Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}


Food: Fuel for Performance

This week I have been learning more about sports nutrition at my rotation with WVU.

I ran cross country and track in high school, and a season of each in college, so I knew from personal experience what sort of food worked well for me at competitions. However, I didn’t know very much about the science of nutrition as I was fueling myself. I would generally do a higher carbohydrate meal the night before a race, and then a piece of fruit an hour or so before a competition, with some sort of snack afterwards.

Nutrition is important throughout the training process, and athletes should emphasize small frequent meals, whole grain carbohydrates paired with lean protein or healthy fat with all meals or snacks, and drink plenty of water.

The main goal is to provide “sufficient energy for daily activity and extra energy expended in exercise, in addition to replacing glycogen (energy) stores and repairing lean muscle mass” (Sports Nutrition Care Manual).

Helpful daily guidelines for endurance athletes include:


  • ¬†5-7 g/kg body weight each day for moderate duration and low-intensity training
  • 7-12 g/kg body weight for heavy training


  • 1.2-1.7 g/kg body weight


  • .8-1 g/kg body weight

Meals should be eaten 3-4 hours before exercise, and should be high in low-glycemic carbohydrates and lean protein, and low in fiber and fat.

A snack should be consumed 30 minutes to 1 hour before exercise, and should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fiber.

During exercise, it is recommended to consume 30-60 g carbohydrate per hour, spaced out over that time period.

5-10 oz of water or a sports drink should be consumed every 15-20 minutes to ensure hydration.

Within 30 minutes of completing exercise, a snack that contains a 4:1 ratio of high glycemic carbohydrates to lean protein should be eaten. Lowfat chocolate milk is actually a good post-workout snack.

In the past few years, I’ve begun to enjoy participating in 5K community races and even a few half-marathons. I love the extra daily motivation that comes with having a goal to work towards, and the ¬†encouraging atmosphere at these events. Some participants are there to truly compete and win, but a lot of people are, like me, just out to test their personal fitness and enjoy the competition.

Today was a first for me- I competed in the Morgantown Healthcare Sprint, Splash, and Spin triathlon. Here are a few pics from the day.

If you want to perform well, you’ve got to give your body the fuel that it needs.

Source: ADA Sports Nutrition Care Manual