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Sports nutrition

Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates should make up about 45 - 65% of your total calorie intake.
  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy.
  • Carbohydrates are found in starchy foods like breads, rice, pastas and potatoes. They are also found in fruits, milk and yogurts, and sweets.
  • For longer-lasting energy, choose more complex carbohydrates. These will have higher amounts of fiber, usually found in whole grain breads and cereals, whole fruits and vegetables and beans/lentils. Shoot for 25 grams per day of fiber. May want to limit this on race day, however.
  • Limit the amount of simple carbohydrates such as sweets, soda and other sweetened beverages.

Protein

  • Protein should make up about 15% - 25% of your total daily calorie intake.
  • Protein is used for some energy and to repair tissue damaged during training.
  • Concentrate on protein sources that are low in fat and cholesterol such as lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, poultry, whole grains, and beans.

Fat

  • Fat should make up 20 - 30% of your total daily calorie intake.
  • Stick to foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Foods such as nuts, oils, and cold-water fish provide essential fats called omega-3s. Avoid trans-fatty acids.

Water

  • The amount of fluid you need is affected by weight, body fat %, amount of exercise, amount that you sweat, age, and weather.
  • You will definitely need more fluid during days of increased training.
  • A good rule of thumb to know if you are drinking enough water: you urinate about once per hour and your urine is clear. Waiting until you are thirsty is not a good method of managing your fluid intake.
  • Example: 2000 calories calorie intake would be 250g Carb (50%), 125g Protein (25%), 56g Fat (25%)

Before an event

  • Eat a calorie dense meal or several smaller meals 2-4 hours before the race or long training run. Include at least 200g Carb, 20g Protein, and 16oz Water.
  • Eat a combination of carbohydrates, protein, fat and water. You may want to try a sports drink to get fluid while ingesting carbohydrates. 

During the event

  • Eat 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of exercise. This is the equivalent of 2 power-gels or 2 servings of powdered Gatorade/Powerade or 32oz Gatorade/Powerade.
  • Consume two liters water for each 60 minutes.
  • You could dilute two servings of powdered Gatorade/Powerade in two liters of water to meet carbohydrate and fluid needs.
  • Don’t try something new on the day of the event!

After the event

  • It is important to begin repletion of glycogen stores and fluids, and repair muscle damage.
  • This is a great time to consume easily digestible carbohydrate and protein. Chocolate milk is the perfect recovery drink with the right amount of carbs and protein.

More information

Find more nutrition information at these websites:

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