It’s no secret that healthy food plays an integral role in performance. At the end of the day your body will perform better when it is fed the proper “fuel” and can do things you never thought you could. If you work out every day but eat McDonald’s for dinner five times a week, you are being counterproductive to your training. That said, what should you eat? There is no right formula since we are all different, but there are some tried and true foods to get you on the right path.
Fruits and Vegetables
How many times did your mother tell you to eat all your vegetables at dinner growing up? You may have been reluctant, but fruits and vegetables are a great fuel for your body. Fruits are rich in sugar and carbohydrates, which are needed during endurance races like marathons and triathlons. Bananas, apples and pears are perfect to have before a long run.
We all need protein, and the leaner the better. Chicken, turkey and fish should be on the top of your grocery list. Powerbar.com recommends the following when filling up on protein:
- If your training is mostly aerobic or for endurance, consume 10–20 grams of protein as soon as possible after you finish. This protein will provide the amino acid building blocks needed to promote muscle tissue repair and building in response to your training.
- For resistance training workouts, consume 10–20 grams of protein just before and just after working out, to help with the repair and building of lean tissue.
Pack on the Fat
Ok, maybe not literally, but there are foods rich in fat that are beneficial to an athlete. Many foods high in fat are high in good fat—meaning your body needs it. These healthy foods include avocados, almonds and peanut butter.
Power to the Berries
Eating a variety of berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are very beneficial to runners. These antioxidant rich berries also include high levels of Anthocyanins, which has been linked to help muscle repair (and who wouldn’t like getting out of their knee brace?).
Hydration is a very powerful tool when training. If you are a long distance runner, you are losing a lot of water during the course of your run. According to teamoregon.com, “the average adult requires about 4 1/2 pints of water per day for normal metabolism. An additional pint per half hour may be lost during exercise. When exercising heavily in warm weather, you should be consuming fluids on a regular basis throughout your workout. Monitor your weight before and after the exercise and replace the fluid weight loss as soon after exercise as possible by consuming a about a pint per pound.”
Training for an event, whether it is a tennis tournament, or an Ironman race, proper nutrition is one of pieces for a successful event. Figuring out what works best for you might take some time, but with the proper groundwork, you are up to the challenge.
Written by Abby Evans….an avid blogger and loves writing about fitness. In her spare time she is training for half marathons and finding the perfect knee brace for running.