Sports Nutrition 101

Sports Nutrition 101 by Eating with a Purpose

Whether it is training for a marathon or trying to increase muscle mass, sports nutrition seems to be a hot topic amongst my friends and family.  Below are my answers to some popular questions.  I have also included links to recipes for RD-approved recovery snacks, sports drinks and even homemade protein powder.

1. Do I need sports drinks?

Unless you are planning on engaging in vigorous activity for more than an hour, water is the best choice.  For activity one hour or longer (think marathon running), sports drinks can provide a source of energy, electrolytes and help replace lost fluid.  Look for a sports drink with about 15 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz.  Juice and soda are not appropriate choices as they can lead to intestinal upset and cramping.  Look to consume fluids about 1-2 hours before, and every 15-20 minutes during and after exercising.

Sports Drinks

2. How can I change my diet to build muscle? Do I need to increase my protein intake?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get.  Simply adding more protein to your diet is not going to build muscle mass.  Cutting carbohydrates is also not a great idea, as they provide a source of energy during strength training.  This spares protein for use in muscle building and repair.  Unintentionally, the average American (or Canadian) diet is high in protein.  You may not need to add any additional protein into your diet.  Athletes require approximately 0.6-0.8 g protein per pound of body weight.  After strength training, aim to eat a snack containing both carbohydrates and protein.   It’s also important to spread your protein consumption throughout the day rather than eating a large amount at one time.muscle

3. What about supplements?

Be careful with dietary supplements.  Dietary supplements are not regulated the same way as food.  The FDA needs to show that a supplement is unsafe before taking it off the market.  Check out Informed Choice ( for more details on supplements.  In general, I am not a fan of supplements.  Most of our needs can be met from food alone.

4. What are some good snack ideas?

The possibilities are endless!  Below are some RD-approved recipes and ideas for workout snacks:

Bars, Balls & Bites

Almond Butter and Jelly Energy Bites from The Foodie Dietitian

Blueberry Chia Energy Balls from Abby Langer Nutrition

Carob Walnut Energy Balls from Food, Pleasure & Health

Chewy Date Granola Bars from In Wealth and Health

Chocolate Coconut Energy Truffles from Healthy Bites

Gluten Free No-Bake Tropical Quinoa Energy Balls from Abbey’s Kitchen

Homemade Protein Bars from the Nutty Nutritionist 

Lemon Poppy Seed Bites from Heather Goesch Nutrition

Post-Workout Recovery Bites from Eleat Sports Nutrition


Chewy Date Granola Bars


Crunchy Carb Sources

Crunchy Rosemary Chickpeas from Dana White Nutrition

Sports Drinks & Shakes

How to Make Your Own Sports Drinks from Eleat Sports Nutrition

How to Make Homemade Protein Powder from Teaspoon of Spice

Recovery Popsicles from Be Truly Nourished

Cashew Coconut Recovery Milk from Avocado a Day Nutrition


Lauren is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who finds relaxation amongst pots, pans and good ingredients. From an early age, Lauren grew up cooking alongside her mother, Angela. After finishing a Bachelor of Science degree, Lauren realized she wanted to integrate her love for food and cooking into her career and went back to school to become a Registered Dietitian.

After completing a primarily pediatric internship in Vancouver, Canada, Lauren’s personal life led her to the Southern United States. Lauren is now soaking up the cultural and culinary flavors of New Orleans in her time off from practicing in a local pediatric clinic. Lauren has a special interest for educating children and adolescents on not only eating healthy, but also learning the skills to prepare healthy food. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Lauren led a children’s after school cooking camp and continues to enjoy educating children and their parents in her current work setting.

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