We often hear athletes discussing what they eat before their training session or event, but spend little time thinking about what they eat the rest of the time.
If you find your endurance or energy isn’t consistent during your workout, game or event, you need to fine tune your ‘training diet’ because after 15 minutes into an activity, your body is running on the food you ate up to 2 weeks ago (not what you ate 2 hours ago.)
*A good training diet is going to be different for each person as it needs to take into account their personal training goals, activity patterns, diet needs, etc. However there are some key steps you and take to ensure you body has the energy it needs when it needs it.
The goals of a good training diet are:
- Ensure you have adequate calories to meet your energy requirements both when you’re active or at rest.
- Provide the right balance of macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) because the wrong balance will hinder your training and performance along with your health and weight.
- Account for your increased need for vitamins, minerals and nutrients to counteract the stress due to the high levels of intensity from training and competition.
Keys to creating a training diet are:
- Eat regularly during the day – this means 3 meals with 1-3 snacks depending on your specific needs. Aiming to eat approximately every 3 hours prevents you from entering your meals too hungry (which leads to over-eating.) Over-eating will leave you tired, groggy, and sometimes ill, hindering concentration, and slowing reaction time.
- Eat Balanced – meals should be based primarily on high quality carbohydrates, balanced with protein and fat.
Balance your meals with:
- 1/3 Vegetables (can use fruit too, especially at breakfast)
- 1/3 Protein (lean meats/beef/bison, chicken, fish, beans, lentils, eggs, greek yogurt, soy, etc)
- 1/3 Grains/Starch (potato, bread, rice, quinoa, pasta, etc)
If desired you can add some dairy, soy or almond milk with meals
This is just a basic framework and will need to be tailored depending on your goals and individual needs.