By Shannon Grady, M.S. Exercise Physiology – CEO/Founder GO! Athletics
As a beginner or shorter-event athlete, it may seem unnecessary to fuel during training because workouts are not very long or intensive but adequate fueling every single day will enhance training responses and energy levels for long term success.
Any type of training session over 30 minutes in duration can benefit from fueling. As workout duration increases beyond 30 minutes in length or intensity is above easy efforts, the body will quickly deplete blood glucose levels. Blood glucose is a necessary fuel for maintaining aerobic processing rates and necessary for the body to adapt to training. In order to get the most out of training, fueling should be a priority and done properly before, during, and after all training sessions.
Eat Breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Athletes who skip breakfast train less effectively, suffer fatigue more frequently, and may not perform to their potential. A wholesome, carbohydrate rich breakfast fuels muscles for training and competition but also prevents low blood sugar and the urge to overeat of high sugar and fat foods that lack essential vitamins and minerals.
ANY breakfast is better than no breakfast at all. Some of the best choices are cold or hot cereals, pancakes, waffles, French toast, eggs, English muffins, bagels, toast, Clif Bars, banana bread, fruit, yogurt, or even non-traditional items such as leftover pizza.
Before Competition or Training Sessions:
- Eat complex carbohydrates (fruits, whole grain pasta/breads) NOT simple sugars (candy, soda) to maintain energy levels and a slow release of energy (blood sugar).
- Practice timing. Not all athletes can tolerate solids before training or racing. Practice race day nutrition plan/choices daily so ensure these options work come race day.
- Consume 70-100 grams of carbohydrates and 20-25 grams protein 4 hrs prior and 40-50 grams of carbohydrates 1-2 hrs prior to ensure adequate energy levels for competition.
- DRINK at least 12-24 oz (1 water bottle) of water or electrolyte replacement drink 1 hour before competition or training.
During Competition or Training Sessions:
- Choose liquid calories over solid calories for training and competition. Generally, athletes can tolerate liquids or gels during activity better than solid foods.
- Consume 20-24 oz of fluids every 60 minutes. Spreading out your intake by consuming 5-8 oz of fluids every 20 minutes will help with absorption rates.
- Electrolyte replacement drinks such as Infinit Customized Nutrition provide necessary electrolytes, carbohydrates, calories, and fluids that are lost during sweating and training/racing.
- Consume 25-35 grams of a carbohydrate/electrolyte drink or gel solution with 80-120 calories every 30-40 minutes during training or racing. A 100 pound athlete should be at the lower end of the spectrum 25g/80 calories and 200 pound athlete should aim to be closer to 35g/120 calories.
Post-Competition or Training:
- Consume a meal with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate:protein (chocolate milk or soy milk, Infinit Repair, fruit & yogurt, Clif Bars) to improve recovery time by 50%.
- Eat within 1 hour post workout or race. This will allow for glycogen stores to be replenished most effectively.
Sample Daily Fueling Plan – training 5-8 hours/week
Breakfast Options: Drink- 8-12 oz of water or fruit/veggie juice
- Oatmeal w fruit (blueberries, strawberries, banana)
- 2 eggs any style (feel free to add cheese or veggies to omelets etc), 2 pieces of toast w butter or jelly, 8-12 oz of fruit or veggie juice or piece of fruit
- Cereal w *milk, whole piece of fruit
- ½ to full bagel w butter, peanut butter, jelly or cream cheese, yogurt (plain or w fruit) or whole piece of fruit
- French toast or pancakes with 1 egg, yogurt (plain or w fruit) or whole piece of fruit
Pre-Training Breakfast Options:
- ½ to full bagel or 1-2 pieces of toast w butter, peanut butter, jelly or cream cheese AND start drinking 60-90 minutes prior to workout: Infinit “Speed” Drink mix- 20-24 oz. Be sure to finish 24 oz of the Infinit drink BEFORE practice starts
Lunch Options: 10-12 oz of water or fruit/veggie juice
- Sandwich- turkey, tuna, pb&j, side item- fruit or veggie
- Salad w protein (grilled chicken, tuna, or steak), slice of bread/toast
Pre-Training Lunch Options: 10-12 oz of water
- Sandwich- turkey, tuna, pb&j
- Bagel or sandwich with peanut butter and banana
Dinner Options: 10-12 oz of water or fruit/veggie juice
- choice of fish (salmon, halibut, snapper), turnip/collard greens or spinach, sweet potatoes (satueed, mashed, baked), chia seed drink or soy milk
- choice of red meat prepared baked, grilled or broiled, spinach or collard greens, beans (white, pinto, navy) and red/purple/yellow potatoes.
- choice of white meat prepared baked, grilled, broiled- (chicken/turkey/pork), brown rice or other grain, spinach, kale, or collard greens.
- veggie or chicken stir fry (red/green/yellow peppers, onion, broccoli, carrots, asparagus), brown rice
Evening Snack– 2-3 nights per week- 1-1.5 hour prior to bedtime- 20-24 oz of *milk mixed with Infinit “Nocturne”
Before Each Training session – start drinking 60-90 minutes prior to workout: Infinit “Speed” Drink mix- 20-24 oz
After Each Training session: Infinit “Repair” mixed w 20-24 oz of *milk OR 20-24 oz of *milk
*all milk can be cow milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk or other milk substitute
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