Eating for Exercise: Get Inspired by the Olympians

by in Diets, Healthy Tips, February 16, 2010

Food for Exercise
Whether you’re heading to Vancouver or tuning in from your living room, the Olympic spirit is in the air. Most of us aren’t professional athletes, but we are trying to stay in shape. Get inspired by the international athletes and follow these quick tips to help make the most of your diet and exercise routine.

Have a Game Plan
Most of us don’t exercise for a living or spend hours every day in the gym. Achieving a successful diet and exercise routine is all about time management. Too often people try the “all or nothing” approach and find it too hard to maintain. Two sensible tactics are:

  1. Plan your meals and snacks for the week ahead of time
  2. Set realistic exercise goals — be honest about how often you can exercise. You don’t have workout seven days a week.

Go for the Real Deal, Not the Bottle
Don’t rely on supplements to the nutrition or energy boost that you need (many supplements are actually off-limits to professional athletes). Our bodies always absorb nutrients better when they come from food. Plus, you don’t have to worry about many of the dangers associated with overdosing on vitamin and mineral pills. Sometimes you might fall short in some of the harder-to-get nutrients (like omega-3 fats or vitamin D). That’s the time to talk to a registered dietitian or doctor, who will provide sensible vitamin recommendations to go along with your healthy diet (that’s why they’re called “supplements”).

Drink Up
One of the leading causes of fatigue during exercise is dehydration. Avoid a workout slump by carrying a water bottle (preferably a reusable one) with you at all times.

If water’s not exciting enough, check out our tips for flavoring up your water, and find out how much water you really need in a day.

Stretch It Out
Eating only three large meals a day can lead to peaks and valleys in your blood sugar and energy levels (and can also lead to over eating). Many athletes keep their metabolism firing and energy levels high throughout the day by eating small meals and snacks. Aim to eat something every three to four hours.

Don’t Be Carb-Phobic
Athletes know they’d never be able to keep up with their exercise regimen if it wasn’t for energy-producing carbohydrates. While most folks don’t need as many carbs as Olympians such as Lindsey Vonn and Apolo Ohno, make sure about half of your daily calories come from whole grains, fruits and veggies.

TELL US: What are your winning diet and exercise strategies?

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