Fueling your Sport
"Your body is a highly efficient engine that requires high octane fuel."
For optimal athletic performance, know your food game plan.
• Do you need to gain or lose weight?
• Increase muscle?
• Decrease body fat percentage?
You need the right combination of foods to achieve your goals for power, strength, speed and endurance.
• Quickly provide glucose (fuel) to the blood stream for body, brain, and muscle energy, and antioxidants for recovery.
• The primary energy source in moderate to high intensity sports
• Complex carbohydrate foods take a longer time to digest, fill you up, and sustain energy needs during the day-such as whole grains, beans, brown rice, and potatoes
• Simple carbohydrate foods digest faster, for quick energy needs-such as milk, fruits, white bread, saltines, and vegetables.
• Provide energy for low to moderate exercise
• Provide nutrients for a healthy heart.
• Act as a backup fuel at the end of prolonged exercise
• Important for hormones, intramuscular fat stores, and transporting fat soluble vitamins.
• Monounsaturated fats include olive or canola oils, pecans, almonds, and avocados
• Polyunsaturated fats (particularly the omega-3) include tuna or salmon, nuts, seeds, soybeans, or green leafy vegetables.
• Tiny building blocks known as amino acids, available in poultry, red meat, eggs, fish, pancakes, bagels, toast, nut butters, rice, potatoes, pasta, cereals, beans, lentils, nuts, milk, yogurt, and cheese.
• Builds and repairs active tissue
• Regulates body processes such as circulation, the immune system, and enzymes to transport carbohydrates into our cells for energy.
• maintain body temperature, blood volume and blood pressure
• lubricate vital organs
• remove waste products
• provide a balance between body fluids and electrolytes.
The American College of Sports Medicine and American Dietetic Association recommend the following guidelines for adequate fluid intake:
• At least four hours before exercise, consume approximately 2-3 cups of fluid or 2-3 ml fluid per pound body weight. If you consume a healthy breakfast, you are probably consuming 3-plus cups of fluid from milk, juice, water, tea or coffee.
• Prior to exercise, know your fluid needs. You might want to top off your thirst with 8-16 oz. of fluid
• During exercise, consume fluids containing a mix of sodium, to help the body absorb and carbohydrate. to help body and muscles refuel. Examples are gatorade or powerade beverages; or alternate sports beverage with water (20-32 oz. bottle), especially for exercise lasting longer than 1 hour.
• After exercise, consume 16-24 oz. fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
• During winter months, dorm rooms can be extremely dry. Keep a water bottle next to your bed for additional fluids.
Here's Your Menu
In-season practice meal
Select one serving of from every food group. On hard workout days, have an extra serving of rice, pasta, beans, or potato, nuts or seeds on a tossed green-fresh vegetable salad.
Pre-exercise snack (1 to 2 hours prior)
Bagel or granola bar and Gatorade or water; pretzels and Gatorade; muffin and water or Gatorade; Cliff or Odwalla bar, etc.
Pre-game meal (3 to 4 hours prior)
Select lean meats such grilled, baked, broiled or steamed entrees; vegetable, fruit, tossed salad with vinaigrette dressing, and simple cereal (cornflakes, rice krispies, etc.) with skim milk or frozen yogurt. Note: Fried foods are not a good option for pre game meal. Fat takes a longer time to digest and diverts the necessary blood flow from muscles to the stomach.
Post Competition/Exercise snack
This is a good time to quickly refuel to replenish blood sugar, glycogen stores, and maintain muscle structure. Here are a few suggestions: turkey sandwich, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, egg-salad wrap, pasta or rice soup, yogurt with granola, or yogurt smoothie or dinner meal. Check out the Chef Du Jour entrees at Vail Commons, combo meals at the café or a special sandwich and smoothie from the Wildcat Den to replenish glycogen and protein stores.
On the Road
Review "An Athletes Guide for Dining out" and speak with your coach or trainer. This guide, designed by a sports dietitian, promotes lean options for a quick recovery.
*If you have a food allergy or dietary restriction, it's probably best to contact the restaurant prior to traveling with the team or make an appointment with the sports dietitian.
The off-season is a good time to evaluate your personal goals, e.g., build muscle, increase or decrease weight, decrease body fat, improve endurance or speed, etc. You can decrease or increase food portions or extra snacks to these goals.
If you need further assistance, contact:
Elizabeth Allred, MPH, RD, CSSD
Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
Davidson College Dining Service Nutrition Web site provides information about food and human nutrition. The information found in this Web site is not intended for medical self-diagnosis, treatment, counsel, or as a substitute for the care of a licensed healthcare professional.