One Simple Change: Fueling your workouts and choosing the right food for competition

I seriously struggled with making the right choices when it came to what kinds of foods that would fuel me for my daily training. We are taught initially that “healthy” means salads, but I knew that there was no way a salad would be enough to fuel through grueling wrestling workouts! I knew I needed a different approach to how I looked at food as fuel and what constituted, “healthy.” My sister (Sara, of course you know Sara if you follow FAW!), who is my go-to nutrition guru, help guide me through this muck of nutrition! She told me that if I really wanted to make changes that stuck for GOOD and weren’t just “diet” changes that never last, I needed to make ONE change, and look at eating with diversity.

I started looking at my breakfast: I could eat bagels, pancakes, toast, and I always seemed to get hungry before my 1st practice even began! But then I realized, I was expecting these foods to fuel me for a long time, because all those things are fluffy and initially filling. I was so frustrated going to practice and feeling empty half way through. It was throwing my whole day off, and by lunch I was having to make up for the empty calories from breakfast. I needed a change, and pronto!

I needed to look for something that had the carbs for energy, but that wasn’t just empty calories. What do I mean by empty calories? Well, it’s kind of a term that is loosely used. It basically describes something that breaks down in your body quickly, and then soon after you are hungry. That means, you’re having to eat again in order to sustain more energy. This can be a challenge in a weight class sport and in a extremely energy depleting sport like wrestling! So what kinds of foods hold energy longer than others?

Ok, let’s talk science for a second:

White flower and sugar will break down and enter blood stream quickly (the more simple the sugar/carb is, the higher the spike) and then energy level crashes. A complex carbs break down in your body slower, and that energy will supply you for a longer amount of time.

Now, if i was going into a competition and i needed something to pick me up quickly and to give me energy for a match coming up soon, pancakes would be perfect! My stomach will digest it quickly, which is AWESOME because I don’t want anything sitting in my stomach before I compete. This also means that I will have to fuel again within 45 mins-1 hour, but as we all know, that is often the nature of the beast when it comes to competing!

The great debate about which one is healthier will never get you the right answer. This is about choosing foods that will do a particular job for you.  I needed something that would sustain me for 2 hours, versus 45 minutes. So for me, it was choosing something like oatmeal (a grain and complex carb) over pancakes (white flower and simple carb). I also needed some diversity in my breakfast so I had different fueling sources to choose from. By creating the oatmeal recipe below, I get the diversity I need with the right type of carbs to fuel my morning for a longer period  of time. AWESOME!

Now, dont go running off and looking at every part of your day and start changing everything into complex carbs, protein portions, blah, blah, blah… That is going to make you CRAZY. Just choose ONE thing to change. That will ensure you can slowly incorporate new things into your life that you will like and will turn into a lifelong habit! It’s a journey not a race. Now check out this awesome oatmeal recipe!

  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 and ½ tablespoon of peanut butter
  • ½ - whole banana
  • Drizzle honey

Directions:

Cook the oats as directed. Any type you use is fine. Transfer to bowl. Layer on the chia seeds, pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds), PB, and banana. Make it look like a smiley face :) drizzle on honey and you’re good to go!!