Nutrition Tips For Athletes

Nutrition Tips For Athletes


As dancers/athletes, it is imperative for us to keep our bodies fueled and in tip-top condition. Understanding nutrition and how it works hand in hand with your training is an essential to keeping yourself at 110%. Below is an excerpt from the book Fueling Young Athletes by Heather R. Mangieri RDN, CSSD, MS.

Heather R. Mangieri

“Energy Guidelines for Youth Athletes”
Extra activities require extra calories, but loading up on pizza and chicken wings is not the answer. Some fuels are more beneficial than others. Let’s talk about where the extra energy should come from to properly fuel working muscles.
Carbohydrates for Working Muscles 
Carbohydrates, even the simple ones, are more complex than you may realize. Both simple and complex carbohydrates can add value to an athlete performance but the amount and the timing should be carefully considered. Complex carbohydrates are digested slowly and should make up the majority of an athlete’s diet. They provide a steady source of energy throughout the day. The majority of extra calories that youth athletes need should come from complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates digest quickly, thereby providing a great source of fuel and energy when needed quickly, such as immediately before an event, during an event or between competitions.”
Now, let’s talk a little more on the subject of simple and complex carbs.

Starting with simple carbohydrates, these are foods that you want to eat within 30 minutes to one hour of training or activity. Some examples of simple carbs are fruits like bananas, mangoes, and raisins, 100% fruit juice, honey, milk and yogurts.
Moving on to complex carbohydrates, these are the main source of carbs you’ll want to focus on as an athlete. Complex, or slow-release carbs as they are sometimes known, keep your energy up and steady for long periods of time. This is because they are slowly released into your bloodstream versus an instantaneous jolt of insulin that results in what is commonly known as a sugar high. The best timing to eat your complex carbohydrates is early in your day and within 1-2 hours of intense activity. Some good examples of complex carbs are whole grains and foods made from them like pasta and breads, starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and pumpkin, beans, and peas.
Here are a few more examples of simple and complex carbohydrates:

Table Sugar
Brown Sugar
Maple Syrup
Soft Drinks
Sweet Potatoes
Brown Rice
Black Beans
Whole Grain Cereals

We hope this has given you a glimpse into carbohydrates and how you can incorporate them into your training to reach your highest potential!

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