The subject of nutrition can be confusing and frustrating. What to eat? When to eat? Will this food or drink help or hurt my performance?? Let’s get back to basics.
1. Choose simplicity. Eat un-processed foods: read the label, do you recognize every ingredient? The closer the food is to its natural state, the better it is for your body.
2. Eat colorful foods often. Colorful foods, fruits and vegetables, come packed with all the vitamins and minerals a body needs. Eat from the rainbow. ROYGBIV: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo & violet.
3. Choose good quality proteins: turkey, chicken, fish, beans before beef and dairy products. Our bodies process the former into useable energy and building blocks more efficiently than the latter.
4. Eat fats, but make sure you get a powerful punch in return. Eat approximately 20-25% of calories from fat. And eat fats that decrease inflammation and promote a healthy heart, the essential fatty acids: EPA/DHA from fish or supplements. Other nutritionally dense fats are: raw nuts & seeds, olive oil, nut butters, avocados and fatty fishes.
5. Manage blood glucose. Keeping energy levels consistent keeps the body fed and avoiding mood swings and overeating. Eat a combination of carbs, fat & protein every 3 hours, thus preventing extreme hunger.
6. Eat breakfast every day. Keep it simple and give your body the metabolic and energy boost it needs to function optimally throughout the day.
7. Drink, drink, drink. Dehydration decreases performance. Drink plenty of water and sports drink to keep electrolytes in balance. -1 oz of fluid per pound of body weight per day.
8. Post workout fuel. A post exercise snack ensures positive gains from your workout. Many athletes skip the post workout snack out of reluctance to consume calories right after burning them. In order to optimize the benefits of a training session and jump start recovery for maximal gains, it is critical to consume a post exercise snack. Blend carbs and protein 30-60 mins post exercise.
9. Be wise about supplements. Wow! Another confusing subject with so much to choose from. Remember, good food first, good supplements second. Make sure supplements are high quality. A basic multivitamin/mineral formula and fish oils are a great place to start.
10. Get back in the kitchen! In a world of too-busy, fast-food convenience, nutrition falls by the wayside. Taking the preparation of your food into your own hands can help you meet your individual needs, not the needs or goals of the restaurant. The more you can prepare your own food, the more control you will have in the nourishment of your body.