Food selection for optimal physical performance

The food that you eat has a direct impact on the energy you have for your workouts. You may have found that on occassion you just don’t have the energy to power through tough workouts like you normally do. Perhaps it was your lunch or dinner from the day before. Did you treat yourself to something fried and fatty or indulge in too many sweets? Either of these things could be the culprit. Often making poor food choices can leave you feeling flat and tired during your workouts. My cleints will frequently ask for nutrition advice and the first thing I tell them is to think of their food choices as fuel for physical activity. Clean fuel will provide the best results.

 Some fuel sources are cleaner than others and provide better energy for physical activity. For optimal performance the best choices are whole grains, fresh fruits & veggies, lean meat and poultry, seafood and low fat dairy. Whole grains provide sustained energy and allow you to feel satisfied longer than the simple carbs that come from sugary, processed selections which raise the blood sugar quickly, then leave you feeling tired. Fresh fruits and veggies are hydrating and provided the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal function of all the major systems of the body. Lean meat, poultry and seafood all provide varying amounts of protein as well as some fat, vitamins and minerals to sustain proper iron levels and support muscle tissue. Finally dairy also provides hydration as well as protein, vitamins and minerals. A balanced combination of the above mentioned food choices will allow for optimal performance when training, as well as proper recovery.

Furthermore, I would recommend eating a breakfast each morning that consists of complex carbohydrates and protein, as well as fresh fruit when possible. Eating frequently throughout the day will allow you to maintain energy levels and also resist the temptation to overeat at dinner time. Always follow workouts with carbohydrates and protein within 45 minutes to an hour. The carbohydrate will assist in recovery of glycogen stores (a primary fuel source for muscle) that is depleted during a workout, and the protein will allow for recovery and repair of muscle tissue.  While working out drink plenty of water, and if your workout exceeds an hour and half be sure to recharge periodically throughout the workout with a supplement such as a gel or electrolyte replacement drink.


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