Isabel Smith: Conquering The D10 Begins in the Kitchen

W680 dsc 9873 edit rt preview Whether you’re a D10 Letterman or a new competitor, how you fuel your training has a major impact on how you perform on Game Day. Having worked with many competitive athletes at various points in their careers, I have found that the biggest shifts in performance come when athletes really nail down their nutrition.

There are two different parts of the day to think about: the workout, and then the rest of the day.

Here’s how to fuel your workout
The pre/during/post workout timeframe is key, because focusing on fueling during this time can both enhance energy and exercise performance and also hugely improve recovery. With proper nutrition, muscle repair and synthesis happen faster post-workout, and so does the process of reducing toxic waste in the muscles.

Pre workout: It’s all about the carb. Simple, low fiber carbs are key here. Aim to fuel between 30-60 minutes before the workout. Here’s a few favorites (these are portion sized for about 30 grams each):
  • Beet juice (start 8 oz beet juice + 8 oz water)
  • Banana (1 medium)
  • Raisins (¼ cup)
  • Dates (3-4 dates)
  • Simple long acting corn starch (similar to a product like Ucan)
During the workout, stick with simple carbs. Most athletes benefit from 30-40 grams per hour (same portions as above), though that can vary from athlete to athlete.
  • Raisin
  • Banana
  • Dates
  • Coconut water
Post-workout: Aim to consume both carbs and protein in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio (carbs to protein). So many athletes skimp here. Those who are low-carb enthusiasts run into trouble with both muscle recovery and having enough energy. Though I’m not a huge carb fan generally, they do serve a purpose here. Stick to a protein powder that has no added artificial sweeteners, chemicals or growth enhancers. I like sprouted rice or pea protein, but whey also works great.
  • 1 large sweet potato + 3 oz chicken
  • 1 large banana + 15 grams protein (shake)
  • Rx bar (10 grams protein, 18 grams carb)
Fueling the rest of the day
Outside of the exercise timeframe, it’s really beneficial for athletes to make choices like eating more vegetables, choosing clean carbs (see below!), lean and organic proteins and healthy fats.  Tossing out all artificial sweeteners, foods with chemical names that are hard to pronounce, preservatives, and high-sugar foods (I don't mean fruit here!) can really make a difference to how the athlete feels and recovers. This isn’t to say that each day’s diet should be perfect. That’s not just reality. But even in cases where food is picked up or purchased on the go, it’s still totally possible to make healthy choices.

Below, I’ve outlined some of my top picks for a healthy pantry and a “clean” kitchen. For more specifics we’ve created a special D10 Training Menu and app that can be downloaded when purchasing D10 packages through Fhitting Room.

Thumb store front 2017

Vegetables: These should appear wherever they can: in your meals and even your snacks! They contain anti-oxidants and nutrients that can help your body recover faster. All vegetables are game, but here are some personal favorites:
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale and other greens
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
Carbs: It’s never worked well for me to be overly carby; it just makes me slow and tired. I’ve worked with plenty of athletes who carb up constantly and excel. Finding your optimal carb level requires some trial and error. No matter what, though, throw out the processed and refined stuff.
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Regular potatoes
  • Squash (all types)
  • Carrots
  • Parnsips
  • Oats (organic or gluten-free whenever possible)
  • Beans (I prefer the starchy veggies over beans)
  • Grains (lower on my list of favorites): rice, barley, farro, wheat berries
Proteins: Keep these super-clean if you can. If you’re vegan, make sure you’re getting enough protein. Some vegans find it really helpful to include more protein powders to help meet protein goals (about 1-1.5 g/kg body weight). Aim to have a protein with each meal, however you don’t need to go overboard. Our bodies can only absorb so much at a time (about ~30 g or so).
  • Eggs
  • Fish (of all types including fatty fishes)
  • Poultry - chicken and turkey
  • Grassfed red meat
  • Tofu/edamame (organic)
  • Pea protein meat substitutes (burgers etc)
Healthy fats: Include these in meals and snacks but not around training--fats won’t help your body with receiving the nutrients it needs any faster.
  • Avocado/avocado oil
  • Coconut/coconut oil
  • Olives/olive oil
  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Nuts and seeds (all are great)
Fluids: Stick with mostly water, and cut down on caffeine, which dehydrates you and can cause cortisol levels to rise (decreasing training abilities). Go light on the alcohol (sorry!), and don’t forget natural sources of hydration: soups, vegetable juices and smoothies. They’re great ways to get in extra veggies along with your fluids.

Thumb screen shot 2018 05 15 at 95754 am

Overall your goal is to eat consistently, drink plenty of fluids, focus on your pre/during/post workout routine and try to make smart choices outside of training. It will make a big difference. Our team at Isabel Smith Nutrition partnered with Fhitting Room to create a special D10 training menu that’s included with any D10/Fhitting Room training packages
To gain access, click here to purchase the 10 class package, and enter code TheD102018 at the bottom of the page. 

And if you want to learn more about how we work individually with athletes, please be in touch:

Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, is CEO and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. Her nutrition and lifestyle expertise has been featured in national publications including Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness and more. She lives in New York City with her two Yorkshire Terriers, Sasha and Henry.