Go into any grocery these days, and you’ll find a dizzying number of engineered sports bars, drinks, meals, and gels promising to help you run faster, go longer, and get leaner. With all those bold promises, it’s easy to end up with GI distress, or piling on the pounds on the way to the starting line, instead of shedding them—not to mention derailing the race that you put in so much training to prepare for.
And as you’ve probably already discovered, you can have the legs and lungs of an Olympian, but if you’re not properly fueled, your performance is at risk.
“Now more people than ever realize that how you fuel your body makes a huge difference in how you perform,” said registered dietitian Matt Kadey, author of Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure (velopress, April 2016).
Fueling up with whole foods is an ideal way to make sure that you get the nutrients you need to run strong, without the artificial additives that can leave you with unwanted pounds, and unplanned pit stops when you’re on the road.
You spend so much time and energy conditioning your body into shape—it only makes sense to ensure that you’re fueling with the highest-quality food you can find. If you’re consuming lots of snacks and drinks with ingredients that you can’t pronounce, much less find in your own pantry, then you lose that control. “If you don’t have it in your house, or don’t even know how to buy it, maybe it’s not the ultimate fuel for your body,” Kadey said.
Here are some tips from Kadey on how to fuel up with whole foods to make the most of your training, and reach your fitness goals.