Sports Nutrition Quick Tips
A major key to successful workouts is staying well-hydrated before, during and after your workouts. Long workouts, excessive heat, humidity, and fluid losses through sweat can significantly affect your ability to exercise and compete.
Drink one to two glasses of water when you get up in the morning.
Keep a water bottle with you and sip water throughout the day.
Drink about 16 fluid oz. of water or sports drink 1-2 hours before exercise.
- Remember that 8 fluid ounces = 1 cup.
Drink about 5 fluid oz. 10-20 minutes before exercise.
Drink about 5 fluid oz. every 10-20 minutes during exercise.
Replenish lost fluids after workouts (2½ cups for every pound lost or 35ml per kilogram lost, usually about 16 fluid ounces total).
Water is fine for lower intensity exercise lasting 45 minutes or less. Sports drinks are a better option for higher intensity exercise lasting 45 minutes or more.
FUEL YOURSELF REGULARLY
Eat three to six (or more) meals or snacks each day. EAT BREAKFAST! Eating breakfast helps you fuel up your muscles and get your body ready for an active, busy day. Don’t forget lunch. Fueling up early in the day means you’ll be ready for your afternoon or evening workout instead of running on fumes. Refuel after your workouts. Try carbohydrate-rich foods and fluids for your evening meal like potatoes, vegetables, pastas and fruit/fruit juices. Eating carbohydrates after hard exercise keeps you from feeling chronically fatigued and gets you ready for exercise and activity the next day.
Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel of the muscles.
Current sports nutrition guidelines suggest that athletes performing moderate intensity exercise should try to consume 5-7g of carbohydrate per kg body weight.
Athletes in high intensity endurance exercise should eat 7-12g carbs per kg body weight
Get a variety of carbohydrates at each meal or snack.
High Carbohydrate Foods – Choose mostly whole grain carbs when possible:
• Cereal (hot & cold)
• Low fat granola bars
• Fruit/fruit juices
• Granola bars
• Low fat crackers
• Light popcorn
• Fruit/fruit juices
• Dried Fruits
• Fig bars
WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN?
Protein helps your active muscles stay strong and healthy. Choose lean protein to repair tissues and build muscle. A good goal is 3 servings of dairy products daily (1 cup of yogurt or milk, 1.5 oz of cheese, 1 cup frozen yogurt), AND at least one good meat or high quality vegetarian protein source (3 oz. turkey, a chicken breast, hamburger, bean burrito, hummus on pita). An easy calculation for endurance athletes is 1.2–1.4 grams /kilogram of body weight and 1.2-1.7grams/kilograms of body weight for strength athletes.
Your body needs healthy fats to function properly. Athletes can accomplish this by incorporating nuts, olive oil, avocados, flaxseed, and fish (such as salmon and tuna) into their diet. Moderation is the key here. Fat is a good energy source, carries fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) to tissues and adds flavor and texture to foods. Generally, if you are eating a balanced diet with a variety of different foods your fat intake will be just about right. Don’t stress about counting fat grams, just try to choose healthy low-fat choices most of the time.
PRE-EXERCISE EATING GUIDELINES
The goal of eating prior to exercise is to ensure adequate energy for the body during workouts and to avoid stomach upset. Keep the following in mind:
- Carbohydrates are the best choice.
- Eat a small meal or snack two hours before exercise to allow for digestion.
- Avoid foods high in fat, protein, and fiber which take longer to digest.
- Drink plenty of liquids for pre-exercise hydration.
- Eat foods that you know won’t bother your stomach.
POST-EXERCISE EATING GUIDELINES
Focus on carbohydrate-rich foods to replenish glycogen stores.
Eat carbohydrate-rich foods/fluids within one to two hours after hard exercise.
6-20 grams protein after two hours post-exercise should be enough to start repairing damage to muscle tissue.
Try 100% juice instead of a sports drink. Juices contain more carbohydrate, potassium and nutrients than sports drinks.
Eat at least 50-100 grams of carbohydrate (200-400 calories) within two hours of a hard workout. Examples: 16 oz. fruit juice, a banana with 4 graham crackers, 1½ cups pasta with tomato sauce or a cup of yogurt with cereal and fruit.
Drink plenty of fluids!
References:“Hydration Tips” Texas Heart Institute. July 2009. <http://www.texasheart.org/hic/topics/hsmart/hydrate.cfm> Accessed 10 May 2010.
Coleman, Ellen. "Reconsider Athletes' Carbohydrate Needs" Today's Dietitian 12.3 (March 2010): 46.
Kieth, Robert E. “Sports Nutrition for Young Adults #1: Protein" Alabama Cooperative Extension System: May 1997. <http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/H/HE-0748/> Accessed 10 May 201
American Dietetic Association web site: http://www.eatright.org