Top 10 Tips to Fuel Your Fitness Goals

Hello athletes!

My name is Anne L’Heureux and I am a Registered Dietitian with Hannaford.

As part of a new partnership between Special Olympics New York and Hannaford, over the course of the next few weeks, I will be offering up simple ways to stay fueled and hydrated during your training and competitions. Although there will be a lot of information provided, all I ask is that you do your best to create as many healthy habits as you can, and of course, have fun!

To kick things off, I want to say congratulations on taking part in the Special Olympics #Fit5NY Program. This is a good resource and routine to keep you healthy and keep active. It is my hope that you will continue to use this program, as well as what we learn together, to develop fitness goals and aim to achieve your personal best, no matter what.

The type and amounts of fuel and hydration may be different depending on which sport you play. One of my goals is to help you understand how to place the right fuels with the right sports in order to achieve your best. Whether you are a powerlifter, basketball player, swimmer or tennis player, your body can benefit from understanding what and when to eat.

As a Dietitian (and athlete myself), I have worked with many people on how to properly fuel and hydrate their bodies to not only have energy to play their sport, but the right foods to recover quickly.

Let’s start with some tips that can easily work for all athletes! Here are my Top 10 Tips to Fuel Your Fitness Goals:

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Staying hydrated helps you feel more energetic and results in better performing muscles. But don’t just hydrate during activity, hydrate all day, every day, starting with a big glass of water first thing in the morning.
  2. Focus on carbohydrates and protein about 2 hours before exercising. A small snack such as grapes and a cheese stick will provide energy without causing stomach cramps.
  3. Skip the fiber pre-workout; too much fiber can slow digestion and cause an upset stomach if eaten too close to an intense session.
  4. Always fuel up, even if it’s a snack. Exercising on an empty stomach can put you at risk for fatigue and poor performance.
  5. Find time for a snack when you miss a meal. Even 30 minutes pre-workout is enough time to grab a quick-digesting snack (examples include a Annie’s® bars and bunnies, fruit, or a few crackers.
  6. Hydrate with Smartwater®, a vapor-distilled water with added electrolytes. Try to take a few sips of water equal to 1/4 cup every 20 minutes. If exercising longer than an hour, use an electrolyte supplement, sports drink, or coconut water.
  7. For recovery, try chocolate milk. It has the perfect ratio of 4 grams of carbohydrate to 1 gram of protein that research has proven to be readily absorbed into the muscles. Try drinking this within a half hour of completing exercise.
  8. Aim to eat a balanced meal that includes carb, healthy fats, and protein within 1 hour of your workout. Aim for 50 grams of carbohydrate and 20 grams of protein to activate the muscle recovery process. Healthy fats like nuts, nut butter, or avocado help replenish vitamins and minerals.
  9. Focus on protein when you miss a meal. Protein bars, shakes with Cabot® Whey Protein or Cabot® Lowfat Greek Yogurt make great recovery mini-meals on-the-go.
  10. Remember to have fun! Choosing foods you like and activities you enjoy will help you feel more positive, increasing success in achieving your fitness goals!

I hope these tips have you thinking about all of the ways you can eat right to fuel your sport.

Want to learn even more ways to shop and eat like an athlete? Check out www.Hannaford.com/dietitians find an in-store Dietitian near you. Don’t have a Dietitian nearby? Email me directly with your questions by sending an email to Dietitian@Hannaford.com.