Peak Nutrition for Peak Performance

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 27, 2009 9:04 am

Whether you are a serious athlete competing and training, or a just someone going out skiing on the weekends for fun with the family, one thing is true no matter who you are- You are what you eat. If you put junk into your body, that is how you can expect it to perform and function. Likewise if you take care of your body and feed it with the best foods and supplements, then your body in turn will thank you by adding years to your life, and helping you to get through the days with tons of energy, vitality, and not to mention a little extra pep in your step.

It is without a doubt that skiing requires the best nutrition and training to get the best results out on the slopes. The first thing that most skiers tend to overlook is staying hydrated on the slopes. Since cold air tends to be very dry especially at higher altitudes more fluid is lost as vapor through breathing, and let’s be honest here, we’re more likely to drink more fluids in hotter weather than colder weather, so by the time that you actually do feel thirsty you are probably dehydrated. The basic rule of thumb is to drink 8-10 fluid ounces every 10-15 minutes during exercise, and if you know that you are going to be exercising longer than ninety minutes drink 8-10 fluid ounces of a sports drink containing 6 percent to 8 percent carbohydrate every 15-30 minutes.

Another important nutrition factor for athletes training in colder weather and high altitudes is the intake of sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, which is the most important fuel for athletes active in cold weather. This doesn’t mean that this is your excuse to run to the local McDonald’s and start scarfing down buckets of fries and burgers. Making sure that you eat the right kinds of carbohydrates is just as important as making sure you are eating enough carbs. The percentage of intake of carbohydrates for an average downhill skier would be 52-65% per day as a percentage of daily food intake.

Just remember that no single food provides all the nutrients your body needs for good health, so mix it up every day and don’t be afraid to try all of the different and delectable foods that are out there. Eating a variety of wholesome foods from different food groups will help ensure that you get all the necessary nutrients that your body needs to function and perform at its best.

A few vitamins and supplements that are especially important in higher altitudes are vitamin E, and Iron. Rich sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals. Good sources of iron, which is very important in higher altitudes to carry oxygen through the body, are leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard, tempeh, tofu, quinoa, lentils and soybeans. So if you know that you are going to be training in cold weather or at high altitudes be sure to stock up on these healthy, nutritious and delicious foods to help your body reach its optimal level of performance.

Snack Ideas for Athletes on the Slopes or at High Altitudes:

  • Low-fat whole wheat pancakes topped with maple syrup and strawberries
  • Whole grain bagels with peanut butter or almond butter
  • Whole wheat pita sandwiches with hummus, spinach, and cherry tomatoes
  • Oatmeal topped with a tablespoon of maple syrup and sliced bananas
  • Baked potatoes topped with salsa
  • Pasta with marinara or pesto sauce