The weather may be cooling down, but fall sports are heating up! Maintain peak performance all season with our sport dietitian’s top nutrition strategies.
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You’re probably wondering why sleep is making an appearance in a nutrition-related post? Sleep is vital to muscle repair, recovery, and the regulation of hunger and fullness cues and stress hormones. Ever feel that your hunger is insatiable, experience strong carbohydrate cravings, or see a lack in results? Cumulative lack of sleep may be the culprit!
- Hydrate: Gone are the days of “aim for 8 cups of water per day.” Hydration needs are not “one-size-fits-all.” What we should really aim for as a baseline is drinking half of our body weight in ounces. For example, a person weighing 165 lbs. should roughly consume 82.5 oz. (or 10.5 cups) of water per day. Hydration needs can increase above that based on physical activity level, temperature, sweat rate, etc. If you don’t have an estimate of your weight, don’t sweat it! Monitor your hydration status by observing the color of your urine during the day. Click here for an example.
- Eat 4-6 times per day. Fueling consistently and adequately may make all the difference in athletic performance. Eating balanced meals (and snacks) focusing on lean proteins, a variety of carbohydrates (including fruits and vegetables), and healthful fats throughout the day ensure that fuel stores are not depleted and your body will be prepared for the next practice or game.
- Eat a colorful and varied diet. A colorful plate will provide more varied vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients than a monochromatic one. Emphasizing color and differing cooking modalities (raw, roasted, steamed, baked, etc.) gives your body the best opportunity to absorb all the nutrients it needs to run efficiently.