Healthy Athletes - Tips
Food is Fuel!
Feed your body with the proper fuel (a healthy diet) and you'll notice improvements in performance during your workouts and the recovery afterwards.
Make Breakfast A Priority
The Meal of Champions… Breakfast is key to enhanced performance. Whether you wake up early to eat a balanced meal or grab something on your way out the door, breakfast is a must!
Aim for 3 or more food groups at breakfast.
- Example: 8oz glass skim milk, English muffin, peanut butter, and banana
Carbohydrates Are An Essential Part To A Healthy Diet
- The food guide pyramid recommends that at least half of your daily intake of carbohydrates come from unrefined carbohydrates that are rich in fiber and contain whole grain/wheat ingredients.
- Fiber aids in appetite control and prolonged energy levels for the training athlete.
- Aim for 3 - 5 grams of fiber per serving when choosing cereals and bread products.
Incorporate Iron Rich Foods
- Iron is necessary to prevent anemia. Make sure to choose lean beef, dark meat chicken (thigh or leg), legumes (kidney, black, pinto etc), iron-fortified breakfast cereals/bread products etc.
Muscles Store Carbohydrates As Glycogen
- Fruits and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates because they are high in important nutrients for athletes including Vitamin C, Folate, Potassium, Fiber and Phytochemicals.
- The food guide pyramid recommends filling HALF YOUR PLATE with fruits and vegetables. Aim for a variety of colors in your fruit and vegetable choices.
- Fruits to incorporate include citrus, bananas, berries, melons and kiwi.
- Vegetables to incorporate include broccoli, spinach, green & red peppers, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potato, and winter squash.
Protein Is An Essential Part To A Balanced Diet
- Protein plays an important role in building and repairing muscle tissue, producing hormones, boosting the immune system and replacing red blood cells.
- Make sure to vary your daily protein choices. Lean meats and eggs are good sources of protein, but don't forget about other protein-rich foods that are loaded with healthful nutrients.
- Incorporate fish (a couple times a week), soy products (soymilk, tofu and edemame), seeds, peanut butter, nuts, and beans (kidney, black, pinto, garbanzo etc) into your daily routine.
Dehydration is Not An Option
- Proper hydration is crucial for optimum performance. The longer and more intensely you exercise, the more important it is to replace lost fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine
- recommends weighing yourself before and after you exercise to get a sense of how much fluid you typically lose. One pound is equivalent to approximately 24 ounces of fluid.
- Just as crucial as it is to stay hydrated, over-hydration can be dangerous. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink NO more than 1 cup of water every twenty minutes.
- Sports drinks may be helpful to athletes who are exercising at a high intensity for 60 minutes or more.
Rest Is Just As Important As Training
- Inadequate sleep will negatively impact your training routine. Rest is just as important to your performance as your workouts. Not getting enough sleep and not taking enough time off in between workouts can delay muscle recovery and can negatively impact the food choices you make throughout the day.
- Try to get at least 9-10 hours of sleep per night.
- Allow for adequate rest in between your trainings for proper muscle recovery.