Calories Matter!

Is your goal to succeed this year? Calories, as they relate to sports nutrition for women, are a common denominator in achieving goals. Here are 7 tips that can impact your sports nutrition success everyday!

1. Eat enough calories (energy) to balance your weight.
Remember the basic principle: energy in vs. energy out. Most of us will kick up our fitness routines a level after the first of the year, burning more energy. Unfortunately, many of us unknowingly increase food energy as well. Keep in mind that a mile of activity is only 100 cals burned (maybe a small nutrition bar, but not an extra meal). To tip the scales in the right direction, learn more about the calories in food and the amount of energy burned in various activities.

2. Eat enough calories to replenish the fuel you use during your daily fitness challenges.
Yes, you need to restock the carb fuel you’ve used for energy and protein to repair muscle and add fuel-based enzymes, but do so within the context of how much work you are doing. Routine fitness of less than 30 minutes may not require an immediate sports nutrition “recovery” snack…but make sure to include a healthy meal within an hour or two. Of course, heavier training requires more immediate “recovery” energy from all the fuel sources (carbs, protein, and healthy fats), the sooner the better. Overall, eat enough energy to replenish the stores so you’ll be powered up for the next day’s challenges.

3. Eat calories every few hours during the day.
Fuel your body as it needs energy, keeping your metabolic engine running. Eating every four to five hours may also help keep your hunger in check, avoiding the starved and stuffed feelings that lead to impulsive eating (poor quality and excessive energy that could then go straight into storage (body fat)). Stay ahead of the game with constant sports nutrition fuel.

4. Eat enough energy to cover your everyday nutrition needs.
Women need nutrients everyday for general health. Some nutrients, like B-vitamins and iron , may be needed in higher amounts as your training increases. Eating enough energy from all the food groups will better ensure that you meet these sports nutrition needs.

5. Eat (I repeat) enough calories to cover your everyday nutrition needs.
Vitamin mineral nutrition supplements do not provide fitness-related energy. A basic multi-vitamin mineral nutrition supplement is fine to help cover the nutrient gaps in your diet, but eat food first. Enjoy the crunchy, the smooth, the chewy and other textures that real foods offer.

6. Eat (now a three-peat) enough calories, rather than drinking them.
It is important to stay hydrated, but few beverages will cover your complete everyday sports nutrition needs. Energy from soda and alcohol provide no nutrition and are not consistent with the type of sports nutrition energy needed to fuel a healthy body. Milk, on the other hand, is getting a lot of press as a recovery beverage since it is packed with a nice balance of carbs and protein.

7. Eat energy that matters,
meaning it is wise to eat energy that also provides nutrition. (The technical word for this is “nutrient density”). During heavier training, it is easy to get hooked on sports nutrition supplements like Gatorade, Gu and the salty snacks used to fuel with carbs and to replace sodium. Although these items serve a sports nutrition purpose, be sure to balance their use with whole foods that are naturally high in nutrition (whole grains, fruits, veggies, dairy, lean proteins).

Good luck with your goals!
Click here to learn more about setting sports nutrition for women goals.