Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Save your summer training; Avoid these 3 common nutrition pitfalls
Ah summer - it's finally here! A time for revving up the outdoor training and really focusing on those competitive goals. But nothing ruins a great training season like stupid nutrition decisions. Here are 3 common pitfalls many athletes fall into when they get just a little too relaxed with their eating over the summer.
1. "It's so nice out, lets go eat/drink _______."
When the whether is finally warm after a brutal winter, it is easy to always want to be outside on a restaurant porch drinking a your favorite alcoholic concoction or out for ice cream with the kids. Set limits on this now so these habits do not get out of hand. Remember that one drink or small cup of ice cream can easily load on up to 400 Calories of very little useful nutrition. A good rule of thumb is that you are allowed to "treat" yourself twice a week. Just make sure to choose a treat that you truly enjoy. This will leave you feeling satisfied instead of wishing you didn't waste the calories. Instead of always meeting friends at the tiki bar, trying meeting at the park and going for a walk in the beautiful sunshine.
2. "It's really hot out - I must be dehydrated. I better grab a sports drink."
Sports drinks are only meant to be drunk during one activity...sports. Don't use sports drinks as a random hydration tool unless you have met with a sports RD or physician who has the specific knowledge to tell you to do so. Why? Because sports drinks offer little in terms of good nutrition when it comes to meals, snacks or even in between. They are purely created for rehydration during relatively intense activity, which doesn't include standing around outside. Too much sports drink when you don't need it is just as bad as too much pop, alcohol, ice cream, etc....just a lot of empty calories that are not helpful.
3. "It's only 3 months out of the year; I can relax a bit with my eating."
While summer truly IS a great time to relax and enjoy, be careful you don't take this thought process too far. Three months out of the year is still 25% of the year. Athletes can do a lot of damage or a lot of good in 3 months...depending on what path they take. My advice if you want to relax? Relax in mainly non-food or non-eating ways. Get a massage, go golfing, read a book or take a vacation. These are great ways to improve your mental health without destroying your physical aspirations.