Summer Nutrition Questions ANSWERED

For most of you, summer break is in full swing, club sports or summer training is happening and you all are working HARD. My biggest nutrition advice to you all is to HYDRATE (not just water, think about electrolytes too) and fuel well before and after training. Athletes focus on sleep during the summer too, a minimum of 8 hours/night.


How to deal with the heat stealing away my appetite?

Low appetite due to higher temperatures is actually VERY common. However, it can be harmful for recovery, energy levels and overall performance when athletes do not get in the fuel they need. Smoothies can be VERY helpful here. Athletes can pack a lot of nutrition into their smoothies. Using beverages for fuel works well too - chocolate milk, regular milk, 100% fruit juice and protein shakes. Picking bland, easy to digest foods like rice, pasta, oatmeal and/or bread works well too.


What should my rest day nutrition look like between workouts?

With most of the high level athletes I work with, their rest day nutrition honestly shouldn't look much different. On your rest day, your body needs tools in order to help with recovery. Athletes can skip their "pre-training fuel" since they aren't training but otherwise stick with the plan! Some of my athletes are hungrier on their rest days and I encourage them to listen to their bodies and FUEL.


Should I worry about sweating all day in the heat?

You don't need to worry about sweating! Focus on rehydrating in the heat! Pack your drinks, eat fresh fruit, applesauce, popsicles and/or yogurt when there is a break in the day. DO NOT WAIT TO HYDRATE. If you wait until you feel thirst or get a headache to focus on hydration, it is TOO LATE. My tournament/all day competition athletes may need to add in an electrolyte supplement to help keep up with hydration. Salty snacks can be helpful too. I help athletes calculate their sweat rates so we can come up with a PLAN for hydration.


Do I need to drink electrolytes before or after my workouts?

Electrolytes are a hot topic over the summer and rightfully so! With increased temperatures comes increased sweating which leads to more fluid AND electrolyte loss. In sweat, athletes lose sodium and chloride the MOST so it was what we want to focus on replacing. This is SALT. You don't HAVE to drink electrolytes before/after workouts but you will want to make a point to add salt to your meals and snacks. For my heavy sweaters, electrolyte supplements can be really useful.


How much water should I be aiming for daily?

Aim for a MINIMUM of half your body (in pounds) in ounces daily PLUS an additional 20 oz per hour of training/competing. Sports drinks, milk and juice can all count towards this amount. For example, an 120 lb athlete needs a minimum of 60 oz of fluid daily + 60 additional ounces for their 3 hours of training for the day.


What are some nutrition tips for morning summer weights and afternoon practices?

My biggest tip is fuel often. If you are training twice (or even three times) daily, when you aren't training, you need to be fueling. Eat every 2-2.5 hours outside of training.

Fuel before your morning workout! Aim for a minimum of 25 grams of carbohydrates before your morning workout. Fuel before and after all workouts throughout the day. Fuel during training if your training sessions are 60-90 minutes or LONGER - sports drinks (not zero sugar) work really well here. If you are training twice daily, you need to consume carbohydrates during training.


How to include more carbohydrates in my diet because of increased activity (or miles!)?

Use bagels - bagels are really carbohydrate dense. Swap that english muffin or bread for a bagel. Add an extra serving of whatever grain you are having with your meal. Drink 100% fruit juice with your meals. Consume dried fruit. Fuel with carbohydrates before activity, drink carbohydrates during activity, and consume carbohydrates afterwards!


How to balance summer treats with everyday nutrition?

Teen athletes have VERY high energy needs. I encourage my athletes to really focus on fueling with QUALITY foods 80-90% of the time and the other 10-20% of the time those "fun" foods are FINE. If an athlete is fueling well 80-90% of the time with a varied, nutrient quality diet, the athlete is likely meeting their nutrition needs.

The average teen athlete needs 3000-4000 calories per day (some need much more!). Thinking about the 80-20 rule (80% quality, 20% fun), that leaves 600-800 calories per day of fun foods! NO GUILT NEEDED.


I'm so sorry I wasn't able to answer all the questions I received! Summer is a GREAT time to work on your individual nutrition - book a session with me today to get started.

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