“What should I be eating to get the most out of my training?”
This is a common question when it comes to baseball development, typically centered around strength training sessions.
When talking with athletes, I find that many times their pre/intra/post workout eating/drinking routine does not support their strength development
Here are some basics to use to maximize your efforts in the gym.
These are the building blocks of nutrition.
Carbs, fats and proteins.
- Carbs are the main source of energy for long duration and high-intensity exercise.
- Prioritize carbs pre/intra/and post training.
- Keep in mind – not all carbs are bad and are important to give you the energy you need during training.
- Think brown rice, oats, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, blueberries, bananas, quinoa, chickpeas, and more.
- Protein is critical for recovery post workout.
- It is required for building muscle and tissue.
- Prioritize protein after your workout.
- Think organic meats, wild fish, legumes, eggs, beans, and greek yogurt.
- Fats are used more for longer-duration exercise.
- They facilitate nerve transmission and actions.
- Fats assist in vitamin absorption.
- Prioritize them throughout the day, not necessarily around workout, ( to help absorb important nutrients).
- Think avocado, flaxseeds, nuts (walnuts, almonds, trail mix, etc.), salmon, coconut, olive oil, peanut butter.
These are vitamins and minerals. They are important for almost all cellular work.
- Micronutrients aid in immune function, enzymatic reactions, bone health and energy production.
- For example, B vitamins are needed to extract energy from food, Magnesium regulates muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Read more here.
Example of what to eat on training day:
Pre-workout – Fuel.
Prioritize carbohydrates and fluids. Some examples include:
- Banana- 30g carbs in 1 medium-sized banana
- Oats – 28g in 1/3 cup
- Dates- 5.3 g carbs in 1. Dates are also high in potassium, which is good for muscle contraction, proper nerve conduction, and maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance.
- Don’t forget: have 2-4 cups of water.
Intra-workout – Keep the fuel going.
Prioritize carbohydrates. Some examples to bring to training session are:
- Granola bars made with real ingredients like Bobo’s Oat Bars, and GoMacro Bars.
- Overnight oats with blueberries.
- Also, it can be beneficial to add a protein supplement in water to start supporting your muscles- 30-40g carbs to 15 g protein.
- Keep up the water intake: 2-4 cups water
Post workout – Recovery.
Protein is key.
- Prioritize carbohydrates and proteins. For example a Chipotle bowl with brown rice, steak, lettuce, salsa, light cheese, and guac.
- Another option, wild salmon, sweet potatoes, and asparagus is a simple meal to throw together when you get home from training.
- Aim to eat within an hour of your workout to maximize benefits to your tissues.
Let’s talk about fluids.
Fluids are just as important as your food.
Be sure to drink 2-4 cups before, during and after workouts. Drinks with electrolytes are needed for workouts longer than an hour or high intensity.
Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium. When dissolved in water, they carry an electric charge, either positive or negative.
These charged ions conduct electric current to facilitate water in and out of the cell. Gatorade and other sports drinks are popular for this. Be sure to check labels though, the second ingredient in Gatorade is sugar and there can often be fake ingredients.
Another option is to make your own drink.
Start with coconut water, add a pinch of salt, squeeze juice from half a lemon, and about ¼ cup orange juice (freshly squeezed), or even just coconut water, salt and lemon will get the job done.
This drink will help you stay hydrated and not add extra sugar, and other fake ingredients that slow you down.
Overall, proper energy fueling maximizes your gym efforts, which leads to hitting your goals on the field.
Focus on carbohydrates and fluids before and during training. Prioritize protein, fluids and carbs post workout. You’ve got this.
Now that you’ve got the nutrition basics down, read the article here to learn how to manage proper weight loads in the weight room.