Feel like you’re hearing all kinds of nutrition information everywhere? I sure do! It’s on the news, all over Facebook feeds, in magazines, on Instagram… It can be hard to decipher what is real, and what is not! So, I am here to give you science based professional advice that IS real! Nutrition is a tool for you to use. Food can affect your performance positively, or negatively. Let’s work on putting food in to fuel us the right way.
Elevating Athlete Nutrition
with Lindsay Wexler
It is no secret, many factors go into making us a star. We’ve talked a lot about the food part of fueling, but, one of the most important aspects to nutrition is actually not food. It’s liquid! Unfortunately, athletes often forget to properly hydrate. A lot of us only think about drinking water when they are thirsty, and by then, it may already be too late. Thirst sensation doesn’t appear until we are around 1 to 2 percent dehydrated. Dehydration can affect athletic performance in a negative way. Mild dehydration can alter one’s mood, energy level and ability to think clearly.
On the flip side, maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte balance will:
- Lead to proper nerve and muscle functioning
- Result in adequate energy levels
- Optimize athletic potential
- Help you think quickly and clearly
- Reduce likelihood of cramping
- Let your heart work efficiently
- Assist in maintaining a cooler body temperature
In order to stay properly hydrated, typical people should be drinking around 2 liters of water per day, equivalent to 8 x 8oz glasses of water. Athletes, however, need more. Everybody has a different hydration point. It is best to create a routine to stay hydrated year-round.
Hydration routine tips:
- Drink water all day long
- Keep a water bottle on you at all times (during school, in backpack, locker, and consistently refill it)
- Stay away from soda and fruit juices high in sugar (these dehydrate you)
- Don’t wait until your thirsty to drink water, at this point, you are already dehydrated
- Keep your water interesting with flavors--add fresh fruit, a squeeze of lemon, or extracts
- Minimize caffeine and alcohol intake. Caffeine CAN improve stamina, however, it is a diuretic. It is best to limit caffeine consumption around tournaments to prevent dehydration.
- Pre-game, on the court, and post-game: switch to electrolyte drinks. This will help add, maintain and replenish electrolytes lost. Switch back to water the remainder of the time before your next practice.
Best electrolyte drinks:
- Nuun Tablets
- Propel Fitness Water
- PowerBar Endurance
Are you hydrated? You can determine if you are drinking enough by the color and volume of your urine:
- You should urinate every 2 to 4 hours
- Your urine should be light in color, not clear, and in significant quantity (if your urine is dark—drink more fluid)
o If you are taking vitamin supplements, these may cause dark urine and your urine volume should be used to determine hydration
Let’s stay hydrated! If you need reminders, there are tons of apps on your phone you could use as well. They send alerts and track your daily water intake.
I hope this helps you stay on point! If you have any additional questions, or need more help with power fueling, shoot me an email! at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to help you!
Eat power food, be powerful.
Lindsay Wexler, RDN, CSSD, LD
Clinical Dietitian, Board Certified Sports Dietitian