CoreLife Eatery knows that the time is now! Pre-season is starting soon and athletes and coaches around the country are gearing up for another competitive season. Others are working to get back into better physical shape or are preparing to take on other life challenges. CoreLife Eatery knows that a body and mind fueled with strong, solid, healthy nutrients help to maximize training efforts, physical and mental performance, and recovery. We are all looking for an edge! Here are some tips to help you reach your goals.
Focus on consistency
Just like a high-end race car – the fuel that you use actually matters if you want to be at your best. Your body isn’t looking for a magic potion on game day. It is looking to be fed consistently, so there is no “in-season” or “out-of-season” special formula. What you eat and drink “in-season” is no different from what you should be eating or drinking any other time. The quantity and timing of your intake will change during your workout cycles, but healthy food and drink is needed year-round for those who are serious about performance.
Eat those vegetables
As you increase the physical and emotional stresses in your life, you should also be increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits you eat. There are so many important life-sustaining nutrients in fresh, clean vegetables. They can help to reduce inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, and even help with recovery, so we recommend a 3:1 ratio between vegetables and fruit. Have a bowl or plate full of colored vegetables at least once per day. If you are “in-season” or pushing your body or mind hard, this should be at least 2x per day.
Balance is key
Vegetables are a great start! Now add in complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. These will help give you the energy to perform at a high level. We suggest whole grains that are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index. Don’t be afraid of healthy fats! Omega-3 or omega-9 fats are good fats that can help with inflammation, glucose control, and heart-health. Avocado, fish, and tree nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are all great additions to the mix. Finally, adding protein will complete a balanced meal. Building and recovering muscles need that protein! During intense training, you may need up to 10 to 20 grams of protein.
No cutting corners on sleep
Lack of quality sleep is one of the greatest factors in reducing performance and increasing potential injury. We all need to shoot for eight hours of sleep to offer the body and mind its best chance to fully recover and rest. If you sleep but just don’t feel restored in the morning, it may be a sign of undiagnosed sleep apnea, which can drastically affect health and performance. Get that checked out right away.
Avoid simple sugars
Simple sugars or white flour in processed foods feed the body fake fuel that has no long-term benefits and creates stress on the mind and organs to try and maintain balance. These foods, although terribly addicting, must be avoided. It may take at least five days of elimination to allow the body to fully detox. High fructose corn syrup found in many of standard foods and soda will give you a short burst of energy before you find yourself in a funk, gaining weight and having little energy. Finally, energy drinks – full of sugar and caffeine – are true stimulants that may give quick energy but at too great of a cost to the mind and body. Too often, they lead to dependency on stronger stimulants as their effectiveness wanes. On the other hand, green tea with a splash of beet lemonade would be a great drink choice instead.
Stop drinking excess alcohol
Finally, there is nothing that adversely affects performance more than alcohol. Unfortunately, this occurs way too often – especially for the young athlete. There are studies now that indicate excess drinking will reduce the benefits of working out and conditioning by 10-14 days. Said differently, speed and power gains realized over two weeks of hard training can be completely eliminated by one night out drinking! A recent study showed a 30% reduction in performance of high school athletes after one night of excessive drinking. While you’re at it – drop the smokeless and non-smokeless tobacco too. Nicotine is also a stimulant but puts way too much stress on the body.
We hope these tips help you to stay on track eating healthy foods and living out a healthy, active lifestyle to keep you training and performing at your fullest potential!