Paying attention to your daily nutrition will provide you with a great basis for building muscle and endurance.  This is necessary for any activity at any level.  The goal is to be able to ride and play while still effectively attacking daily responsibilities without running low on energy!  Here are some nutrition essentials for living an active lifestyle.   Start your day off right and continue the healthy eating all day.

Eat Breakfast

Eating a nutritious breakfast containing protein and healthy fat will kick start your metabolism and stabilize your blood sugar. Skipping breakfast or eating something mainly composed of carbohydrates puts your blood sugar on a roller coaster for the rest of the day, leaving you feeling tired and having sugar and caffeine cravings later in the day, especially at night. A perfect example of this combination would be rolled oats cooked with a dash of milk, fresh or frozen fruit, and chopped nuts or nut butter.

Yummm, warm oat meal with nut butter!

An egg scramble loaded with a variety of chopped vegetables is also full of protein and carbohydrates!

Egg scramble with fresh veggies, great anytime of day!

Get enough calories

Getting enough calories is essential for fueling and recovering from workouts.  In addition you will be able to keep your energy levels up throughout the day, especially when you live an active lifestyle. Depriving yourself of calories also deprives your body of the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy immune system, bone structure, and digestion. A calculator for estimating your daily caloric needs can be found here.

Eat before you exercise

Eating before you exercise is necessary to ensure a high quality work out. Fasting before exercise will put your body in a state of low blood sugar, leaving you feeling shaky, drained, and possibly unable to finish your exercise routine. Have something that is easy to digest, high in carbohydrates and low in protein to support the carbohydrate stores your body uses for energy.

♥  A smoothie made with frozen fruit, 2-4 tablespoons rolled oats, milk/water/almond milk, and a few almonds or ground flax seeds would be a great option.

Eat after you exercise

Eating after exercising will give your body what it needs to repair and recover. Within an hour of exercising your body is in a heightened state of insulin sensitivity in which it processes and delivers glucose (energy) to your muscles more efficiently. Shortly after your workout have a snack comprised mainly of carbohydrates with some protein to replenish carbohydrate stores. Then, your next meal should be primarily comprised of protein to aid in muscle repair. Doing so will improve each subsequent workout in addition to giving you more energy throughout the day.

By Lauren Anderson – Boulder, CO