Remember back to your preliminary days in sport. For the skaters out there, you spent your time practicing stroking, edges, simple turns and one-foot glides. Thinking about it, practicing those basic skills never goes away, does it?
If you're an athlete, I think you'll agree when I say building a strong foundation is KEY in mastering more advanced elements. No matter the discipline, everything we do builds from our basic fundamentals.
The same goes for nutrition! Without a solid nutritional foundation, the significance of all other fueling strategies and techniques fall to the way side... making it difficult to fine-tune and excel both in health and sport. Take a look at the Three E's I recommend focusing on first:
1. Eat Variety: incorporating a wide variety of foods into our daily nutrition is like life insurance - ensuring we meet our daily nutrient needs.
2. Eat Often: often enough, especially in the hustle and bustle of school/work to skating/sport to extracurricular activities... fueling can be tough. Developing a fueling plan (it may even include those healthful convenient snack items; i.e. granola bars, yogurt tubes, trail-mix, PB&Js) ensures we are fueling our body throughout the course of the day while preparing it for the next bout of activity.
3. Eat Enough: too often enough, physical hunger can be overlooked. If your stomach is getting a little growly and antsy or if you can't stop thinking about food, it's time to eat! Fuel your body to move your body. Fuel your body for success, both on and off the performance stage. You and your body deserve nourishment, always!
Upon mastering the basics (making healthful fueling habitual) you will be able to take on anything your sport may throw at you! Are you ready to reach your next PR? ;)
You are enough. You are worthy. You are deserving. You are fierce. Lift yourself up this new year.
As you enter the new year, I encourage you to explore new foods, cooking methods and eating practices that make you feel happy, whole, energized, confident and proud. Take note of how such fueling practices impact physical performance, your relationships, mood, social life, sleep etc.
You are more than enough and deserving of food.
#FuelForTheGOLD #LoveYourBody #HonorYourBody #NourishYourBody #FuelYourBody #GiveThanksToYourBody
Getting to know our hunger and satisfactory cues can support us in fueling optimally for both health and performance!
Your body knows you best! You'll be happy to know, what it's telling you is much more accurate than most, if not all, tools available to us!
Today's health & fitness society is "booming" with gadgets, trackers and devices that can support your goal(s), yet such tools should be used in assessing TRENDS rather than as an exact measure.
You're not alone if you often question your hunger cues; wondering whether you're actually hungry because you just ate 1-2hrs ago. If you feel hungry, you most likely are!
When we choose to ignore our hunger on a daily basis, our body's hunger signaling and satisfactory cues can become 'deactivated'. When this occurs, the body will "wave it's hands" to signal hunger in other ways: fatigue, tiredness, food thoughts and moodiness. Just like physical training, the practice of getting in touch with our hunger and satisfactory cues takes time. Be patient. Honor your hunger. Enjoy your food. Enjoy the experience of eating.
Trust yourself. Trust your body. It is the most precious tool we have! Doing so will fuel your body appropriately and help you reach your health and performance goals.
This past Fall 2020, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Get it Called regarding body positivity and the promotion of healthful nutrition habits within the sport of figure skating.
See the link below to access the article:
Pre-training/event fueling is such a critical component to performance but when those training sessions/events are super early in the morning... eating may be the last thing you feel like doing. Am I right??
When it comes to early morning trainings/events, the pre-fueling process actually starts before we go to bed. Whaaatttt?!?
Consider this: eating a bedtime snack that's mixed with carbohydrates and lean proteins (about 1-2hrs prior to bedtime) will help top-off your energy fuel stores within the muscle while supporting recovery from the previous exercise session. Upon early rising the next morning, your muscles will be better fueled and rested for the upcoming training session.
Before beginning your training session, just a small source of carbohydrates is recommended to further top-off muscle fuel stores - helping you to train longer and faster! . Here are a few examples of small carbohydrate sources that can be consumed within minutes of/or just at the start of early AM training:
-Chewy granola bar
-Small handful of dry cereal
-8-12fl oz sports drink (regular)
-100% fruit snack pack
-1/2 cup applesauce (or squeeze apple sauce, e.g. Go-Go Squeeze)
Other examples of bedtime snacks not listed include:
-Low-fat cottage cheese w/ peaches (or fruit of choice)
-Lean jerky w/ apple slices
-Fruit & yogurt smoothie
-Low-fat cheese & crackers
-Graham crackers w/ peanut butter & 1Tbsp dark chocolate chips
What's your favorite bedtime snack?
*Note: do not experiment with foods the days of heavy training sessions, prolonged trainings and event days. Contact your health professional or sports dietitian for more specific individual recommendations.
Struggle with sleep? You may benefit from a simple change in night time behavior(s). Sleep deprivation and persistent lack of sleep can negatively impact performance gains/outcomes and overall health.
If unable to get a full nights sleep (7-9hrs worth), a brief nap can be of benefit. A mid-day nap has been shown to support learning skills, strategy and tactics.
There are foods shown to improve sleep quality and quantity: carbohydrates and proteins - while limiting/avoiding spicy, fatty and caffeinated foods/drinks 6hrs prior to bedtime. Carbs and proteins within 1-2hrs prior to bedtime can improve the production of melatonin (a neurotransmitter that makes us feel sleepy in preparation for bed) while improving sleep onset and quality of sleep.
Developing a bedtime routine 30min prior to sleep can help to wind down the body and prepare it to turn off for the night. The left column lists some winding down ideas. How do you wind down for bed?
Tired of the same old breakfast? Need a little inspiration? Staple pantry ingredients can be made into a variety of dishes. Check out the below graphic for some simple yet creative was to jazz up your fueling routine.
Other ideas not listed in graphic:
-PB Banana Honey Sandwich with Milk
-PB Cinnamon Toast w/ Yogurt
-Eggs, Toast w/ Fruit & Nut Yogurt
-Eggs in the Hole w/ Milk and Fruit
Spring can be dreary and with many more hours spent in our houses comfort foods really does the trick. And when you don't have to prepare your own dinner, who doesn't love that!?!
Dinner credit to my mom who made a warm & hearty beef stew and oven baked biscuits the other evening.
The beef stew was broth-based (beef broth) with fresh celery, carrots, mini potatoes and green beans... paired with an herby biscuit. YUMMMMMYYY.
Let's see how this dinner stands up to fueling guidelines: Fuel: potatoes, biscuit; Build: stewed beef; Protect: green beans, celery, carrots; Hydrating Fluids: beef broth.
Nutrient Timing: pre-workout ~3hrs before; post-workout friendly