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Eating Like an Athlete

August 11, 2011

Hey OK LET’S DO THIS! READERS

Nicole & Michael are on vacation for a few days, and I have been asked to swoop in and sprinkle you with a little bit of guest-post-love. 

Nicole and I originally became friends over our shared passion for exercise and good food, so when I was pondering about what topics I could flavor the blog with, I immediately decided to talk about something that I have spent a good deal of time researching: how to eat like an athlete.

The concept of “eating like an athlete” has really changed my perspective on how to feed myself.  These days, the minds of consumers have been flooded with conflicting strategies and stories about the “right” way to eat, making it hard to entangle any steadfast rules.  The steady influx of contradictions pushes many people to one of two extremes: either throwing up your hands in defeat because there is just too much information to process, or trying to follow every single rule simultaneously and feeling frustrated when you don’t see the results that you want.

I have been in both camps – the former when I first started on my quest for health and decided it was too confusing to stick with, and the latter when I revisited my journey and ended up battling an eating disorder that put me into treatment.  Now, through time and hard work, I feel like I have finally found that delicate balance.

The concept of using food as fuel for your body has completely changed my mindset about eating, and if you struggle with portion control, sluggish workouts, or any sort of lack of motivation, I highly recommend changing your vision of food.  Food is not your enemy.  Just look at some of Nicole’s recipes here on this blog – food is nourishing, delicious, and beautiful.  Eating great food will improve your quality of sleep, your energy during the day, your mood, and your workout performance.

Here’s how to start eating like an athlete…

  • Eat breakfast!  Get something in your system within thirty minutes of first waking up.  Why?  Think of your body as an engine – it needs energy in it to get started.  Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast maintain a healthier weight over their lifetime.  So stop skipping breakfast in order to save calories.  Get your day started and get your body ready for the day by munching on a small breakfast that includes a nice balance of protein, fiber, and fat.   
  • Eat five or six meals a day…  One of the reasons you need to eat more often is to properly fuel your workout.  Ideally, you should be eating every three hours in order to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. 
  • Don’t eat until you’re full… Because you are eating more often, you do not need to stuff yourself to the brim each time you have a meal.  Knowing that your next meal is only a few hours away should help you be able to cut down on your portion sizes.  Eat until you are satisfied, but not stuffed (disclaimer: this is a lot easier said than done). 
  • Carbs are your friend before a workout!   Carbs have been given such a bad reputation by the weight-loss industry and it is a shame because carbs are our bodies main source of energy.  Before a workout, try to stick to a 100-200 calorie snack that is mainly composed of slow-burning complex carbohydrates such as a banana, a yogurt, or ½ cup of oatmeal.
  • After a workout: protein!  After a workout, help your muscles repair and grow by eating some protein – a whey protein shake, hardboiled egg, or some tuna.
  • Moderation… You are an athlete!  That means you can afford to have a bit of ice cream when the craving hits.  Don’t rule out anything as off-limits or you run this risk of spiraling out of control in some craving-induced-craze.  Instead, allow yourself to have treats weekly.  This will help you see healthy eating as a way of life rather than a two-week fad. 

And if you aren’t quite the athlete you want to be yet?  That’s ok.  Eat like one anyways.  I bet once you start fueling your body correctly, you will discover energy you never knew you had. 

Sending you fitness fuel and happiness,

Natalie Kreher

P.S. Check out my blog here!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. anne permalink
    August 12, 2011 6:42 pm

    this is excellent!

  2. B. Curtis permalink
    March 28, 2012 3:07 pm

    Yeah, this is really good! Totally true.

Trackbacks

  1. Eating Like an Athlete…
  2. Eating Like an Athlete… | Buffalo Foods

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