Guest Blog: Linda Samuels, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
“It’s All About the Plan, Man!”
As athletes, we learn pretty quickly that we need a litany of items that we need to train and compete…
The right shoes for the workout….check!
Keys, cell phone, emergency $$, accessory to carry it all in….check!
A peek out the window to see if we need to wear a rain jacket….check!
Fueling and Hydration Plan – Do You Have One?
Now we’re ready to rock and roll our workout, right? Not so fast!!! What is your fueling/hydration plan for your workout? Do you need one? Maybe the one you have has worked for you during training, but then during competition, you’ve bonked – or worse? No worries! I’m going to show you how to plan, prepare and execute your own sports nutrition plan, because training does start at the table!
As a board certified sports dietitian/nutritionist, my goal is to translate and guide you through the often confusing, mostly too complicated world of sports nutrition. It won’t matter if you are an elite, experienced athlete or a newbie just wanting to get out there to have fun with your friends. I’d like to expand your perspective. Let’s uncover some of the secrets that will allow you to achieve some of the same amazing results that athletes get when they work with a professional sports nutritionist!
Time to Assess
One of the most important aspects of developing your own personal sports nutrition plan is the assessment stage. Let’s start delving into your nutritional history by rating your comfort/experience level for the following skills:
On a scale of 0-5 (zero =“low level”; 5 = “high level”):
Meal and snack planning =
Food shopping =
Food preparation =
Enjoyment for meal planning/food shopping/cooking =
How many meals/week do you eat: Fast food? Restaurant food? Frozen or pre-prepared meals?
Plan Out 2 Days of Meals
Working with hundreds of athletes over the years, I’ve found that if they struggle with the planning/shopping/preparation area of sports nutrition, their training/competition will be affected sooner or later. So what do you do if you struggle with these skills? Easy – If you can plan out 2 days of meals ahead of time, you will always be prepared. How do you do that?
I’ll let you in on my first secret – Your body has no idea from where you source your food! It doesn’t care if you’ve gotten it from the salad bar or hot bar at your local grocery store. Or if it’s been pre-chopped or grilled. All that matters is that you’ve made a good quality, healthy choice. Athletes are very busy people, and most of us would rather be exercising than cooking. So, in planning your meals, recognize what your skill levels are, how much time you have to spend on shopping/preparation, and where you can purchase foods that will make your life easier. Here are some tips:
Utilize mealtime related apps: “Real Simple: No Time to Cook” provides easy/tasty recipes that are quick to cook; “Healthy Out” searches your area and suggests healthy menu options.
When you eat out, order an extra meal or salad to eat the next day.
Save chopping time by loading up on the prepped veggies from the salad bar. Then you can create numerous meals by combining with your own lettuce base and protein.
Create an Athlete’s Pantry of quick cook, mix and match items. For an example, click here.
These suggestions will get you started in your nutrition assessment process. My next post will discuss another important item to assess – your daily hydration needs. Come back and visit, because Training Starts at the Table!