Dr. Roanne Rouse Houck, N.D.
Naturopathic Doctor and Athlete
Nutrient dense foods, consumed at appropriate times before and after exercise can significantly improve performance and recovery. Think about sport nutrition in terms of maximizing the storage of glycogen and of key nutrients prior to physical exertion. By storing up ahead of time you have more reserves to call upon when you need them most. If you plan to exercise in the morning, it is beneficial to consume a complex carbohydrate dominant meal the night before, as it takes 4-6 hours for complex carbs to be digested, absorbed and stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. Consider a dinner with a combination of quality, complex carbohydrates from wild grain rice and colored vegetables, protein from legumes or poultry and healthy fats from olive oil, avocado and raw nuts. If you plan to train or compete in the afternoon, do your glycogen and nutrient loading in the morning. Try a bowl of whole grain cereal with dried fruit and berries, topped with organic yogurt, raw nuts and seeds for added protein to help reduce muscle breakdown and to aid in recovery. Or experiment with making a super smoothie blend made from any or all of the following: banana, berries, apple, apricot, carrot, spinach, celery, coconut milk, almond milk and raw almonds or a protein powder from whey, hemp, soy, brown rice, legume or egg.
To compliment your colorful, nutritious pre-sport meal, add Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink with electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and select herbal extracts in a naturally colorful, tasty fruit juice base. Adding a healthy sport drink before and during exercise helps to prevent low blood sugar, dehydration, excessive mineral loss and immune suppression that can occur after intense workouts. Don’t wait until you are thirsty or cramping to start replacing fluids and electrolytes, drink every 15-20 minutes during exercise. Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink should be used at any elevation for optimal pre-sport nutrient loading and for recovery. The added minerals and herbs set it apart from other conventional sport drinks. Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink has 35 calories per serving.
For optimal recovery, consider an immediate post exercise re-hydration “snack” containing a combination of protein (from whey, egg, hemp or other) and carbohydrates (Acli-Mate® Mountain Sport Drink or grape juice). If you are prone to blood sugar issues, add extra quality fat from avocado, egg yolk or cheese to your immediate recovery routine. Use a sport recovery drink either with added protein or a protein food along with sport drink after completing an intense workout. Within 90 minutes post-workout, consume a more substantial meal that is higher in carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores but also contains protein and quality fats. It is always beneficial to include lots of colored fruits and vegetables for added vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids and other natural anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory nutrients. And on a closing note, eat and drink real food. Avoid artificial sweeteners, colorings, additives and other ingredients that your body does not recognize as real food. If you expect your body to perform to it’s highest potential, give it the best fuel possible.
Information in this article provided by Dr. Roanne Rouse Houck and from Pizzorna, Joseph E. and Murray M. Textbook of Natural Medicine: Sports Nutrition. 4th ed. Churchhill Livingstone; 2013.
Next Article In Our sport Nutrition Series, “Optimal Hydration for the Health Conscious Athlete”