Healthy food choices play an important part in improving athletic performance. Proper nutrition helps speed recovery time, increase stamina & energy, decrease body fat, and prevent unwanted injuries. All three macronutrients have important roles in sports nutrition, but the timing they are eaten in is important. Below I will discuss the three aspects of sports nutrition; Pre-workout, intra-workout, and post-workout.
What and when you eat before exercise makes a big difference to your performance and recovery. Carbohydrates provide the most efficient source of energy to power you through workouts. Quick digesting carbohydrates that are lower in fiber allow for quick digestion and absorption to replenish your muscles and liver with glycogen. Choose foods that are also low in fat and fiber to ensure digestive tolerance. In addition to food, fluids are vital for athletic performance. Continuously drink fluids leading up to the exercise to prevents the risk of dehydration.
1-4 hours before exercise:
Cornflakes + plant-based milk
Oatmeal + banana + cinnamon + walnuts
Peanut butter + Jelly + whole wheat bread
30-60 minutes before exercise
Toast + jelly
Nutrition during workouts (intra) is important for optimal performance. Intense exercising exceeding 60 mins can deplete muscle glycogen stores. Consuming fast digesting carbohydrates acts as a burst of fuel to re-energize the body.
Food Examples: During exercise
Post-workout nutrition is essential for repairing muscles, re-hydration, and refueling for the next bout of exercises. Eating a snack or meal within an hour following competition or training provides nutrients that replenish glycogen stores and repair muscles. It is also important to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat. Replace up to 16 oz. of fluid for every pound lost per hour.
Food Examples: After Exercise
Dairy free Greek yogurt + blueberries + mix nuts
Whole wheat pita bread + hummus + apple
Curried chick peas + quinoa + steamed broccoli
Black bean burger + Baked Sweet potato fries + avocado