As you gear up for your training session or tennis match, it’s important to fuel up well before hand, so that you perform your best.
There are so many different food choices out there and about as much differing guidance about what’s “best” that it can be hard to figure out what you are supposed to eat.
First, I want to talk briefly about what your body loves using for energy, and then I’ll give you a suggestion that will help cut through the noise.
Your body loves running on carbohydrates. They are its favorite source of fuel!
Your body can run off of fats that get turned into ketones (no doubt you’ve heard of the “Keto” diet), but this is a mechanism that your body uses in starvation settings, so that you don’t die if there’s no food around.
The most optimal (and safest!) way to go is to stick with eating carbohydrates for energy.
Now, the next step is differentiating between whole-food carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates. When people hear that a food contains “carbs” or “sugar,” there’s an immediate reflex to run away from it because we’ve been conditioned to do so.
Consider an apple though, or any fruit for that matter. Fruit is one of the healthiest foods you can possibly eat. While the majority of the calories in fruit come from carbohydrates, there’s so much more than that in the whole package: carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, fiber, and phytochemicals that function as anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, and vasodilators (which increase blood flow)!
It’s the same with veggies, whole grains, and legumes (like beans) – along with carbohydrates, you get a whole package of nutrition!
On the other hand, refined foods such as white-flour foods, chips, pastries, etc., are stripped of most of their health-promoting properties and pumped full of salt, oil, and added sugar – none of which promotes health or optimal performance.
Before you train or play, a great pre-activity snack is to have a couple pieces of fruit and some water about an hour beforehand – an example would be eating one apple, one banana, and drinking 12 ounces of water. Two pieces of fruit will not only give you enough carbohydrates for energy, but when you eat the whole food, you also get the whole package of “good stuff” that all works together to help you perform your best.
Next time you’re about an hour or so away from training or playing your match, try having two pieces of fruit and 12 ounces of water and see how you feel during the match! My bet is that you’ll perform much better. Let me know the difference you notice.
For some more nutrition tips, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.