How best to fuel an athlete has become one of the most discussed (and profitable) sectors of the health industry. Many of us dabble in shakes, powders and vitamins that sound like the tagline to an action movie: hyper-burn, fit power, energy max. While some brands can definitely help to give you that added boost, the foundation of a healthy athlete always begins with food.
To feel your best both in and out of your workout, follow these five rules to fuel performance and keep your body in fighting trim.
5 Food Strategies to Power Performance
Eat a big breakfast. This is the cornerstone of your day, so make it count. Whole grain bread, eggs, nut butters, granola, superfood smoothies…. A rounded breakfast includes protein, whole grains, and healthy fat. Bonus points for fresh fruit or veg on the side.
Eat snacks throughout the day. Running on empty is a sure way to stall metabolism in adults and kids alike. Try to eat every 3-4 hours. Healthy snacks can be as simple as an apple or a handful of almonds, or something more substantial.
Hydrate throughout the day. Water with squeezed lemon is ideal for its health-boosting qualities. Other great sports-related hydrators are coconut water or maple water – save these for during or immediately following sports to replenish lost electrolytes.
Eat nutrient-dense foods. Elite athletes know that foods full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and protein are great choices. These deliver a lot more bang for your buck than junk food, which offers a quick fix and then an energy crash. Smoothies are a good high-return meal on-the-go for athletic performance.
Eat carbohydrates the night before. “Carbo-loading” is a time honoured tradition that gives your body a quick source of energy the next day. Just make sure you’re using whole grains; pastas such as rice, kamut and quinoa are great options. If you’re using this strategy, make sure to pair your big pasta dinner with vigorous exercise early the following day!