Fuel like an athlete all day long

Are you following your training regimen, but still not seeing the results you want? Are you maximizing your sports nutrition plan? Don’t overlook the impact that your lifestyle and everyday nutrition may be having on your performance.
Sports nutrition focuses on what you need to be fueled and hydrated before, during and after exercise. But how are you fueling and hydrating the rest of the day when you’re not exercising? What you put in your body on a daily basis is just as important, or more important, as what you eat during training.
Take your athletic performance to the next level by following these 4 tips, compliments of Bonk Breaker, on fueling like an athlete all day!

  1. Balance Your Meals
Cutting-edge sports nutrition is founded on healthy eating.
  • Fill ¾ of your plate with a variety of carbohydrate-based foods such as fruit, whole grain pasta, bread, potatoes, and other vegetables.
  • Fill the other ¼ of your plate with lean protein, such as fish, poultry, lean meats, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, beans, and small amounts of nuts and seeds, which are good sources of healthy fats.
  1. Eat Consistently
Like a well-oiled machine, athletes perform better when they are sufficiently fueled. Your body can only use so much nutrition in one sitting.   Eating all your calories at one or two large meals isn't optimal. Think back to Thanksgiving dinner, when you were sure you ate enough calories for a couple days, but could you really train for a week and have enough calories from that one meal? Definitely not!
  • Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes two to three ounces of lean protein, two to three servings of carbohydrates, and 10 to 15 grams of healthy fat.
  • Continue eating well-balanced carb and protein rich snacks and meals every two to three hours. Bonk Breaker's High Protein Bars make a quick breakfast or afternoon snack when time is tight.
  1. Eat a Rainbow
Your cells require a variety of vitamins. There is no better way to ensure you're getting a full gamut than eating an assortment of plants in an array of colors.  Each color of fruits and veggies contain unique antioxidants and phytochemicals. Popeye was only partially correct when he said “I'm strong to the finish, cause I eats me spinach”.  You need a variety of colors to ensure adequate nutrition and anti-oxidants, especially as an athlete.  Eat a rainbow by filling up your shopping cart and plate with these colorful fruits & veggies to gain the following benefits:
  • Red: Anthocyanins, phytochemicals and lycopene, which is a cancer-fighting agent.
  • Orange/Yellow: Betacarotene and vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and protects against free-radical damage.
  • Green: Potassium, folic acid, vitamin C and the antioxidant lutein, which improves vision, fights cancer and prevents birth defects.
  • Purple: Phytochemicals and antioxidants, which protects against heart disease and prevents a number of age-related diseases.
  • White: Phytochemicals and potassium, which enhances muscular strength, metabolism, water balance and electrolyte functions.
Next time you make a salad, or any dish, challenge yourself to include as many colors as possible.
  1. Hydrate
Feeling constantly fatigued and hungry?  Are you always sore and not fully recovered?  These symptoms may simply be due to dehydration.   Start exercise fully hydrated and replace fluids after exercise.  This requires diligent hydration throughout the day.
  • Drink according to thirst during the day and include fluids with meals.
    • Track your hydration by checking your urine color- should be clear to light in color.
  • Develop a personal hydration plan to avoid excessive dehydration
  • Drink 8-20 oz of fluid an hour before exercise
  • Drink 16-24 oz of fluid for every pound lost through sweat after exercise.
Training doesn’t stop when you hop off the bike.  Take a moment to reflect on how your lifestyle and nutrition may be impacting your performance either positively or negatively.
Focusing on your off-training time is what takes an athlete from good to great.  Fuel like an athlete all day!
This article is brought to you by Bonk Breaker, the Official Bar of USA Cycling. To find out more about the elite athletes behind the real-food bars, or to purchase bars, go visit the Bonk Breaker store. USA Cycling members can save 10% off all items at the Bonk Breaker store. Learn how to take advantage of this member benefit through your "My USA Cycling" account.