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Performance Refueling: Strategies for Tournament Survival

Soccer: Nutrition for Performance

In an article from August 2013, (Link Here) I wrote on the science behind hydration as it relates to performance on the soccer pitch.  Applicable to many team sports where games are played back to back, I described the importance and strategies for hydration during rigorous tournament play.

Having tested this theory with a U14 Girls D1 soccer team during the 2013 Austin Labor Day Tournament with great success, I’m now sharing the specific strategies used to help bring this 13 player roster through 5 games in 3 days.  3 of the 5 games were played in >100 degree temperatures.  The players not only survived against teams of 18 rostered players, but they thrived and physically dominated games late in the tournament despite heat, limited rest, and the aggressive game schedule.

As mentioned, the following strategy could likely apply to not only soccer, but other sporting tournaments as well.

Suggested Hydration Regimen

24-48 hrs prior to game / match

Drink at 1-2 liters additional water (Beyond normal daily consumption):  This can be consumed gradually all day.  This will insure adequate cellular “Pre-hydration”  and prevent players from starting match-day hypo-hydrated.

4 hours prior to game / match

Drink 8-16 ounces of electrolyte beverage (Gatorade).  I prefer G2 to lower sugar content but regular Gatorade is fine too.  I do not recommend other sports drinks if they have artificial sweeteners like aspartame.  For those interested in avoiding HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) ubiquitous to sports drinks including Gatorade, consider pulp free Coconut Water.  Coconut water is dense in electrolytes and will serve a similar purpose as Gatorade.  (Same volumes recommended).

Match Hydration

During half- time or breaks, attempt to consume 8-16 ounces Gatorade or water. Caution players to not guzzle to help prevent bloating, but encourage players to sip steadily through breaks to replenish during the brief half-time.  The goal is to push a bit of hydration and depleted electrolytes back into the player without causing stomach upset.  I find players do best by capping their hydration with a swallow or two of water prior to game restart.

Post-Game Hydration

Immediately post game drink 8 ounces Gatoraid and 16-32 ounces of water.  Go with the higher values if sweating profusely after the game.  The post-match hydration is hugely important during tournament play.  Players often have a mere 2-4 hours between games.  If the player doesn’t begin re-hydration immediately they have no hope of consuming enough to replenish even 50% of that lost during play, hence the spiral of performance begins. 


Team managers should manage and make accessible match and post game hydration.  During our experimentation, we specifically wheeled ice-chests full of drinks to players as soon as the game ended.  Coaches and trainers pushed the concept of rehydration for recovery and performance with the specific quantities listed above.  My point….the team hydrates as a unit.  Do not rely on individuals to hydrate properly.   Provide the fluids, provide specific quantities, and push them during and at the end of the game.  This allows greatest chance for hydration recovery between games.

Fuel Strategies:

During tournament play, we additionally supplied fuel to players immediately following the games.  Many games were 3-4 hours or less apart making nutritional replacement (re-fueling) timelines critical.  My stategy, like hydration, included providing sandwhiches/fruit/and protein bars immediately after our games ended.  Parent and Team manager coordination was key to make sure sandwhiches were prepared in advance and ready to offer after play.  Sodas, junk food, candy and sweets were forbidden due to the obvious performance robbing properties.  Sandwhiches and fruit were the mainstain due to the prodominant carbohydrate and protein component to those meals.  

Supplemental Strategies:

Lastly our U14 Girls Soccer team also utilized two safe supplements after games.

1)Cataplex F:  This food based product was used to replensih essential fatty acids.  Clinically this product tends to help with muscle cramping and recovery as well as mobilize calcium.  Players were offered 2 after each game with hydration.  This is not a drug.  This is not dangerous–it’s high quality food.  No players experienced side effects.  Importantly no player cramped or fell out despite our intense schedule.

2)Creatine Monohydrate:  Standard, non-hormone, muscle supplement.  Players given 2 capsules after games.  Enhances muscle rehydration and recovery from soreness and overuse.  Taken with hydration this product is clinically safe and well tolerated, especially in the relatively low dosages offered to our players.

Game Day Summary:

1-2 Gatoraid/1-2 water bottles immediatly after game

Free choice sandwhich, fruit, and protein bars immediately after game

2 Cataplex F after games

2 Creatine monohydrate after games


For supplements contact:  361-387-5105.



Poetic Motivation




Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul.


Visualization for Success


Trying to lose weight or get in shape?

Trying to earn a promotion, start a business, or land that ideal job?

Winning starts in the mind.  Mindset wins the day.

