CanolaInfo Sports Nutrition Score Sheet
Feed the furnace: Running on empty? Your body needs consistent fuel to function. A small pre-workout snack may improve your workout performance. Portion out homemade snacks for convenient options on hand. Liquid foods such as smoothies digest more quickly than solids, which makes them ideal pre- or post-workout for energy, hydration and restoring nutrients. Remember, though, that liquid calories mount up fast.
Pump up protein: Resistance training builds and breaks down skeletal muscle proteins. Maximize muscle growth with a snack that contains carbohydrate plus 10-20 grams of protein within 15-30 minutes after a workout when muscle is most receptive to growing.
Make friends with fat: Fat is an important energy source for athletes but it’s important to choose healthy fats. Canola oil, for example, provides a valuable source of unsaturated fat, including monounsaturated and omega-3 fats.
Don’t ignore complex carbs: Athletes especially need healthy carbohydrates, the preferred source of energy for active muscles. Whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit are four good sources. Combined with protein, carbohydrates speed recovery so you’re ready for your next work out.
Value variety: Love quinoa? Great, but you can’t live on one supergrain alone. Athletes need a varied diet for the best mix of vitamins and minerals. Good nutrition, which fuels good performance, is about combining a variety of foods.
Food first: Sports bars and energy supplements are easy to grab on the go, but may be too high in calories. Wholesome, nutrient-rich foods are better for you, not to mention cheaper in many cases.
Avoid portion distortion: How much you eat is as important as what you consume. Even nutritious foods, if eaten in excess, can add unwanted weight that hinders exercise performance. Train your eye to recognize the right portion sizes by measuring and portioning at home.
Drink to your health: Adequate hydration helps workout performance and prevents injury, so be sure to drink before, during and after a workout. Also stick to water just before and during exercise. Carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks are designed for heavy sweating and extended workouts lasting more than an hour to help you perform better and replace sodium lost in sweat.
Rehydrate right: After exercise, the goal is to replace the fluids lost in sweat and normal body functions. Water, low-fat milk, and 100 percent juice are your best rehydration choices. Avoid so-called “energy drinks” that are loaded with sugar, stimulants or artificial ingredients.