General Athlete Eating Guide
Eat 6-7 small meals a day and drink 8oz of water before and after each meal this technique will give you a positive energy
balance throughout the day as well as these other benefits.
-Decreased chance of injury
-Increased recovery rate from unavoidable injury
-Increased chance of muscle growth
-Lower amounts of body fat on a higher caloric intake
Example day of eating
Breakfast: High fat, high complex carbohydrate, high protein
Example: 1 egg, 2 egg whites, 2 pieces of whole wheat bread, 1 slice of
reduced or low fat cheese, 1 serving of fruit
Midmorning snack: Moderately high fat, moderately high complex carbohydrate, high protein
Example: Whole wheat wrap or bread with 3 egg whites (or crumbled hard
boiled eggs), and a piece of low or reduced fat cheese, 1 small apple
Lunch: Low fat, moderate complex carbohydrate, high protein
Example: Whole wheat turkey wrap, low or no fat cheese, mustard,
romaine lettuce, 1 slice of tomato. OR Grilled chicken salad, no cheese, mixed veggies.
Mid-afternoon Snack (3 hours pre workout or competition):
Low or no fat, high complex carbohydrates, high protein
Example: Whole wheat bagel, turkey, lean ham, tuna or chicken meat,
romaine lettuce, mustard with 1 small apple. OR whole wheat turkey wrap,
mustard, romaine lettuce, 1 slice of tomato. Fruit juice or drinks containing
carbohydrate can be consumed at this time all the way up to training or
competition provide that they are not taken in very large amounts.
Pre workout or competition:
NO fat, high amounts of simple carbohydrates, high protein
Example: Protein drinks containing at least 30 grams of carbohydrates, and at least 25 grams of protein.
Accelerade, G2 32 oz. Amino Vital Endurance, Pro, or 7500ER are all great sources of simple
carbohydrates that will provide the athlete protection from entering a catabolic state. All
food at this point should be in a liquid form so as to aid in absorption rates and to and
prevent an upset stomach
Post workout or competition:
High protein, high simple carbohydrate
Example: Protein drinks containing at least 30 grams of carbohydrates, and at least 25 grams of protein.
All food at this point should be in a liquid form so as to aid in absorption rates and to and prevent
an upset stomach.
Note: this must be taken within 60 minutes of the last minute of your workout. Your anabolic window only lasts for 60
minutes. After that your workout has been wasted. Our suggestion, the sooner you ingest protein and
carbohydrates after a workout, the better.
Low Fat, low carbohydrate, high protein
Example: Low fat, moderate complex carbohydrate, high protein
Example: Grilled chicken salad, 1 serving of cheese, mixed veggies. 1 slice whole grain bread, ½ yam or
½ baked potato, OR Lean cuts of beef, asparagus or any green or red veggie.
The focus of dinner for an athlete should be to completely restore lost carbohydrate stores, maintain a
steady supply of protein, and very little fat, because the energy demands of the day are
diminished at night.
Late night snack:
Low fat, low to NO carbohydrates less than 10 grams, high protein
Example: No fat cottage cheese with 5 cut strawberries, yogurt no sugar 5 cut strawberries optional,
Casein protein supplement, protein drink with zero to low carbs less than 10 grams. The Casein
in cottage cheese provides a slow time released protein that will feed your muscles throughout the
A note on carbohydrates: Lots of people are very “carb conscious” these days and as for athletes there really are no
“bad” carbohydrates, however the timing and use of different types of carbohydrates as well as the amounts eaten is very
important. For example athletes are recommended to consume the majority of their carbohydrates from whole-grain foods
and starchy vegetables rather than simple sugars like candy, fruit juice, sports drinks, soda, or sweet treats and dessert.
Whole grain foods and starchy vegetables can provide additional vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber that is often
absent in simple sugars. These foods also tend to be digested more slowly causing a smaller spike in blood sugar levels
and consequent energy levels. The exception to this rule is during exercise and immediately following exercise. It’s during
these times that our bodies are in desperate need of carbohydrates to either provide energy for the rest of the workout or
to restore carbohydrates stores depleted from exercise. Simple sugars appear to be the best type of carbohydrate during
The main focus of an athlete’s diet should be to have a steady stream of protein throughout the day provided to his/her
body as well as a constant supply of carbohydrates to prevent muscle wasting keep the body form entering a catabolic
state. Remember these guidelines are a very general guideline. Each athlete needs can very greatly and questions should
be brought to a fitness professional attention as soon as one arises. As always, make sure to check with your doctor
before beginning any diet and remember the foods mentioned above are general suggestions and may not necessarily be
the best program for you individually.
