4 Nutrition Tips For When You Have No Idea What To Do

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Food is confusing.

Which is weird considering that we, as humans, have been exposed to food our entire lives. How is it possible that we still stand in front of the open fridge and have NO IDEA what to put in our mouths?

WAIT. That’s not entirely true. We have some idea.

For instance, I know that I have to eat something or I’ll die.

I’m pretty sure that I shouldn’t only eat cookies or donuts or ice cream no matter how much I might want to.

I also know that when I’ve been eating like shit, I feel like shit.

BUT WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT EVEN MEAN TO EAT LIKE SHIT?

See? Confusing.

Nutrition (and the foods you choose to stuff into your gaping maw) are even more important for athletes. After all, the most important thing about food is that it acts a fuel. And athletes tend to need more fuel or higher quality than someone that schedules in Netflix binges on the daily.

If you find yourself scouring the interwebz for ideas on what to eat, banging your head against your desk when all those ideas contradict themselves, and then consoling your frustration with Swedish Fish, I hear you.

You don’t build a house from the roof down, so creating a solid foundation of GOOD, BASIC nutrition skills is the first step.

1) DRINK SOME MOTHERFUCKING WATER.

Seriously any excuse to use this picture.

Is number one a cop-out because it doesn’t have anything to do with food, but I wanted this list to have 4 things on it? Maybe.

Do most skaters actually drink enough water? No.

So drink some. Drink more. Drink water until your pee runs clear and people start asking you if you’re pregnant because of the frequency with which you visit the bathroom.

How much water should you drink? 2 litres per day at a minimum. More on days you train. More on days you practice. More on days it’s hot. More on…well, you get the idea.

I wasn’t joking when I said I wanted your pee to run clear. That’s the goal. If it doesn’t? Drink some goddamn water.

JUST THE TIP:

If you struggle to drink enough water throughout the day, set a timer on your phone for every 60 to 90 minutes. When the timer goes off, drink an entire glass of water then get back to business.

2) TRACK YOUR FOOD INTAKE.

Again, not so much a tip about how to eat. Sorry, not sorry. But by now, you should know about my deep and abiding love for data collection.

You don’t know if you’re doing well (or where you can improve) until you know for sure what you are actually doing.

  • Do you need to eat more vegetables?
  • Do you need to increase your protein intake?
  • Are you eating too many calories? Too few?

There’s no way to know unless you collect data on it.

JUST THE TIP:

Download a food tracking app on your phone (My Fitness Pal or MyMacros+ are both good). Then actually use it consistently.

3) EAT MORE PROTEIN.

Yes, I did just get done saying that you won’t know what to fix until you know what you’re currently doing. BUT…my instincts — and experience working with athletes — tell me that you’re likely not getting as much protein as you need.

Protein intake is important for everyone, but particularly for athletes as it helps preserve (and even increase) muscle, aids in your body’s tissue repair, and keeps you feeling fuller longer.

How much protein should you eat? Aim for 2g of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. And, if you supplement with bars or powders, keep the amount of protein you get from those to 40% of the total.

JUST THE TIP:

If you aren’t eating enough protein, raising that number can feel tricky. Try to eat 20-30g of protein at every meal and stock up on Greek yogurt, deli meats, and chicken recipes.

4) EAT ENOUGH.

It’s hard to run a car on fumes. The same is true for your body. You need to give it enough food to keep it going while you’re skating around like a crazy person, hitting people for fun.

Chances are good that if you’ve been on a plateau in your skating or training for a long time, not eating enough has something to do with it. Highly active individuals need A LOT of calories to keep going.

Please, please, please don’t be afraid to eat.

JUST THE TIP:

If you want to know how many calories you need to eat, check out this calculator. You can even enter targets for losing weight — which is a goal a lot of skaters have — and figure out how to adjust your calories as you go.

Bonus 5) BACON OR BAGELS?

Some of us LOVE foods rich in carbohydrates. If given the choice for a breakfast food, we’d pick bagels every time.

Some of us LOVE foods rich in fats. If given the choice for a breakfast food, we’d pick bacon every time.

Neither bagels nor bacon will kill you. And one of them obviously brings you more satisfaction when you eat it. Stick with that. Eat foods that make you happy and keep yourself within your calorie goals. I promise it will be fine.

Bonus 6) EAT YOUR VEGGIES.

Except don’t just eat bacon and bagels.

Come on. You knew it was coming. Veggies are low in calories (if you care about such things) and super filling. Not only that, but they provide micronutrients that you need to run like a well-oiled machine. Plus they keep your insides moving right along.

Eat veggies with every meal. And if you really suck at that, consider a supplement.

TL;DR:

Drink water until you pee clear. Know how much of what you’re eating. Eat more protein. Eat enough. Eat what you love. Eat your fucking vegetables.


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IronOctopusFitness

About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

2 Comments

  • River says:

    I disagree with the peeing clear tip. Hyponatremia is a scary thing and clear likely = too little electrolytes. The right balance is important. Aim for “lemonade” instead of clear or “apple juice.”

    • IronOctopusFitness IronOctopusFitness says:

      Good point! A little coloring is best. And making sure that you’re eating throughout the day as well to keep electrolyte levels up. I love to eat pretzels if I’m worried about that!

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