Athletes

Proper nutrition is essential for optimal athletic performance.  Whether training for a competition or fueling your Orangetheory workouts, performance and progress depend largely on eating the right foods.  Unfortunately, most individuals do not realize just how important nutrition is to good health and athletic performance.

Many athletes have poor eating habits (skipping breakfast, eating junk food, and eating the same foods day after day).  As a result, their diets are missing nutrients and their athletic performance may be impaired. Athletes may be undernourished, even though they consume a lot of calories.  These eating habits may provide short term benefit, but are unhealthy in the long term.

It is important to recognize that active people/athletes have special nutritional needs. It is especially important to meet the extra demands that are placed on their bodies.

Pre-Workout Nutrition

Consuming a light snack before working out may be beneficial. Allow time for digestion (30-60 minutes or more) and observe how you feel.

  • Carbohydrates are usually easier to digest; or carbohydrates and protein in a 3:1 ratio and a small amount of healthy fat – small glass of orange juice; a banana; ½ nut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Include quick-working, high-glycemic carbs
  • Stay on top of hydration through the day – avoid beginning a workout in a dehydrated state

Post-Workout Nutrition

In addition to replacing fluids lost during exercise, it’s important to consume a small snack that contains about 200 calories and a 4:1 or 5:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Even if you’re not hungry or your stomach feels a little off, get something into your system as quickly as possible. It will assist in restoring glycogen to your muscles and may help reduce next day soreness.

  • Observe the fuel window: In the 15-60 minutes immediately following a workout, your muscles are primed to receive fuel to start the repair process. Eat (or drink) your recovery meal right away, within the first half hour after the workout is complete. This will help replenish muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stored in muscle) and will assist in switching from muscle breakdown to muscle repair. Keep it simple and plan ahead: a smoothie, yogurt and a banana, homemade cookie/muffins, or ½ nut butter and honey/jam are possible choices.
  • Reduce acidity with greens or other vegetables and fruits. Intense exercise creates an acidic environment in your body.  If you don’t neutralize the acid with what you eat, your body will use the minerals from your bones and nitrogen from your muscle tissue to neutralize it.  Green veggies and fruits have a neutralizing effect on your body.
  • Rehydrate after working out – dehydration of 2% to 3% can compromise performance, heat dissipation, and cardiovascular function. Drink during and after workouts based on sweat loss.
  • Replace lost electrolytes. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, the little conductors that transmit electrical impulses throughout your body. Electrolytes affect how your body functions in many ways, including the amount of water in your body; the acidity of your blood; muscle function; and other important processes. So you need to replace them.  Some good sources of electrolytes are fruit, a few pinches of sea salt, electrolyte tablets.
  • Recovery doesn’t stop with your post-workout snack. Plan to eat again an hour or two later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* The information and ideas presented here are for educational and instructional purposes, and are not intended as prescriptive advice.  You may choose, at your own risk, to act on this information.