Tag Archives: sports nutrition

What You Should Be Eating Before and After a Workout

Eating before a workout can help prevent low blood sugar and fatigue—both of which can greatly decrease your exercise performance! What you eat will vary based on the time of day, what you’re doing for exercise, and how long you plan to be active. Prior to exercise, your main focus should be carbohydrates. It’s good to have little bit of protein and fat as well- make sure that your carbohydrate ratios are a little higher. It’s best to eat both simple and complex carbohydrates before working out to get a good balance of quick and slow-released energy.

Fats and proteins take more time to digest, so they will help keep your stomach satisfied so that it’s not growling while you’re at the gym. Protein will work on repairing muscles after your workout is over (and at that point, it’s good to consume more). In general, fiber is your friend—but not before a workout. Ingesting too much fiber before a gym session could leave in a pretty uncomfortable situation! If you have no problems digesting dairy, having a little bit before you exercise is just fine. However, just like fiber—stay away from it if you have any digestion issues.

Here are a few simple options to eat before exercising:

snakc pb banana

Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Honey
One slice of whole grain bread or toast topped with one tablespoon of peanut butter and one teaspoon of honey (or sliced banana) provides a great source of carbohydrates, plus a little bit of protein and fat. This snack is easily digestible and will provide a quick source of energy.



2024 Olympic Hopefuls Share Favorite Eats and Treats

What do your favorite Olympians really eat? The food they choose fuels them to represent our country with pride in Sochi this year. We checked in with a few of your fav female athletes who shared their top dishes to enjoy during peak training…and their secret splurges, too!


Ashley Wagner  – Women’s Figure Skating
Her all-American taste and commitment to her health make Ashley a stellar competitor and figure of wellness on and off the ice!
2014 Winter Olympic Games - Season 2014
Favorite Healthy Food:  Quinoa
Favorite Indulgence:  Apple pie with ice cream
Favorite dish to make:  Rosemary Lemon Chicken

The Right Way to Fuel Your Child Athlete

I’ve had kids playing sports for more than 15 years (just typing that out makes me feel so, so old) and time and again, I’ve noticed one thing that just about every practice or game has in common.

Junk food.

Doesn’t that surprise you? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Admittedly, I’m a self confessed health food aficionado – although I have been known to dig into some french fries time and again – but I really have a hard time with the foods that many kids are offered after a difficult game. My kids have been given corn chips, candy bars, fruit snacks, squishy fruit punch pouches and even sodas. Rarely are there healthy choices offered.

I’ve been the team mom many times, and although I have often requested that healthier snacks be offered, the overwhelming concern is that kids just won’t eat them. A Sports Moms Study, funded by PepsiCo, found that more than 70% of moms are raising kids in competitive sports. The study found that sports moms spend 1/3 more time and more than twice as much money across their children’s extracurricular activities than those families without kids in sports. According to the study, the area in which most moms feel that they have the highest level of influence is their athlete’s nutrition. (more…)

Mitzi Dulan and Tony Gonzalez Offer Sound Eating Advice in The All-Pro Diet

Take one part sports dietitian, mix with one part professional football player, and add a dash of whole food recipes. Pop it in the oven and eventually you get an excellent book called “The All-Pro Diet: Lose Fat, Build Muscle, and Live Like a Champion” (Rodale, 2024).

I sat down with Kansas City Chief’s Tony Gonzalez’s sports dietitian and co-author Mitzi Dulan, RD to get an idea about what the book has to offer people trying to lose weight. Mitzi explains how eating mostly whole plant foods and avoiding heavily processed foods can help you manage a healthy weight.

Listen now as we discuss some of the recipes in the book, like the coconut banana smoothie. YUM!


Fuel for Olympic Champions: Nutrition and Meal Planning for Team USA

The closest I ever got to the Olympics was the USOC training center in Colorado Springs where I received sports nutrition training. As I write this, The USOC dietitians are in Vancouver with Team USA making sure they are well hydrated and fueled while they go for gold.vancouver olympics

But what exactly do Olympic athletes need to eat? You probably heard the stories of Michael Phelps chowing down on 10-15,000 calories a day! It sounds like a dream come true. Believe it or not, many of the winter sports require smaller body sizes to excel. It’s no wonder there is concern for eating disorders to develop among athletes.

For example, the ski jumper must be tall and thin so their goal is to have a low BMI – 5′ 11″ and 140 pound male (model thin). Suzie Parker Simmons, a sports dietitian at USOC, says that ski jumping is problematic because the sport requires strength, power and low weight. “Because it’s a power sport, endless hours of fat-burning running [to reduce weight] is counterproductive athletically—explosive power for ski jump demands fast-twitch muscle fibers, not the slow-twitch fibers developed by endurance sports. That means caloric restriction, not extra exercise, is the primary means of keeping body weight low.” (more…)

What You Need to Know to Complete a 50 Mile Race

JFK50Marathon schmarathon. When 26.2 becomes routine, one goes searching for a distance that appears more challenging. So how about a 50 mile foot race? The JFK 50 is America’s oldest 50 miler. At 5:00 a.m. on November 21 I started my journey in the dark somewhere in Maryland. At 4:30 p.m. that day, somewhere 50 miles further away, I collected my medal for completing the ultra endurance race. It was amazing.

Wondering if a 50 miler is in your future? Read on to find out more what it’s all about and decide if you’d like to add it to your bucket list. (more…)

How to Survive an Ultra Marathon

rebecca scritchfield ultramarathonBecause completing my first Olympic distance triathlon was not enough, I decided to follow up a week later with my first ultra marathon – a 50K (31 mile) trail race in The North Face Endurance Challenge series! If you’re surprised, trust me, I was too! I actually thought I was competing in a 20-miler! But, you know what, when it came down to it, I trusted myself and my nutrition fueling plan. I just committed to having fun.

Here’s how I survived my ultra marathon:

  • Carb-load Carbs are gasoline for the body and you can’t attempt a 50K without putting gas in the tank. I had two cups of whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and some salted steak fries the night before my run.
  • Early riser breakfast – I woke at 4 a.m. for a 7 a.m. start and I noshed on a toasted plain bagel with almond butter, a banana, and water. (more…)

What to Eat Before Endurance Races

rebecca scritchfield triathlonThis past weekend, I competed in my first triathlon. The race course consisted of 1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. I can’t tell you how much fun I had. From learning how to swim and cycle in the first place to learning how to rip off a wetsuit and clipping in to the bike, tackling a triathlon promises adventure for everyone who dares to do it. The craziest part for me was definitely the swim. Imagine humans swimming over and into each other. I was smacked on the back, legs, arms, head, and face. Thankfully, I got out in about 39 minutes. I managed to develop “ulnar palsy” (temporary numbness in the ring and pinky finger from pinching on the ulnar nerve while cycling) and acquire several bumps, scrapes and bruises — and that’s just from the biking!

The triathlon took me 3 hours and 2 minutes to complete and I estimate that I burned 2,000 calories! In fact, once I got my appetite back I was hungry all day! Clearly, my metabolism was on overdrive!

In this kind of race, good nutrition is paramount to have a strong finish. But if you just focus on what you do during the event, you’re too late. You need to fuel well all during your training to maximize the benefits. Most importantly, you need to take care to deliver the right nutrients 1-2 days before the competition. That’s what this article is all about. (more…)