To find out how many calories you need to maintain, loose, or gain weight use this formula
The Harris-Benedict formula
The Harris Benedict equation is a calorie formula using the factors of height, weight, age, and sex to determine basal
Take your weight in lbs and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kg, then take your height in inches and multiply it by 2.54
to get your height in cm. Take those numbers and plug them into the equation below.
Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) - (6.8 X age in years)
Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) - (4.7 X age in years)
If you’re a very active person (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk) = you can take your BMR from above and multiply it by
If you wish to maintain your weight you can eat what the formula produces
If you wish to loose weight your calories should -500 calories/ day to loose 1lb/ week without exercise
If you wish to gain weight you can increase your calories by 500 calories/ day to gain 1lb/ week
If you wish to gain muscle mass you should ingest 1.2 to 1.4 X the weight you wish to be in kg to get the correct amount of
protein, if you take that number and multiply it by 4 you will get your caloric amount of protein day that you need to ingest
Supplement Guide Sheet
Creatine, glutamine, and protein and amino acids are 4 of the top supplements for gaining lean muscle and strength.
But what are the best times to take these proven supplements?
Both creatine and glutamine use the same transport method (sodium) to be absorbed by the body, so there's a chance
that one will get absorbed more than the other. This means timing is everything when you take your supplements. If you
take them at the wrong time, you may be wasting your time and money, so be precise.
Supplement Consumption Timing
Here are the best times to take these 3 proven supplements:
Creatine: Best taken 1/2 hour or so BEFORE a workout and again RIGHT after a workout.
It’s usually best to take a creatine/juice/protein drink about a half hour before a workout and than another shake right after.
This technique will help set up an anabolic (muscle-building) state for your muscles and helps prevent muscle breakdown
from a workout (catabolism).
Other than these 2 opportune times, you can add another creatine serving or two any time throughout the day.
I usually recommend 25 to 30 grams of creatine on a loading phase and 10-20 grams a day on a maintenance phase.
Glutamine: Definitely take glutamine right before bed.
This is where the overwhelming research shows the value of glutamine raising growth hormone levels significantly by
taking 5 grams before bed.
Also, another great time is upon waking, when your muscles have been without significant nutrition for up to 6-8 hours.
Another good time for glutamine is about a half hour or hour after working out.
This helps in the recovery/recuperation process from demanding workouts.
So in conclusion, creatine should be taken before and after your workout and glutamine right before bed and right upon
Protein - The best times to take ANY protein drink or protein supplements are as follows.
I've listed them in order of importance, so based upon what you can afford, start at the top of the list and work down.
-The most important time is right after a workout.
Your muscles are like a sponge and need instant nutrition for muscle recovery and growth.
-Right before bed.
You're about to sleep for 6 to 8 hours. That's a long time without protein.
Could you imagine going throughout your day (when awake) not eating 6 to 8 hours?
-Right before bed is important.
-Right upon waking.
Same thing, you've just gone 6 to 8 hours without proper nutrition. Your body needs protein quick.
-Half hour before a workout.
This sets up the "anabolic window" before your workout and provides your muscles with adequate nutrition so that the
effects of weight training (weight training breaks down muscle-called catabolic) are not as severe.
Amino Acids: these are the building blocks of all proteins and are necessary form muscle growth and recoveryBest taken
10 minutes before your workout in sips, keep taking small sips between sets, and finish them upon the completion your
Alcohol Consumption and Its Effects on Performance
Dawn Weatherwax, ATC, RD/LD, CSCS
NSCA’s Performance Training Journal | www.nsca-lift.org/perform Vol. 4 No. 6 | Page 7
Nutrition and hydration are two of the keys to optimal performance. Alcohol is a poor nutrient source for a pre-game meal
or for hydration. Alcohol is known to slow down one’s ability to react to an opponent or object 72 hours following alcohol
intake (2). Precision, equilibrium, hand-eye coordination, judgment, ability to process information, focus, stamina,
strength, power, and speed are all negatively effected for many hours after blood alcohol levels return to 0.0%
Proper hydration before, during, and after practice/event along with all-dehydration is critical to preventing injuries,
creating an optimal environment for building muscle, losing body fat, maximizing energy levels, transporting and
absorbing nutrients, and ridding the body of toxins and by-products(2). If an athlete is thirsty, they may have already lost
1- 2% of body weight through dehydration (4). Performance can be decreased up to 10-20% at this level. Alcohol can
cause the body to lose 3% more body fluid in a 4-hourperiod, leading to dehydration even quicker (5).
