Nutrition for Athletes

Nutrition for Athletes

📅January 20th, 2015, 14:17

As athletes, I think we can all agree that we love food. Most of us start thinking about the next meal right after we’ve just finished one. There’s no question that we focus on food when we are training and racing a lot. But nutrition for athletes is even more important as we need to focus on getting the most out of the nutrition we are taking in. If not, what aspects of nutrition should we focus on to help us recover from our workouts and in turn perform at our best.

Pre-Workout Fueling: 

Working out without fueling up first is like starting a road trip with an empty gas tank. You are setting yourself up for failure before you start, which will likely leave you thinking that you are not fit and that your training is in the dumps.

Start out by hydrating adequately! Hydration starts the day before a big workout or event, so be sure to carry a bottle of water and/or nutrient rich fluids with you and drink regularly. Before starting your workout, aim to consume 8oz of fluid two hours before so that you have enough time to process the liquids.

For fuel, the goal is healthy carbohydrates like whole-grain cereals (with low-fat or skim milk), whole-wheat toast and fruits. Low fat and fat free yogurts, whole-grain pastas and brown rice are great options as well depending on what time of day you are planning your workout. Avoid saturated fats and foods with high protein content as these foods are more difficult to digest and can take away oxygen/energy that you need to deliver blood to your muscles during your workout. If you are short on time, grab some fruit like a banana or apple for quick energy.

Post Workout Fueling – Nutrition and Recovery: 

After your workout it is very important to get nutrition in as soon as possible. In the 60 minutes immediately after your workout, your muscles can store carbohydrates and protein as energy and help in the recovery of your muscles.

Hydrating with a carb/protein mix in water is a great option. It is easily absorbed and will hydrate you at the same time. To rehydrate, aim to replace 24oz of fluid for every pound lost during your workout. The goal is to quench your thirst and then drink a little more to be sure you’re completely hydrated.

Most people think protein when they think about recovery, which is true as your body needs protein to begin repairing muscle damage from your workout. Replenishing your glycogen stores is just as important however, and this is best done within the first 30 minutes after your workout. 1.2g of carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight is the recommended goal, but ingesting protein and a smaller amount of carbohydrates (think 3:1 to 4:1 ratio) can also kickstart your recovery process.

A few of our favorites right after a workout…

Chocolate milk, BounceBalls , fruit/yogurt parfaits from our Mother’s Juice Cafe grab-and-go (we especially love the chia parfait on the right, but they’re both delicious)!

Once you’ve started to replenish your glycogen stores, protein is your next goal. Within 45-90 minutes after your workout, aim to consume something with more protein. Think quinoa, high protein seeds, eggs, lean meat, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The first two hours after your workout at the most important in terms of recovery and nutrition, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to relax and replenish before you move on to the next part of your day.

A few of our favorite protein rich recovery foods…

Quinoa with veggies and/or protein, turkey or chicken sandwich with tomato/lettuce and any other vegetables you’d like, egg scramble with lots of veggies, recovery tacos, anything with peanut butter!

We take workout fueling seriously, as we know what an important role nutrition and fueling play in completing a workout and getting ready for the next one. Since the most important aspect of proper fueling is making sure you consume a variety of nutrient dense foods every day, we’re happy to have our Mother’s Juice Cafe grab-and-go location open now! With everything from roasted beet salads (more on the power of beets for athletes soon!), to delicious wrap sandwiches that combine protein and veggies in a delicious chard wrap, we’ve got a variety of healthy food items that you can purchase here to eat while you recover or take as you head out for the rest of the day.