Blog Category: Sports Nutrition
Fitness communities are so important in accomplishing your nutrition and fitness goals. This is where individuals with similar goals come together to share advice, interest, or to gain knowledge. The group might consist of a daily post that involve fitness and nutrition, or motivational quotes to help with reaching specific goals.
Groups also allow for members to share their own nutrition and fitness experiences to help others with their journey. You can also expect a friendship that goes beyond the fitness and nutrition backbone. In other words, being in a fitness community can provide you with ongoing support that will keep you motivated and happy.
How do you find the right community for you?
First, you need to identify what your goals are and the type of support you might need. Join a group that has similar vision and values as you. If you are not comfortable to join on your own, involve partners or friends to join you.
Information for nutrition/fitness groups can be found in locations near you! In-person, your local community center, gym, or coffee shop may have groups that will attract your interest. If you would like online options, Facebook, Instagram or the Nextdoor app are all great resources to find a group in your location!
Still, not convinced enough to join a nutrition/fitness group? Here are four reasons why you should join now!
It is difficult to begin a journey on your own, especially if it is your first time. fitness/nutrition communities provide motivation through daily words of encouragement or photos of successful members. Not only that, but other members provide words of motivation and some will be alongside the journey with you. If you’re tired of doing the same routine every day, a fitness community will also help motivate you by providing new workouts and recipes that you can try yourself. Nothing gets you more motivated than trying a new workout or recipe for the first time!
When you join a fitness community, others will hold you accountable.The great thing about a fitness/nutrition communities is that people actually care and will notice you have been absent. They will ask the famous question “where have you been” and continue to wonder if you are in good health.
Taking on a new lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight and is not easy. You will have questions and you will need assistance. Fitness/nutrition communities are a great way to seek advice or vent the issues you may have. If you’re constantly struggling with the results of your fitness journey, the group is a location where you can ask for assistance and relate to others. Groups can provide science-related topics that answer a member’s most common questions. In some groups, posting or asking questions is available to you 24/7. But if you join a large community, you have access to a variety of members who are willing to help you with any needs possible.
Once you have found the right community, you begin to notice similar qualities you have with others. Fitness/nutrition communities are not only for working out and nutrition, but also about building a relationship with others that share the same interest as you. Later on, the same people you work out with can turn out to be those that mean so much. Even though some communities will be online, the relationship of tackling a fitness journey on together will ignite you to meet in-person and do so in your locations of choice.
If you are interested in joining and fitness/ nutrition community, Eat 2 Perform’s “The Performers” is a Facebook community group where everyone can join to receive guidance, support, and friendship. Joining the page will provide ongoing support from each of the members and the admins themselves. You will be apart of a culture that educates and empowers members to be their absolute best and achieve their goals.
The Performers provides assistance when needed and will partake in answering of any questions you may have. Lastly, you will have fun joining a community that is beyond the foundation of nutrition and fitness, we are here to offer support and a fun social setting to our members.
by Rafael Bettencourt
Learn how to fuel your workouts – check out the Sports Nutrition Workbook:
Sports Nutrition Workbook
Not all athletes are the same. Fueling needs for a gymnast will be different from that of a triathlete. Endurance sports have different energy and nutrient needs than power sports. Training for endurance sports can be physically and mentally challenging. Focusing on proper fueling is an integral part of these sports. Without the right fuel, you won’t perform your best. Who wants to barely have enough energy to cross the finish line? Not me, that’s for sure! I am going to walk you through the macronutrients and micronutrients needed to fuel your body during an endurance performance.
Where to begin?
Macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat
Carbohydrates: Most of your diet should be carbohydrates, anywhere from 50-65% of your calories needs. You will need a mix of complex and simple carbohydrates. Meals should consist of complex carbohydrates. Fueling before, during and after training and events with simple carbohydrates.
Complex Carbohydrates: Whole grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes, squash, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, corn, and oats.
Simple Carbohydrates: Gels, gummies, Gatorade, Powerade or similar liquids; Crackers; Bars (look for ones that are lower in protein and fat); Dates; Rice balls (see internet for recipes): Simple sandwiches (light PB & j, honey, jam); Baby Potatoes boiled in bouillon.
Protein: Each meal should contain protein. You will also need a source of protein after training for recovery (along with a source of carbohydrate) to stop breaking down muscle and start the repair process. Lean proteins, seafood, legumes, dairy, nuts and seeds are all great options.