In the field of performance, recovery from exercise is dependant on replacing the carbohydrates used up during activity
(glycogen synthesis). Consuming at least 30-60g of carbohydrates with 6-10g of protein has been proven to help replace
needed carbohydrates and aid in recovery (9). The faster the body recovers, the easier it is to perform at the same
optimal levels on a day-to-day basis. Drinking alcohol after exercise for glycogen recovery is unclear, but alcohol may
displace carbohydrate intake from optimal recovery—in laymen terms, alcohol calories MAY replace the carbohydrate
calories usually eaten after exercise leading to improper recovery (3).
After a game if an injury is sustained because alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate. Alcohol can also mask pain. For
those who are familiar with injuries, the more swelling in an injured area, the longer it could take to recover and get back
to optimal playing form. In addition, if the athlete is already taking anti-inflammatory medications or pain relievers, drinking
alcohol can increase the risks of stomach irritation and internal bleeding.
Having a certain body fat to muscle mass ratio is related to athletic performance. Research has shown that increased
muscle mass increases strength, power, and agility (6, 7). However alcohol (ethanol) is one of the worst nutrients you can
consume to improve body fat to muscle mass ratio. The carbohydrates found in alcoholic beverages are not converted
into glucose and are used to make fatty acids that are stored as fat mainly in the liver. Alcohol has also been shown to
increase fat compositions. The e body prefers to use alcohol as a fuel source when consumed. If you eat high fat foods
when you consume alcohol the fat from these foods are stored as fat. Alcohol also stimulates the appetite and
encourages extra intake of calories the body does not need (8).level. Alcohol can cause the body to lose 3% more body
fluid in a 4-hourperiod, leading to dehydration even quicker (5).
Conclusion Alcohol and performance do not mix. Alcohol inhibits every aspect of athletic performance. The best choice an
athlete can do is avoid alcohol altogether; however, just saying “no” is not a viable option when the majority of athletes
want to say “yes”. Table 1 lists some suggestions to minimize the effects of alcohol on performance.
1. American College of Sports Medicine. (2000). Alcohol and athletic performance (Current Comment). Indianapolis, IN.
2. Burke L. (1995). T e Complete Guide to Food for Sports Performance (2nd Ed.).Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
3. Burke LM, Collier GR, Broad EM, Davis PG, Martin DT, Sanigorski AJ, Hargreaves M. (2003). Effect of alcohol intake on muscle
glycogen storage after prolonged exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology 95:983-990. 4. Greenleaf JE. (1992). Problem: thirst, drinking
behavior and involuntary dehydration. Medicine& Science in Sports & Exercise, 24:645-656
5. Shirreff s SM. (1997). Restoration of fluid balance after exercise-induced dehydration: Effects of alcohol consumption.
Journal of Applied Physiology 83(4): 1152-1158. 6. Spaniol FJ. (1997). Predicting throwing velocity in college baseball players
(Abstract). Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 11(4): 286. 7. Spaniol FJ. (2002). Physiological predictors of bat speed and
throwing velocity in adolescent baseball players (Abstract). Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 16(4): 1-18. 8. Tremblay A,
St-Pierre S. (1996). The hyperphagic effect of a high-fat diet and alcohol intake persists after control for energy density. American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 63:479-82. 9. Wadler G, Hainline B. (1989). Drugs and the Athlete. Philadelphia, Davies.
