Sunday, August 20, 2017

Energy Boosting Foods


Get the most out of your work-outs by trying these healthy foods

By Nicolette House

What and when athletes eat could be key to their success on the field. Healthy and balanced diets are touted the world over, but what does it actually mean to eat energy boosting, healthy foods routinely? What are these foods? Does the time of day athletes consume them affect how these foods aid the body?

Athletes’ bodies are part of their jobs. Their bodies need to run effeciently to produce the amazing athletic feats the public see week after week on television. The actual competition or game is really a bi-product of months and years of training. Eating foods that boost energy and aid in recovery during those hours of hard work help athletes fuel properly, allowing them to have sustainable careers.

So how does eating a diet filled with energy boosting foods benefit athletes? For starters, says Anthony Cukierski, President at Nourishing4life and Certfied Holistic Health Counselor, it aids in recovery time. Athletes that consume the right amount of proteins, fats, and carbs in times proportional to their training regime will notice that they are able to recover from their workouts quicker and are better able to train the next day.

The Good Carbs

The myth that athletes need to carbo load on pasta or bread the day before a big event might not necessarily be true.

“When athletes ingest a large amount of carbs the day before an event the body has to deal with that right away. Your body will not use those carbs the day after,” says Cukierski.

When athletes ingest high amounts of carbs the night before an event the body has to deal with the energy from that food immediately. The body will begin to store the majority of carbs ingested as fat and they will not be readily available as sugar the following day for competition.

Fruits and vegetables are some more energy efficient carbs that athletes could ingest before practice. Fruits that contain some sugar, like bananas, are helpful in fueling athletes for practice. Gatorade or coconut water are also options.

“You want to eat foods that will give you some sugar because your muscles are using nothing but sugar when you’re exercising,” says Cukierski.

After practice athletes need to fill up on more good carbs, fats, and proteins. For a delicious after pratice meal, Cukierski suggested a spinach salad with chicken, nuts, and dressing.

Athletes could have shakes before or after pratice. Try blending spinach, berries, and nuts together- its jam packed with the nutrients athletes need to sustain them while training.

Scheduling your Meals

Athletes preparing for a day of training are advised to fuel up anywhere from a few hours to fifteen minutes before pratice starts. Eating the good carbs, such as fruits and veggies, will give them energy throughout their first training session.

For longer training days “snack breaks” may be in order.

” If you’re going to have a long practice refuel after the first hour,” notes Cukierksi.

Raisins, which are high in fiber and sugar, would be an excellent option at this point. Continuing to drink something like coconut water will also keep athletes going strong.

After practice is the best time to use food as a tool to aid in an athletes’ recovery. This is the most beneficial time for athletes in terms of having their nutrition work towards helping them increase their intensity during pratices over time.

“As athletes train their muscles and properly fuel them, glycogen stores build up to higher capacities. Refueling after an event or practice is most important in increasing your activity level and intensity,” says Cukierski.

Everyday is game day

If athletes are eating well balanced and healthy diets on a daily basis there is no need to change their routine the day of competition.

“If you’re regularly eating well, there’s not one specific thing that will increase your performance,” says Cukierksi.

However, making sure that athletes eat something before an event is crucial. The body needs some sort of energy to run efficiently. Any of the fruits and vegetables will do.

Anthony Cukierski is a Certified Athletic Trainer at ATI and a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and President at Nourishing4life Health Health and Wellness.