Fueling for Performance Athlete Hydration and Nutrition Ludis Athletics

Fueling for Performance – Athlete Hydration and Nutrition

Proper fueling for performance is crucial when it comes to athletes and their training. Athlete hydration and nutrition play pivotal roles in optimizing physical capabilities. Just as you wouldn’t drive a car on an empty tank, it’s imperative to provide your body with the right fuel and nourishment for workouts. By ensuring timely and appropriate intake, you enable your body to perform at its peak and facilitate optimal recovery. 

Establish a solid groundwork to fuel your sport by implementing these invaluable tips!

Maximizing Athlete Performance: Fueling, Hydration, and Nutrition Strategies

Fueling Strategies During Training Days 

For optimal fueling during training days, it is crucial to prioritize athlete hydration. Ensure you stay well-hydrated throughout the day by aiming to drink water equivalent to half your body weight in ounces. Even a mere 2% reduction in body weight can negatively impact performance, energy levels, and increase the risk of injury. 

To maintain a constant fuel supply, consume carbohydrate and protein-rich foods every 2-3 hours. Great snack options include: 

  • Nuts
  • Nut butters
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Whole wheat crackers

Be proactive by planning ahead and carrying snacks with you, both during regular activities and practice sessions.

Craft well-balanced meals that combine carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Consider incorporating:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat bread / crackers
  • Corn tortillas
  • Black beans
  • Chicken breast
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Salads
  • Nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds
  • Olive oil for cooking 

These choices, coupled with the recognition that being properly hydrated can reduce the risk of injury, will provide the necessary nutrients to support your performance and overall well-being.

Pre-workout Fueling Techniques for Athletes

To optimize your performance during workouts, it’s important to fuel your body properly before training sessions. To ensure a steady supply of nutrients, ideally consume a well-balanced meal  2-3 hours beforehand containing:

  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Lean meats
  • Healthy fats 

If you’re unable to have a meal within that timeframe, choose a healthy snack with simple carbohydrates, such as fruits, milk, or cereal, approximately 30 minutes before your workout.

Make performance hydration a priority by ensuring you consume at least one cup of fluid before practice to maintain optimal levels. Being properly hydrated can reduce the risk of injury, making it an essential element of your training routine.

By following these pre-workout fueling techniques, you’ll provide your body with the necessary energy and hydration to perform at your best during training sessions.

Post-workout Recovery and Refueling Tips 

To promote muscle repair and growth, it’s vital to refuel within 30 minutes after your workout, especially following strength training exercises. Consider opting for a snack that is both high in protein and contains carbohydrates. Excellent choices include:

Within two hours of completing your workout, it remains important to consume a well-rounded meal. Ensure the meal includes fiber-rich carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to aid in glycogen restoration, tissue repair, and muscle recovery. A nutritious meal option could consist of:

  • Salad with nuts, quinoa, and lean protein
  • Steamed vegetables, lean protein, and a whole-wheat carbohydrate source (pasta, brown rice, or sweet potato)
Ludis Athletics Dried Cherries

To alleviate inflammation and muscle soreness, consider incorporating antioxidants into your post-workout fueling routine. 2 great options include:

  • Cherry juice (known for its flavonoids and anthocyanin)
  • Homemade trail mix with dried cherries, almonds, and dark chocolate chips

After your workout, it is crucial to prioritize rehydration and restore the electrolytes and water lost during exercise. If possible, use a scale to measure your weight before and after workouts. For every 1 pound lost, strive to replenish with 2-3 cups of water.

Follow these post-workout-recovery and refueling techniques to effectively replenish your body for peak performance. 

Fine-tuning Fueling for Performance Strategies

Test different options both before and after your workouts to identify the ones that optimize your performance. 

Consistency is vital for effective fueling, so establish a steadfast routine before and after each practice session. By doing so, you can enhance your performance, promote muscle gain, facilitate proper recovery, and reduce the risk of injury by being properly hydrated. 

Uncover the ideal fueling approach that suits your needs, unlocking your full athletic potential in the process!

Fueling Your Passion,

Emily Mitchell, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDCES

Lead Sports Performance Dietitian

Casa D, et al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement:  Fluid Replacement for the Physically Active.  Journal of Athletic Training 2000; 35(2): 212-224. https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/FluidReplacementsForAthletes.pdf 

Karpinski C, and Rosenbloom C.  Sports Nutrition: A Handbook for Professionals.  A Practice Manual for Professionals.  6th ed. Chicago, IL:  Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Practice Group.  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 2017.

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