Beyond bananas and cashewnuts, taste and variety provide leaner, fat free, power results
It is often believed that athletes have a crazy food intake. Pasta, bananas and rice have been believed to be the building blocks of strength, endurance and muscle building. Though I have found it partly true in my experience, it is also true that optimal athletic nutrition involves a much more balanced approach, as should every human being who aims to reach top nutrition. While many people get stuck in a routine of eating the same 10 foods over and over again, mixing and spicing everyday diet makes a whole difference.
I find it impossible to eat utmost healthy 100% of our living time. Travel, social life and everything that happens in between prevents us from the optimal of optimal. But controlling what we can, when we can leaves us with an almost 80% of controlled intakes which should be enough to make the most out of it. Not only because our body literally depends on it, but because in the long run we will be avoiding illness and disease.
Good nutrition means eating a variety of foods. I try to make sure 3 out of the 4 to 5 meals I have each day have the largest proportion of fruit and vegetables, adding lean protein. This makes sure I have adequate proteins and carbohydrates to fuel my muscles and brain on regular days.
Pre-Competiton take aways
For high-performance athletes pre-competition means a lot of strain, mentally and physically. The same way regular players who are extending their exercise level and endurance can benefit from added attention to their nutritional intakes. I don’t mean to encourage you to copy exactly my routine, but I would rather interest you in your overall nutrition, especially if you are interested in enhancing your sports performance. In that line I suggest:
- Smart dinners the night before competition or heavy exercise: lots of vegetables, grains, and lean protein like vegetable tofu over brown rice, vegetable sauce with lean meat accompanied by wholegrain pasta, beans, chickpeas, or black beans. Wholegrain is key for easy digestion.
- High carbohydrate evening snacks. They will top up muscle glycogen stores, mostly if you can’t have a proper breakfast. fruits, bagel, wholemeal bread or toast with cinnamon for instance could make a good choice.
- The morning of: Aim for a breakfast with mostly carbohydrate but also a bit of protein for staying power. Keep this meal low in fat and moderate in fibre. The more time you have between eating and exercise, the larger the quantity you can eat. Oatmeal is always the best option for me, either mixed with fruit smoothies and or batters like pancakes or muffins.
The Weekender meal plan
Getting started is sometimes the hardest step. In my personal trainings I found that although my trainees are eager to learn and have an utmost enthusiasm showing up on court everyday we are scheduled, still their performance could be improved with simple out-of-court nutritional guidelines. It’s not about lacking your breath or being extenuated after 1hour of padel training. It’s basically about slowly building the overall condition where all required ingredients of the mind and body equation come together to the make the most out of your performance without you noticing an incredible effort. It takes time, and patience, but the process can be aided by nutrition in a very big part.
That’s why I’ve taken the time to build a weekender taster of optimal nutrition which you can download for free here.
A weekend is a sure bet to try the first two days of different and targeted nutrition added to full hydration. Remember we are water, and so make sure that your weekend fits 2 liters of water per day. If you are not used to it, it may feel odd, but slowly you will find your body craving for water. Make sure your water intake is complete before 6 to 7pm. We want to make sure you have also uninterrupted well deserved sleep. Certainly these are suggestions that can be followed if you observe a general healthy condition.
The weekend provides a relaxed opportunity to enjoy different tastes alone or in the company of friends and significant ones. Take the shopping list, enjoy your grocery shopping and give your self time to exercise and eat. Treating yourself: a gift that can´t be overstated enough. Let me know how you experience your first padel and top nutrition weekend.