10 Nutrition Rules To Live By

October 3, 2012 | Danielle Lafata

Must See Nutrition Videos

When you fuel properly, you have more energy, sleep better, enhance your recovery after practices and games, and improve your overall performance. Many people think proper nutrition is complicated. This is not the case. If you are tired of feeling exhausted during the season, or cannot work your hardest during training sessions, observe most or all of the following 10 nutrition rules. They will make an immediate positive impact on your performance. (Read Sarah Reinertsen's tried and true strategy.)

1. Come back to earth. Choose the least processed foods, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, and high fiber carbohydrates.

2. Eat a rainbow of colors. Eat fruits or vegetables with each meal. Choose a wide variety of colors to get a lot of nutrients.

3. The fewer legs, the better. Eat a lean protein source with each meal, but favor chicken, turkey or fish over beef, pork or lamb.

4. Eat healthy fats. Don't shy away from healthy fat options, like olive oil, nuts, natural nut butters, seeds, avocado, fish, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.

5. Eat breakfast every day. When you eat within 30 minutes of waking up, you jump-start your metabolism and give yourself the energy you need for the day ahead.

6. Three for three. Eat smaller portions more often, spread evenly throughout the day—no excuses. Eat four to six small meals each day and aim for a balance of carbs, protein and fat with each one.

7. Stay hydrated. Dehydration equals decreased performance. Drink at least three liters of non-caloric beverages (water/green tea) every day.

8. Don't waste your workouts. You need energy for training and the proper nutrients to recover, or you won't make gains in the weight room. Think of this process in three stages—pre-, during and post-activity. Eat some carbohydrate-rich foods before, water and/or carbohydrate during, and protein with carbohydrate within 30 minutes after.

9. Supplement wisely. Fuel with real foods first and supplement second. If you are not getting all the nutrients you need through food, add a multivitamin to your daily routine. Create a smart supplementation program that improves your performance without compromising your health or draining your wallet. Before you take any type of supplement, make sure to check in with your doctor or a registered dietitian. (When supplements can help.)

10. Sleep. Aim for eight hours of sleep each night. If you can't consistently get 8, take power naps when you can. The body recovers and repairs best when it is sleeping.

And finish off with:

The 80/20 Rule. Each meal and snack is an opportunity to fuel your body. Choose foods that are best for you 80 percent of the time. Eat some foods that may not be the best, but are your favorites, 20 percent of the time!

Learn more about Athletes’ Performance and the professional and elite athletes they support on the Athletes’ Performance page on STACK.

Danielle LaFata
- Danielle LaFata is the Director of Performance Nutrition for Athletes’ Performance. She earned her B.S. in General Business Management from Central Michigan University and her...
Danielle LaFata
- Danielle LaFata is the Director of Performance Nutrition for Athletes’ Performance. She earned her B.S. in General Business Management from Central Michigan University and her...

Featured Videos

Adrian Gonzalez Rope Plank Adrian Gonzalez Rope Plank Views: 632,441
Ronda Rousey Shows Off Intense New Bag Drill Ronda Rousey Shows Off Intense New Bag Drill Views: 68,124
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 1,524,960
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,164
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,831
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,151,981
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,099,366
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,974,019

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Boston Cannons' ‘Keep It Real’ Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons' 'Keep It Real' Eating Plan

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

YardBarker