About the Author: Dawn Weatherwax is a Registered/ Licensed Dietitian with a specialty in Sports Nutrition and Founder of Sports
Nutrition 2Go. She is also an Athletic Trainer with a Certification in Strength and Conditioning from The National Strength and
Conditioning Association. Therefore, she brings a comprehensive and unique understanding of the athlete’s body, and its nutritional
needs, to those interested in achieving specific performance goals and optimal health. Weatherwax is also the author of The Official
Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sports Nutrition. She is an Official Speaker for the
Gatorade Sports Science Institute and on the approval speaker list for the NCAA. Dawn is an active member of the American Dietetic
Association (ADA), Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionists Dietetic Practice Group (SCAN), American College of Sports
Medicine (ACSM), National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), IDEA Health & Fitness Association, National Athletic Training
Association (NATA),& Greater Cincinnati Athletic Training Association (GCATA).
Hydration and Performance
As you can see from the graph hydration is paramount to
having peak performance, as you begin to dehydrate
your body’s ability to perform at peak levels drops by
almost 30%. According to the graph above if your were
normally able to bench press 100lbs you would now only
be able to bench press as little as 70lbs if you were
dehydrated. This guide will show you how to avoid this
state of dehydration so you can perform at your peak
every time you hit the weight room or the field.
One of the easiest ways to make sure that you are hydrated is to have a small 8 oz glass of water before and after each
meal you eat. By doing this you provide your body with the extra fluid it needs to help fully digest all of your food as well
as fully absorb all the nutrients in that food. In fact if you are in a dehydrated state your body may not fully process all your
food to the best of its ability. This means you will get less and less of what’s actually in the food you ate. For example
some vitamins and nutrients may not fully absorb and be passed as waste. Proteins and fats may not process as well and
miss the opportunity to feed your muscles with vital energy and growth they need. Think about it. All food is broken down
into a liquid at some point in your digestion, and if you’re already running low on fluids you are only going to make it
harder for your organs to do their job.
Now all food contains fluid even a piece of pizza is 25% water. In fact the majority of our body is composed of water. Even
our brain is astonishing 80% water. That is why this nutrient is not only so vital to life but to performance as well. The
point to gain here is that you can get water from food, but your best bet is to always try and get plain water in your system.
The dangers of relying on food for hydration is that your thirst response may become so weak that you mistake being
thirsty for being hungry. If you’re dehydrated and your body is used to you gathering water from its food sources, than
your body will more often tell you, that you’re hungry just to get its necessary hydration. This can become a problem for
athletes trying to maintain a lean muscle mass because this method will almost always carry unnecessary amounts of
calories with it. Using this method is going against one of waters best attributes. IT’S CALORIE FREE! Don’t rely on
sports drinks to hydrate you through out the day. Those types of drinks should be reserved for game situations, or
workouts only. If you’re constantly drinking Gatorade to stay hydrated, then you are constantly overloading your body with
simple sugars. Bottom line, save the sports drinks for the field or the weight room, your waistline will thank you for it.
How and when to drink water
BEFORE: You should be drinking 20oz of fluid 2-3 hours before competition or workouts, with an additional 7-10 oz right
before your competition or workout begins. Sport drinks can be consumed at this time s long as they are not consumed in
DURING: During your event you should consume 28 to 40 oz of fluid containing 6-7% solution of simple carbohydrates.
This is where Gatorade or even G2 can be used. Try to avoid carbonated beverages during this time because this will
lead to an interruption in digestion and upset stomach. The rate you should be drinking this fluid at is about 7-10 oz every
10-15 minutes. Remember this can change dramatically based on environmental conditions, body size, sweat rate, and
AFTER: Drink at least 20 oz of fluid per lb of bodyweight that was lost during practice or competition. This should be
consumed within 2 hours of practice with the goal of returning the body to its pre practice weight, and readying it for its
next exercise session.
You can’t catch up on hydration: A common mistake by athletes is that they will drink large amounts of water before
and after workouts only. This is a problem because, much like food, your body needs a continuous supply throughout the
day to properly process and utilize nutrients. If you only get your fluids before during and after a practice or game, your
bodies ability to heal tissue, process food, and continue to function normally with all other metabolic processes is
hindered. Do you really think your muscles, tendons, ligaments and organs only need water to perform well during a game
or practice? Do you really think your muscles will grow and put out the maximum amount of strength that they can if you
are dehydrated for 90% of the day? The answer is NO. Be smart, and keep a continuous supply of fluids available for your
body so all your hard work and dedication does not go to waste.