Athlete Nutrition Overview


  • Most efficient fuel for the body
  • Select slower acting forms for steady energy: whole grains, legumes, low fat milk/yogurt, whole fruit
  • Select simpler forms during activity – 30-60g/hour after the first hour

Common Mistakes

  • 50-65% of our diet should be Carbohydrates, and at least half of them should eb from whole grains.
  • Carbohydrates should be consumed every 3-5 hours
  • Choose whole grain carbohydrates to avoid peaks or crashing in energy
  • Supplementing appropriately during a workout



  • Essential for building and maintaining muscle-mass, injury prevention
  • Include at all meals and snacks if longer time between meals
  • Lean choices: lean ground beef and pork, poultry, seafood, nuts, eggs, low-fat dairy, beans, seeds

Common mistakes:

  • Consumption of too much protein and not enough carbohydrate
  • Not consuming protein throughout the day to maintain energy
  • Believing you need more


  • Transports/stores vitamins; maintains cell membranes; assists with metabolism; maintains healthy skin/hair
  • Poor source of fuel for workouts
  • Choose heart-healthy choices: nuts, seeds, oil, avocado, olives

Common Mistakes

  • Not consuming enough fat
  • Consuming more saturated and trans fats rather than unsaturated fats


  • The best indicator is urine. Try to keep urine pale to clear in color through out the day
  • 16-24oz within 2 hours before o 6-12oz just before start
  • 6-12oz every 15-20 minutes during
  • Sports drink with 6-8% carbohydrate for events longer than 1 hour or high intensity/high heat

Common Mistakes

  • Dehydration: throbbing headache; dizziness; severe fatigue; restlessness; confusion, nausea/vomiting
  • Weight loss of greater than 2% of body weight during exercise can cause dehydration that can compromise cardiac function, metabolic reactions, and thermo regulation
  • Electrolytes need to be replaced after the first hour of exercise, water is not enough to re-hydrate.


  • Try to get all of the vitamins and minerals from eating colorful, varied meals.
  • When looking for a multivitamin, try to find something that provides about 100% of the RDA
  • Caffeine: beneficial before workout for increasing endurance-spares glycogen and aids fat metabolism
  • Protein: consuming 20g protein post workout is optimal, more shows no benefit; this can come from a 20oz glass of milk
  • Glucosamine: beneficial to joints in those with issues; little risk
  • Fish Oil: a good idea if you do not consume omega-3 fatty acids in the diet
  • Fish Oil: a good idea if you do not consume omega-3 fatty acids in the diet

Common Sports Nutrition Issues

Hitting the Wall


  • Glycogen depletion due to limited carbohydrate intake - muscle glycogen storage infinite – max is approx. 80-120 minutes before depleted
  • Once glycogen depleted, you convert fat = increased 0xygen uptake = fatigue (hit the wall)
  • Every gram of glycogen is attached to 3g water – lack of either can impact doubly


  • Stroke volume decreases due to decreased blood volume
  • To maintain cardiac output, heart rate increases = fatigue
  • Follow guidelines above – use sports drinks as appropriate


  • Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, hydration
  • Electrolyte supplementation

Recovery Time

  • Carbohdyrates are essential to restock glycogen stores – intake should be at least 60-75g carbs
  • Aim for 4:1 carb/protein ratio within 1 hour after workout
    • Many commercial recovery products aim to do this (Accelerade, Endurox, etc)
    • Food examples: 1 1⁄2 cups Cheerios, 1 c. blueberries, 1 cup skim milk; 12 Triscuits and 1 oz cheese; 16oz chocolate milk; 1 cup Kashi Go Lean with lowfat yogurt; Power/Clif Bar with 8oz milk; 2 String cheese with 32oz Gatorade;
  • Waiting too long after workouts hinders recovery


  • Usually a result of poor meal timing, inadequate intake of foods
Back to blog