Spending brief time –everyday– visualizing oneself performing at a high level, succeeding, and winning at whatever we want to acheive prepares the mind and body for the actual event.  Visualization allows repetive practice…before the actual event.  Visualizing successful behavior, outcomes, emotions, and actions prepares the mind, muscles, and body the performance necessary for success.

This simple daily activity is the same one used by many of the most successful athletes, warriors, an business people to acheive greatness.

If you can’t imagine yourself succeeding, conquering, or climbing to new heights your “Actual” chances will likely fall short.

I’d love some feedback on the concept of visualization.  I believe this underlines many of the body image, obesity, fitness, and lifestyle issues many in my community face.



Fitness Motivation: Final Update on Major Christopher Story

Major Christopher Story & Family

In previous posts see here and here, I shared with you a motivational story about my friend and NRGTRIBE contributor Major Christopher Story.  As I described in previous posts, this Marine Corps Major was preparing to perform his yearly PFT on or near his 40th birthday.

Major Story set a personal goal to acheive a perfect 300 score on his Marine Corps personal fitness test.

As mentioned this was no small feat and at age 40 he boldly shared his vision and goal as motivation for his men and readers on the NRGTRIBE.

Over the first two posts we explored his training approach, challenges, and expectations.

What unfolded during the months since I shared this journey is truly remarkable.

PFT Results

Total Points= 250/300

Pullups= 14 

Situps= 100 / 2 min

3 mile run @ 21 min

Each event was performed back to back.

For those unaware anything over 200 is considered FIRST CLASS for a 40 year old Marine Officer!

The Rest Of the Story

The results speak for themselves.  Major Story made lofty goals, applied strong work ethic, and acheived excellent results. But I share this triumph not merely for the athletic motivational aspects but for what Chris accomplished while “Life happened.”

Life happening included a car accident (Back / Neck strains), elbow hyperextension injury during hand / hand combat training, and a sprained ankle while trail running.

“Life” also included helping raise 3 kids under six years of age and serving / leading 700 marines as their Executive Officer.   And, physical and normal social challenges aside, Chris stood by his wife who is recieving treatment for and overcoming a cancer diagnosis.

As a physician I deal with illness, trajedy and various human woes on a daily basis.  I’m amazed by the range of response to adversity both good and bad.  Regardless of age, the human experience and the personal response to “Life Happening” varies tremendously.  I can attest from my interactions with Major Story, despite obvious opportunities to make excuses or bow out from his initial goal, he never waivered or complained about his plan, his personal situation, or the challenges he still faces.

Major Story, his wife, and family serve as an example to each of us facing challenges in our lives.   I thank them for sharing a small inspiring part of their life’s journey.

Ponder some of the key lessons:

1.  Life Happens

2. Attitude shapes our experience and outcomes

3. Goal setting is essential for success

4. Flexibilty and adaptation are key life skills

5. Sometimes we don’t reach our ultimate goals…perseverance is both necessary and noble

6. Even as we age, our bodies are capable of 20x what we imagine

7. Personal Faith, belief in mission, and integrity can move mountains

8.  The only easy day was yesterday

I thank Chris for his service to our Country and for the example he sets for each of our readers.



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Recipe for Health: Willpower & Desire

I’ve taken time off lately from posting to collect my thoughts and refocus  my approach to patient care and health care messaging.

I’m often suprised by the lack of concern my patients display when confronted with serious medical conditions.

Clinically I am most surprised by the dismissive attitude some patients have when I share knowledge about diet and exercise as a choice for alleviating their diabetes, hypertension, or weight issues.  It’s almost as though they can’t be bothered with that type of advice.  Their lives are too complicated, inextricably involved, or unbalanced to conceive of even minor changes like not drinking a 12 pack of soda weekly.

Exercise?…ridiculous.  Diet?….sorry don’t have the time.

A colleague once told me “Sometimes people are beyond help.” Sadly to some extent he’s right.

In my experience, each individual has their own motivations.  Their personal willpower and desire for wellness varies seasonally and longitudially throughout life.

While constantly searching for the right words or solutions for each patient, I’ve come across a trait that seems universally important and motivational for those taking the necessary steps to improve or develop their health.

The trait = Focus

Focus of mind and body to a task. These individuals have a clearly defined reason why they eat properly, exercise routinely and attempt to balance stress in their lives.

These motivated patients consistently build goals, seek ways to overcome obstacles, and succeed because they know why they strive.

They wake each morning and realize health isn’t guaranteed.  Health requires activitiy and persistence.  Health doesn’t come in a bottle.  Whatever their passion a strong healthy body and mind give the greatest possibility of success.

I challenge you to look at your motivations and purpose in life.

What gives you the willpower and desire to change?

Can you start somewhere small?

Can you build on minor successes and keep improving?

Stagnation = death.