Fat: Eating “good fats” make up about 30% of your calorie needs. Sometimes more depending on your overall goals. Less than 10% should come from saturated sources. Limit or eliminate foods and products that contain trans fat. Oils, nuts, seeds, olives, avocado are all rich in fat that will leave your body feeling repaired and refueled.
Sodium: A higher sweat rate increases sodium loss. It is important that this mineral is closely paid attention to. Most endurance athletes need more sodium in their diet that the recreational athlete. Table salt, seaweed, soy sauce, packaged foods are all very high in sodium. Be sure to check the label.
Iron: Important for all endurance athletes because of the aerobic metabolism and high red blood cell turnover from foot strike hemolysis. Females are at higher risk for iron deficiency anemia because of menstruation. Red meats, tofu, seafood, lentils, navy beans, spinach, fortified cereals and organ meats are all rich in iron.
Calcium and Vitamin D: Low intake or deficiencies can increase risk of stress fractures. Be sure to have dairy products, oysters, broccoli, cabbage, okra, soy beans, fortified orange juice, fortified soy products to decrease the risk and leave your bones feeling strong.
Vitamin D: Dairy products, fatty fish, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice and soy milk, organ meats egg yolks and sunshine.
How do you know how much of eat?
Working with a sports dietitian can help you figure out a diet that works for you. Often, athletes look to other athletes, internet and coaches who may be giving them well-intended information that may not work for them.
If you are interested in taking your athletic performance to the next level, download our “Sports Nutrition Workbook” or schedule a consultation with us.
by Alene Baronian
Learn how to fuel your body for strenuous activity with the Sports Nutrition Workbook:
Sports Nutrition Workbook
Remember the saying “you are what you eat”? Well, it’s pretty much true, at least in terms of athletic performance. Nutrition is an essential part of being an athlete. The quantity and type of food you consume can impact your games, practices, energy, and more. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your meals!
The Fake News
There are plenty of misconceptions about what an athlete should or shouldn’t eat to maintain (or lose) their weight while simultaneously improving their athletic performance. To be sure, everything should be consumed in moderation, but there are some false claims out there that we should talk about.
- Carbohydrates (carbs) are bad. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
In today’s day and age, low-carb diets, including ketogenic, are heavily encouraged as a method to shave off pounds. (If you don’t know about the ketogenic diet, read about it in here). Here’s the real news: carbohydrate is the main source for generating fuel during exercise. When your carb consumption is inadequate, it means your performance will also be inadequate.
Harvard student-athlete Samantha Acker held a similar misconception but after meeting with a nutritionist, she worked on getting slow-digesting carbs, and says it’s made a big difference.
She says, “I don’t have as many cravings after practice and I feel like I have more energy during long conditioning sets.” Carbs give you sustenance and allow you to play or practice for prolonged periods of time. Depending on the intensity and the duration of exercise, you should be fueling up both before and after with carbs. Check out Tables 1 & 2 in this study to find out recommendations based on these 2 factors.
- You can’t get protein if you’re vegan or vegetarian. And it’s not sustainable as an athlete.
Meat isn’t the only source of protein you can find; it’s just the most talked about. Michigan student-athlete alumni Caroline Anderson is vegan, and also manages to be a record-breaker water polo player with numerous accolades.
She says, “[being vegan] is something I believe is very possible for athletes at all levels to do.” Eggs, greek yogurt, nuts, beans, and quinoa are all great sources of meatless protein that are found easily and affordable. Another option many athletes take is protein powder. (If you’re interested in purchasing some, use the promo code 219157 for Klean products at this link)
- You can never have enough water.
I’ve heard the phrase “hydrate or diedrate” a lot. Don’t get me wrong, hydrating before, during, and after is definitely necessary and maybe not emphasized enough. But there’s a danger with excess hydration. If you’re drinking solely water, and drinking too much of it, you’re putting yourself at risk for hyponatremia, a condition where your sodium levels are too low. Hyponatremia includes a list of symptoms that detrimental to a person’s health and well-being, let alone their athletic performance. So when you’re lapping up that water, make sure you’re also replacing the electrolytes you’re losing during exercise.
- You shouldn’t eat before a practice or game, because it might make you feel sick or bloated.
To an extent, this is true. The amount of time between when you eat and when you practice, as well as the type of food that you’re eating can impact your performance. And of course, every athlete is different; what works for 1 person may not work for the next. For Duke student-athlete Daichi Matsuda, eating too close to exercise led to him feeling bloated and cramping up. He’s found that eating 1 to 1 ½ hours prior to practice or competition is ideal. Keep reading for more tips on what to eat and when!
- Snacks are always unhealthy.
