Got your workout in? Make sure you are fueling well to maximize your hard work and accomplish your goals.
Strength, Endurance & Recovery
Protein is made from amino acids, the building blocks that support a strong and healthy body.
Protein in the diet supports recovery. Exercise breaks down muscle in the body, so eating enough protein can help ensure your muscles are able to recover properly for your next sweat session.
One amino acid important for athletes is Leucine, which helps promote muscle building and recovery. Enjoy leucine containing foods at meals and snacks like milk, cottage cheese, lean beef, chicken, salmon, tuna, beans, and nuts.
Not all proteins are created equal, different sources contain a variety and amounts of amino acids. Just like fruits and vegetables, try to get a variety of protein sources every day.
- Low fat dairy foods like milk, yogurt and cottage cheese
- Lean meats like beef, chicken and pork
Aim to eat protein with each snack and meal. A good goal is 3 meals and 3 snacks daily
Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source of your brain and body. Carbs are stored in the body as glycogen to ensure you have energy when you need it.
Carbs are found in many foods – remember that there is no good or bad food (or carb), just foods that have more nutrients. All carbs have a place in the athlete’s diet.
We all want strong bones to carry us through a lifetime. Our bone density peaks in our mid-20’s, so a healthy diet in our younger years is critical! Calcium and Vitamin D containing foods like dairy products as well as weight bearing exercise can help you reach your peak. But the importance of building strong bones does not stop in our mid 20’s! Exercise and eating calcium rich foods throughout your like will decrease the risk of breaks and fractures later in life.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to build strong bones. Your body can make its own Vitamin D with direct exposure to sunlight. But in colder climates or for those who protect their skin from the sun, Vitamin D production is often not enough. Fortunately, foods like milk, fish and eggs contain Vitamin D
Why dairy? Dairy products like Milk, yogurt and cheese are high in Calcium to build strong bones and muscles. They are also rich in protein and carbohydrates to fuel your body for sport.
Sleep & Rest
Sleep and rest days are critical for athlete recovery and peak performance. This is the time when muscles repair and recover from exercise and day to day activities. Not getting enough sleep may mean your body is not repairing properly, which can negatively impact performance. Most adults need 7-8 hours a day, while teens may need up to 10 hours.
Benefits of a sleep routine:
- Improved concentration – lack of sleep can impact how you learn, work and think.
- Improved memory – your brain is ‘filing’ what it learned that day during sleep.
- Lower risk of chronic diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
- Improved immunity
- Stick to a routine – go to bed and wake up at the same time.
- Avoid screens (TV, phone, computer) an hour before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed.
- Sleep in a dark, cool bedroom.
- Try meditation or reading before sleep.
- Enjoy physical activity in nature (when possible) daily.
- If you nap, limit to 25 minutes or less to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep.
- A warm glass of milk has been known to aid sleep and studies show dairy protein helps muscles recover while you sleep.
Rest days are important, too! Over training may lead to fatigue and decrease performance. Give your body 1-2 days a week to rest or try active recovery like light cardio or foam rolling.