Eating for Performance 101

The easiest explanation for eating to fuel your workouts and recovery!

Do I dare say, athletic performance starts in the kitchen? The food we eat is the foundation of almost everything, especially how we train and recover. Nutrition can be completely overwhelming if we're paying attention to current trends and lingo. What are my macros? How much should I eat? Should I track calories? What about paleo or keto diets? Is dairy bad for me? How do I get enough protein if I'm plant-based?

Overwhelmed? It can actually be pretty simple. Let's break it down into Three Steps.

1. Eat Quality Food

The first step in eating for performance is to eat quality foods. High quality foods are unrefined and minimally processed such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and sources of protein. Whereas, lower quality foods are highly processed and include refined sugar and saturated fats such as soda, candy, and fried foods.

“Real food expires."

We find quality foods in the perimeter of the grocery store, they are not processed, and for the most part, don't have labels. Do you find yourself spending most of your time at the grocery store in the aisles? Take a look at the ingredient labels on your favorite products. Do you know what the ingredients are? Can you pronounce them? A lot of the time, you'll find these packaged foods aren't real food, they have years to expire and the ingredients are artificial.

2. Cut Out Processed Sugar

The second step in eating for performance is to eliminate processed sugar (not fruit). Most of us have heard reports on the negative impacts of processed sugar. Many refer to processed sugar as a toxin because of the numerous health risks associated with long-term consumption such as: depression, obesity, diabetes, and chronic inflammation to name a few.

If you're looking to make changes in your diet to help you feel better when working out, cut out the processed sugar! Take a moment to reflect, if you're thinking "there is NO way I can live without sugary foods!" ask yourself why? What about sugar improves your mood or performance? Is it possible that you are addicted?

Cutting sugar won't be easy because it is hidden in almost everything we buy that is packaged (seriously, check your ketchup, cereal, chips, pasta sauce, check it all). This is a another great reason to eat quality foods from the perimeter of the grocery store. As you cut processed sugar from your diet, you'll probably have a few rough days with cravings, but just know it will pass. #nosugar

"Sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine." -Mark Hyman, MD

3. Eat the Right Amount of Food

Eating the right amount of food can be tricky. As athletes, it is important that we eat adequate calories to sustain us during our workouts and give our bodies what we need to recover from these workouts. Anyone can throw out suggestions on the amount of calories you should be eating, but to know exactly what you should consume, pay attention to how you're feeling.

For example, do you consistently feel depleted during your workout? Do you wake feeling like your body is on empty? If so, maybe it is time to look at eating more calories. Do you feel energized during workouts, wake the next day feeling a bit sore, but could hit the gym again? Maybe, you are eating just the right amount of calories. Do you feel sluggish during workouts? Do you think about your next meal before your current meal is over? Are you noticing your waistband is getting tighter? Maybe it is time to evaluate eating fewer calories.

The Ayurvedic Perspective

The system of Ayurveda guides us in food choices based on our Ayurvedic profile (vata, pitta, kapha). These foods are quality nutrition (no sugar!) that keeps all levels of our body nourished, which is extremely important as athletes. Do you notice you feel energized during a workout if you eat certain foods? Contrarily, do you notice what foods make you feel worse when training or competing? Ayurveda can explain it all based on your Ayurvedic profile. #AyurvedaAthlete

Eating for Performance

Before you dive into the vastness of macros and different diets (#paleo #keto #vegan) start with these three simple steps to get a handle on your nutrition to help with your training and workout recovery: 1) eat high quality natural foods 2) cut out the sugar 3) reflect to see if you're eating enough, too much, or too little in calories.

Tiffany Wimmer works with clients to determine their Ayurvedic profile and incorporating Ayurvedic principles into daily life. Ayurvedic nutrition coaching helps clients understand their bodies and how food affects their mood, digestion, and performance following the system of Ayurveda. #wimtastic

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