“Snacks” is just a name, as is “lunch” or “dinner”; they all can be unhealthy if you choose to make it so. There are definitely ways to snack in a way that you’re benefiting from it, both physically and mentally. Listen to your body—if it’s signaling you for food, grab a small bite to eat. Avoid the heavily processed foods and go for the fiber-filled foods to keep you full longer. Acker states, “if [I] don’t have enough time to eat a full meal, [I] need to find some snack that is filling and energizing, without making us feel sick.” Her go-tos are a good bar and a piece of fruit. (Click here for a list of our snack bar recommendations).
Rules for Fuel
- It’s best to eat a meal containing fat, carbs and protein 3-4 hours before you exercise
- If you exercise early in the morning, there’s usually not much time to digest, but low-fiber foods and fluids that are easily digestible is a quick fix
- Stick to simple carbohydrate foods
- Eat foods that you’re comfortable and adjusted to
Here are some options if you’re eating closer to your workout (45-60 minutes prior):
- Low-fiber cereal
- Hard boiled eggs
- Grilled chicken sandwich
- Hydrate! But don’t forget sodium!
Matsuda used to cramp and feel exhausted in the tail end of workouts. He started fueling through means of carb drinks or small bites of energy bars throughout workouts and he’s noticed a significant change.
- Replenish your glycogen stores after you finish a workout!
- If you’re hoping to build muscle mass, a protein-rich snack could benefit you, by promoting muscle protein synthesis
- If you’re not meeting your carb intake goals, combine your carbs with protein to restore glycogen stores and get your necessary amino acids!
Anderson’s go-to post-workout drink is chocolate milk because it provided her the carb and protein content, which she said helped with replenishing her tired muscles.
Check to see if your school or college offers resources for nutrition counseling. (Here’s a good website for trying to find a Registered Sports Dietitian). Talking to a dietitian or nutritionist can get you started in the right direction. As Acker put, “if you can build healthy habits now and learn to like the food that you are eating, it will be much easier for you when you get to college and have unhealthy foods readily available.
With so many bars out there to choose from, how are we to know which ones are the best for us? Is it the bar with the most protein? Or the one with the lowest sodium? Or how about the one with no fat? Here are 5 bars that are significantly better for your body.
This bar tells it straight. NO BS. The RX bars have very few ingredients in order to provide people with healthy, on the go snacks. The chocolate sea salt bar contains dates, egg whites, almonds, cashews, chocolate, cocoa, and sea salt. These ingredients will keep you sharp, focused, and full until your next meal.
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 9 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 24 grams carbs (5 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar), 12 grams protein
Can’t think clearly? Having trouble focusing on assignments or projects? Here is the perfect bar to boost your brainpower, stabilize your blood sugars and get you through your work. This bar is full walnuts and almonds, which have healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to kickstart your brain. These nuts are known to increase brain function and improve memory.
Nutrient Facts: 210 calories, 16 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 14 grams carbs (3 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar), 6 grams protein
Chia seeds are extremely beneficial to your body. Providing you with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, iron, and calcium, it is a powerhouse of nutrients. This 100 calorie bar is the perfect on the go snack or breakfast bar.
Nutrient Facts: 100 calories, 5 grams fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 14 grams carbs (4 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar), 3 grams protein
4. LaraBar, Cherry Pie
Lara Bars are both delicious and nutritious. The Cherry Pie bar has only three ingredients: unsweetened cherries, dates, and almonds. Not only do the cherries provide anti inflammatory properties, but this bar provides you with vitamin B and enough energy to fuel your body.
Nutrient Facts: 200 calories, 8 grams fat, 28 grams carbs ( 4 grams fiber, 20 grams sugar), 4 grams protein
Busy day ahead of you? Don’t have time to stop and eat? As much as not skipping meals is strongly advised, we all have those busy days where sitting and eating a meal is not an option. The Carob Chip Perfect Bar has just the perfect amount of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. While this bar is 330 calories, it gives you enough energy to make it through strenuous work days, long travel days, or back to back classes. This bar will hold you over until your able to grab a snack.
Nutrient Facts: 330 calories, 18 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated fat), 28 grams carbs, 5 grams fiber, 19 grams sugar, 16 grams protein, 50 mg sodium
by Nidhi Pradhan
Find out more about what meals and snacks will keep you going in the Sports Nutrition Workbook:
Sports Nutrition Workbook
Nutrition bars can be good fuel for those continuously on the go. But these bars should not be relied on for replacing actual meals, since they are missing nutrients that are found in balanced foods. Eat them in moderation. Be careful when choosing nutrition bars, as some of them may contain high amounts of added sugar, fat and artificial ingredients, which can make them more of a fortified candy bar rather than a nutrition bar.
