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Entries Tagged as 'Sports Nutrition'

Which Is Better after a Run – Eating Fast Food or Nothing at all?

September 1st, 2023 · Comments Off on Which Is Better after a Run – Eating Fast Food or Nothing at all? · Sports Nutrition

The question is which is better to eat after a run, a fast food meal, or starving, eating nothing at all. Actually, it should be worded as “what is less bad for you”. They are both obviously bad choices.

Eating Fast Food

Neither eating fast food (such as “McDonalds”) nor starving after a run is an ideal option for post-exercise nutrition. Both choices have drawbacks and may not provide the necessary nutrients for optimal recovery and performance.

Fast food options typically lack the essential nutrients needed for effective recovery. Fast food is often high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium while being low in vitamins, minerals, and quality protein. Still, it might be better than eating nothing at all. Not eating after exercise deprives the body of the necessary nutrients required for recovery and energy replenishment. After exercise, the body needs to refuel with carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores, protein to repair and build muscles, and fluids to rehydrate.

Instead of one of those choices, it’s recommended to opt for a balanced post-workout meal that includes a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to replenish energy stores, support muscle repair, and promote overall recovery. Choose nutrient-rich options such as lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and hydrating beverages to help your body recover effectively and maintain your fitness goals.

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AFL Controversially Drops Skinfold Testing

November 10th, 2021 · Comments Off on AFL Controversially Drops Skinfold Testing · AFL, Fitness Testing, Sports Nutrition

In a controversial move, the Australian Football League (AFL) have removed skinfold testing from the annual combine test battery, over mental health and body image concerns.

The skinfold test is a body composition assessment that is used throughout the world, and has been performed at the annual Draft Combine for over 20 years. It forms an important part of the player’s overall assessment at the combine, which includes testing in areas such as medical, physical, psychological and skills.

The test determines the player’s body fat percentage by measuring the thickness of a pinch of skin at multiple sites of the body. It is very useful to know the level of excess fat a player is carrying because excess body fat would affect the AFL player’s ability to jump vertically, move freely around the ground, and the extra weight can increase fatigue, which are all important aspects of the game of AFL. The sports science staff at a football club would like to know if a player is carrying extra weight that he could potentially lose, a worthwhile and often an easily achievable task.

AFL Game
A low body fat level enhances a player’s jumping ability

The decision to remove skinfold testing at the combine has been widely criticised by both players and AFL club officials. If the players are being body-shamed based on their skinfold test results, then that is a problem. The answer? Stop the body shaming, don’t stop this important part of the player assessment.

It seems like a case of blaming the tool. It may just be the way that the test results are presented to the players. Tell the players why it is important to measure this (and it is). Educate the players on the personal benefits of having skinfolds measured, and how it can enhance their physical performance and consequently the team’s performance.

Skinfold testing should be considered the same as any other component of fitness testing, as a chance to identify which areas they can improve to become a better player. If their 2km time trial is slow, extra work on the track is required, if their vertical jump score is low, a bit of extra leg work in the gym, if they are carrying a bit too much extra body fat, the sports dietitian can guide them to make changes to improve their diet. The aim of all of this is to improve the player, not to shame them. It is an opportunity to improve, not an opportunity to put them down.

I don’t think there is any chance of the test being put back on the combine tests list. It is going to leave the clubs to use other methods to estimate body fat of their potential draft picks, such as using the height and weight measurements to calculate BMI, and we know how badly that works as a measure of body fat in muscular individuals (like football players!). If the clubs see value in the skinfold test, it will probably stay as one of their assessments within the club for the time being, they just won’t have that information at hand when they are looking for new recruits.

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Topend Sports and the Coronavirus

May 5th, 2020 · No Comments · Fitness, Fitness Testing, Sports Nutrition

To all the visitors to my site, the Topend Sports community, I hope that you are staying safe and healthy.

I am fortunate to run this website from my home and have been able to continue as before, though like many other businesses around the world, we are being impacted by the lockdowns.

Most sporting competitions around the world have stopped, people are not searching for sport-related information, so website traffic has been reduced. Many businesses are struggling too, and cannot afford the same advertising budgets as before.

It is not all bad news though, the forced stay at home and extra time available is enabling me to get on top of lots of projects, fix things that are broken, add content and update information that I have long been meaning to do.

For the visitors to my site, there are many resources that can be useful during your forced downtime. Here are some of them.

Keeping Fit at Home

Lunge Exercise

Being confined to your home while doing your bit to slow down the spread of coronavirus is a balancing act. Trying to do some work, maintaining the household, looking after kids, and staying fit and healthy – it all takes up a lot of time. Therefore, many things drop down on your priority list, including your fitness.

