Tip #1 – It all starts with breakfast.
For early workouts or events, choose foods with carbs AND protein (and avoid foods packed full of simple sugars, for example most breakfast cereals!). Carbs (low glycemic foods like whole or multigrain toast, cooked rolled oats, etc) and to a lesser extent, protein (hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt), are an important energy source. Most bagels tend to be high in simple sugars (processed white flour) so if this is your ‘go to’ breakfast, at least try to find whole grain or whole wheat varieties. Try to stay away from high fat breakfast foods (bacon, sausage, butter, donuts) for morning training as it takes longer to break down and thus slower to digest. However, if your training event isn’t until the afternoon, fat will have enough time to digest. If you have multiple training throughout the day, small meals and frequent snacks are a must. A little planning can go a long way here to prevent eating junk food.
Tip #2 – Recharge your muscles right after training.
Get your body high quality nutrition, generally withing 5-10 minutes. A great option is a quality meal replacement shake (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat) as shakes are quickly absorbed and help to rebuild and restore tied muscles. They also help curb your appetite quickly and prevent you from reaching for junk foods with empty calories. An organic chocolate milk is also a good alternative as it has a balanced blend of carbs, protein, and fat. The organic brands are preferred as they typically don’t contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc. Here’s a great choice for a healthy shake.
Tip #3 – Eat protein with every meal.
Each meal should contain 2/3 of calories from grains, fruits, vegetables, and milk or yogurt and 1/3 from protein. It takes 3-4 hours to digest a meal, so minimize the amount of fat ingested. Preplanned snacks can often be a better option. A snack containing some protein is recommended to minimize hunger. Quick digestible snacks include fruit with cottage cheese, apples with peanut butter, fruit smoothie, hummus and crackers, nutrient gels, etc.