Many sports use a two-a-day practice regimen to condition and prepare for competition.
Maintaining proper nutrition and hydration can help your body recover and refuel between practices and stay healthy throughout the sports season.
Replace what you lose
Recovery foods replace what your body may lose during a heavy practice or competition.
If you plan to return to activity, eat smaller portions to avoid upset stomach.
Refuel with these nutritious choices:
- 100-percent fruit or vegetable juices.
- Bananas, oranges, grapes or berries.
- Dried fruit.
- Fruit yogurt.
- Chocolate milk.
- Sandwiches made with whole grain bread and lean meats or peanut butter and jelly.
- Pretzels, trail mix or granola bars.
Reload quickly using carbs
Focus recovery meals on carbohydrates.
Reloading with foods higher in carbs can help quickly refuel your muscles and prepare your body for the next workout. These foods are most beneficial if consumed within the first two hours after practice or competition.
After a hard workout, try to consume 75-150 grams of carbohydrates as soon as tolerable.
Follow these carb reload tips:
- Eat a little protein with carbs to enhance refueling and recovery.
- Drink enough fluids to quench your thirst and then drink some more.
- If you crave salt, sprinkle a little on your food or grab a saltier recovery food such as pretzels.
- Eat wholesome fruits, vegetables and juices that contain potassium, a mineral lost when you sweat.
- Between workouts, drink natural fruit juices and sports drinks to stay hydrated. Sports drinks are better suited for use during exercise. Water and fruit juice are healthy choices between exercise sessions or after.
Avoid refuel spoilers
Regardless of your practice schedule, avoid these foods:
- Greasy or fried foods.
- Concession stand snacks.
- Foods that give you gas.
- Foods with too much protein.
- Caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Heavy dairy foods.
Food choices make a big difference in the energy and effort your body can put forth during long practices or competition. If you choose the right foods and stay hydrated, you’ll not only feel better, you may even perform better.
This post provided by Sports Wrap, from Marshfield Clinic Sports Medicine.