Fueling for Performance- Tips for Being Your Best On and Off the Field

Knowledge is power. Learn how to fuel for optimal performance.
CrossFit Threefold
April 18, 2024
Fueling for Performance- Tips for Being Your Best On and Off the Field

If you’re the parent of an athlete or an avid fitness fan yourself then you understand the importance of nutrition. Nutrition has a huge impact on performance and if taken seriously, skyrockets your results and overall ability. It’s a pretty big deal. But a lot of questions come up where nutrition is concerned. Concerns such as how to  fuel before a workout, what to do after and how can you recover faster? 

But no need to worry, CrossFit Threefold has you covered. We know nutrition can feel intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. It’s our job to give you the tools and knowledge to master your nutrition and reach your “A” game faster. 

Nutrition done right is simple, clean and easy to follow. All you need are a few important key tips, some guidance (yep we’ve got you there) and the desire to develop a positive mindset. That means staying dedicated and accountable. So if you’re ready to reach your goals, achieve optimal performance and recover like a champ, then keep on reading.

Hydration and Fuel Before Your Workout

In order to optimize performance and be your best for game day or an event, you have to give your body what it needs. And that starts with hydration. Good old H2O. Giving yourself enough hydration is essential. It’s a building block for athletic performance and one that can make or break you during a competition or workout. Staying hydrated helps your body in a variety of ways such as-

Getting enough water and nutrients before hitting the field or gym gives your body strength, stamina and fuel to power through. However, trouble occurs when you don’t consume enough water and you become hydrated. Once dehydrated you’ll feel sluggish, your muscles may cramp and you definitely won’t perform your best. Water is an essential part of living and is something you should be consuming all day long. It may seem tough to hit the daily recommended 80 ounces but it’s well worth it. 

Hydrating shouldn’t just be happening an hour or so before game time. Proper hydration begins the night before. Staying hydrated and hitting your macro and micronutrient counts (another important aspect of reaching your full potential) will absolutely help you perform and  recover like a champ. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats work in coordination with one another to deliver the biggest bang for your buck and performance! Incorporating these nutrients into your diet and sticking with a healthy eating plan is key to your success.

A simple method known as the plate method makes nutrition easy. When filling your dinner plate, envision it divided into thirds. The biggest part of your plate being vegetables and the other two parts- protein and whole grains.  Protein is a nutrient that repairs your body’s muscle tissue. It also aids in building muscle, increasing stamina and improving endurance not to mention that protein keeps your body fueled. With the right amount of protein, you’ll stay focused, energized and improve your recovery time. 

Take a look at the image above for a plate method example. Use it to portion your food both pre workout, post workout and anytime in between.

Performing Your Best

Performing your best is easy if again, you focus on nutrition. You’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat” right? Of course you have. And that’s exactly why what you put into your body the morning before a big game or workout is important. Picking high sugar cereals or empty calories like breads and refined flour bagels won’t keep you going strong. Those types of foods quickly leave your body and before you know it, you’re hungrier and lacking energy. Instead of empty calories give your body whole grains, protein and healthy carbs. Meal ideas such as nonfat greek yogurt with berries, whole nuts and perhaps some granola. Other great options include hard boiled, scrambled or egg whites with a banana and natural nut butter. These choices provide you with fuel chocked full of vitamins and nutrients that’ll keep you kicking.

When choosing your meals keep in mind the amount you're consuming (too much will weigh you down and make it difficult to digest) and the timing of your meal. Consuming your meal at least 3-4 hours before your event gives your body a chance to digest. Then you won’t have to worry about indigestion or those nasty side stickers.

And what about during or post your activity? It’s never a bad idea to keep your (or your athlete’s) bag stocked with quick and healthy on-the-go snacks and fuel sources. Portion controlled bags of whole nuts or fresh fruit will help sustain your energy levels and help you achieve your optimal potential and recover faster. Making these healthy choices will always set you up for success. 

Recovery and Consistency

Aside from nutrition, two other factors play a significant role in developing as an athlete. And since you’re probably familiar with the programs and training offered at places like CrossFit Threefold, then you probably won’t be surprised to learn that we’re talking about recovery and consistency. Recovery is just as important as the training you do on a daily/weekly basis and it’s a huge part of becoming a better athlete. It should be intentional, and never something you just “wing.” Stretching after a workout or event, working in active recovery and cross training days as well as giving yourself a break are all essential components of being a well-rounded athlete. 

After a workout it’s also essential to replace the electrolytes lost (hydration!) during your sweat session and the fuel it needs to rebuild the muscles you’ve broken down during exercise. However, don’t just chug any old liquid. Sports drinks are often high in sugars so be mindful with your choices and the ones you give your athlete. Many brand name products like Gatorade or Powerade offer zero or no sugar options. Also think about the next meal you’ll have after your activity. It should be focused on lean protein, a ton of healthy vegetables (remember the plate method from earlier) and healthy carbohydrates to replenish your body and give it the nutrients to bounce back stronger, healthier and with more to give next time around. 

Now let’s talk about consistency. Consistent practice and workout routines help athletes become less prone to injury and stronger. The more you practice, the easier you’ll be able to recover. Just remember to stick with healthy food choices. Worried about falling off track? No need. CrossFit Threefold prides itself on helping you stay accountable and serious about your nutrition and workout choices. Being a consistent athlete means you’re dedicating yourself to showing up each and every day, putting forth 100% effort and committing to being your best, your happiest. 

Fuel, Hydrate, Recover, Perform

Being fit in life helps you be successful. Bottomline. Fitness encourages you to give your all in everything you do. It keeps you goal oriented, strong, healthy and more confident. Showing up, learning the tools of the trade and putting those tips and tricks to use gives you the opportunity to make the most of your amazing life. Athletes, runners, CrossFitters anyone who prioritizes fitness knows that in order to perform at your best it takes work and encouragement. Let us guide you and help you make a commitment not just for now, but for life. Fuel, hydrate, recover and perform! You can do anything!

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