Sports nutrition provides the fuel that drives your body’s engine. If you eat the right foods at the right times, your workouts will be more productive and you will feel better as you exercise. The fundamental goal is to make sure you remain properly hydrated and have the nutrients available to your muscles so they can make energy when you need it.

Start With a Good Breakfast

You don’t need to eat a big breakfast, you simply need to give your body some energy in the morning to keep your blood sugar stable and replace the nutrients that you burned while sleeping. Have an egg, a glass of milk, a breakfast bar, or a simple piece of fruit. Find something that sounds good to you first thing in the morning and try to keep your breakfast calories consistent throughout the week.

Eat Something Before Working Out

If you work out on an empty stomach you run the risk of dehydration and you could damage your muscles rather than build them. Exercise without the proper fuel can also cause your blood sugar levels to plummet, which adds stress to your system. Give yourself something to work with, like an electrolyte-rich energy drink or a piece of fruit within 2 hours of working out.

Don’t Forget the Recovery Meal

The hour after you work out is an important time for your body to maintain the progress you achieved from training. Food is a necessary part of that recovery process. The body tends to absorb liquids a little better than solids when it is recovering, so have a good protein shake to provide your system with some quick energy replacement. When you have a chance to eat something more substantial, concentrate on foods with plenty of carbs and protein. Omega fats from fish or nuts are also helpful.

Pack a Little Protein Before Bed

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of any training regimen, and it usually means 8 to 10 hours without taking in any food. Prepare for that fast by having some dense protein just before you go to sleep. Have some nuts, milk, berries, or other foods that contain nutrients you need but don’t break down too quickly in your system. Eating too much could make it tough to fall asleep, so just a small powerful snack should get you through until it’s time to have breakfast again.