How alcohol, snacks and coffee affect your athletic performance

There are three things around nutrition and performance that come up frequently with athletes. The first one being “what are good snack options?”, the second one being “do I need to limit my alcohol consumption?”, and lastly “does coffee really have an effect on my overall performance?” If you have ever found yourself wondering about any of these questions you are in the right place. Now let’s jump right into it!

Snacks can be and are a good thing! There are a few basic and general rules to apply when creating that mid-morning or afternoon pick me up and fuel me up snack. First, focus on protein then add in fruit and vegetables. If your training load is relatively high or you are having a hard time getting enough calories in to support your training, add in a little carbohydrate. Make this a high quality, whole grain, nutrient-dense carb. Then don’t forget to drink a glass of water with your snack. This aids with fluid balance and appetite management.

Alcohol can affect performance outcomes. As social as it is for many people we also have to acknowledge that it adds calories. Those calories are carbohydrates, and typically will be consumed in the evening. During the evening and at dinner we tend to want a meal lower in carbohydrates outside from our fruits and veggies. We also need to note that more than probably one-two glasses of wine or beers will absolutely interfere with your recovery and sleep. But, you are a social human bean, so how do we integrate it into life? First, try to limit alcohol consumption during the week. This is important for energy and alertness. Retain awareness and honesty, if you do that and integrate it as part of joy with the acknowledgment of above you can enjoy it without guilt. So what’s the key takeaway here? When appropriate, if you love it, enjoy it. Everything in moderation.

Coffee, the bloodline to life in the morning. First off, no coffee is not a diuretic. All it is is a less preferable hydration source. But the really good news is that caffeine helps the recovery process by aiding the absorption of carbohydrates! Do note that you should only consume caffeine if it doesn’t impact energy management and sleep. Typically breakfast and mid-morning snack it’s perfectly okay to enjoy a cup of coffee. Some people can get away with a coffee around lunchtime as well. But you should eliminate it in the afternoons and evenings. We don’t want it causing havoc on your sleep cycle.

-Coach Carly