Important Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating allows athletes to train longer at a higher intensity, promote recovery, delay fatigue and increase their level of concentration. So it's critical that athletes become regimented on what they eat, hydrate both pre- and post-workout and make smart food choices on the road. Become a nutrition-conscious, high performance athlete—elite in the weight room, on the field and at meal time.

Eating before exercise

  • Include a small amount of protein in your pre-workout meal. Protein helps build and repair muscle, so this is a critical eating habit to develop. (See Get the Most Out of Your Post-Workout Protein.)
  • Choose meals that are low in fat and high in fiber to ensure proper digestion.
  • Eat two to three hours prior to working out. An example of a good pre-workout meal: turkey or tuna sandwich with fat-free yogurt and some fruit.
  • 30 minutes to an hour before exercise, have a low-sugar sports drink with electrolytes. If you can't find one, eat some fruit

Eating after exercise

  • Immediately after your workout, have a carbohydrate-and-protein-rich shake to replace fluids and repair muscle tissue. (Check out The Best Post-Workout Carbs.)
  • Within 15 to 30 minute after your workout, eat a small snack. Example: a fruit smoothie.
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods—i.e., foods that deliver a complete nutritional package, including good amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Hydration

  • Monitor your hydration by assessing your urine color. Check it first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Dark urine indicates dehydration; light yellow or clear urine indicates a normal level of hydration.
  • Monitor your body weight before and after exercise to estimate sweat loss. It's best to get the help of a sports dietitian with this one.
  • The longer and more intense the workout, the more you perspire. Replace all the lost sweat by hydrating before, during and after a workout.
  • Watch for signs of dehydration, such as dizziness, thirst, premature fatigue and an inability to handle the entire capacity of your workout.

Eating on the road

  • When traveling with a team and forced to eat in restaurants, choose foods with plenty of nutrients.
  • Pack a water bottle or a sports drink and take in enough fluids to maintain hydration and replace fluid lost during competition.
  • Eat foods that are baked, broiled or grilled.
  • Pack a snack such as trail mix, dried fruit and sports bars.

Topics: PROTEIN | WORKOUTS | NUTRITION | FOODS | EXERCISE | SPORTS | SWEAT | FRUIT | FATIGUE | HYDRATION | DEHYDRATION | URINE

Jamal Baptiste Jamal Baptiste - Jamal Baptiste is a strength and conditioning coach and licensed massage therapist. Baptiste has trained a wide variety of clientele, including actors, high school, collegiate and pro athletes. He has worked for Velocity Sports Performance and is currently the speed and agility coach at Asphalt Gree
Become a Contributing Expert