By now, you’re probably part way through one of STACK’s 8-week, sport-specific summer workout programs [all detailed at summer.stack.com]. Among your goals: build muscle, get lean and become as fast as possible, so that when the season starts, your hard work will be rewarded with a string of Ws.
To ensure success, don’t forget the other major factor in the equation: nutrition. It significantly impacts how well you train and whether you achieve your performance goals. To maximize energy so you can train efficiently, James Harris, CSCS, who has consulted for NFL, NBA and NHL teams, guides you through a healthy summer eating plan. Check out his fuel tips and sample meals, below.
Harris: When you sleep, your body endures a long period without nutrients, so replenishing them in the a.m. is crucial. A breakfast consisting of 55 percent carbs and 25 percent low-fat protein will energize your body and jumpstart your metabolism.
Harris: Eat a light mid-morning snack to keep your metabolism stimulated.
Harris: Lean meat and whole grains should provide the bulk of your calories. Add a piece of fruit or a veggie to help you reach the daily recommendation of 25 grams of fiber, which regulates digestion, removes toxins and reduces large spikes in blood sugar.
Harris: Thirty to 45 minutes before training, grab a 300-calorie snack to give muscles some energy to burn.
Harris: To aid recovery, within 20 minutes of training, eat a post-workout snack—a moderate combo of protein and carbs. Besides replenishing lost energy, it will prepare your body for the next workout.
Harris: To provide a large amount of nutrients, which also play a big role in recovery, feed your body even more at dinner. The meal should consist of lean meat and whole grains and a large serving of fruits and vegetables.
Harris: Stimulate your metabolism and keep your body in a positive energy balance.
|Half of a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter; 4 egg whites; water or low-fat milk; multi-vitamin
|Turkey, roast beef or ham with provolone cheese on whole-wheat bread; trail mix; baby carrots;
water, low-fat milk or a sports drink
|Half of a peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread; water or a sports drink
|8 oz. chocolate milk
|Spaghetti* with lean meat sauce; steamed veggies
*Whole-wheat pasta enhances the meal
|Cottage cheese and fresh fruit
Remember to drink a lot with each meal and snack to ensure adequate hydration. And never skip a meal, because doing so can lead to muscle breakdown, which causes you to burn fewer calories, have less energy and recover more slowly from workouts.