Sports nutrition is smart nutrition whether you do casual exercise, work out hard, play team sports, golf every day, or you are an elite athlete – even an Olympic athlete (see the bottom of the post for some sports nutrition stories from our Olympic athletes). The athlete inside each of us will perform better when fueled properly!
The Fuel You Need:
• Fluids help maintain normal body temperature and deliver energy and nutrients to hardworking muscles, so it’s no surprise that well-hydrated athletes perform better and can sustain longer than their poorly hydrated counterparts.
• Carbohydrate is the fuel of choice for both recreational and competitive athletes because it is the most readily available fuel for working muscles. In fact, low-carbohydrate fuel stores are a common limiting factor in high-intensity and endurance exercise.
• Protein is essential for increasing muscle mass and strength, as well as for recovering from prolonged exercise.
• Vitamins and minerals don’t provide energy, but they’re essential for converting the food you eat into energy your muscles can use.
When you time the consumption of food and drink throughout your exercise session, you can significantly improve hydration, energy, recovery, and the quality of individual workouts. You can optimize your exercise performance and improve your (muscle) recovery for your next workout.
Sports Nutrition Before Exercise or Workout
Two to four hours before exercise, be sure to hydrate early and often, and eat healthful and nutritious carbohydrate-rich foods, including light sandwiches, pasta, salads, fruits, and nutritional bars. Consider more rapidly absorbed nutritional shakes as little as one hour before an event, depending on your individual level of digestive comfort. Continue hydrating right up to the start of an event and consider a natural caffeine boost 30 minutes prior to exercise.
Sports Nutrition During Exercise or Workout
Continue hydrating with small amounts of cool fluids, including water and sports drinks, every 15 to 30 minutes. For events lasting longer than an hour, consider rapidly digested carbohydrate-rich foods such as bagels, gels, bananas, apples, oranges, and nutritional bars.
Sports Nutrition After Exercise or Workout
Try to consume a balanced intake of fluids, carbohydrate, and protein immediately after exercise to maximize hydration, muscle-energy refueling, muscle repair, and muscle rebuilding. The right balance of carbohydrate and protein can trigger and enhance the anabolic recovery process when consumed immediately after exercise and again an hour or two later—especially for those who have multiple daily workout sessions.
More About the Importance of Hydration
Did you know the human body is made up of 60% water? Physiologically, fluids assist in the transportation of oxygen and nutrients through the bloodstream, provide lubrication in our joints and cushioning for our organs, and carry heat generated by exercise to the skin where it can be dissipated as sweat to cool the body. An adult loses about 2 liters of fluid per day through sweat, urine, respiration, and bowel movements, and that’s why we often make the recommendation to drink eight glasses of water daily for proper hydration.
We are all individuals and have different metabolic rates. You live and exercise in unique environments compared to mine. You may sweat more than I do. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you risk dehydration. You also lose electrolytes such as sodium and potassium when you sweat.
Hydration Strategies to help get the most out of your workouts:
Prehydration – is a relatively new concept, but the goal is to prevent dehydration from occurring by properly hydrating and assuring normal plasma-electrolyte levels prior to exercise. Prehydrating can be accomplished by drinking water or sports drinks, and by consuming foods with a high water content several hours before exercise. Most of us can benefit by drinking two to three cups of fluid in the hours before exercise.
Hydration – during exercise helps to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances and to minimize adverse effects on athletic and mental performance. Losing as little as 2% of body weight (or just 3 pounds in a 150-pound person) during exercise has been shown to compromise athletic performance. Drinking cool liquids early and often, and opting for sports drinks that contain electrolytes and energy-sustaining carbohydrates can be beneficial. In hot and humid conditions, you should drink half a cup or more of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes that you exercise.
Rehydration – after exercise is important to enhance the recovery process and to make up any remaining fluid or electrolyte deficits. In the hours after exercise, try to rehydrate with 2 cups of fluid (yes, 2 cups!) for every pound of weight lost during your workout. If weighing yourself is not an option, checking your urine color is a simple indicator of hydration status. A pale or clear color is usually a sign of proper hydration, whereas a dark yellow or tea-colored urine is a common indicator of dehydration.
It’s healthy to be active. Stay hydrated and you will feel the best after exercise, workout or performance. Evaluate the benefits of natural nutrition for your healthy, active lifestyle.
Find out more about:
SPORTS NUTRITION (from the #1 Natural Nutrition Company in the United States).
To learn more about Shaklee Olympic Athletes visit: Sports Nutrition 101 Shaklee Olympic Athletes