If you really want to get the most out of your workouts, it’s important to focus on your eating habits as well as the exercise itself. Whether you’re preparing to compete in sports events or working on your personal fitness, solid performance eating habits can help keep you energized and in top shape to perform at your very best.
Performance eating is about more than just sticking to a healthy diet. It’s also about knowing when to eat (or not eat) certain foods in accordance with the workout you’ll be doing. In other words, when and how you eat is just as important as what you eat.
Read on to learn more about performance eating and some practical tips for using it to enhance your workouts.
What Is Performance Eating?
Simply put, performance eating is eating to fuel your body for optimal performance. It requires understanding both which foods are healthy and performance-enhancing in general and which foods are optimal for your personal performance.
This means that while performance eating will look a little different for each person, there are a few principles that apply for most people. Of course, it’s important to consult your doctor for specific advice and recommendations for your unique circumstances.
5 Performance Eating Tips
If you’re looking to take your workouts to the next level with performance eating, here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
1. Make Your Calories Count
When limiting the number of calories you consume, bear in mind that not all calories are created equal. A full, nutrient-rich meal may contain the same amount of calories as a single energy drink or a few sugary treats, but the former is also packed with health benefits and fuel for your body.
Instead of focusing only on the calorie count, choose foods within your calorie limit that also contain important vitamins and nutrients. This way, you’re not just filling up on empty calories that will allow your energy levels to rapidly deplete.
2. Choose Whole Foods & Unrefined Carbs
While carbohydrates are an important macronutrient, refined carbohydrates (especially from heavily-processed foods) break down quickly in the body, leading to rapid changes in blood sugar and insulin levels — and leaving you low on energy.
Instead, choose whole foods and unrefined carbs for nutritious, energizing meals and snacks. For example, ModBalls are packed with 85 high-energy whole food ingredients — including whole grain rolled oats, chia seeds, and various fruits and veggies — to enhance performance.
3. Stay Hydrated
This may seem like a no-brainer, but staying hydrated is a vital part of boosting your performance during workouts. That’s why even though it technically doesn’t always involve eating, staying hydrated should always be part of your performance eating plan.
When you’re dehydrated, your body slows down. Your energy levels dip, leaving you fatigued and inhibiting your athletic performance. To avoid dehydration, be sure to replenish the fluid you lose while exercising.
4. Be Consistent
Performance eating doesn’t just mean filling up on high-performance foods on certain intensive workout days. Rather, it has to do with building healthy eating habits overall to keep your body in top shape.
Consistently choosing a nutrient-rich diet over less-healthy alternatives will not only ensure you perform at your best athletically, but will also help you maintain better health in general, even when you aren’t focusing as much on intensive workouts.
5. Tailor Your Performance Eating to Your Body
While certain foods are healthier than others across the board, each person’s body is unique. As you work on making healthier performance eating choices, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor or a nutrition expert to create your own nutrition plan that’s built specifically for you.
Pay attention to what your body tells you about the foods you consume. For example, a certain food may be generally nutritious, but if you find it doesn’t sit well on your stomach during high-intensity workouts or on competition days, you may want to opt for something equally healthy but gentler on your system.
Time to Fuel Up?
When it comes to supercharging your workouts, what you eat and when you eat it matter. The right performance eating plan will take into account both what foods are healthy and energy-boosting and when to consume those foods for optimal athletic results.
Looking for a quick, easy, high-performance snack to fuel your next workout? Shop ModBalls today to explore our nutrient-dense energy bites.