Sport Nutrition FAQs: Answering Athletes’ Most Popular Questions

Sport Nutrition FAQs: Answering Athletes’ Most Popular Questions

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At WINforum, we love hearing your questions about sports nutrition for performance!  We compiled our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) and posed them to local sports nutrition experts.  Here are the facts…

What should I eat for breakfast?

“First, get in the habit of eating breakfast every day. Then advance your breakfast skills by eating carbohydrates (toast, oatmeal, waffles) with protein (eggs, milk, yogurt) and healthy fats (nuts, egg, avocado, coconut oil, granola). Breakfast can be simple, but does need to be power packed (i.e., 400-1000 calories) in order to fuel up for your high performance day.” –Emily Edison, MS.RD.CSSD.

**EXPERT TIP: Use for more ideas on what to eat for a speedy, high performance breakfast.

What kind of protein should I be using?

“The best kind of protein is the one that has all your essential amino acids, tastes good, keeps you satiated and provides additional benefits. For example, an egg (yolk included) provides choline which is good for your brain and zeaxanthin, a potent antioxidant that supports eye health. Protein needs can be met through foods like milk, chicken, fish and even quinoa.” -Monica VanWinkle, MS.RD.

**EXPERT TIP: If you are looking for a protein powder to create a convenient post workout shake, use whey protein (without artificial sweeteners) and combine it with fruit juice. Ideal ratio is 3g carbohydrate; 1g protein, or use chocolate milk!

What should I eat after my workouts? What about after a competition?

“After a workout, my short answer is: eat SOMETHING! The best is to consume foods that contain protein and carbs. A personal favorite is yogurt mixed with fruit and vegetable juices. Try to eat within 30 minutes or so. Then have a meal within 2 hours.

In general, I recommend the same thing after competition, but if it was a big one, special one or there has been some serious diet modifications leading up to it (examples, giving up some of your favorites, soda, etc.), I say have something you really enjoy! My favorite post race treat is a Snickers bar!” -Laura Hunter, MS, RD, CD, CSSD

**EXPERT TIP: Chocolate milk is simple, easy to drink and one of the ultimate post exercise workout refueling drinks.

As an athlete is it ok for me to follow a vegetarian diet?

“Choosing to adopt a vegetarian diet is absolutely okay, as long as you are still fueling yourself correctly and maintaining balance in your diet. Get high quality protein through dairy, eggs and combination foods like beans and rice. Maintain energy levels by getting plenty of complex carbohydrates. Check with your doctor about supplemental iron and Vitamin D.”  -Wendy Camano, MS,RD.

**EXPERT TIP: Research shows vegetarian athletes may have slightly increased protein needs than their non-vegetarian athlete friends, so pile on those beans, chop up some tofu and cook up a batch of quinoa. Yum!

Should I be using Creatine in my workouts?

“Creatine works in the body by ‘increasing the size of the gas tank in the car’​, or increasing the energy supply for high intensity activity. Training with Creatine may enhance performance for short periods of intense activity, especially during repeated bouts. However, some athletes don’t respond to Creatine supplementation. Creatine may allow strength/power athletes to sustain high intensity training in those who are considered Creatine ‘responders.’  However, Creatine use has not been studied in high school athletes making it difficult to determine whether it is safe for use. Therefore, it is not recommended for use among high school athletes.”  -Kelly Pritchett, PhD, RD, CSSD, Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Exercise Science CWU

**EXPERT TIP: Before trying any supplement, make sure your diet is dialed in.  Have a nutrition game plan that is designed for your goals. Be consistent in your efforts with nutrition before experimenting with any potion, powder or pill.

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About the author

Emily Edison, owner and founder of Momentum Nutrition & Fitness, is a recognized expert in the areas of sports nutrition and disordered eating, with over 17 years of experience as a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. Her philosophy centers around fueling with whole foods and eating intuitively, empowering people to eat for performance, improve vitality, and develop a positive relationship with food and body.