However, your fitness workouts do not have to stop. A really effective workout you can do is the 7-minute Workout, or make up your own using this list of fitness exercises you can do at home. For a detailed discussion about staying healthy while working from home, see this article How To Stay Fit While Working From Home.

Don’t forget to stretch during long hours at a desk. Take a couple of minutes every hour to stand up and stretch your entire body. Check out our list of stretches, and use with these stretching guidelines.

Home Fitness Testing

Home Push Up Test

Many of the hundreds of fitness tests described on this site require specialist equipment or training, however not all do. Some fitness tests can be performed at home with equipment you can find around the home. Check out these home fitness tests which are designed to quickly and simply assess a person’s general fitness level.

On our partner website, you can download the Home fitness Test, a free ebook manual to guide you through a fitness assessment program that can be done at home with minimal equipment. The ebook includes all you need to know to perform 10 fitness tests that you can do yourself.

Staying Healthy

Spending more time at home means it is easy to eat more and exercise less (with the result being weight gain!). Find out about what is your healthy weight, and measure it too. Now might be the right time to make changes to improve your health and weight. Aim to follow these simple strategies for weight loss, and avoid some common fad diets.

It is easy to fall into the trap of snacking too often. Make sure you keep healthy snacks available for when you do get low in energy and need a boost, especially if you spend long hours doing tedious or tough work. Always follow a healthy diet, based on solid science-based principles. A well-balanced diet with good variety ensures adequate intake of all the essential nutrients in the diet.

Thank You

Thanks for your time on my site and I hope you can continue to find the information useful, and by supporting my advertisers you can help my business a little too.


At the FIFA World Cup, Does Size Matter?

July 13th, 2018 · No Comments · FIFA World Cup, Fitness Testing, Football (Soccer), Sports Nutrition

The FIFA Football World Cup in Russia is coming to its conclusion in a couple of days with the final between France and Croatia. Many of the top teams have been surprisingly knocked out early or not even making the tournament. It is challenging predicting which team will be successful, with none of the top three teams who were predicted to win making the final. What makes a team successful? There is no one factor which determines success; factors such as player skill, speed, agility, game experience, teamwork, coaching, fatigue level and mental focus are just some of the elements. Another factor, body size, may have only a minor effect, but an effect nonetheless.

Prior to the tournament, FIFA released the anthropometric data of the 736 players (squads of 23 from the 32 nations), which gave us the opportunity to compare the body size of players from each team and playing position. We found that out of all the teams, the goalkeepers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup stood out – they tended to be older, taller and heavier than the field players. The youngest players were the forwards, the shortest the midfielders, and the leanest based on BMI were the midfielders. Now that the two teams that are to battle out the final on Sunday are known, we have pulled out their team data and had a look at how they match up.

silhouettes of soccer players

Squads Compared

We compared the body size data of the French and Croatian 23-man squads. The Croatians are on average older (27.9 v 26.0 years), a couple of centimetres (an inch) taller (185.3 v 183.3), but of similar average weight (79.3 v 80.0kg). If we just compare the expected starting 11 players (based on their semi-final match), the age difference is even greater (29.5 v 26.2 years). For both teams, the average weight of the players in the starting 11 is lower than the full squad average (Croatia 79.3 to 77.6kg, France 80.0 to 78.9kg), indicating the top players are leaner. The lower weight was not just because they are shorter, as the Body Mass Index was lower too (Croatia 23.1 to 22.8, France 23.8 to 23.5).

Players Compared

The two goalkeepers expected to play in the final are Danijel Subasic of Croatia and Hugo Lloris of France. The Croatian has a couple of years more experience (aged 33.7 versus 31.5 years), and also has an advantage in size: he is taller (191 v 188cm) and heavier (84 v 82 kg).

Of the starting four defenders, the noteworthy difference is their age. The Croatians are on average more than five years older (28.9 v 23.6 years). If this age difference translates to greater maturity and experience on the field, then they have a distinct advantage.

Comparing the midfielders, the French players are on average quite a bit heavier (76.7 v 70.7 kg) despite being of very similar height. At this level, we don’t expect players to be carrying much excess body fat, so the difference in weight would be mostly due to them being more solidly built, having more muscle and therefore being stronger. If this World Cup final becomes a physical encounter, the French midfield players are going to have a big advantage.

The Croatian forwards are also a couple of inches taller than their French counterparts (187.0 v 181.7cm), which may be an advantage around the goals, particularly for corners and other set pieces.


When it comes to the physical attributes of the two teams, in most cases it has been the Croatian team that has the advantage. Of course, body size is not the most important factor for successful performance in football, though, if all other things are equal then it may be the difference that could win a World Cup for Croatia. However, it may just come down to luck, particularly if it finishes with a penalty shootout.

