Eat Like an Athlete

By: Christy Baroni 

You train like an athlete, so why are you still eating like a chronic dieter?  A dieter has a list of ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods, and eats the good foods until she snaps and then downs a sleeve of Oreos at 3:00 AM.  Does that sounds familiar?  If so, I am inviting you to join me in eating like an athlete to see how amazing your body can feel and perform.

There are some nutritional habits and attitudes that separate athletes from the general public.  Working to adopt these in to your lifestyle can change your relationship with food and with your body forever.

Athletes do not starve themselves.  To create a body with less fat and more muscle, you need to consume enough calories to 1) perform the workout at the intensity required and 2) to re-build what muscle fiber you tear down during that workout.  To get in to that prime fat burning mode, you must consume a fast acting carbohydrate (think banana, pear, etc) within that hour before you start your workout.  To rebuild you must consume both protein and carbs in that hour after you work out.  If you aren’t eating enough, your body is going to stay soft.

Try this out:

  • 1 hour pre-workout: blend 1 scoop of whey protein, 1 banana, water & ice to taste
  • 30-45 mins post workout: ½ cup cooked jasmine rice, ½ cup diced sweet potato, 6 oz honey glazed chicken breast

This gives you the nutritional building blocks to pack on muscle.

Athletes do not reward themselves with food.  You are not a dog, you do not deserve a treat for performing a trick.  After understanding that athletes do not starve themselves, you must also understand the idea that food is not a way to pass time. How many of us eat out of pure boredom? Or eat that evening snack in front of the TV because we’ve always just had something to eat during that time?  Being intentional about what and when we eat is basic foundation for having a healthy relationship with food.

Try this:

  • In the evening, instead of grabbing a salty or crunchy snack, brew a cup of SleepyTime Tea.  Turn off all electronics, and spend 15 minutes journaling or getting in an extra round of mobility exercises.  This can prep you for a great night sleep, and the break the habit of mindless snacking.

Athletes define success by measurable results not limited to the scale.  ITSJUSTANUMBER!!!!!  Friends, it’s just a number. Repeat after me, “It’s just a number, not my value.”  When we rely on the scale to be our focal point we miss the bigger and better picture of our progress as a developing human being.  The scale is a legitimate and valuable data point, but it’s just ONE data point in a huge picture of how our bodies are adapting to the workouts we accomplish.  It doesn’t measure strength, confidence, mobility, or anything else.  If you want to use it as a data point, great.  Do that.  But consider what other data points by which you are measuring your success. A hip-to-waist ratio can be a fantastic measurement to gauge progress.  Getting your body fat tested is another good idea.  Track your 1-rep maxes on a deadlift, back squat, and strict press.  Record your fastest mile time.  You will start to paint a picture of what your success looks like and your body will reflect your hard work, not just your weight.

What athlete’s attitude can you adopt? How would it change your life?

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