Hope you all enjoyed my last post about training tips! This month, I wanted to share a little bit about my nutritional lifestyle while being a professional soccer player. I am not a dietician by any means, but nutrition has always been one of my interests and is very important to me. I want to feel my best every day so I can play my best. With that being said, I know that putting the right stuff in my body will enhance my performance.
Every meal, I make sure that I incorporate a protein, complex carbohydrate, and vegetable. Protein is essential for the body because it works as a building block that creates and develops our hair, nails, and, most importantly, builds muscles. Complex carbs supply us with energy, and vegetables supply us with vitamins and nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C. There are a lot of sources for protein including meat, fish, and eggs as well as meatless options like tofu, beans, and protein shakes. My favorite carbs to add to my meals are oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. My vegetables of choice are broccoli, spinach, and asparagus.
For breakfast, I love to have oatmeal with pecans, walnuts, coconut flakes, a little honey, and sometimes fruit. I occasionally add peanut butter for protein or I make a protein shake with almond milk and add spinach for a vegetable.
My lunch and dinner are typically similar — I have a protein, complex carbohydrate, and vegetable. Also, I always make sure that I eat before I workout and I follow that workout with a protein shake (preferably Garden of Life) for recovery purposes.
I’ve tried numerous diets and lifestyles such as vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian. From each of these lifestyles, I’ve found options I love and some I dislike. For instance, I personally feel better when I don’t consume dairy and I also like to limit how much I eat meat. However, I love seafood such as salmon and shrimp but also love vegan and vegetarian dishes. I encourage everyone to explore different lifestyles and then make it your own based on what feels right for you. Most importantly, everyone deserves a cheat day, so always reward yourself with your favorite cheat snack or meal every now and then.
Thank you for letting me share with you all and remember,
“A healthy outside always starts from the inside.”
As the final weeks of summer approach and you begin to get back in the routine of school, practice, games, and homework, maintaining the drive and finding the time to train can get tough.
You won’t have the free time you once had a few months ago, and you won’t get nearly as many hours of shut-eye as you were when you could sleep until noon. But you’re still expected to keep in shape for your sport.
DON’T PANIC! This is where we come in — we came up with five tips to help you stick to a workout and nutrition plan as school returns.
- Continue To Eat Breakfast: No matter how early you have to get up to get a nice meal before your workout or class, get it done! Without breakfast in you, you are missing out on the energy you need to help push you through your classes and practices. If needed, prep the meal the night before to save you time.
- Pack A Lunch And Skip The Cafeteria Food: Many schools still serve pre-made, processed foods. This is the cheaper route for them to go, but in turn, you’re getting lunch that isn’t fresh and may be high in sodium, sugar, and fat. The safest route to go is to pack a lunch the night before that you can fill with proteins, fruits, and vegetables. These foods will not only help you perform well in class, but they will also give you the needed energy for practice or workouts. Click here to learn about what foods you should eat every day.
- Take Advantage Of Your Weekends: Your weekend is when you can catch up on rest, but it’s also when you’re able to spend more time in the gym. Sleep in all you want, but don’t forget to get some running or lifting in when you aren’t busy with class and homework.
- Work Out Before School: With homework, tests, practice, and a social life, finding time to get in a solid workout can be really tough. Instead of going to a busy gym, worn out after a long day of class, beat the rush and work out before school. Getting your training done in the morning will also make you feel better during the day.
- Get A Good Night Sleep When Possible: With practices running late, homework, studying, and even possibly a part-time job, it can be tough to get to bed at a decent hour as a student athlete. After you’re finished with your obligations for the night, your best bet is staying off of electronics, which can keep your attention for hours.
Not only will you feel better on a daily basis if you can follow these tips, but your overall health and strength will benefit as well. If you put your time in over the summer, training and focusing on your health, why give up now?
By Travelle Gaines
When it comes to getting your body in the best shape possible for your sport, nutrition and hydration is a key component.
Eating protein-packed foods, drinking water throughout the day, and cutting out food and drink high in sugar can help you take the next step.
After training, practice, or a game, your body is left dehydrated, drained of fuel, and broken down. The body is in a stressed state, and the proper blend of nutrients can jumpstart the recovery process to help you come back stronger and healthier. That’s why proper recovery is a key element to efficient athletic performance.
An easy way to keep recovery nutrition as simple as possible is by remembering the three R’s:
replenish (with carbohydrates), rebuild (with protein), and rehydrate (with water).
Each of these critical recovery concepts calls for a different combination of fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein — each playing a specific role in the recovery process.
In order to keep your body in top shape it is recommended you try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water, eat between 40-50 grams of protein as woman or 50-60 grams as a man, and have anywhere from 45-65 percent of your total calories be from carbohydrates every day.
Keep in mind what recovery means however, as in addition to performance benefits it gives you a reduction in soreness, promoting quick adaptations to training, and enhancing muscle repair.
Most of us spend our time training, not competing. The goal of recovery is to replace your fuel while rebuilding your muscle. So, in regard to recovery nutrition, a small amount of protein in addition to carbs may enhance the body’s adaptation to long-term training.
Ever hear the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”?
Well this saying may not actually be a myth, as apples and a number of other fruits and vegetables have been proven to give your body a plethora of health benefits when eaten consistently.