1) Zone Perfect Chocolate Peanut Butter
When you see corn syrup and sugar listed twice on the ingredient list, that’s a sign of concern. This tells us that these bars are probably made with cheap ingredients that add little or no nutritional value.
2) PowerBar Protein Plus Chocolate Brownie
This bar is loaded with 27g of sugar coming from various sweeteners such as fructose, malitol, and cane invert syrups. Also contains various non organic soy that is processed, meaning that the soy may lose some of its nutrients through the processing method and leave it less nutrient dense.
3) Clif Bar (White Chocolate Macadamia Nut)
Yes this bar may be made from all organic ingredients, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good bar. There’s still a lot of sugar packed into this bar with 21g. Even though this Clif bar is high in sugar content, not all Clif bars are made the same.
4) Oh Yea! One (chocolate birthday cake)
This bar has some decent macronutrient values with 20g of protein, 1g of sugar, and 22g of carbs. Even though this bar only has 1g of sugar, that 1g of sugar comes from many artificial sweeteners that give it that birthday cake taste.
5) GoMacro Macrobar Peanut butter Chocolate Chip
These bars are 100% plant based ingredients, but don’t be fooled. They contain more calories than candy bars with 290 calories and also contain a decent amount of sugar with 14g. 20% of its calories is coming from sugar. Just beware if this is where you want your sugar intake to come from.
by Owen Ng
So what healthier choices should you make for your competition? Check out the Sports Nutrition Workbook for more info!
Sports Nutrition Workbook
Performing in all day competitions during the weekend can make it difficult for athletes to sustain energy levels throughout the day. Knowing what foods to snack on can be tricky because you want to eat something nutrient dense that will also give you an extra energy boost without slowing you down.
1. What should your Competition Meal Be?
The bulk of your meal should include carbohydrates with some proteins and fat. Proteins will help with building and repairing muscles, but only very little is utilized for energy. You also want to try to limit fat intake, as this is usually only utilized in endurance runners for energy during prolonged continuous activity.
Remember timing of meals is just as important as what you eat.
- 1 hour prior to competition 1g/kg of carbs should be consumed.
- 2 hours prior competition 2g/kg of carbs should be consumed.
- 3 hours prior to competition 3g/kg of carbs should be consumed
- 4 hours prior to competition 4g/kg of carbs should be consumed
If you are someone who gets upset stomachs when eating right before competition, consider liquid meals such as shakes, juices or sports drinks with carbohydrates, etc, as these liquids should be easier to digest and still provide some of the carbs you need. Eating simple carbs closer to competition provide a quicker energy boost. Watch out for foods high in sugar that can cause crashes. Complex carbs such as whole grains in breads, grains, and pastas, as well as vegetables and fruits are great choices for a steady source of energy throughout the day. Some carb choices to include are oatmeal, pasta with tomato sauce, pancakes or waffles. Your can also try a liquid meal such as a protein shake mixed with fruits, which include combination of carbs and proteins.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate …. Oh did I say hydrate?
Drink water before the onset of thirst and stay hydrated throughout the day. Your body cannot perform at optimal levels when your dehydrated.
If the competition is
- less than 1 hour – water is recommended to replenish fluids lost through sweat.
- longer than 1 hour – should include a sports drink such as Gatorade to help replenish electrolytes that water cannot do alone.
Remember to not over hydrate. Hyponatremia can occur which is a dilution of sodium in your blood that could cause swelling of the brain, confusion or muscle weakness.
3. 3 Simple Rules for Post Game Recovery
Post competition meals should include a combination of proteins and carb rich foods to help aid recovery. Most importantly don’t forget to drink water and hydrate!
Hydrate with water to replace fluids lost through sweat. Sports drinks can also be used to hydrate after prolonged high intensity activity lasting longer than 1 hour, but should be limited due to high sugar contents.
Protein is an essential part of athlete recovery because it enhances protein synthesis, which aids in muscle repair and muscle building. Chocolate milk can be a good source of recovery because of its high protein and carb content to aid in quicker muscle recovery.
Carbohydrates will help replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores that have been used up during competition. Consume 1 hour post competition to ensure optimal uptake of carbs.
by Owen Ng
Interested in learning more about sports nutrition? A workbook may help you reach your goals!
Teen Sports Nutrition Workbook
Sports Nutrition Workbook
6 Portable Protein Snacks
Name That Grain