A car needs fuel to run, and the same can be said for the human body. Athletes in particular need to make sure to replenish their energy to get ready for the next training session or competition. An added obstacle is often a busy schedule; between school, work, training sessions, practices, competitions, and homework, there is virtually no time to eat.


If you struggle to find time to eat, packing snacks with quality calories is a good option. This can include energy bars, granola bars, fruit or fruit smoothies, bagels, crackers, and cheese, or a peanut butter sandwich.


Eating a solid meal prior to working out or a competition is optimal. Eat at least three to four hours before game time and avoid foods that are high in fat, as they do not digest as quickly. Including healthy carbs will also ensure that you have enough fuel to burn. Additionally, ensuring proper hydration goes hand in hand with refueling before and after workouts. This can be accomplished with water or sports drinks. If your activity is particularly rigorous or goes for an extended period of time, incorporating electrolytes is important, as well.


If you have further questions on what to eat, seek advice from your family physician, registered dietician, athletic trainer, or physical therapist.

Jorge Castellanos has a Masters Degree in Athletic Training from Cal State Fullerton and is on staff at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, CA