The work you put into improving your technique and physical fitness is important. However, the way you fuel your body and mind is equally important, if not more so. Much like a car needs gasoline, your body needs fuel to achieve maximum results. But, not all fuel is made equal. To increase your performance and maximize your results next year, be sure to follow these tips for better nutrition.
Change Your Patterns
Depending on your style of skiing, cross-country skiing has the potential to burn more calories than almost any other physical task. In fact, Harvard researchers found cross-country skiing burns nearly 300 calories per half-hour for an individual weighing 155 pounds. That’s a lot of energy spent and it needs to be replaced. Luckily, summer is the perfect time to change your eating habits to help fuel your body for maximum performance next ski season. Take the time this summer to follow these tips to help change your eating habits.
- Eat Real Food – Sometimes we so get caught up in eating healthy that we forget to eat the real foods that are great for our health. Be sure to make vegetables your go-to snack this summer. Most veggies are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed full of nutrients.
- Go Grains - Whole grains pack a punch of fiber along with B vitamins and other key nutrients. They also help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller longer.
- Nuts – These are a fantastic way to include healthy fats in your plan with little to no effort on your part. Add nuts and seeds to salads, hot cereals, sauces, and yogurt can take them to the next level of inspired.
- Plan Wisely – If you want a satisfying meal then you need to be thinking about lean protein, low-fat dairy, and color! Yes, color! Try a wide variety of fruits and veggies to stack on your plate.
Everybody Loves Carbs
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; it recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. On a standard 2,000-calorie diet, this would mean your carb intake should be between 900 - 1,300 calories or 225 - 325 grams. But not all carbs are created equal. Carbohydrates supply your body with energy in the form of glucose; better know as blood sugar. The High-quality carbohydrates provide you with sustained energy by keeping your blood sugar stable. Low-quality carbohydrates, which have little or no natural fiber and are usually higher in sugar, can cause your blood sugar to spike. When choosing carbohydrates, be sure the majority are high quality whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables and beans. They provide long-lasting energy, help protect against disease and control weight. Here are a few tips on how to choose your carbohydrates wisely.
- Emphasize fiber-rich fruits and vegetables - Aim for whole fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables without added sugar.
- Choose whole grains - Whole grains are better sources for dietary fiber and nutrients like vitamin B.
- Eat more legumes - Beans, peas and lentils are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available.
Carbohydrates are a fantastic fuel source, but they aren’t the only food group your body needs. Protein is equally important, if not more so. For one, your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. When you workout, you break down muscle tissue which needs to be rebuilt. Protein is essential for building tissue stronger than before. You also use protein to make enzymes and hormones and it’s important in the creation of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein is also beneficial for your energy level because it takes longer to digest and use as energy, thus keeping you fuller, and satisfied, longer.According to a Harvard Health Article, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You can determine your RDA by multiplying your weight in pounds by 0.36. But, before you start packing more protein into your diet, there are a couple things to consider.
According to a Harvard Health Article, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You can determine your RDA by multiplying your weight in pounds by 0.36. But, before you start packing more protein into your diet, there are a couple things to consider.
Types of Protein – Just because you need more protein in your diet doesn’t mean you have to eat more meat. Sure, beef, poultry, and pork provide high-quality protein, but so can many plant foods — including whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, and vegetables.
“Package” Your Protein – When considering two different sources of protein, consider the whole package. What other fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients come along with your chosen protein source? Be sure to look for protein sources low in saturated fat and processed carbohydrates.
Cross-country skiing leads to a fitter, healthier lifestyle. When you build and perfect your nutrition during the offseason, it allows you to focus on maximizing your results this upcoming season with the added bonus of feeling energized.
Looking for ideas on how to train in the off-season? Check out our blog on summer activities that will train you for winter.