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Beat Fatigue By Developing A Mid-Practice Diet  Nutrition : Jill Daniels    Many athletes tell me how they start their practice feeling great, but...

Beat Fatigue By Developing A Mid-Practice Diet 

Nutrition : Jill Daniels

   Many athletes tell me how they start their practice feeling great, but halfway through they feel tired and slow and like their legs are filled with lead. As hard as they work, they just aren’t able to push through this fatigue.

   This fatigue is probably due to low carbohydrate stores which can affect performance. When we exercise, the body uses a fuel mix of carbohydrate and fat. Even the leanest person has plenty of fat on them to exercise for hours and hours and hours. However, the body carries limited stores of carbohydrates, so the goal is to maximize these carbohydrate (aka glycogen) stores.

   Athletes who are working out for 90 minutes or longer, or for 60 minutes at an intense level will benefit from fueling during their workout. Carbohydrate stores get depleted quickly, so the goal for taking in fuel during a workout is to extend the fuel resources and be able to maintain speed, endurance and agility.

   Start taking in fuel within the first 30 minutes of exercise — don’t wait until you’re feeling tired or slow or hungry. Continue every 15-20 minutes after that. Take in 120-240 calories every hour from carbohydrates, which equals about 30-60 calories every 15 minutes. Here are some ideas of fuel you could use: 8 ounces of Gatorade (50 calories), ¼ Power Bar (45 calories), ½ banana (60 calories).

   If you aren’t used to taking in calories during a workout, start at the lower end of the range and build up over a few weeks. Make sure to try out these guidelines during practices before you try them during a competition. That way you can prevent an upset stomach during a big race or game. Summer workouts are a great time to experiment with fueling during your training.

   Fueling during your workout will help energize your muscles and mind, allowing you to finish each workout strong and focused. The harder you are able to train, the better you’ll be able to perform during your season. Have a great summer, and remember to have fun!  

Maximize your performance by seeking out personalized advice from Nutrition Coach Jill Daniels, MS, RD, CSSD, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.
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