Fatigue is a common complaint among track athletes, so the right nutrition plan is key to keeping you energized during high-powered workouts and achieving your personal best. Keep the following nutrition staples in mind throughout your training progressions.
Carbohydrates. Your body's main energy source is broken down into glycogen and used to fuel muscles. Studies indicate that perception of fatigue is directly related to muscle glycogen stores. With every meal and snack [aim for one every three to four hours], include carbs like bread, cereal, rice, pasta, pretzels, crackers, beans and peas, milk, yogurt, fruit and juices.
Hydration. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink. This is especially important during the warmer months, so keep a water bottle handy and drink throughout the day.
Before workouts. Choose a high carb meal that's low in fat and has moderate amounts of protein. Examples: cereal and skim milk; chicken sandwich [not fried] and fruit; pasta with chicken. Add eight to 12 ounces of a sports drink.
During workouts. If your workout will last more than an hour, go for a sports drink to replace electrolytes. Drink small amounts at room temperature to avoid stomach upset.
Post-workouts. A recovery meal or snack within 20-30 minutes of your workout is key. This replaces muscle glycogen and prepares your body for its next challenge. If you wait too long, it can take up to 72 hours to completely recover.
Sample Meal Plan
Choose one option per category
• Whole grain cereal with skim or 1% milk, banana
• Egg white omelet with veggies and low fat cheese, 2 slices toast with jelly, fruit or juice
• Fruit and low fat yogurt
• Apple with peanut butter
• Turkey or roast beef sandwich on whole-grain bread with low fat cheese, lettuce, tomato and mustard; fruit and water
• Large bean burrito with veggies and low fat cheese, fruit, chocolate milk
• Fruit smoothie
• Yogurt with cereal and fruit
• Lean meat, chicken or grilled fish, steamed veggies, baked sweet potato fries, fruit bar for dessert
• Veggie stir-fry with chicken and brown rice, fruit sorbet or frozen yogurt for dessert
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