Eat well, stay healthy! Sports nutrition is amazingly important. Hydration and nutrition are hard to get right when you are pushing yourself to your limits. If I had to say one thing was most important for your health, it would be “drink plenty of fluids.” You body needs that fluid to operate effectively. Think of it as trying to drive your car without oil. The parts just get stuck and things start to break. Your body operates the same way. If you don’t get enough fluid, you body starts to “break.” One of the most surprising things is that you might not feel thirsty – even though your body needs “oil.” Especially in the winter months! Your internal thermometer isn’t getting those hot flashes like it does in the summer. The best way to make sure you are adequately hydrated is to drink fluids every 20 minutes – whether you want it or not. Unfortunately your body doesn’t have a check-engine light that flashes on when it’s time to take a look at the dip stick. By the time you check-engine light flashes on – you might be on the way to the hospital. (That flashing light is actually the rotating beacon light from the ambulance.) And, you won’t like the hospital visit – guarantee it.
Similarly, in keeping up with exercise nutrition, your gas tank might not feel empty – but your body needs calories just the same. If you are exercising, you are burning calories. If you are exercising hard, you are burning lots of calories. Those calories need to be replaced – especially on longer exercise sessions. The problem is, you can only effectively take in so many calories an hour – so if you forget to eat, you are putting your body in a deficit situation. Once the gas tank is empty, you can push on the gas pedal all you want and nothing is going to happen. Make sure to keep your calorie intake up so that you don’t hit the wall when you really need that extra push to get over the finish line.
So, Get fluids, Get Calories and Get out there!