Hitting the snooze in the a.m.? Hit up the kitchen instead. Whether you've got an early-morning practice or a late-morning game, get revved and ready for action with advice from Chris Mohr, sports nutrition consultant for University of Louisville athletic teams. Here's his dish on what to include in yours.
Pre-activity - Three hours before
As tempting as it may be, don't reach for an energy drink first thing in the a.m. "It's not a true source of energy," Mohr says. Instead, you need carbohydrates for optimal mental and physical performance, because your body uses glucose to keep your brain alert and to fuel your muscles after several hours of Zs.
For crack-of-dawn activity, Mohr recommends a light meal of semisolid foods, which need less time for digestion. "Fruit is great," Mohr says. "In particular, I like watermelon, because, like the name implies, it's a great source of fluid, as well as carbohydrates." He also suggests yogurt, chocolate milk or a packet of instant breakfast, as they are all great protein sources.
However, if your game is scheduled for later in the morning, go for more solid foods. "In terms of macronutrient breakdown," Mohr explains, "the meal should be primarily carbs, with some protein, but low in fat and fiber, because they take awhile to digest." Three to four hours pre-game, he suggests an English muffin topped with a poached egg, salsa and a slice of cheddar cheese, as well as a piece of fruit.
Post-activity - 30 minutes after
While protein is necessary for postactivity refueling, the body also requires carbs for optimal recovery. "You need those carbohydrates because they give you energy," Mohr explains. "Carbs replenish glycogen, while protein rebuilds the muscle tissue you broke down."
The meal should be more substantial than what you eat pre-activity so your body can recharge for your next training bout. Eat within 30 minutes of activity, because the longer you wait, "the longer it will take your body to use the nutrients and recover." Mohr suggests starting with a yogurt smoothie or low-fat chocolate milk; then about one hour later, consume carb-based solid foods with some high-quality protein, such as a breakfast burrito. "A whole wheat tortilla, eggs, sautéed veggies and some salsa would be fantastic," says Mohr.
Rehydrate with a sports drink and water. "Hydration is absolutely the most important component of any type of nutrition," Mohr says. For every pound of weight lost during activity, he recommends consuming at least 20 ounces [about 2.5 cups] of fluid within two hours after activity. "A simple rule of thumb is to check the color of your urine," he says. "If it looks like apple juice, keep drinking."
*For 1C diced watermelon, 1 whole-wheat English muffin, 1 poached egg, 1 slice of low fat cheddar cheese, 1 tomato slice
*For 1 mixed-berry Yoplait smoothie, 1 Boca Southwestern Breakfast Wrap
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