According to our friends at stack.com, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, oranges, apples, and bananas all are extraordinary foods, and when eaten on a daily basis can reap a number of positive health benefits for your body.
Below are a few things these foods can do for you!
Ever give a second thought to throwing away the skin of your orange, the peel of your banana, or the rind of your watermelon?
If your answer was no, you put yourself in a category with millions of others around the world who dispose of peels and rinds from fruit and vegetables because they think they are inedible or don’t taste good.
What you don’t know, however, is that these peels and rinds you are throwing in the garbage are actually full of fiber and packed with nutrients like vitamin C.
Banana peels, carrot skin, citrus fruit peels, kiwi skin, even those hard watermelon rinds, and many others can all be consumed in some way. In order to help you get these extra nutrients, we took the time to break down some interesting ways that you can eat these less than appealing foods courtesy of our friends at Stack.com:
- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes) – These peels contain twice the vitamin C of the actual fruit itself — and also contain large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
How to eat them: Since these peels can be very bitter and tough to chew and digest, consider grating the peel to create zest for the top of a salad with dressing, or even for the top of sweets like ice cream or chocolate.
- Kiwis – The skin offers flavonoids, antioxidants, and — of course — a large amount of vitamin C.
How to eat them: This one is simple. Instead of taking the time to spoon out the fruit from the skin, scrape off the fuzz from the outside and simply eat the juicy fruit like you would a peach.
- Carrots – A carrot offers a variety of nutrients within the orange rough skin that is usually peeled and thrown away.
How to eat them: All you need to do to safely eat the whole, unpeeled carrot is cleanse it carefully with water to remove dirt or other imperfections. The flavor of the vegetable should remain the same.
- Watermelons – Watermelons contain something known as citrulline, which has an amino acid that is beneficial for heart health, your immune system, and much more. But, surprising to many, the rind contains much more of the rare amino acid.
How to eat them: This one may be the toughest of all because it can sound extremely unappetizing to the ear. However, you can do a lot with this rind. You can pickle it, sauté it, or — one of our favorites — throw it in a blender with the rest of the watermelon and other fruits and veggies to make a delicious smoothie.
- Bananas – Proportional to the commonly consumed part of a banana, the peel seems to be one of the biggest wastes in the world of fruit. However, this peel is extremely nutritious — as it has powerful antioxidants and an amino acid known as tryptophan that increases your body’s levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can boost your mood.
How to eat them: When it comes to banana peel preparation, variety’s the name of the game. Boil the peel, cook it in a frying pan, bake pieces of it into dried-out chips, or just throw the entire fruit into a juicer.
We’ve all done it before.
You sat at your desk in class all day just waiting for the final bell to ring, dismissing you to your afterschool workout. You get into the gym and begin your training routine, and as you start to kick up the intensity your stomach begins growling.
You realize you last ate during your 11:30 lunch hour, and now you’re taking on your workout with an empty stomach.
Not only is your stomach growling, but you become weak, get distracted, and cause your body to break down muscle to give it energy, instead of building it. None of which are recipes for success in the weight room.
In order to give your body an opportunity for a good workout, it all starts with fueling properly. This means eating a small meal or snack 30 minutes to an hour before your physical activity.
One of the best pre-workout snacks you can have is the simple, classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an easily digestible and tasty treat with plenty of protein and calories to keep you fueled.
To go along with the classic PBJ, a number of other peanut butter sandwich creations can be made for pre-workout fuel as well. Here are three of our favorite recipes from our partner Stack.com:
Peanut Butter and Banana Waffle Taco
- 1 Special K frozen waffle
- 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
- 1 medium banana
- 1 tsp. honey
- Toast the waffle to personal preference
- Spread peanut butter evenly over the waffle
- Place banana in waffle’s center
- Fold waffle in half with banana in center
Fat: 17.55 g
Carbohydrates: 51.67 g
Protein: 10.1 g
Peanut Butter and Apple Quesadilla
- 1 100% whole-wheat tortilla
- 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
- 1 small apple
- 1 tsp. of honey
- Place a pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray
- Spread peanut butter evenly over tortilla
- Slice apple into thin slices and divide evenly on half the tortilla
- Drizzle honey evenly over tortilla
- Fold tortilla in half
- Place tortilla on pan and grill until it starts to brown — flip over and repeat
Fat: 16.67 g
Carbohydrates: 54.67 g
Protein: 10.78 g
Peanut Butter and Banana Wrap
- 1 100% whole-wheat tortilla
- 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
- 1 medium banana
- 1 tsp. honey
- Spread peanut butter evenly over the tortilla
- Drizzle honey evenly over the tortilla
- Place banana on tortilla’s edge
- Roll the tortilla with the banana until completely covered
Fat: 16.75 g
Carbohydrates: 56.21 g
Protein: 11.46 g
Although peanut butter is a great pre-workout snack, we know some may not enjoy it and others may be allergic. Other options like a small bowl of healthy cereal, yogurt, dried fruit, oatmeal, or even a fruit smoothie are also easily digestible foods that won’t upset your stomach, and can give you the needed protein.
So next week while working on homework in your afternoon study hall, take a few minutes to refuel before your workout with a healthy and protein-packed snack!