of different approaches. Not every approach works with every athlete, but The Right Stuff is a great tool we have from a hydration standpoint. We use it with a number of different sports.”

Tanguay participates in Iron Mans, half-Iron Mans, and marathons – he set a personal record (PR) at this year’s Boston Marathon – and includes The Right Stuff in his personal regimen. “I start to build my carbohydrate and electrolyte intake a week before the race,” he says. “I’ve got a pre-race routine. For me, it’s been trial and error. I’ve come up with something that works for me. The Right Stuff is part of that.

“I’ve never really had an issue with cramping or GI issues during a race. I like The Right Stuff because it gives you everything you need in one package. Before it came out, we had been looking for something that fit the criteria, and it wasn’t on the market. It’s the volume of electrolytes in a small volume of fluid. This is a small, convenient way to get everything you need that we’ve found works.”

What Can This NASCAR Driver Teach You About Optimal Hydration?

Michael Mcdowell - The Right StuffAfter racecar driver Michael McDowell switched to NASCAR from sports cars and Indy cars in 2007, he suffered extreme dehydration on a track in Virginia and went looking for a solution.

“I was doing a lot of research and trying to find out how to stay hydrated,” says McDowell, a Phoenix-area native who moved to Charlotte in 2004. “At the time, I was losing anywhere from 8 to 10 pounds per race of water during the race itself. I was trying to figure out a way to stay hydrated. You’re in the car four or five hours. It’s 110 to 130 degrees inside the car. Obviously, in our sport, hydration is key.”

When driving around the track at over 150 mph, reaction time is critical. Proper hydration is essential to maintain that continuous, nearly instantaneous response timing.

He first learned about The Right Stuff® when he was at an event with former NASA Space Shuttle Pilot Bill Gregory who uses it for his endurance training. Bill is an enthusiastic user of The Right Stuff who even joined the Board of Wellness Brands, makers of The Right Stuff. Since McDowell found The Right Stuff three years ago, he has cut his water consumption during races by half, from 64 to 32 ounces.

The Advantage

“I feel like it gives me an advantage,” he says. “During the race weekends, I will take it within an hour leading up to the race. Then, in the middle of the race I’ll take one as well. I just mix it in the water and have it in the car with me. It works well. One of the main reasons I continue to use it is because I simply don’t lose as much water throughout the event, so I don’t have to rehydrate as much. I’m not losing as much, which is ideal for me.”

One of the main reasons I continue to use it is because I simply don’t lose as much water throughout the event, so I don’t have to rehydrate as much

McDowell also turns to The Right Stuff when he’s involved in other sweaty sports, such as when he competes in triathlons.

“For me, I take it when I know I’m going to do something that’s going to be extreme and long-lasting,” he says. “I use it for all of those extreme conditions.”