News: Fuel before, during, after workout for optimal performance
Story by Sgt. Ryan Hallock
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Imagine if Thomas Jefferson missed his chance to purchase the Louisiana Territory, or if President Abraham Lincoln never delivered his "Gettysburg Address" during the Civil War.
Maybe things happen in life exactly when the timing is right. Life is all about timing. So why should nutrition be any different?
Although the Performance Triad doesn’t explain expansionism, it educates soldiers, family members and civilians on proper techniques to fuel your body for optimal performance.
“Nutrient timing for performance is key to fueling your body with the right nutrients at the right time for maximum results,” said Maj. Suzanne Akuley, senior nutrition consultant, Madigan Army Medical Center. “Just like you would plan your workouts, it is equally important to have a strategy for eating and hydrating before, during and after physical training.”
Think about it like this: your entire body is the United States of America, and your muscles are the Louisiana Territory. Just as Jefferson invested in the U.S., it’s important to invest in our muscles to optimize performance and enhance recovery.
Prior to physical training each morning, the Performance Triad Leader’s Guide and Planner advises to start strong by fueling the body. Eating carbohydrates, both complex and simple, is necessary to get a pre-workout energy boost. Bananas and Greek yogurt are among many healthy breakfast choices.
“Eating for performance will increase energy and endurance and also shorten recovery time between activities,” said Akuley.
Physical readiness training is only the start of a soldier’s day. If the workout or mission lasts longer than one hour, it’s necessary to fuel your body to sustain optimal performance during activities. This can be achieved and enhanced through proper hydration and by eating fruit or drinking a sports drink.
“Nutrition is a key enabler for successful military missions,” said Akuley. “Our soldiers, who perform these missions, are considered tactical athletes and should therefore fuel to maximize cognitive and physical performance without compromising their health.”
Health is at the forefront of a soldier’s profession. Nutrition, as the Performance Triad describes, is at the forefront of health.
Maintaining unit readiness is a commander’s priority and recovering with proper nutrition after workouts aids in that priority.
Muscle fibers tear during weight training and require protein to repair, build and grow. It’s important to fuel your body with protein within an hour after working out to maximize recovery potential, according to the Performance Triad.
Protein sources include lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, peanut butter, beans, milk and yogurt. Whey protein shakes are beneficial for muscle recovery because they are fast absorbing.
Optimal performance, sustainment and enhanced recovery are all based on nutrition. What you fuel your body with determines what your body can do for you.
“Smart choices for between meal snacks and beverages are critical to maintaining the soldier’s healthy diet,” said Akuley. “Fresh fruits, vegetables and low-calorie beverages are a good foundation.”
Fueling before, during and after workouts is vital for the entire body. Jefferson may not have known the importance of nutrient timing, but he did realize the bigger picture. For your health, the bigger picture is which nutrients to get and when to get them.
For more information on nutrient timing and fueling your body visit armymedicine.mil.