Eating before you do conditioning at practice is important so you don’t burn out too quickly. Everyone’s body is different! This is the time to try out different timings and meals that make you feel strong before you head into a competition day. The last thing you want is try something new on a really important day for your squad and feel off. But, the general rule of thumb on a hard training/conditioning day is to eat a balanced meal 2-4 hours before the event, eat smart snacks during breaks if it is a longer session (3 hours or more) and hydrating constantly of course!
What does a balanced meal on my plate look like?
- One-fourth of the plate should contain a lean protein source; this will be about three ounces of animal protein (about the size of a deck of cards). Protein is imperative for muscle re-synthesis and re-building for athletes (but must be combined with carbohydrates for best results).
- Half of the plate should contain a grain source. This increase in grain intake is needed to provide additional carbohydrates that will support the added work you are asking of your muscles. Remember that carbohydrate is your muscle fuel during you sport!
- One-fourth of the plate should contain vegetables; also include a piece or small bowl of fruit with your meal. Vegetables provide carbohydrates and, like fruit, are a great source of fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. Fiber provides “staying power,” leading to sustained energy during your conditioning!
- One serving of low-fat dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt) is a great way for athletes to take on more protein and carb, as well bone-strengthening calcium and Vitamin D, two components important for protection from injury during competition.
- While a source of fat may be incorporated into the plate already (in those protein options that contain fat), any added fat such as salad dressings should be in the amount of about two tablespoons per meal (more is needed here to support the increased fuel needs from increased training).
- Don’t forget to grab those fluids, girls!
Grab our simple meal ideas below!
Balanced Meal Hard Training Day:
What You’ll Need:
-2 pieces Whole Wheat bread
– 3 oz. chicken breast
-1 tbsp. mustard
½ cup cooked baby carrots
8 oz. low-fat white milk
1 cup pretzels
2 tbsp. peanut butter
Smart Snack Ideas (Protein + Carb Combos):
- Cheese stick + an apple
- Yogurt + canned peaches or granola
- Low fat-chocolate milk + whole grain granola bar
During Hard Training/Conditioning
To keep your energy levels up, make sure you have snacks every 30 to 60 minutes (especially if training for 3 hours plus) and are staying hydrated! Focus on low-fiber and low-fat foods (like bananas cuz they’re awesome) to prevent delayed digestion or stomach cramping. Other fuel options you could try for quick energy are sports drinks, 100% juice, an applesauce pouch, cereal or graham crackers during water breaks.
After Hard Training/Conditioning
Hydration and refueling time! Keep in mind again, ladies, that ALL bodies are different. If you don’t want to eat right away, you can always drink low-fat chocolate milk. It provides you with bone-building nutrients: calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus – nice! And in addition to all of that, it’s the perfect source of high quality protein, carbs, fluids and electrolytes that stimulates muscle repair and growth. Low-fat chocolate milk is scientifically proven to replenish your body quickly, which is super important after you lose a lot of water through sweat from all that action. Drink up, ladies!!