3 Simple Fueling Tips For Athletes

Fueling your body like an athlete can be hard, overwhelming, and very confusing in the beginning.

As an athlete, it’s very easy to feel overloaded when you are first introduced to proper fueling. You might be feeling stressed and lost with all of the information (and misinformation) out there.

Athletes have different nutrition needs than most people with their high activity levels, recovery demands, and performance goals. As such, a lot of the information out there isn’t tailored specifically to you. It can be challenging to know what to search for and where to start.

I recommend starting with the basics. Establishing the foundation of your fueling plan comes first. Then you can make adjustments based on your individual needs and goals. 

Here are 3 simple and realistic fueling tips you can start with to build your fueling plan:

1. Eat 3 balanced meals a day. 

This sounds so basic, but I see so many athletes not making balanced plates with all of the nutrients they need. I recommend following the Performance Plate Method, which helps athletes learn to build a balanced plate that is free of restriction, calorie counting, and can be easily modified based on practice, games, and rest/travel days.

All your meals should contain:

  • Starchy carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, oatmeal)
  • Protein (Greek yogurt, chicken, seafood, tofu)
  • Color (fruits and vegetables)
  • Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts/nut butter, coconut)

Exact portions will depend on the athlete, but starting with having all components at each meal is a great way to start!

Build 3 meals per day following this
Performance Plate guideline
2. Fill up 1/3 of your plate with fruits and vegetables (aka color)

Fruits and vegetables are super important for making sure you are getting your micronutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. They can be fresh OR frozen. It’s a common misconception that frozen produce is less nutritious, but that is not true! In fact, frozen produce is equally as nutritious as fresh produce, and can even have more nutrients since it is picked at peak ripeness and flash frozen to preserve the nutrients. 

3. Drink at least 3 32oz Hydroflasks or large “Gatorade” bottles a day. 

I see a lot of athletes struggling with being adequately hydrated. I highly recommend carrying a reusable water bottle with you so that you are reminded to drink fluids throughout the day. Note that chugging water (which I see many do) is NOT optimal for hydration. Feel free to make your water interesting with sparkling water, adding flavor drops, or infusing it with fresh fruit!

Try these fueling goals this week and see the difference they make! Athletes that consistently follow these fueling tips have improved energy, strength, and digestion which ultimately lead to better performance and body composition. 

In PFC 2.0 athletes learn how to create an easy and simple fueling plan that provides structure and confidence with fueling. We start off with education on the essential nutrients and you move into building your own fueling plan with the Performance Plate Method. If you are new on your fueling journey, PFC can help you become confident in your fueling and reach your goals. Join PFC to get started now.

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