Endurance athletes spend hours training, and there are benefits to being fit: a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, and a calmer mind. But sadly, the ability to eat whatever you want without impacting your performance and body composition isn’t one of these perks. Before you reach for the cookie jar, read on for tips to make a balanced diet for athletes easier.
What comes to mind when you think of a snack? A glass of milk and a cookie, a bowl of ice cream, a handful of pretzels, a piece of fruit, or a small bag of chips? Maybe instead of food, you count on an afternoon coffee to get you through the workday, or you reach for a sports bar to fuel your after-work workout.
When you eat is as important as what you eat. Timing your meals and snacks is crucial to maximizing your training performace and optimizing body composition. Here are some tips on nutrient timing.
Nutrient Timing Tips
Tip #1 Eat Breakfast
Your mother was right – Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it give you energy to start a new day, but breakfast is linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved performance. Research shows that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and breakfast eaters tend to make healthier food choices at other meals. While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers, and they have increased cravings throughout the day. *Most studies linking breakfast to weight control consisted of a healthy meal containing a lean protein, fruit and whole grain, not meals loaded with sugar and fat. Protein increases satiety and keeps you feeling full longer. [Read more…]