Maximum energy is essential for getting optimum performance out of any sport or high intensity endeavor. If your energy levels falter during a sports event, weightlifting competition, or even during strength training at the gym, you lose momentum and the advantage to take your game or training to its peak performance level. In order to maintain high levels of energy that will last through your event, you should consume certain foods and supplements that will provide that boost you need to perform at the highest level possible as well as help you recover so you’re ready for the next round. Here are three powerful points which will ensure you perform at an optimal level.
Carbohydrates are fuel. If you want more energy and stamina to beat an opponent in a game or sports competition, or just want more for an explosive workout, you need to fill your tank with carbs. Your body prefers carbs as its energy source. If you fail to supply your body with enough carbs to get through the activity, it will begin to look for another easy fuel source, namely muscle tissue that is detrimental to any athlete. Therefore, if you don’t want to devour your hard earned muscle mass, you need to fill up with pre-workout carbs.
Pre-workout carbs should consist of foods that are made up of complex carbs. Complex carbs burn slower and provide a steadier supply of fuel for a longer period of time. Some of the best complex carbs are contained in foods such as whole wheat pasta, bread and rice, potatoes and slow-cooked oatmeal. In comparison, simple carbs are devised of mostly sugars and burn up quickly. Simple carbs are good for quick bursts of energy, but they don’t last long. Simple carbs are contained in most fruits, energy bars, and processed foods (which you should stay away from). You might want to grab a banana, orange, or apple when heading out the door to supply a spurt of energy at the onset of your activity, but stick with complex carbs for long lasting energy.
The amount of carbohydrate foods you should consume depends on your body weight and the activity you’re involved in. You’ll have to experiment at first until you find the amount of fuel your body needs to last through the workout, game, or other activity. A good rule of thumb is to begin by eating a gram of complex carbohydrates per three pounds of your bodyweight. If you weigh 180 pounds then you will want to consume 60 grams of complex carbs 1-2 hours before you begin the activity. If you peter out before the workout is completed then add an additional 10 or 20 grams of carbs to your nutritious diet.
Eating carbs post-workout is important as well. After strenuous activity, your energy reserves need to be replenished. Therefore, it is important to eat carbs within the first hour after your activity. In this case, you want to focus mainly on eating simple carb foods such as fruits, energy bars, or drinks containing carbs. Such foods contain high glycemic carb levels, which are fast acting and can be used immediately by the body to boost your internal systems and start the recovery process.
Creatine is another powerful energy booster. The amino acid called creatine is manufactured naturally in the body. However, the natural amounts are normally not sufficient to supply you through a high intensity training session or strenuous competition. Creatine is broken down into phosphcreatine, which the body stores in muscle cells. Then when high intensity activities occur that require short-term muscular performance, it is released to provide you with that immediate fuel. The best way to get the most out of creatine supplementation is to load for a period of several days to a week before performance. To do this, consume around 20 grams of creatine once per day with a few smaller amounts at various other times throughout the day.