(Family Features) Whether your goals are big or small, the path to success begins with the first step. When it comes to fitness and nutrition, champion athletes can attest that small, everyday lifestyle changes can make a big impact.
Get inspired to tackle your ambitions with these tips from 20-time World Championship medalist and 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, who knows first-hand the roles that hard work, dedication and a nutritious diet play in achieving the extraordinary. To motivate others who are looking to achieve greatness in their own lives, Coughlin joins top U.S. rugby players Zack Test, Carlin Isles and nationally known sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass – through a partnership with the Almond Board of California – to provide their top tips and life hacks to help reach your fitness goals.
Five Tips for Fueling like a Champion
Be prepared: When you’re on the road, or just after a workout, you may find the need to refuel and keep your energy level high until the next meal. Carrying quick snacks can help keep hunger at bay, Coughlin said. Some simple ideas for portable snacks include: herbal teas, fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and a handful of almonds.
Drink more water: Not only is water essential for moving oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, it also serves many other vital purposes, including converting food into usable fuel and regulating your body temperature. Avoid empty calories from beverages such as energy drinks or juices with added sugar. Your personal needs may vary slightly, but Sass recommends aiming for at least two cups of fluids two hours before exercise, one to two cups 15 minutes before exercise and one-half cup to one cup every 15 minutes during exercise.
Don’t skip breakfast: Breakfast kick-starts the day and helps you to stay alert and energized. Make sure you always eat a nutritious breakfast, even if it means preparing it the night before. Before training each morning, Isles has a hard-boiled egg, steel-cut oatmeal topped with sliced almonds along with mixed fruit. He recommends making each meal count and emphasizes the importance of giving your body the proper nutrients to reach your goals.
Recover properly: Strength is gained through proper nutrition and allowing the body to heal from the wear and tear of workouts, Sass said. That’s why post-exercise is a prime time for delivering the right raw materials with smart recovery meals that deliver the protein and energy your body needs to refuel.
Fuel like a champion: For peak performance from morning until night, proper nutrition is a must. Utilizing quick, energizing recipes, such as Coughlin’s Almond Cherry Recovery Smoothie, can help you crush your goals and conquer the day.