Fuel Right. Eat Right. Feel Great:
The difference between fueling right & eating right
BY DR. KIRSTIN LAURITZEN
Do you work on your nutrition? Or do you work on fueling properly for your training and competitions? Is there a difference between fueling and nutrition? YES. I frequently hear athletes say, “I can eat whatever I want when I’m training, because my nutrition coach said I need to eat 3,000 calories, and I feel great! I’ve set huge personal records!” What these athletes have discovered is the power of fueling properly for their sport, but they are neglecting a very key aspect of fueling properly—actual nutrition. They often see results from fueling properly but don’t change the foods they eat.
Fueling properly during training, competitions, and the off-season can have an incredible impact on the outcome and success of a training year for an athlete. The most popular fueling programs usually involve counting macros (percentages in grams of protein, fat and carbohydrates) and calories to optimize energy input and output. A common saying is, “If it fits in your macros, you can eat it.” And for the most part, it works. Athletes see results in body composition and they see big rewards in their training numbers. So, on the surface, everything seems good.
The biggest issue with this type of fueling is that it continues to promote eating unhealthy foods, which can lead to some of the biggest threats to an athlete’s success: inflammation, illness, and injury. Continuing to eat an inflammatory diet high in processed foods, most products containing wheat and dairy, high sodium foods, and especially sugar can lead to a downhill health spiral. Although the body is quite resilient, if it does not receive the right amount of nutrients in the form of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals it will deplete its stores and eventually break down. This is often where illness and injury begins.
‘Working on your nutrition’ means learning more about how foods interact with your body—good or bad. It is important to recognize inflammatory foods and what alarm signals your body is sending you when it needs you to eat better quality foods. On the other hand, knowing more about what healthy foods offer sets you up for better training, recovery, and success. For example, certain fruits and vegetables, like citrus and dark leafy greens, generally contain a high amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays key roles in boosting your immune system and fighting stress (from daily responsibilities and physical stress from training). It also plays an important role in reducing inflammation for better recovery.
With more knowledge about how foods affect your body, making healthier decisions is easier—like choosing an orange instead of chips for a snack. In addition, when you pair good, healthy nutrition with the principles of fueling properly for your sport, you can create an environment for longevity and for your body to truly thrive.
Hammer Nutrition’s products help with both fueling and working on your nutrition. Hammer’s grass-fed Whey Protein is perfect to help fuel properly. Although eating actual whole food protein would be ideal post-workout, when you are in a pinch, it is a solid protein powder to have around! Hammer Bars are based on whole food nutrition and are perfect for snacks. HEED and Hammer Gels are a good source of carbohydrates that do not spike your blood sugar and are very useful for fueling well for training and competitions. All of these products also check a lot of boxes for healthy nutrition as well. They are low in sodium and sugar, free of artificial dyes, and are a big support for any athlete wanting to feel good in and outside the gym.
It is important for every athlete to fuel properly and work on their nutrition. Quality food feeds your cells so that you can continue hammering away for many years to come. Fuel right, eat right, feel great.