Have you ever experienced one of those days when physically, everything just feels right? No matter what your activity—a fitness class, 12-mile run, 50-mile bike ride, tennis match, swim, weight training or yoga—you felt strong and seemed to breeze through it. Those are the times you are in your “nutrition zone”, when blood sugar and hormonal balance are perfect. One of the easiest ways to increase those days is through proper nutrition. Yet, proper nutrition is often neglected when striving to reach peak physical performance.
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts always want the hottest gadgets to monitor their workouts and the latest equipment to take them to the next level. They also seem to chase the latest sports supplement but neglect their most powerful training tool–diet. If an athlete’s diet is not balanced, they can limit their ability to reach their full potential. A balanced diet works to reduce hunger, increase mental focus and optimize athletic performance. It controls blood sugar, hormonal responses and can train the body to access stored body fat as an infinite source of fuel. By training your body to use stored body fat as your primary fuel source rather than depleting glycogen stores, you can gain the competitive edge that a balanced diet gives you.
Balanced meals may not always have you at the top of your game but poor nutrition is definitely going to lower your success ratio. For more than 25 years I’ve worked with enough elite and professional athletes to know that improving their diet can dramatically improve focus and concentration, recovery and athletic performance. Eating balanced meals at the right time can also be the difference between experiencing a great performance or being off your game. Meal composition as well as meal distribution can help avoid energy peaks and crashes.
Warm weather presents yet another unique set of challenges for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Excessive heat, humidity, altitude, duration and intensity of exercise and the loss of fluids through sweat can greatly increase the chances of dehydration. Adequate fluid intake becomes essential since even the slightest dehydration can have a negative effect on performance. It is important to be aware of your unique fluid balance requirements by including adequate hydration before, during and after exercise as well as throughout the day and the days preceding your event.
Nothing can undo months of training faster than poor nutrition. Training smart includes fueling and hydrating your body to improve your overall performance, delay fatigue, help you push harder and recover faster. A balanced diet can help stabilize blood sugar levels already within a normal range to gain that competitive edge and perform at peak levels. Enjoy a Balance Bar with a glass of water as a nutrient rich, pre- or post workout mini meal. It provides convenient, 40-30-30 balanced nutrition.
Check back soon for some of my favorite meals and recipes to start programming your body to burn fat faster.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar Spokesperson and national best selling co-author of:
THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.