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Nutrition Tips For Weekend Warriors

Most serious athletes have the benefit of a team of coaches and/or health care providers that assist them in achieving optimum performance.  Diet and nutrition are an integral part of their programs and  those of us who work out seriously, albeit not professionally, can benefit from the same advice.  For optimum performance and recovery avoid these eight common mistakes.

  1.  Beneficial Protein Intake- Some athletes eat too much, others eat too little.  Too little protein contributes to poor recovery, muscle wasting and suboptimal results , too much protein taxes the digestive and elimination systems unnecessarily. Check out  for some rules of thumb in calculating optimum protein intake.
  2. Iron Intake – Particularly important for female athletes, anemia causes needles fatigue and reduced performance.  Be sure to include red meat or iron-rich alternatives like dark meat chicken or turkey, salmon and tuna.  Also to enhance iron absorption, include with each meal a source of vitamin C, such as orange juice, berries, broccoli, or tomatoes.
  3. Post-Exercise Food-Your work out isn’t over until you refuel, be sure to preplan your recovery foods to have them readily available after your workout.
  4. Use Both Carbs and Protein for Recovery Meals-Recovery foods should offer a foundation of carbs with protein as an accompaniment.  A reasonable target is about 60 grams of carbs with 20 grams of protein.  If you don’t feel hungry for solid foods after exercise a fruit smoothie made with yogurt is an excellent alternative.
  5. Rest Days-Rest is an important part of a training program; muscles need time to refuel and heal.  Depleted muscles may need more than 24 hours to replace glycogen stores .  Rest days enhance a training program and improve performance.
  6. Adequate Fluids- Athletes who stay well hydrated can train harder and perform better.  For each one percent of body weight lost, your heart has to beat three to five times faster.  For each pound you sweat during a work-out , you should drink 16-24 ounces of water.
  7. Sodium Before Exercise in the Heat-Research with trained cyclists report they rode 20 minutes longer in 90 degree temperature when they drank a pre-ride beverage with about 1,000 vs 150 mg sodium.  If you train or compete in the heat, you should consume salty foods beforehand.  This holds water in your body and reduces your risk of becoming dehydrated.
  8. Consider a Sports Dietician (RD, CCSD)  To get the most from your workouts consider a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, use the referral network at


Clark, Nancy MS RD, 8 Common Nutritional Mistakes….And How to Fix Them|