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Funny Weight Loss

July 6th, 2015 · No Comments · Sports Nutrition

Losing weight does not always have to be serious. On Topend Sports we have a page about Funny Nutrition Quotes, such as my favorite by George Miller: “The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later, you’re hungry again”. You’ll also find great advice, such as “the best way to look thin is to hang out with fat people.”


image credit:


Anyone for a tapeworm?

September 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Sports Nutrition


I have spent some time collecting information about popular diets, including some pretty bizarre fad diets, and the most bizarre prize has to go to the tapeworm diet.  The idea is to ingest a tapeworm, which then shares your gut and consumes some of your calories. I have no doubt you will also feel unwell and will eat less food too. Just the thought of it has put me off my food.

You can buy tapeworm eggs to ingest (really!), but if you are really desperate you could just try eating undercooked meat (I’m kidding).  I am not surprised that some desperate people do actually try this extreme measure diet, but it is not at all recommended, it is dangerous, don’t do it, seriously.

Read more about the Tapeworm Diet.


Individual Diet and Workout Plans for just $5

August 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Fitness, Sports Nutrition

$5 diet and workout plan from oatmeal

Have you heard of the website fiverr before? Until recently I hadn’t. It is a fascinating site where people offer to do tasks and services for just $5. I can’t get enough of it. I have been ordering services for my website, as well as fun things too. Now I have partnered with Fiverr to bring you this great deal. For only $5 you can get a great workout or diet plan designed just for you. (no longer active)

The plan is provided by a Certified Personal Trainer with over 5 years of experience. You can read his reviews and see that he has many very satisfied customers. Whether you want to lose body fat, build muscle mass, or just be healthy, he can help you achieve your personal fitness or diet goals for just $5. If you’re looking for healthy supplements then checkout pre workouts for vegans.


Vessyl the Smart Cup

June 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Sports Nutrition

vessyl drinking cupHey this is cool. A drinking cup that monitors your hydration status plus other intakes. It recognises any liquid that is poured into it – identifying and reporting back the fluid volume consumed as well as nutritional content like calories and caffeine.

There is a wide range of possible uses for this, and the nutritional intake and hydration status of athletes is just one of them. The idea is great, but maybe it is not the ideal solution yet.

The problem is that in order for it to accurately track your intake you need to put all your fluids into the same cup. It does not seem very good for an athlete, it is not something you could easily carry around while exercising. It would be hard to mix drinks too. You can’t just have a drink of water while waiting for your coffee to cool down. You’ll be forever washing this cup (it is not dishwasher safe). What about at the pub after a game? You will get a few stares when you get the barman to fill your own cup, and you can’t beat a beer from an ice-cold glass.

I look forward to seeing more innovations along this line, it could be the start of something.

UPDATE: the company that produced this product has shut down. Hopefully, the idea is not dead and there will be something similar one day soon.


Can McDonalds Be Good For You?

March 3rd, 2010 · 2 Comments · Sports Nutrition

In disappointing news for dietitians worldwide, McDonald’s fast food restaurants in New Zealand have signed a deal with the multinational weight loss company Weight Watchers to promote some of its meals as ideal for dieters. Some of the meals will now be marked with the Weight Watchers logo, as well as the logo placed on its menu boards and tray mats. Weight Watchers will also promote McDonald’s to dieters.

Ronald McDonald

This move follows the move three years ago when McDonald’s put the Heart Foundation’s tick on seven meals, including burgers and nuggets. The three meals to have the Weight Watchers endorsement are nuggets (1560 kilojoules), a Filet-O-Fish (1390kJ), and a sweet chili seared chicken wrap (1640kJ), all served with salad.

This is said to be part of a push by Mcdonalds to change its image, but cynics like myself say that it is part of a push by McDonalds to make more money. And why wouldn’t they, that is what they are expected to do. Unfortunately, too many people will be conned by the endorsement by Weight Watchers, and enter their stores and end up buying other things on the menu. Even if a mum goes in and buys one of the healthier choices, and feels great about her Weight Watchers meal, she will likely still buy the kids burgers and fries. Don’t be fooled, people. Fast food can be part of your diet, just in moderation. And if you are treating yourself, why not buy what you are going to enjoy the most, which may not necessarily have the tick from Weight Watchers?

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Fat Tax to Fight Obesity

December 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Sports Nutrition

I am a big believer in introducing a junk food tax to make those who eat unhealthy food subsidize their own health care, encourage the public to eat healthily, and cut obesity rates. And it is great to see that Taiwan is planning to be the first government to introduce such a tax on junk food.

PIzza Boxes

The country is looking at introducing this special tax on food that is deemed unhealthy, such as sugary drinks, candy, cakes, fast food, and alcohol. The Bill is expected to be submitted to the Parliament for approval next year and could take effect sometime in 2011.

Let’s hope this starts a worldwide trend, as hitting people in the hip pocket seems an effective way to make people change their behavior.

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