Sports nutrition is easy . . . if you’re a cartoon character. Take Popeye: the gravel-voiced sailor would down a can of spinach and next thing he knew, he was shot-putting a bowling ball into the stratosphere. Try that at home and the only thing you’ll be heaving is the spinach.
“No specific food will make you faster or stronger tomorrow,” says Dr Lonnie Lowery, a dietitian and exercise and nutrition scientist. Instead, whatever your goal – packing on muscle, going the distance or losing that gut – you have to think long-term. “Sports nutrition is all about many factors adding up over time,” says Lowery.
In other words, think marathon, not sprint. So even though there’s nothing that will make you an instant athlete (or substitute for that last set of reps), the right foods and drinks can help you work harder, train longer and look better. Good nutrition supports good workouts, and good workouts make the most of good nutrition. We’ve rounded up the latest research to help you fuel the body you have – and create the body you want.
All you need is enough strength to twist a lid, tear a pouch and, yes, open a can.
Photo by Ed Urrutia Aug 28, 2012