Fueling for the Body Correctly
An athlete races at peak performance by making sure the body is fueled correctly. This is not just about the morning of the start, but also approaching race day as well.
Eat softer foods leading up to race. Eating foods that are high in fiber and protein can make your stomach hurt on race day. Since it takes quite a while for food to move through your system, you should start limiting these items starting about two days out. Look for softer, easier to eat foods and snacks instead, such as pasta. Eggs are a great source of protein that are easy to digest as well. A bad idea would be to eat a kale salad and steak the night before race day.Don‚Äôt carb load. When you taper for a race, you are not consuming the calories you were when you were training. Just keep eating like you did while you were training, and that is effectively carb loading. There is no need to go out of your way to eat even more than that. Eat extra food, and your guts get stuffed with too much work to do, making you feel slow and sluggish on race day.
Get down to your best weight as you train. On your path to getting down to your best race weight, you should be eating logically the closer you get to race week. This is when you should be looking for foods high fiber, making you feel fuller so you don‚Äôt overeat every day. There is plenty of protein in most foods, so you don‚Äôt have to go crazy looking for protein all the time. Keep your eye open for the opportunity to eat it, but it‚Äôs not the most important thing that your life should revolve around. If you find yourself hungry at the end of the day, consider eating more healthy fats. Avocados and olive oil are full of the stuff and will give you the extra calories your body has been telling you need in a nice and healthy package. Bread and processed starches and sugars should be kept at a respectful distance. These jack up your blood sugar quickly, and then let it drop again, messing with your energy levels. Eating these all the time teach your body to prefer those for fuel instead of longer-burning and more energy-containing fats.
Never eat processed snacks. Doughnuts, bags of chips, slurpees, candy bars; these are all a bad idea. If it doesn‚Äôt grow in nature, don‚Äôt eat it. It‚Äôs not food.
Feel good with real nutrition. Real, whole foods will make you feel great, and there really is no other way to eat healthy for life. The one thing most people need to do is add in more leafy greens and veggies. Have a salad every day, snack on carrots and cucumber slices, and you can‚Äôt go wrong. As race day nears, transition over to lower fiber fruits and veggies like watermelon and potatoes and you are good to go!