"First off, before discussing the quote above, I want to say that all of you are athletes in your own way. You don’t have to play a specific sport to call yourself a so called “athlete”. You may have just recently started taking yoga classes, going for jogs, beginning lifting weights, or learning how to swim. Whatever it may be you are doing, you are in your own way an athlete.
“Athletes eat and train, they don’t diet and exercise”. This quote (by Lolo Jones, 3-Time Olympian) is well-said and completely true! All athletes obviously work extremely hard day in and day out. This means that it is imperative to fuel your body with the right kind of nutrients in order to perform your best.
Did you know, that if you are training at a consistent basis, you probably need to eat more? As you are sitting here and reading this you might be wondering if this applies to you, how much more should you be eating and exactly what it is you should be eating. Being a competitive athlete since I was a little girl has been quite a journey and I have learned what works for me and what doesn’t. Here are the 3 most important things I have learned throughout my own experience that maybe you can implement in your own nutrition and daily routine:
- Training hard = eating more
Being a swimmer meant training for hours upon hours a day, whether it was in the pool or the weight room. Since I was training at such a high level for multiple hours a day, I found myself to be hungry…ALL THE TIME! This is completely normal because your body is constantly burning calories, especially while working out and being active. I know what most of you are thinking, if I eat more I am going to gain weight! Trust me, I felt the same way. This however, isn’t true. I began to increase my food intake along with eating more often throughout the day. I noticed quite a positive change in my body as I was feeling more energized and stronger! I was able to recover from a workout a lot sooner than I had been and didn’t get as tired in the middle of a workout. My suggestion to you is to eat every 3 hours, that way you are always fueling your body throughout the day. The important thing is that you are getting the right kind of nutrients in your body, which leads me into my next tip.
2. Eating the RIGHT things
I went through a short period of my life where I believed cutting out all carbs was a good idea. I stopped eating bread, rice, potatoes and all. Let me just tell you, I suffered the consequences for this! I felt more tired, I lost muscle, and wasn’t performing quite as well as I wanted. Carbohydrates provide energy and are key to eat in order to maintain your energy levels. Bottom line… carbs = energy! Adding in carbs to your diet is very important. A few examples of good carbs to eat: brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, whole wheat/grain bread and whole wheat pasta. Enough talk about carbs, lets talk about protein! Protein is necessary to your body as it helps to build muscle. Protein also stays with you longer therefore you won’t feel hungry 1 hour after eating your meal. It is a sustainable nutrient that everybody needs in order to grow and gain muscle. A few protein foods that would be good to eat: chicken, fish, beans, nuts, greek yogurt and nut-butter.
3. Snacks, snacks, snacks
As I mentioned above, eating about every 3 hours in the day when working out hard is best for your body. That requires snacks throughout the day and who doesn’t love snacks?! The important thing to know is what snacks are best to fuel your body. So, I am going to give you a few ideas for snacks that are filled with protein and will be beneficial for you.
Snacks: cottage cheese, almonds (any type of nuts), greek yogurt, protein shake, toast with nut spread.
While I was in college swimming and always on the go, I found that I didn’t have much time to make myself anything during the day. That is why I learned to prepare snacks and meals prior to the next day! I would always leave a stash of nuts in my bag just in case I didn’t get a chance to get a snack. Not only would I leave them in my bag, but I was sure to have some in my car as well. Haha! Call me weird, but this girl learned how to eat on the go, running from class to practice and so on.
I hope you find my 3 tips helpful for you and they give you some different ways to fuel your body so you can be your best self. Remember, everyone is different and what works for me might not work for you. It is all about finding what works best for your body."
To book a personal training session with Miranda Mercke, call the Fitness Office: 896.3900 x 115.