Fuel It- “It” being you. Whether you are a seasoned exerciser or a beginner, competitor or non-competitor, your body needs fuel to perform. And it needs the proper fuel to perform well. Everyone knows what it feels like to be hungry and lack energy; the chances of excelling at your game in this state decrease drastically. So, you have to prepare and know what works for your body. It may take some experimentation – so don’t try new foods on competition day.
Hydration: Although there are a myriad of “sports” drinks and energy boost
drinks on the market, water is still your best friend. If you are competing in an endurance event, the sugar, salt and electrolytes in some of those drinks can be helpful. If you are looking for a “recovery” drink after an endurance event, chocolate milk has many nutrients but the same benefits can be received from yogurt, fruit and 100% juice drinks. Avoid sodas. It is important to hydrate 3-4 hours before your event (and well before your daily workouts) so your body has adequate water and so that you aren’t trying to fill the tank at the last minute, leaving you feeling bloated.
Eat breakfast: eating breakfast fuels your body and brain and steadies blood sugar levels. Avoid sugary breakfasts. Try oatmeal with fruit or yogurt with granola and fruit. If you don’t like to eat in the morning, make a smoothie with frozen or fresh fruit. Drink 1-2 glasses of water in the morning.
Carbs: Sometimes, folks tell me that they have “stopped eating carbs”. 50-60% of energy derived from exercise comes from carbohydrates. The art is choosing the right type of carbs. Eat whole grains, brown rice, or sweet potatoes. In addition, beans, peas and legumes are high in fiber and protein.
Proteins: if you are a meat eater- choose lean, grass fed critters to reduce fat content and to reduce additives. Tofu, kidney and garbanzo beans offer good protein. Peanut butter and nuts work well.
Whether you are preparing for a golf tournament or a marathon, an upset GI system will definitely impair your performance. Whereas a properly fueled body enhances physical performance and mental focus and leave you feeling pretty good afterwards. Experiment with different food sources and have fun making new treats!