During training and workouts, active people like you, release large amounts of energy. How do you replenish the loss energy after workout or playing your sport?
Recharge with energy boosting foods
Whenever you are under intense daily training and recovery, you need to include a comprehensive meal plan that matches your physical demands. Therefore, proper nutrition is one of the many factors to be considered in achieving peak performance and recovery that will complement your training and competition.
What nutrients should you include in gaining the necessary energy when you are training or working out? Whole foods rich in carbohydrates provide the major energy sources necessary for training and recovery. Sources of carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, breads, and pastas and low-fat dairy products. Likewise, lean protein brings in additional power strength for muscle building and repair. Healthy fats, too, play a big role in adding good calories and managing hunger. These good fats can be obtained from nuts, nut butters, avocados, soy products, and vinegar or oil based salad dressings.
The benefit of eating whole foods is that you are getting the natural synergy of all the nutrients together. Whole foods are unprocessed and unrefined or refined as little as possible before consuming. They do not have added sugar, salt or fat. Examples of whole food are unpolished grains, fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meat, poultry milk and non-homogenized milk.
The amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals you get in whole foods work in synergy to create a more powerful effect than these sums of their parts, producing a result that cannot be recreated by nutritional supplements. However, it does not necessarily mean that nutritional supplements don’t matter. They are also essential in the body especially when taken based on individual needs. These supplements compliment whole food in building up strength and stamina to keep an active lifestyle.
So, how are you going to attain peak performance and recovery through proper sport nutrition? Here are the recommendations.
- Always include fruits and vegetables in your meal every single day. Your goal is to consume at least 5 servings per day. A single serving should be approximately the same size of a baseball. Eating fruits and veggies gives you energy and nutrients necessary for training and recovery. In addition, they have antioxidants that can fight illness like a cold or flu.
- Opt for whole grain carbs and fiber-rich foods as your power packed energy sources. Minimize sugar intake for they are energy-buster not energy-booster. Whole grains are healthy and nutritious. You will benefit from them.
- Pick lean sources of protein like fish, poultry products, nuts and soy. They have less saturated fats to weigh you down.
- Keep hydrated. A drop in the level of your hydration will affect your sport performance.
- Do not eat over-processed foods or instant foods, they don’t give the same benefits as eating real food.
Insufficient amounts of calories from the healthiest food sources will influence negatively on your performance goals.
Here are suggested foods you should consume during your training and recovery.
This heart-healthy whole grain that have valuable soluble fiber that help soak unwanted fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream. It maintains your energy for longer periods during workout and curbs appetite by slowing the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream. Oats are also good source of B vitamins, which are important sources of energy.
A well-known source of calcium, which supports healthy bones, reduces the risk of osteoporosis and is said to have a role in muscle metabolism. This super food also helps athletes prevent fatigue because it is rich in vitamin B12.
This fruit is considered as star of the show when it comes to antioxidant properties. Nutrients in blueberries also promote healthy blood pressure. These super foods are composed of vitamin C to support the immune system. They are sources of energy by enhancing carbohydrates and fiber to help sustain energy.
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain more of the antioxidant beta-carotene than any other fruits or vegetables. An excellent source of vitamin C, this is one of the only fat-free sources of vitamin E. Vitamin C and E both have antioxidant properties and aid in muscle recovery among athletes. Lastly, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of iron, which is important in oxygen production for athletes during workouts.
This type of fish is a good source of high quality protein, iron and vitamin B12 – which is important for optimal athletic performance.
Fluid is vital, too.
Sufficient hydration is another key to achieve peak in sports and workout performance. Here are general rules in hydrating during training:
- Consume a minimum of 2 cups of fluid prior to training
- Drink 4-6 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes of exercise
- Add additional 2 cups of fluid after training
Assess your hydration needs by monitoring your perspiration loss. Weigh before and after a training or workout. For every pound of weight lost, substitute with 16 ounces of fluids. Your best hydration options include water, low-fat milk or 100 percent fruit juice. Sports drinks are best reserved for sporting competition where quick hydration and electrolyte replacement are required.
If you are an athlete who competes in and out of the country, you have to consider eating nutritious food while on the go. You should not rely on the food served by the concession stand during competition. You should prepare your meals by packing variety of healthy foods and drinks.
What food you can easily bring with you while traveling? You can bring any of these suggested on-the-go energy-boosting foods such as whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, tortilla wraps with veggies, hard boiled eggs, bean or veggie soup, a small box of whole grain cereal, fresh fruit, whole wheat bread with peanut butter or pasta with grilled chicken. Pair any of these meal options with fresh fruit juice, water or low-fat milk and you will have an energized, nutritious meal before you start competing.